Beating the New York Jets in 2020 is hardly the most impressive of achievements, but it was a significant one for Justin Herbert, who continued his remarkable rookie season with a performance that suggests he is in the process of forming one of the NFL's great quarterback-wide receiver tandems.

The Los Angeles Chargers' 34-28 victory over the Jets marked only Herbert's second since he replaced Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback in Week 2.

That is despite Herbert compiling a resume of excellent displays that have entrenched him as the Offensive Rookie of the Year front-runner.

Herbert's play in 2020 has merited significantly more than two wins. All seven of his losses have been in one-possession games and two of those defeats have come in overtime.

But there was rarely any doubt that he would end the Chargers' four-game losing streak against the winless Jets, as he and Keenan Allen demonstrated a burgeoning rapport.

Herbert finished with 366 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the only rookie in NFL history with three or more passing touchdowns in five games. He is also the only rookie quarterback to throw at least two touchdowns in seven consecutive games.

With 22 touchdown passes to his name in nine games, Herbert is the fourth-fastest player to 20 touchdown throws, tied with George Ratterman and behind Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Kurt Warner (all eight games).

His five 300-yard passing games in 2020 are level with Joe Burrow (2020), Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray (both 2019) for the second-most by an NFL rookie. Andrew Luck (2012) leads the way with six.

Herbert looks primed to break that record. He was spectacular on Sunday, continuing to display pinpoint accuracy from the pocket and on the move, with his velocity allowing him to fit the ball into extremely tight throwing windows.

The former Oregon star's prowess in this regard is reflected by his performance in completion percentage above expectation, an NFL Next Gen Stats metric that measures the difference between a quarterback's completion percentage and their expected completion percentage.

On Sunday, Herbert completed 75.5 per cent of his passes when he was expected to connect on 67.5 per cent of his throws. His completion percentage above expectation of 8.0 was behind only Russell Wilson (11.0), Kirk Cousins (10.5) and Mahomes (9.8).

For the season, Herbert's completion percentage above expectation is 4.3. Among quarterbacks to have thrown at least 100 passes, that number sees him trail just two quarterbacks - Wilson (5.8) and Cousins (5).

In other words, Herbert is completing a greater percentage of high difficulty throws than most quarterbacks in the NFL, but the chances of completing such throws are higher when you have a receiver of Allen's calibre.

Herbert targeted Allen 19 times against the Jets and he caught 16 of those passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. He now leads the NFL with 81 receptions this season.

Allen became the fifth player with 15 catches in two separate games in his career, joining Antonio Brown, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall and Jason Witten on that exclusive list.

He tied Brown with his fourth career game with at least 14 catches and 140 yards and surpassed Brown and Welker by recording his sixth career game with at least 13 receptions, his tally now the most in NFL history.

One of the more underappreciated receivers in the NFL, Allen is still only 28 years old, meaning he and Herbert should have several seasons together in which he can pad his stats and further solidify his place as one of the premier wideouts of the modern era.

More importantly for the Chargers, they have a young quarterback on an affordable rookie contract who can keep them in any game paired with a receiver who is one of the elite route-runners in the game and continues to perform at the highest level.

That is a recipe for success on offense in a high-powered AFC West division where an explosive passing game could hardly be more important.

Keeping pace with Mahomes and the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs may seem like a pipe dream for the Chargers for now but, as Herbert and Allen continue to develop their connection, it becomes a more feasible possibility. 

Should the Chargers make the right additions to an already talented roster in the offseason, they will be a popular pick to rival the Chiefs for superiority in a division that has been firmly in Kansas City's grasp since 2016. 

Patrick Mahomes produced when it mattered most to help the Kansas City Chiefs overcome the Las Vegas Raiders 35-31 in the NFL.

Mahomes found Travis Kelce with 28 seconds remaining as Super Bowl champions the Chiefs prevailed against the Raiders in Las Vegas on Sunday.

The Indianapolis Colts completed a memorable comeback against the Green Bay Packers 34-31 following overtime, while Justin Herbert celebrated a career day for the Los Angeles Chargers.

 

MAHOMES PUTS ON A SHOW

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Mahomes was faced with a 31-28 deficit inside the final two minutes after Raiders quarterback Derek Carr threw a touchdown pass to Jason Witten.

Chiefs star Mahomes stepped up to the plate, leading a seven-play, 75-yard drive in 75 seconds with a 22-yard throw to Kelce as Kansas City (9-1) reigned supreme at the death.

Mahomes finished 34 of 45 for 348 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while he rushed for 16 yards on four carries.

Carr – who joined Russell Wilson as the only players in NFL history with 25,000 passing yards and fewer than 70 interceptions in their first seven seasons – was 23-of-31 passing for 275 yards, three TDs and an interception.

COLTS EDGE RODGERS AND PACKERS

It was not pretty but the Colts got the better of the Packers in Week 11.

Rookie kicker Rodrigo Blankenship nailed a 39-yard field goal to lift the Colts – who scored 20 of the final 23 points – past the Packers in OT, having trailed 28-14 at half-time.

Rodgers led the Packers (7-3) down the field in less than 90 seconds to level the game and force overtime in Indianapolis, where AFC South leaders the Colts (7-3) stayed ahead of the Tennessee Titans.

The result marked Philip Rivers' 13th career start in which his team rallied from 14-plus points down to win, per Stats Perform. It is the second-most 14-plus point comeback wins by a QB in NFL history, only behind Peyton Manning (16).

Rivers was 24 of 36 passing for 288 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while Packers counterpart Rodgers finished 27 of 38 for 311 yards, three TDs and an interception.

 

HERBETS SETS ROOKIE MARK

Chargers quarterback Herbert enjoyed a memorable outing as his team held off the beleaguered Jets 34-28.

Herbert – who was 37 of 49 for 366 yards and three touchdowns – became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 350-plus yards while completing at least 75 per cent of his passes in a game, according to Stats Perform.

He also recorded his fifth game of three-plus touchdown passes this season – the most by a rookie in a season in the Super Bowl era, per NFL Research, as the Chargers condemned the Jets to a 0-10 record.

Herbert connected with Keenan Allen, who set a single-game Chargers record with his 16th reception in the fourth quarter, becoming the first of four wide receivers in the Super Bowl era with two career 15-plus reception games.

TUA BENCHED AS DOLPHINS LOSE

Tua Tagovailoa was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter of the team's 20-13 loss to the Denver Broncos.

The Dolphins trailed 20-10 when Tagovailoa was benched, though Miami head coach Brian Flores said the rookie quarterback remains starter.

Tagovailoa – promoted following Week 7 – went 11-of-20 passing for 83 yards and a touchdown

"Tua wasn't injured. We just felt like it was the best move at that point of the game – we had to get in two-minute mode and we felt like [Fitzpatrick] gave us the best chance to win the game and we had an opportunity at the end to tie it," Flores said.

Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys snapped a four-game skid by topping the Minnesota Vikings 31-28 to move back into the NFC East race.

Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton and tight end Dalton Schultz connected for a touchdown in the win, marking the first TD pass in NFL history in which the passer's last name is an exact match with the receiver's first name, according to NFL Research.

 

Week 11 scores:

Tennessee Titans 30-24 Baltimore Ravens (OT)
Carolina Panthers 20-0 Detroit Lions
Cleveland Browns 22-17 Philadelphia Eagles
Houston Texans 27-20 New England Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers 27-3 Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints 24-9 Atlanta Falcons
Washington Football Team 20-9 Cincinnati Bengals
Denver Broncos 20-13 Miami Dolphins
Los Angeles Chargers 34-28 New York Jets
Indianapolis Colts 34-31 Green Bay Packers (OT)
Dallas Cowboys 31-28 Minnesota Vikings
Kansas City Chiefs 35-31 Las Vegas Raiders

Only one team have been able to get the measure of Patrick Mahomes and Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020.

The Chiefs have an 8-1 record this season, with their sole defeat coming at home to divisional rivals the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.

Kansas City this week have the opportunity to avenge the 40-32 reverse, however, with superstar quarterback Mahomes long since having recovered from that blip.

The game in Las Vegas is among the key Week 11 matchups we preview with Stats Perform data.

FEATURED GAME

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders - Sunday, 8.20pm (all times Eastern)

- The Chiefs have started the season with wins in their first four road games for the second year in succession. The only time in franchise history the team started a season 5-0 on the road was in 1966, when they went 7-0 away from home en route to a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the first Super Bowl.

- Mahomes has played two road games against the Raiders in his career, throwing four touchdown passes without an interception in each contest. Mahomes' only interception of 2020 came in the Week 5 loss to Las Vegas by Jeff Heath; since then, he has 13 TD passes and no interceptions in 144 pass attempts.

- There are two quarterbacks in the NFL who have double-figure touchdown passes and fewer than three interceptions: Mahomes (25 TDs, one interception) and Derek Carr (16 TDs and two interceptions). Among QBs in league history with at least 1,000 pass attempts, Mahomes is first in touchdown/interception ratio (5.32) and Carr is eighth (2.48).

OTHER KEY GAMES

Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens - Sunday, 1pm

- After going 7-1 at home a season ago, Baltimore have lost twice at M&T Bank Stadium in 2020, including their most recent home game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers three weeks ago. The Ravens have not dropped consecutive home games since Week 7 and 9 of the 2018 season – just before Lamar Jackson took over as starting QB.

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns - Sunday, 1pm

- Carson Wentz has completed under 60.0 per cent of his passes in each of his past five games, the longest streak by any player this year. He has a career-low 58.2 completion percentage in 2020, the second-lowest mark among 33 qualified players (min. 14 pass attempts per team game; Drew Lock – 55.0).

Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Packers' 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars last week gave Matt LaFleur a 20-5 regular-season record as a head coach. He is the sixth head coach since the merger to have 20 or more wins through 25 games.

Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Monday, 8.15pm

- The Bucs snapped a five-game losing streak against the Rams by scoring a franchise-record 55 points in last year's meeting. That was also one point shy of the most allowed by the Rams all-time.

ELSEWHERE...

Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars - Sunday, 1pm

- Pittsburgh are the fifth team in history to start 9-0 while scoring at least 24 points in every game. The Steelers are also the first team in the Super Bowl era to have fewer than 50 rushing yards in three straight games and win all three.

New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers - Sunday, 4.05pm

- The Jets are coming off their bye after losing their ninth straight game to the New England Patriots 30-27 in Week 9. They led the Patriots for 43 minutes and one second of game time but gave up 10 points in the final two minutes to remain winless. New York have lost each of their past four games coming off a bye week.

With the 2020 NFL season approaching its business end, it is crunch time for fantasy managers as the race for the playoffs edges towards a conclusion.

Most fantasy leagues start their postseasons in Week 14, meaning teams on the outside looking in at this stage have little time to turn it around.

It is, therefore, imperative to make the right line-up decisions in Week 11, but which players deserve starter consideration?

Here we look at four players and a defensive unit who figure to be strong fantasy selections for this week's games.

QB: Justin Herbert - Los Angeles Chargers

If in doubt at the quarterback position, the wise play is to bet against the awful defense of the New York Jets and slide Herbert into your starting line-up.

Herbert has scored at least 20 fantasy points in all but one of his eight games this season.

The winless Jets are giving up the fourth-most passing yards per game in the NFL and present Herbert with the opportunity to earn his long-awaited second win as a starter while continuing his success as a productive fantasy quarterback.

Herbert set social media alight as he showed off his new haircut at Wednesday's media conference, and expect the freshly trimmed Offensive Rookie of the Year favourite to torch the Jets come Sunday.

RB: Antonio Gibson - Washington Football Team

Gibson is one of the few trustworthy offensive players on the Washington roster from a fantasy perspective.

He found the endzone twice last week as Washington's comeback against the Detroit Lions came up short.

That double made it four touchdowns in three games for the undoubted focal point of the Washington running game and Gibson should have plenty of confidence of adding to his tally against a Cincinnati Bengals run defense surrendering 133.1 yards per game, the sixth-most in the NFL. 

WR: Jakobi Meyers - New England Patriots

The Patriots offense has improved over the course of their back-to-back wins over the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens, with Meyers becoming a favourite target of Cam Newton.

Meyers, who threw a touchdown pass on a trick play against the Ravens, has been targeted 37 times over the past four games and has caught 27 of those passes.

That kind of target share gives him a high floor in points per reception leagues and, facing a Houston Texans defense allowing the second-most adjusted yards per pass attempt (8.7), the smart money is on Meyers delivering another strong outing for Bill Belichick's resurgent team.

TE: Hayden Hurst - Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons face a New Orleans Saints defense that has become increasingly stingy in recent weeks, but they have been quite generous when it comes to tight ends.

Indeed, the Saints are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

That makes Hurst, who has been targeted at least seven times in each of his past three games and is coming off a seven-catch 62-yard performance in Week 9, a potential high-upside starter in Week 11.

D/ST: Cleveland Browns

The Browns have not pressured the quarterback to the extent they would have hoped in recent times, putting together just one game in the past five with more than two sacks.

However, Week 11 sees them face a Philadelphia Eagles offensive line that has allowed Carson Wentz to be sacked the most times of any quarterback in the NFL.

Wentz has suffered 35 sacks and the pressure he has faced has naturally led to a high number of turnovers.

The Eagles have turned the ball over 17 times this season and, though they did not do so in a Week 10 loss to the New York Giants, a Browns defense that held the Houston Texans to 153 passing yards and seven points last time out should take advantage of Philadelphia's vulnerabilities and reward fantasy managers willing to bet on them in a significant way.

Ben Roethlisberger returned and fuelled the red-hot Pittsburgh Steelers as a Hail Mary pass lifted the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL.

Coronavirus protocols kept Roethlisberger away from Pittsburgh's team facility all week, but the star quarterback led the unbeaten Steelers to a 36-10 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Kyler Murray's throw saw the Cardinals claim a stunning last-gasp 32-30 success against the Buffalo Bills, while Cam Newton enjoyed a memorable outing as the New England Patriots upstaged the Baltimore Ravens.

 

STEELERS STAY PERFECT

There is no stopping the Steelers through nine games of the 2020 season.

Roethlisberger – one of four Steelers placed on the COVID-19 list at the start of the week – threw for a season-high 333 yards and four touchdowns, completing 27 of 46 passes.

The two-time Super Bowl champion connected with Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster in the first half, before throwing TD passes to Chase Claypool twice in the second half.

T.J. Watt sacked Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow twice – he had two sacks, four QB hits and two tackles for loss. T.J. Watt and J.J. Watt (2015) are the only players over the past 15 seasons to record nine-plus sacks, 25-plus quarterback hits and 10-plus tackles for loss in their team's first nine games of a season, per NFL Research.

It was a tough outing for number one pick Burrow, who was 21 of 40 for 213 yards, a touchdown and four sacks as the Bengals fell to 2-6-1.

 

CARDINALS CLAIM LAST-GASP WIN

Murray made NFL history after combining with DeAndre Hopkins for an incredible game-winning touchdown for the Cardinals.

Murray's 43-yard pass was brilliantly caught by Hopkins in the endzone with two seconds remaining to secure a victory for the Cardinals, who improved to 6-3 after scoring 17 unanswered points, having trailed the Bills 23-9.

The top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Murray's throw to Hopkins was his only touchdown pass, as he finished 22 of 32 for 245 yards.

According to Stats Perform, Murray became the first player in NFL history with a pass TD and a rush TD in five straight games, thanks to his pass to Hopkins.

Murray also joined Newton as the only QBs in NFL history with 6,000-plus pass yards and 1,000-plus rush yards in their first 25 career games, as per NFL Research.

 

NEWTON'S PATS SILENCE JACKSON AND RAVENS

The Patriots may be struggling following the departure of Tom Brady, but Bill Belichick's side shocked the Ravens 23-17 for back-to-back wins.

Newton became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era with nine rushing touchdowns in his first eight games of a season, according to NFL Research.

The former MVP rushed for one TD and 21 yards, while he was 13-of-17 passing for 118 yards and another touchdown in New England, where the Patriots (4-5) rallied.

With seven weeks still remaining, 2020 is already the first season in league history in which two quarterbacks – Newton (nine) and Murray (10) – have each had nine-plus rushing TDs.

Baltimore star and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson was 24 of 34 for 249 yards, two touchdowns and an interception as the Ravens fell to 6-3.

 

RAMS TAKE DOWN WILSON'S SEAHAWKS, BREES INJURY OVERSHADOWS SAINTS WIN

The Los Angeles Rams smothered Seattle Seahawks star quarterback Russell Wilson and won 23-16.

Wilson did not throw a touchdown, finishing 22 of 37 passing for 248 yards and two interceptions as the Rams (6-3) stifled the high-flying Seahawks (6-3).

The NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints topped the San Francisco 49ers 27-13 but it came at a cost on home soil.

Drew Brees suffered a rib injury in the first half and is set to undergo an MRI and X-Ray after taking a hit from 49ers defensive tackle Kentavius Street before being replaced by Jameis Winston at half-time.

Brees threw a touchdown, the 41-year-old finishing eight of 13 for 76 yards as the Saints eventually improved to 7-2 for the season.

 

Week 10 scores:

Cleveland Browns 10-7 Houston Texans
Detroit Lions 30-27 Washington Football Team
Green Bay Packers 24-20 Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants 27-17 Philadelphia Eagles
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 46-23 Carolina Panthers
Pittsburgh Steelers 36-10 Cincinnati Bengals
Los Angeles Rams 23-16 Seattle Seahawks
New Orleans Saints 27-13 San Francisco 49ers
Arizona Cardinals 32-30 Buffalo Bills
Las Vegas Raiders 37-12 Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins 29-21 Los Angeles Chargers
New England Patriots 23-17 Baltimore Ravens

Tua Tagovailoa was selected only one place ahead of Justin Herbert in the 2020 NFL draft and the two rookie quarterbacks are now set for an intriguing first meeting.

The Miami Dolphins resisted temptation to trade up as they held firm and picked Alabama prospect Tagovailoa at number five overall, before the Los Angeles Chargers, who were next in line, made Herbert the third QB taken.

Herbert has emphatically surpassed expectations as a rookie, having taken over the starting job in unexpected circumstances when Tyrod Taylor was forced to withdraw minutes before a Week 2 game with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Some stellar Herbert performances have not led to wins, though, with the Chargers faltering to 2-6 after a series of heartbreaking late losses.

Tagovailoa waited a while longer before taking the reins with the Dolphins, but has won his first two games under center after replacing veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Dolphins were the laughing stock of the league early in 2019, but head coach Brian Flores has overseen an impressive transformation, putting the 5-3 Dolphins in playoff contention ahead of Sunday's home game against the Chargers.

It is only the second time since 2004 that the Dolphins have been above .500 at the midway point of the season and their plus 16 points differential since Week 5 is the best in the NFL.

The Chargers looked to have ended their streak of miserable narrow losses against the Las Vegas Raiders last time out, but a game-winning TD on the last play of the game was overturned on replay review.

As a result, they have 15 losses by one score or fewer since the start of 2019 – the most in the NFL – and are 3-15 in such games. They are also 1-5 this year in games where they have led at halftime.

Herbert making history

Despite the chaotic collapses and late losses, former Oregon QB Herbert has racked up 2,146 passing yards in his first seven career games, the best-ever performance by a rookie, according to Stats Perform data.

Herbert, Cam Newton and the number one overall pick this year, Joe Burrow, are the only rookies to go above 2,000 inside seven games.

Widening that out beyond rookies, Billy Volek (2,305) and Patrick Mahomes (2,149) are the only QBs who had more yards than Herbert across their first seven career starts.

If Herbert can throw for multiple touchdowns against the Dolphins, he will be the first rookie to do so in six consecutive games, surpassing a record he currently shares with Dan Marino, Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Dak Prescott and Deshaun Watson.

He has thrown for 250+ yards in all of his first seven starts as an NFL player, meaning he is fast closing in on the record held by Mahomes (10 straight games).

While some rookies may take a cautious approach as they adapt to frenetic NFL action, Herbert has had no issues throwing the ball deep.

Ten of his 17 touchdown passes in 2020 have had 20+ air yards, tied with Wilson for the league lead and ahead of Mahomes (eight), who is famed for his aggressive approach.

That has also led to turnovers too. Four of his five interceptions have been on deep passes, tied with Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz for most in the league.

Tua already making strides

Some questioned the timing of bringing in Tagovailoa at a time when Fitzpatrick was playing some of the best football of his career and making the Dolphins competitive.

Tagovailoa did not have to do much in his first win as a starter against the Los Angeles Rams, with defense and special teams scores helping the Dolphins to a comfortable 28-17 win where he only registered 93 passing yards.

But the Dolphins opened up the playbook for a statement 34-31 road win over the Arizona Cardinals last week, as he improved to 248 passing yards.

Tagovailoa had 11 completions of 10+ more yards and 12 first-down passes compared to figures of three and five respectively against the Rams.

There were also signs he can be a viable threat with his legs, with Tagovailoa rushing for 35 yards after not registering any yardage on the ground in his starting debut.

If he can move to 3-0 with a win over the Chargers, the rookie will become join Damon Huard, who is currently the only Dolphins QB in history to win his first three starts.

Tagovailoa has three TDs and is yet to throw an interception, making him the third Dolphin to record those numbers or better his first two career starts, and just the 15th NFL player ever, with Aaron Rodgers among the others to achieve the feat.

Two in-form quarterbacks will go head to head when the Seattle Seahawks and the Los Angeles Rams meet in a crunch NFC West game on Sunday.

Russell Wilson's phenomenal displays have helped the Seahawks go 6-2 to top their division, but Jared Goff has strung together some impressive performances and is coming off a bye week ahead of a mouth-watering clash at SoFi Stadium.

The Buffalo Bills have made their best start to a season since they made the Super Bowl after the 1993 season, but their defense will need to be strong to keep DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals at bay.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be hoping to improve to 9-0 against the Cincinnati Bengals this weekend but could be forced into doing something that has not occurred in 22 years.

We use Stats Perform data to preview the standout matchups in Week 10.
 

FEATURED GAME

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams - Sunday, 4.25pm (all times Eastern)

- The Seahawks average 34.3 points per game and allow 30.4; their games produce an NFL-high average of 64.7 total points. Rams games, meanwhile, see an average 43.1 points scored – 24.1 by Los Angeles and 19.1 by their opponents – which is the fourth lowest in the league.

- Wilson needs two touchdown passes to reach 30 for the fourth consecutive season and fifth time in his career. Dave Krieg is the only other Seahawk to have hit that mark, having thrown for 32 touchdowns in 1984.

- Goff has thrown TD passes in seven straight games, setting a personal high for consecutive games with a touchdown pass in a single season. The last such single-season streak of eight or more games by a Rams QB occurred in 2005 by Marc Bulger (eight games).

OTHER KEY GAMES

Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins – Sunday, 4.05pm

Tua Tagovailoa has won each of his first two starts, throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions. Only one Dolphins quarterback has started his NFL career 3-0 before, Damon Huard in 1999.

Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals – Sunday, 4.05pm

- The Bills' 7-2 start is their best through nine games since 1993 (7-2), when they made their fourth straight Super Bowl appearance. However, wideout Hopkins has 60 receptions this season, the most by a player in his first eight games with a team in NFL history, and is eight receptions away from becoming the first player with 700 receptions before turning 29.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday, 4.25pm

- Ben Roethlisberger was this week added to the Steelers' reserve/COVID-19 list and if he is unable to start Pittsburgh would be the first team since the 1998 Denver Broncos to change starting QBs with an unbeaten record and eight or more wins. His absence would deny an entertaining matchup with Bengals signal caller Joe Burrow, who has passed 330 times, has five 300-yard games and 284.0 yards per contest with a record of 2-5-1 after eight starts in his rookie campaign. At the same point in his debut season in 2004, Roethlisberger attempted 172 passes, had no 300-yard games, averaged 176.5 yards per game – and went 8-0.

Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots – Sunday, 8.20pm

- Cam Newton has six more rushing touchdowns (eight) than passing touchdowns (two) this season. The last player with that big of a difference was Chicago's Johnny Lujack in 1950, who finished with 11 rush TDs to just four pass TDs (minimum 100 pass attempts in season).

ELSEWHERE…

Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns – Sunday, 1pm

- Nick Chubb has been designated to return from injured reserve this week after missing the Browns' previous four games. Cleveland have averaged 204.5 rushing yards per game in four games with Chubb in the lineup this season and 95.5 yards per game without him.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints – Sunday, 4.25pm

- The 49ers are averaging 53.5 rush yards per game and 2.74 yards per rush over its past two games compared to 137.7 per game and 4.77 per rush over their first seven.

The Seattle Seahawks returned to winning ways in the NFL on Sunday, while the Denver Broncos completed a stunning last-gasp comeback.

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks topped last season's Super Bowl finalists the San Francisco 49ers 37-27.

The Broncos somehow rallied past the Los Angeles Chargers, the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints were involved in a brawl, while the Philadelphia Eagles saw off rivals the Dallas Cowboys.

 

SEAHAWKS BOUNCE BACK

The Seahawks went down to the Arizona Cardinals in overtime in Week 7, ending their unbeaten start to the season.

But Wilson threw four touchdowns and star wide receiver DK Metcalf dominated as NFC West leaders the Seahawks (6-1) powered past the 49ers in Seattle.

MVP candidate Wilson completed 27 of 37 passes for 261 yards and no interceptions, teaming up with Metcalf in devastating fashion.

Metcalf caught Wilson's first two TD passes, finishing with 12 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns. It gave the WR new career bests in both receptions and yards.

After Seattle's Tyler Lockett had 15 catches, 200 receiving yards and three touchdowns last week, the Seahawks became the first team ever to have different players with 12/150/2 or better in back-to-back games, per Stats Perform.

The 49ers dropped to 4-4 and 1-2 in the NFC West at CenturyLink Field, where stars Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle exited with injuries in the fourth quarter.

After Tevin Coleman (knee) left in the first quarter, quarterback Garoppolo – who missed two games recently – appeared to tweak his ankle, while tight end Kittle hurt his foot.

"I knew it was hurt once we all saw it and he didn't go back in on that one play," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He had a good week of practice throwing, but high ankle sprains linger, so you never know when it's going to affect you. I know he hurt it later in the game, or re-hurt it, and we'll wait until tomorrow to see how bad it is."

Garoppolo was 11-of-16 for 84 yards and an interception prior to exiting the game.

 

BRONCOS BLITZ CHARGERS

The Broncos (3-4) emerged from the jaws of defeat to snatch a 31-30 win over the Chargers (2-5).

Denver – led by Drew Lock – scored 21 points in the final quarter and 28 in the second half to stun the visiting Chargers.

Lock went 14-of-18 passing for 155 yards with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, the Broncos QB finishing 26 of 41 for 248 yards, three TDs and an interception.

KJ Hamler completed the comeback at the death, connecting with Lock on a one-yard pass as time expired.

Hamler became the first player to score a game-winning touchdown with no time left for his first career TD since Ernest Wilford in 2004, according to Stats Perform.

 

WIMS EJECTED FOR PUNCHING GARDNER-JOHNSON

The Bears went down 26-23 to the Saints in overtime, a loss headlined by wide receiver Javon Wims' ejection.

Wims sucker-punched Saints safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the third quarter – approaching the latter from behind and unleashing a flurry of hits to the helmet.

Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins jumped in and attacked Wims before both teams got involved and broke up the brawl.

"We talked to him and told him that's not how things go here," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "One of Javon's strengths is character and who he is as a person and he has since apologised but there is no part of that in this game. Again, I still haven't seen it, but from what I heard it is not good. That's now how we roll here and we'll be talking to him."

In Sunday's late game, the Eagles defeated the slumping Cowboys 23-9 to extend their lead in the NFC East.

Carson Wentz was 15 of 27 for 123 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions as the Eagles improved to 3-4-1, while the Cowboys fell to 2-6.

The Eagles became the first NFL team to have under 250 total yards, turn the ball over four-plus times, get sacked four or more times and yet still win the game by 14-plus points since the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets 14-0 in the 1982 AFC Championship Game, per Stats Perform.

Week 8 scores:

Atlanta Falcons 25-17 Carolina Panthers
Buffalo Bills 24-21 New England Patriots
Cincinnati Bengals 31-20 Tennessee Titans
Las Vegas Raiders 16-6 Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts 41-21 Detroit Lions
Minnesota Vikings 28-22 Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs 35-9 New York Jets
Miami Dolphins 28-17 Los Angeles Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers 28-24 Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos 31-30 Los Angeles Chargers
New Orleans Saints 26-23 Chicago Bears (OT)
Seattle Seahawks 37-27 San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles 23-9 Dallas Cowboys

The Denver Broncos postponed a planned practice on Friday as a precaution after a player tested positive for COVID-19.

As they prepare for Sunday's home game against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Broncos will hold virtual meetings while operating under the league's coronavirus protocols amid the health pandemic.

Denver also confirmed that the individual who tested positive is now in self-isolation, as are two other players deemed to have been close contacts.

"We were informed early this morning that a Broncos player has tested positive for COVID-19," a statement from the team read.

"The player is at home in self-isolation along with two other players who were determined to be close contacts. Our organisation, which has been operating under the league's intensive protocols, is in consultation with the NFL and taking guidance from medical experts.

"As a precaution, we have made the decision to postpone today's practice and conduct virtual meetings in preparation for Sunday's game against the Chargers. The team is scheduled to return to UCHealth Training Center for practice tomorrow.

"The health and safety of the players, coaches and staff will continue to be of the highest priority."

According to an ESPN report citing an unnamed source, a player from the Minnesota Vikings roster has also returned a positive test result for the virus. 

The Vikings travel to face divisional rivals Green Bay in Week 8 of the regular season.

A thrilling win for the Arizona Cardinals over the Seattle Seahawks means there are no undefeated teams left in the NFC after an NFL Sunday which saw several dramatic finishes.

The Cardinals won an overtime thriller 37-34 against NFC West rivals Seattle, with Zane Gonzalez's field goal with 15 seconds remaining in OT giving Kyler Murray a statement win over Russell Wilson.

After building a big lead, the Pittsburgh Steelers – who moved to 6-0 - just held on to hand the Tennessee Titans their first loss, while the Cleveland Browns earned a wild win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Only one Week 7 game – the Los Angeles Rams against the Chicago Bears - remains, so we have taken a look at some of the best statistics to emerge from another entertaining group of matchups.

Burrow and Herbert sensational again

Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert continue to enjoy remarkable rookie seasons.

Despite the Bengals ultimately going down to a 37-34 loss against the Browns, Burrow threw for 406 yards – the best total of his young career – as well as three touchdowns, while adding a further rushing score.

Burrow (one INT and a 112.5 passer rating) became the first rookie in NFL history to produce a performance with at least 400 yards and three TDs through the air along with a rushing TD.

The Bengals quarterback already has five games with 300+ yards and is now only one game behind the rookie record held by Andrew Luck, who had six in 2012.

With nine games still to go in the regular season, Burrow looks poised to pass Luck's mark emphatically.

Herbert, meanwhile, recorded his first win and also had a career-high passing performance (347 yards) as the Los Angeles Chargers beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 39-29.

He had three passing TDs and became only the second rookie QB ever, after Deshaun Watson, to have at least three scores through the air in three consecutive games.

Herbert - who also 66 yards (one TD) rushing - now has 1,542 passing yards through his first five career games, only the second player after Cam Newton (1,610) to go above 1,500 over that span. 

While his yardage is just short of Newton, Herbert is the only player to achieve the feat with a passer rating above 100 (his rating is 108.1).

Murray matches Brady comeback

The Cardinals and Murray were 10 points behind with under seven minutes left against the Seahawks but pulled off a remarkable victory.

Only once before had a QB thrown three or more TDs and overcome a fourth-quarter deficit of 10+ points in a game against Wilson. That was Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLIX at the same University of Phoenix Stadium.

It was Murray's first career fourth-quarter comeback of 10+ points and he became the first QB this season to do so in a game that went to overtime.

Despite a disappointing loss, Wilson (three TDs and three INTs) moved on to 22 passing TDs this season. He is only the fourth player in NFL history with 20+ passing TD across his team's first six games. 

That is a good omen, as the other three - Peyton Manning (2013), Brady (2007) and Brett Favre (1996) - all went on to win the MVP award and reach the Super Bowl.

Adams helps Green Bay bounce back

Davante Adams exploded for a career-high 196 receiving yards (13 catches, two TDs) as the Green Bay Packers won comfortably 35-20 at the Houston Texans.

The Packers wide receiver now has four career games with at least 10 receptions, 100 receiving yards and two TDs, tying Keenan Allen for the most among active players inside their first seven NFL seasons.

One more this year would see him match the all-time record (five), which is jointly held by Chad Johnson and Andre Rison.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers (283 yards, four TDs and zero INTs) had his 50th game with at least three touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

He was the fourth all-time to do that, behind fellow greats Brady (60), Brees (54) and Manning (51).

Brady passes Manning and Brees

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were spectacular in their 45-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Brady was on fire, throwing for 369 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions (127.0 rating) as well as adding a rushing score.

He passed Drew Brees' record and now has the most passing TDs in NFL history (559).

Brady, 43, also produced his 94th career game of 300+ passing yards, passing Manning (93) for second-most ever, with Brees still holding that record (122).

NFC East reaches a new low

The Dallas Cowboys' demoralising 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team means no NFC East team has won more than two games through seven weeks.

Excluding strike seasons, it is the first time in history that has happened in the NFL for every team in a division, with the Philadelphia Eagles somehow leading the standings on 2-4-1.

By contrast, the 2020 NFC West is only the fourth division ever where every team has won at least four games through seven weeks.

The San Francisco 49ers are bottom of the division despite having a winning record (4-3).

The Seattle Seahawks' flawless start to the NFL season came to an end in dramatic fashion against the Arizona Cardinals, while Tom Brady made history in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' crushing win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Arizona converted a field goal with only seconds remaining in overtime as the Cardinals completed a thrilling 37-34 comeback win over the previously unbeaten Seahawks on Sunday.

Brady surpassed New Orleans Saints counterpart Drew Brees for a league record, while Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers also won.

 

CARDINALS SOAR AS SEAHAWKS FALL

In one of the games of the season, the Cardinals triumphed thanks to Zane Gonzalez's field goal with 15 seconds remaining in Arizona.

The Seahawks – led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson – appeared on track to improve to 6-0, having led 27-17 at half-time and 34-24 heading into the final three minutes of regulation.

But the Cardinals rallied – Kyler Murray's eight-yard pass to Christian Kirk reducing the deficit to three points before Gonzalez converted a 44-yard field goal to force OT.

Gonzalez had the chance to settle the contest with a field goal early in OT but missed, however, the Cardinals kicker redeemed himself at the death.

Murray finished 34-of-48 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while Wilson was 33-of-50 for 388 yards, three TDs and as many interceptions.

In a remarkable showdown, Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf produced a sensational chase-down, delivering a touchdown-saving tackle on Budda Baker's 90-yard interception return in the second quarter.

 

RECORD-SETTING BRADY INSPIRES BUCS

Bucs quarterback Brady moved top of the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes after leading Tampa Bay to a 45-20 rout of the Raiders.

Brady replaced Brees for the most TD passes in league history with his throw to Tyler Johnson in the fourth quarter.

A six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady eclipsed Brees' record with his 559th career touchdown pass, one ahead of his Saints counterpart.

Brady completed 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions or sacks against the Raiders (3-3) as NFC South leaders the Buccaneers improved to 5-2 for the season.

Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller – who finished with 109 yards – Chris Godwin and Johnson all connected with Brady for TDs, while Raiders QB Derek Carr was 24-of-36 for 284 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and three sacks.

 

CHIEFS TAKE DOWN BRONCOS, 49ERS THRASH NEWTON'S PATS

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were too good for the Broncos, winning 43-16 on the road.

Played in snow, the Chiefs (6-1) led 24-9 at half-time and never looked back as they claimed their 10th consecutive victory over AFC West rivals the Broncos (2-4).

Mahomes extended his NFL-leading streak to 17 successive games with a touchdown throw, finishing 15-of-23 for 200 yards and a touchdown, while Le'Veon Bell impressed on debut after rushing for 39 yards on six carries.

It was a forgettable outing for Cam Newton and the New England Patriots, who were easily beaten 33-6 by the 49ers in Foxborough.

Newton – who was nine-of-15 for 98 yards – threw three interceptions and was replaced in the fourth quarter as the Patriots slumped to their third consecutive loss.

Former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo enjoyed his return to New England, where the 49ers star was 20-of-25 for 277 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

"It was a cool week," Garoppolo said. "Just a lot of emotions, a lot of memories. Especially coming back here, seeing the same stadium, hearing the same songs they used to play, a lot of memories came back ... But it was a fun night.

"Couldn't imagine it going any better than this."

Meanwhile, Justin Herbert threw three touchdowns as the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 39-29.

 

Week 7 scores:

Philadelphia Eagles 22-21 New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 Tennessee Titans
Washington Football Team 25-3 Dallas Cowboys
Buffalo Bills 18-10 New York Jets
New Orleans Saints 27-24 Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers 35-20 Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns 37-34 Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions 23-22 Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45-20 Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers 33-6 New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs 43-16 Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers 39-29 Jacksonville Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals 37-34 Seattle Seahawks (OT)

The 2020 NFL season is approaching its midway point, and it is becoming ever more clear which teams are likely to be in the mix for the postseason and which will almost certainly be watching the postseason from home.

From a fantasy perspective, there is plenty of evidence to guide managers regarding what players and teams they can rely on in their quest for glory.

By the same token, it should now be obvious which defenses have significant weaknesses and can be exploited by astute fantasy managers who pay attention to matchups.

Here we pick four players and a defense who have favourable matchups in the upcoming round of games and merit starter consideration for Week 7.

QB: Joe Burrow – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are not an easy team to watch nor do they have the players to put Burrow, the first overall pick in the draft, in a position to succeed.

However, regardless of the on-field results, Burrow and the Bengals have typically been good for passing yardage. Burrow already has four 300-yard games to his name as a pro and his best performance of his young career came in Week 2 against this week's opponents, the Cleveland Browns.

Burrow threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions in that meeting and, with last week's loss to the Indianapolis Colts providing signs of a burgeoning rapport with A.J. Green, there is reason to be encouraged that he could replicate that display against a Browns team coming off a bruising blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

RB: Ronald Jones – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jones has emerged as a pivotal player for the Tampa Bay offense, helping take the pressure off Tom Brady with three successive 100-yard efforts, including a two-touchdown display in last Sunday's blowout of the Green Bay Packers.

The Las Vegas Raiders' run defense has stiffened in recent weeks but, given they began the season by giving up at least 100 yards on the ground in their first three games, fantasy players with Jones on their roster should approach this week with plenty of confidence he can have another productive outing.

WR: Christian Kirk – Arizona Cardinals

The offseason acquisition of DeAndre Hopkins bumped speedster Kirk down the wide receiver pecking order but, despite averaging only four targets a game, he has taken significant advantage of his opportunities in recent weeks.

He has 183 receiving yards and three touchdowns over the course of the last three games and showed off his abilities as a deep threat on his 80-yard score against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.

Given Russell Wilson's devastating form throwing the ball, there is a strong chance the Cardinals may have to go downfield often to keep up with the unbeaten Seattle Seahawks in their NFC West clash. That would spell excellent news for Kirk, who can do significant damage against a Seahawks defense surrendering 370.4 passing yards a game – the worst in the NFL.

TE: Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers

The days of the Jacksonville Jaguars as a competitive concern in the 2020 NFL season appear to have long since ended. Theirs is a defense that has given up over 400 yards four times this season, making them an ideal opponent for Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert as he looks to get his first win.

Henry will likely be a frequent recipient of passes from Herbert, as the tight end has been targeted at least seven times in all but one game this season. His level of opportunity and the expected lack of resistance from the fast-fading Jaguars is a recipe for an impressive statistical performance.

D/ST: Washington Football Team

While the early-season shine is very much off Washington following their loss to the New York Giants in Week 6, their defense gets the benefit of going up against an offense in shambles in Week 7.

The Cowboys committed four turnovers in Monday's 38-10 loss to the Cardinals and have given away 15 so far this season. With backup quarterback Andy Dalton playing behind a decimated offensive line, the likelihood is Dallas will continue to surrender possession. Having forced eight turnovers this season, Washington and their fearsome defensive front should make it another long game for Dalton and the Cowboys.

Drew Brees acknowledged the New Orleans Saints' thrilling 17-point comeback to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers was a "wild one" but says the win will help the team become "battle-tested".

The veteran quarterback overcame a deficit of 17 points or greater for just the second time in his career as the Saints earned a 30-27 overtime win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Brees last achieved the feat against the Miami Dolphins back in the 2009 Super Bowl-winning season and his 12th career overtime victory sees him tie Tom Brady for the most in the NFL as a starting QB.

After finishing with 325 passing yards, a touchdown pass and a touchdown run, Brees told ESPN: "Yeah, this was a wild one.

"The bottom line is we were not playing Saints football in the first half. There were too many mistakes that get you beat.

"We shouldn't have had to mount the comeback we had to mount in order to win this game."

The Saints are enduring a mixed season but now move to 3-2 and once again showed their mettle having come back from 14 points down against the Detroit Lions last time out.

It was a comeback triumph that took the shine off a fine performance from Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who became the first rookie to throw for four touchdowns in a Monday Night Football game.

"At the end of the day, these are growing experiences. These are learning experiences," Brees added. 

"To have wins like this, where you really have to fight to win – just like we did last week – this is how you grow as a team. This is how you become battle-tested. And I think it pays dividends as you move along here."

The Saints now have some time to recharge with a Week 6 bye, after which star wide receiver Michael Thomas should be back in the fold.

Thomas was not part of the line-up against the Chargers following reports he threw a punch at a team-mate in practice, having missed three games because of an ankle injury.

Brees said head coach Sean Payton had addressed the issue and there will be no lasting ramifications.

"Mike is a big part of this team, and he's going to be a big part of this team moving forward," he said.

"We had an incident, and Sean addressed it and we're gonna be all good."

The New Orleans Saints escaped with a 30-27 overtime victory against the Los Angeles Chargers after fighting back from a large deficit in the NFL.

Drew Brees and the Saints trailed 20-3 with just over four minutes remaining in the second quarter, but New Orleans rallied from 17 points down to prevail on Monday.

The Saints closed within 27-20 with under four minutes of regulation time to play before star quarterback Brees connected with Alvin Kamara for 28 yards and Taysom Hill levelled proceedings 52 seconds from the end in the final quarter.

Wil Lutz then converted a field goal with 5:08 remaining in OT at Mercedes-Benz Superdome to give the Saints (3-2) back-to-back wins.

Brees had entered the game 1-48 in his career when trailing by at least 17 points. The Super Bowl champion and MVP improved to 2-48 in such scenarios.

He finished 33-of-47 for 325 yards, one touchdown, one rushing score and one interception for the Saints, while Chargers QB Justin Herbert was 20-of-34 for 264 yards and four TDs.

Herbert – the sixth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft – made history after becoming the first rookie to throw four touchdown passes on Monday Night Football.

The Chargers (1-4) stormed out of the blocks away from home, Herbert combining with Keenan Allen for a 17-yard score and a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter, though Lutz' 48-yard field goal reduced the deficit.

Herbert continued to cause New Orleans plenty of problems in the second period after throwing TD passes to Mike Williams and Hunter Henry as the Chargers took a 20-10 lead into the interval following Brees' one-yard running score.

Lutz nailed another field goal, a 53-yard effort, for the only score in the third quarter before the Saints completed their comeback in the final period – touchdowns from Jared Cook and Hill, sandwiched in between Williams' 64-yard combination with Herbert – forcing OT.

New Orleans Saints star Michael Thomas is listed as questionable for Monday's NFL showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Thomas has been sidelined by an ankle injury since Week 1, though the Saints wide receiver has practiced on a limited bases every day for two consecutive weeks.

After being ruled out last week, Thomas is now questionable for the clash with the Chargers in Week 5.

"We'll always do what's best for the athlete and be smart regarding any player," Saints head coach Sean Payton said.

Thomas – a three-time Pro Bowler – broke the NFL record for most catches in 2019 with 149 receptions.

In his only appearance this season, Thomas had three receptions for 17 yards.

The Saints are 2-2 after snapping a run of back-to-back defeats by topping the Detroit Lions 35-29 in Week 4.

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