After no little drama so far in the NFL, the action continues in Week 5 with another Sunday crammed full of appetising games.

Following a thriller between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints in London last week, England's capital plays host to the latest international series matchup as the New York Giants face the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Elsewhere, pre-season Super Bowl favourites the Buffalo Bills welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Philadelphia Eagles look to continue their winning streak on the road against the Arizona Cardinals.

With all that and more on offer, Stats Perform has delved into Opta data to preview this weekend's contests.

New York Giants (3-1) @ Green Bay Packers (3-1)

The Giants head to London on the back of a 20-12 victory against the Chicago Bears, where they did not have a single receiver with 20 or more receiving yards for the second time in six games, stretching back to last season. Prior to that, the Giants had one such instance in their previous 231 outings.

Last week, Aaron Rodgers went 21-for-35 (60.0 per cent) in the Packers' 27-24 overtime win against the New England Patriots, which tied the Tennessee Titans for the most overtime wins since 2017 (six).

In that game, Rashan Gary had two sacks and boasts at least one sack in all four games this season. No Packers player has recorded at least one sack in the team's first five matches of a campaign, since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-0) @ Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

The Eagles head to Arizona as the only undefeated side remaining in the 2022 season, but they have lost four straight road games against the Cardinals, coming as part of a 3-10 record since 1993 – their last win in Arizona coming in 2001.

Philadelphia maintained their winning streak against the Jaguars after fighting back from a 14-0 deficit, their first win when trailing by at least 14 points after the first quarter since 2014, also against the Jaguars, while their last such win prior to that was against the Jets in 1993.

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray threw two touchdowns and ran for another last week, tying Daunte Culpepper as the second-fastest quarterback to reach 75 passing TDs and 20 rushing career TDs, doing so in 50 games. Only Josh Allen (48 games) has been quicker to that total.

This season, the Cardinals have outscored their opponents 49-13 in the fourth quarter, boasting the best differential (+36) in that regard, while the Eagles are -20 this season in the fourth (9-29), ranking 27th in the league.

Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) @ Buffalo Bills (3-1)

The Steelers boast a stellar overall record against the Bills, winning seven of the last nine matchups. However, they are 1-2 in games against Josh Allen, who has been responsible for at least one touchdown in his last 18 consecutive home games, tying Jim Kelly for the franchise record.

Sunday's game will mark Kenny Pickett's first career start, having thrown three interceptions in the second half against the New York Jets last week, making him the first Steelers debutant to throw three interceptions since Terry Hanratty in 1969.

He faces a challenge to get the Steelers' offense ticking, Pittsburgh having gained 1,115 total yards through the first four weeks of the season, the team's lowest tally since the 2010 season (1,078 yards).

Stefon Diggs is the man to watch for the Bills, boasting 406 receiving yards this season – 253 more than his closest teammate in the rankings (Isaiah McKenzie, 153), which is the largest such gap in an NFL team this season.

Elsewhere…

The Chicago Bears head to Minnesota to face the Vikings and rank last in the NFL for net passing yards, with 390 so far, some 168 fewer than the Giants with the second-lowest total (558). The Bears are the first team with fewer than 400 net passing yards in the first four games of a season since 2005.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is looking to enhance his touchdown record on the road against the Cleveland Browns, having thrown at least one TD pass in 35 different games since making his debut in Week 2 of the 2020 season – tying him with Kirk Cousins for the most games with a TD pass over the last three seasons.

The Houston Texans travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the back of eight straight wins against their opponents, which stands as Houston's longest streak against any opponent all-time. Houston have yet to post a win this season, however.

The Detroit Lions have set an NFL record already in this campaign, becoming the first side to score 140 or more points and concede 140 or more points across the first four games of a season. They travel to the New England Patriots.

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson accepted the lion's share of blame for his side's 12-9 overtime loss at home against the Indianapolis Colts.

Wilson completed 21 of 39 passes for 274 yards and two interceptions in Thursday's game, with the second interception proving especially costly late in the fourth quarter.

With less than two and a half minutes remaining, leading 9-6, the Broncos opted to pass the ball to try to seal the game, but instead Wilson took a shot at the endzone and was picked off by former defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore.

The Colts ended up driving down the field to tie the game as time expired, before kicking another field goal on the first drive of overtime to put the pressure back on the Broncos.

Wilson completed long passes to Jerry Jeudy and Mike Boone to move inside the 10-yard line, but when faced with a fourth-and-one at the five-yard line, they decided to go for it instead of kicking for the tie.

The final throw of the game was broken up once again by Gilmore in the endzone, relegating the Broncos to a 2-3 record with one of the worst offenses in the NFL in the first year of Wilson's five-year, $242million contract.

Speaking after the game, Wilson did not hide from his struggles, saying he needs to figure it out in a hurry.

"It's very simple, at the end of the day I've got to be better, I've got to play better," he said. "This team, our defense played their butts off tonight, we had some key, good drives and we moved the ball into the red zone, but we didn't get to capitalise on some of them.

"At the end of the day, those two interceptions can't happen. Can't happen. I let the team down tonight, but the good thing is, one thing I know about myself is I'm going to respond – I don't know any other way.

"I always believe in myself, I always believe in this team and what we can do, and what I can do.

"When you play this game, the one thing you know is you're going to go through adversity, and with adversity you get a choice. I'm always going to choose to understand that adversity is just temporary, and you're going to overcome the obstacles and battles.

"We're all working together, we're all still together and focused on trying to do whatever it takes. It starts with me, and I'll make sure I do that."

Touching on the final play, Wilson said it was the right decision to go for it.

"We had a good play-call on, we went to Courtland [Sutton] there and the guy [Gilmore] made a good play," he said.

"I was ready to move around if we needed to – we came up with a big fourth-and-two a couple drives before – so we went for it.

"We didn't want to end in a tie, we wanted to try and win the game. That was our mentality. I think coach made a good call, I think I've got to find a way to make a play, whatever it takes.

"The thing about close games… is it comes down to finding a way. We've found a way before, but this time we didn't."

Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett also accepted blame for Wilson's struggles, saying he needs to figure out how to get his star quarterback into a rhythm and get points on the board.

"We want to always try to get him into a rhythm, and I didn't feel like we were able to get him into that," Hackett said. "It starts with me, to be able to get him into that rhythm with the receivers and tight ends.

"There were a couple of opportunities – we had a couple of drops again, and a couple of penalties – we keep continually hurting ourselves, and I think that's the thing that's frustrating.

"We need to address it as an offense, and we need to fix that, because the performance from the defense was spectacular, and we're wasting those great opportunities to go win a football game."

Hackett also said he did not regret his final play-call, calling it "a good decision".

"We wanted to win the game," he said. "We hadn't moved the ball very well the whole night, and I thought we had a spectacular drive to get all the way down there.

"It ended up being fourth-and-one, we got the 'go' to go for it, and I thought that was a good decision. We wanted to put the ball in Russell's hands and call a play that we know he really likes – and it didn't work out.

"The timeout before was to get a feel for what they were doing, and the run did not look as good as we hoped it would have, and it gave us a chance with Russell. That's all you can ask for in that situation to win the game."

The Indianapolis Colts grinded out a gritty 12-9 overtime win on the road against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night, with neither team scoring a touchdown in the game.

In an ugly offensive showing, the teams combined for 12 punts, six fumbles and four interceptions, heading into halftime with a 6-3 Broncos lead thanks to a pair of Brandon McManus field goals. 

The Broncos had a chance to run out the clock and ice the game, but instead called a pass play, with quarterback Russell Wilson throwing his second interception of the game to keep the Colts alive.

They would march down the field for a Chase McLaughlin field goal with five seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 9-9 and force overtime, and he would kick his fourth field goal of the night in overtime to take the lead.

Needing a field goal to extend the game or a touchdown to win it, the Broncos finally mounted a strong drive with long completions to Melvin Gordon and Jerry Jeudy to move into the redzone. When presented with a fourth-and-one on the five-yard line, they went for it instead of kicking another field goal to tie, and failed to convert a pass into the endzone.

It was a miserable day for both quarterbacks as their offensive lines struggled to keep them upright, with the Broncos sacking Matt Ryan six times while Wilson absorbed four sacks of his own. Ryan finished up completing 26 of 41 passes for 251 yards and two interceptions, while Wilson completed 21 of 39 for 274 yards and two interceptions.

Defensively, Caden Sterns had both interceptions for the Broncos, while teammate Bradley Chubb had two-and-a-half sacks, but Colts cornerback and former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore proved to be the game-winner.

Gilmore secured the crucial interception to give the Colts a chance, and was then credited with his second pass break-up on the final play of the game to deny the Broncos the winning touchdown.

After years of fighting for yards in the NFL, former running back Le’Veon Bell is scheduled to make his professional boxing debut against ex-UFC fighter Uriah Hall on the Jake Paul-Anderson Silva undercard on October 29. 

Bell, a two-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl selection who ran for 6,554 yards in 96 games over an eight-year NFL career, will enter the four-round bout in Glendale, Arizona after recording a knockout of fellow former NFL running back Adrian Peterson in the fifth round of an exhibition on September 10. 

"As soon as Most Valuable Promotions approached me about joining the Paul-Silva pay-per-view, I told them I want in and didn't care who the opponent was," the 30-year-old Bell said. 

"Uriah Hall is going to feel my punching power and tap out like he's getting submitted. He is not built like me." 

Hall, 38, spent nine years in the UFC before announcing his retirement from mixed martial arts in August after his second straight loss. This will also be his professional boxing debut. 

Hall finished with a 17-11 record in MMA, and his eight knockouts/technical knockouts matched Anderson Silva and Thiago Silva for the most in UFC middleweight history. 

"Le'Veon Bell, I hope you bring your best," Hall said. "I know I will." 

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow admits there have been games where he has suffered sudden memory loss, adding his voice to the discussion around concussions in the NFL.

The NFL's concussion process has been a hot topic over the past fortnight, following worrying incidents involving Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa had been cleared of concussion despite appearing shaky on his feet after a heavy hit against the Buffalo Bills a fortnight ago and played out the game, but he was floored by another hefty blow five days later against the Bengals.

That saw him carried off, taken immediately to hospital and diagnosed with concussion. He was ruled out of the Week 5 game against the New York Jets.

The Tagovailoa situation has led to questions about the rigour and accuracy of the league's concussion protocols, while the independent neurologist who cleared the quarterback has since been dismissed.

Burrow, who led the Bengals to Super Bowl LVI last season, revealed his jarring experiences with becoming suddenly forgetful after taking a hit in the NFL.

"I've had some [games] where I don't remember the second half, or I don't remember the entire game, or I know that I got a little dizzy at one point but nothing long-lasting," Burrow told The Colin Cowherd Podcast.

"I've been hit and forgot the rest of the game before. That's happened a couple of times. But I've never had one where I have headaches for like a week and I have symptoms of concussion after the game."

Burrow, who was Tagovailoa's opposing QB when he was carried off on a stretcher last week, added that the risk of concussion was inherent in the game.

"It's scary," Burrow said. "Everybody knows the profession that we do – it's a dangerous game – that's always a possibility. But then when it happens, you kind of collectively hold your breath.

"You can make all the rules you want to make the game as safe as you possibly can, but there's an inherent risk and danger with the game of football.

"You're going to have head injuries. You're going to tear your ACL. You're going to break your arm. That's the game that we play. That's the life that we live. And we get paid handsomely for it.

"I think going into every game, we know what we're getting ourselves into."

In London on Sunday, New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz smashed home a 60-yard field goal against the Minnesota Vikings.

With the last kick of the game, he struck from 61 yards for what would have been a game-tying kick, but the effort bounced back off the post and the crossbar, a double doink.

It presented the latest evidence of the growing importance kickers have for NFL teams, with their field goal range extending significantly and making it harder for the defense to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.

"I don't remember this many kickers in the league having that kind of range," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said after the game.

"There are a lot of guys in our league now that can swing it and hit from 60+ yards. It definitely is a factor, how you manage those end-of-game situations, how you're going to use your timeouts, use different defensive or offensive calls based upon field position knowing that the 42 or 44-yard line is in field goal range.

"We have got to be aggressive, maybe try to push them out of that range, which is crazy to say when that kick is happening on their side of the 50."

In NFL history, there have been 27 successful field goal attempts from 60 or more yards – six of which have in the last three seasons (since 2020), while 11 have come in the past six seasons (since 2017).

That includes the NFL record of 66 yards set in Week 3 of the 2021 season by Justin Tucker for the Baltimore Ravens against the Detroit Lions, surpassing the previous record of 64 yards set in 2013 by Matt Prater.

While attempts of 60 yards or more may still be a rare occurrence, the effectiveness of kickers from 50 or more yards has grown. In a single season, 11 players have been successful with eight or more field goals from beyond 50 yards – five of which have been since 2020.

In 2022, Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh Steelers), Graham Gano (New York Giants), Brett Maher (Dallas Cowboys) have made four from 50+ already.

While touchdowns remain the premium currency for NFL offenses, kickers can decide tight contests – which have been a trend in 2022, with 50 of 64 games featuring teams separated by just one score in the fourth quarter.

Having a kicker who is prolific from distance can ease the pressure on a misfiring offense, helping to keep them in the game, and could result in more aggressive plays on defense in an attempt to secure a turnover before points can be scored.

Defenses, though, will likely remain largely happy to see offenses settle for the lottery of such long field goals, as Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson explained.

"At the end of the day if they want to kick a 60 yarder, however far it is, be my guest. That's not a good percentage of a kick," he said.

Could the view of Peterson and defenses change? Perhaps if a few more long-range doinks go the way of the kicker. 

Baker Mayfield has taken the blame for the Carolina Panthers' 1-3 start to the season amid calls for a change at quarterback, but insists he is the man to lead them out of their jam.

Mayfield threw two interceptions in Sunday's 26-16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, finishing with a season-low passer rating of 61.9.

Under Mayfield's leadership, the Panthers have managed a league-low 262.3 yards per game this season, as well as recording the NFL's third-least passing yards per contest.

Mayfield, who joined the Panthers from the Cleveland Browns in the offseason, and incumbent Sam Darnold had a prolonged battle to be the side's starting quarterback in the preseason, with the 2018 NFL Draft top overall pick eventually given the nod by head coach Matt Rhule.

Rhule insisted that a change at quarterback was "not right to speak on" after Sunday's game before backing Mayfield in midweek amid mounting criticism.

Mayfield said the criticism was "completely fair" but was bullish he could get the Panthers back on track, starting with Sunday's clash against the San Francisco 49ers, who boast the NFL's best defense.

"I pride myself on being a guy that elevates the guys around him and being able to lead at an extremely high level,'' Mayfield told reporters on Wednesday.

"Obviously, that has not happened yet. I'm working really hard on that and it starts with me just doing my job the very best I can and going from there. Yeah, I take a lot of blame for that and I consistently will.

"I've been here before. I'm pretty comfortable in this position, so I have experience at being able to bounce back, being able to handle things the right way and to lead. For me, we'll be just fine."

Mayfield got testy with one reporter who asked about the batted passes on Wednesday, retorting twice: "If you have a drill for me, let me know."

The Panthers' QB's 2022 completion percentage is a career-low 54.7 per cent, but Rhule labelled him as "elitely resilient".

"You don't go from unrecruited out of college to Heisman Trophy to first pick of the draft without having tremendous self-confidence," Rhule said. "Baker, he's been through a lot already as a player. I have no concerns about his resilience.''

Mayfield's likely replacement would be Darnold, who is yet to come back off injured reserve after suffering an ankle sprain in Carolina's preseason. Darnold started at quarterback 11 times for the Panthers last season, going 4-7 after joining in a trade from the New York Jets.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is confident the time zone change for Sunday's game against the New York Giants in London will not impact his side's performance.

Packers head coach Matt LeFleur opted to do the bulk of their preparation in Green Bay before flying to London on Thursday evening, with a Friday morning local time arrival.

LaFleur said the game "feels like a Thursday night game" for the coaches in terms of preparation turnaround, but Rodgers laughed that off from a player's perspective.

"Listen, coaches are creatures of habit, even more than players," Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday.

"Anytime there's a minute adjustment to the schedule, it throws them all out of whack, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

"Obviously the time we're leaving might put a little stress on the schedule, but that's way down at the bottom of the concerns… We'll be ready to go."

Rodgers had no complaints about the decision to travel late in the week, although he admitted he would have liked to take in London for a cultural experience.

"We're all excited," he said. "I think the reason I said I wanted to go over early was just to experience a little bit of that culture, to be able to get out and see some sights and interact with fans, go to a pub and have a Guinness or whatever the local brew is.

"That's what we all want to do, those of us that want to go over early."

The four-time NFL MVP said he had his own techniques to deal with jetlag, preferring to keep them secret for a "competitive advantage", but offered some insight into the coming days.

"You knock yourself out," he laughed. "You've got to stay up as late as you can Friday and then it starts to fall into place. But there's no excuses, we'll be trying to sleep on the way out.

"We'll go through the process on Friday, trying to sleep Friday night, hoping for a bit more rest Saturday, have a normal day, get some sleep but both teams are dealing with the same issues."

The Packers have won three straight games to hold a 3-1 record and sit second in the NFC North, while the Giants are also 3-1.

Rodgers has made 89 of 129 attempts with a completion rate of 69 per cent for six touchdowns with three interceptions across four games this season.

This will be the first of the 32 NFL games held in London to feature both teams with winning records.

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel is not interested in the widespread negative reaction to the franchise's handling of young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, saying "everything's reactionary anyway".

Tagovailoa has been at the centre of the NFL news cycle the past couple weeks after suffering an ugly concussion in his side's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. 

It followed an incident the previous week when Tagovailoa was visibly struggling to stand after appearing to hit his head on the ground against the Buffalo Bills, before being cleared to return and lead the Dolphins to the win.

The decision to allow Tagovailoa to return to the Bills game was met with stern criticism by concussion experts who believed he was incorrectly evaluated, which was further supported by the firing of that particular independent neurotrauma consultant on the basis that he made mistakes in clearing the 24-year-old.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was vocal about his disappointment in the situation, saying "I've been coaching for 40 years in college and the NFL – I've never seen anything like it before". Meanwhile, legendary New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick shared that he has often withheld players who have been cleared by medical tests for their own safety.

When asked on Wednesday how he felt about the growing chorus of NFL voices speaking out against the Dolphins' handling of the situation, McDaniel was mainly dismissive, saying he does not waste his time reading or listening to football media.

"Everything's reactionary anyway," he said. "So if people want to [give their opinion], whatever.

"If I'm spending time thinking about that, let's say Monday night for five seconds – that's five seconds that I'm not thinking about all the other things that relate to the team and the upcoming game.

"I fully have way too much respect for the game, for everyone involved, for everybody that's counting on me that, I mean, I'm actually the anti-T.O. [Terrell Owens]. 

"You know [the Owens quote] 'talk good about me, talk bad about me, just talk about me' – I'd be cool if no one talked about anything. That's how I've been operating my whole career. 

"But [I'm] fully expecting that they're going to have all sorts of opinions because that's the nature of the beast, that's what happens when you watch it and are fan of it for your entire life. You see it happen over and over, and nothing I guess in that avenue would really surprise me."

McDaniel maintains that there was no way to know Tagovailoa may have suffered an initial concussion against the Bills after numerous discussions with the team's medical personnel.

"[Tagovailoa and I are] talking about high-level football conversations about progressions and defenses and recalling stuff from two weeks previous," he said. "And then him having to reiterate a 15-word play call. 

"All things, absolutely no signs. There was no medical indication, from all resources, that there was anything regarding the head.

"Beyond an eyeball test, which I know for a fact you guys would not be very comfortable if I was just relying on that – I mean, it's the reason why we have tests.

"He did not have a head injury. So guys hit their heads all the time, and that's why I was adamant [that] he was evaluated for having a head injury, and he did not have one."

Tom Brady did not take part in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice on Wednesday as the 45-year-old quarterback deals with nagging injuries to his right shoulder and finger.

Brady acknowledged he played through some shoulder soreness during the Buccaneers' 41-31 home loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday when speaking on his weekly radio show on SiriusXM. The seven-time Super Bowl champion appeared to be in a bit of discomfort after taking a hit on a second-quarter sack that resulted in a fumble the Chiefs recovered.

"My shoulder's doing OK," Brady said on Monday’s Let's Go! broadcast. "You know, just some bumps and bruises, and I kind of took a hit there on it. Got some treatment [Monday].

"This week will be very similar to a lot of the other ones, just getting on the mend, getting back to practice and trying to improve and be ready to go for next week."

Brady was listed on last week's injury report with the finger issue, which is considered minor and did not prevent him from practising in full. The three-time NFL MVP threw for a season-high 385 yards and three touchdowns while completing 39 of 52 passes against Kansas City.

NFL.com reported in September that the Buccaneers were planning on having Brady take Wednesday practices off throughout the season in an effort to reduce wear and tear on his body during his 23rd NFL campaign.

Brady is still expected to make his 323rd career regular-season start when the Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Myles Garrett returned to practice with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, nine days after the star pass rusher sustained multiple injuries in a single-car accident.

It was the first day he was back on the field since September 26, when the 26-year-old lost control of his Porsche while speeding, veered off the road and flipped it over.

The two-time All-Pro suffered a sprained shoulder, strained biceps, cuts, bruises and a broken eye blood vessel in the accident, forcing him to miss last Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

''Good to have Myles even in the walkthrough, just having his presence and having him in the meetings,'' Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said before practice.

''He's a big part of what we do, so good to have him back out there. I haven't seen him practice yet. He's worked out, obviously off to the side. But I get to watch practice today and get a good feel for where he is.''

Stefanski said the team will monitor his progress throughout the week before deciding if he can suit up for Sunday's home game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

While Garrett was back practicing, fellow All-Pro defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remained sidelined.

Clowney has missed the last two games with an ankle sprain, and without their two formidable defensive ends in Week 4, the Browns were gashed for 202 yards rushing after allowing an average of 83.7 yards on the ground in their first three games combined.

Stefanski remains hopeful Clowney will be able to practice later in the week.

"I think they are both on two different progressions, and we'll treat them as such," Stefanski said. "See how Myles looks today and then obviously just kind of wait and see with Jadeveon.

In fantasy football, it’s often the ones you least suspect.

Every week, there are surprise stars who seemingly come out of nowhere to deliver performances that prove decisive in fantasy matchups.

Unexpected contributors are the theme of this week’s fantasy picks.

The players mentioned are not unknowns, but they either have matchups that would not be expected to deliver fantasy success or feature for teams that have surprisingly become relevant in both the NFL and fantasy worlds.

As usual, Stats Perform has backed up its selections of four offensive players and a defense with advanced data that supports their case for inclusion in fantasy lineups this week.
 

Quarterback: Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans @ Washington Commanders

Tannehill is approaching the end of his time as the Titans' starter, but he still holds value for a Tennessee team looking to recover from a slow start to win a bad AFC South and for fantasy players eyeing a matchup to exploit this week.

That matchup comes in the form of a Commanders defense that has allowed over seven yards per pass and has given up 10 passing touchdowns, tied for the most in the NFL.

With Tannehill delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball on 87.6 per cent of his pass attempts – the third-best ratio among quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts – he is in a strong position to see his consistent accuracy rewarded on Sunday despite the relative lack of playmaking talent around him.

Running Back: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers

Most in the NFL world will be anticipating the Giants to come back down to earth against the Packers in the second London game of the season.

While the Packers are heavy favourites to slow New York’s fast start to the season, the odds of them halting Barkley's renaissance look slim.

No player in the NFL is averaging more yards per game than Barkley's 115.8, while a Packers defense that has traditionally struggled against the run is surrendering 4.97 yards per rush, the 11th-most in the league.

Hopes of progress for the Packers on run defense have yet to be realised, and Barkley should take advantage of their fallibility on the ground.

Wide Receiver: George Pickens, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills

This is less about the matchup, which is an awful one for Pittsburgh, and more about opportunity for rookie receiver Pickens, who figures to be one of Kenny Pickett's favourite targets as the rookie quarterback makes his first career start.

Over the last two weeks, Pickens has been targeted 15 times, and he enjoyed the best game of his young career so far against the New York Jets, catching six of his eight targets 102 yards in a game Pickett entered for the second half.

The Buffalo defense is substantially better than that of the Jets, allowing only 4.75 yards per pass play. Yet the Bills are still dealing with injuries in the secondary and Pickens, whose big-play rate of 38.6 per cent is 10th among receivers with at least 20 targets, has the all-round game to turn the attention he will get from Pickett into production regardless of the difficult matchup.

Tight End: Tyler Conklin, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins

There's such a lack of depth at tight end for fantasy football purposes that it's necessary to take a few swings if you're stuck for an answer at the position.

Conklin represents such a swing but is one you can have more confidence in after his impressive Week 4.

He demonstrated chemistry with Zach Wilson on the quarterback's return from a knee injury, hauling in three catches for 52 yards in the Jets' surprise win over the Steelers. Conklin was targeted five times and registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender when targeted, on all five.

This week, the Jets face a Miami defense that has conceded 7.43 yards per pass play this season. Only the Seattle Seahawks (8.24) have fared worse by that measure. If Wilson and Conklin continue to build their rapport, the latter could prove an astute fantasy play by those managers who take a chance on him.

Defense/Special Teams: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans

The Jaguars being competitive with the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles a week after stunning the Los Angeles Chargers illustrated just how far they have come in so little time under Doug Pederson.

Very few thought the Jags would quickly be in the mix for the AFC South but that is where they stand, with a diverse and aggressive defense playing a huge role in Jacksonville's progress.

The Jags have forced 27 negative plays this season, tied for the eighth-most among NFL defenses. The winless Texans, meanwhile, have seen their offense suffer 26 negative plays for minus 121 yards. Only four teams have lost more yardage on those plays this season.

Tied third in the NFL for takeaways with nine, look for a defense nobody saw coming to make the most of a favourable matchup and get Jacksonville back on track.

The Indianapolis Colts have ruled running-back Jonathan Taylor out of contention for Thursday's clash against the Denver Broncos due to an ankle injury.

Taylor suffered a twisted ankle in Sunday's defeat to the Tennessee Titans but was hopeful that he would be able to feature in the opening game of Week 5.

"I definitely do plan to play, but if you can't go you can't go. That's why you have to get as much treatment as you can," he said on Tuesday.

However, the Colts announced on Wednesday that Taylor was among four players officially listed as out for the meeting in Denver, alongside safety Julian Blackmon (ankle), linebacker Shaquille Leonard (concussion/nose/back) and defensive end Tyquan Lewis.

Nyheim Hines is likely set to see increased usage on the ground in Taylor's absence, having largely been an aerial presence for the Colts this season – just 11 of his 124 yards in 2022 coming from rushing plays.

The Colts stand 1-2-1 for the season ahead of facing the Broncos, who they boast a 7-3 record against from their last 10 meetings.

Veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley has decided to retire from the NFL after 11 seasons.

His agents told NFL.com on Wednesday that Beasley was bringing an end to his career just two weeks after signing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After going unsigned as a free agent this offseason, Beasley joined the Bucs on September 21 with the team hit by a rash of injuries at receiver. 

The 33-year-old played in two games but only contributed 17 yards on four receptions.

"He is ready to be with his family after playing in 11 seasons, and it's time to be a full-time dad and husband," Beasley's agent Justin Turner said.

Beasley had been coming off two productive seasons with the Buffalo Bills. 

After recording career highs of 82 receptions and 967 receiving yards in 2020, the Texas native matched that catch total last season while posting 693 yards.

Considered undersized by most scouts, the 5-foot-8, 174-pound Beasley went undrafted despite producing two 1,000-yard seasons in college at SMU. 

He made Dallas' roster in 2012 and spent his first seven seasons with the Cowboys before signing a four-year, $29million contract with the Bills in 2019.

Beasley finishes his career with 554 receptions, 5,726 yards and 34 touchdowns in 151 regular-season games.

He also played in 11 postseason games during his time with Dallas and Buffalo.

Blake Bortles, the former number three overall pick, has revealed he has "quietly" retired from the NFL.

Bortles was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2014 draft, becoming the first quarterback taken that year.

Despite largely not living up to his draft stock, Bortles helped the Jags, who had a famed defense in the 2017 season, to reach the AFC Championship Game where they narrowly lost to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Bortles signed a three-year, $54million deal to remain with the Jags beyond his rookie contract but was released a year later after a poor 2018 season.

With his starting days behind him, the 30-year-old has since spent time in backup roles with the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.

But when asked if he was still in shape to sign for an NFL team during the 2022 season, he told the Pardon My Take podcast he had decided to call time on his career.

"I quietly... I didn't tell anybody, I retired," he said, per ESPN.

"I guess you guys are kind of the first to hear it publicly."

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