Drew Brees takes aim at more records against Baltimore Ravens and other talking points in Week 7

Jay Asser 21/10/2018
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Drew Brees isn’t done making history just yet.

One game after setting the NFL’s new record for most career passing yards, the New Orleans Saints quarterback will take aim at two more milestones on Sunday.

One is inevitable. The other may not come around again.

Brees needs just one more touchdown throw to reach 500 for his career, which would put him in a club currently occupied by Peyton Manning (539), Brett Favre (508) and Tom Brady (501).

If he beats the Baltimore Ravens, he’ll join Manning and Favre as the only quarterbacks in league history to defeat all 32 teams.

With the way Brees is playing – he leads the league in completion percentage at 77.9 and passer rating at 122.3 thanks to a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 11-0 – the records and a victory appear well within his grasp.

Baltimore, however, present the toughest challenge yet for New Orleans as they bring the league’s top-ranked defence into the match-up.

The Ravens are allowing just 12.8 points per game and rank number one in several categories against the pass: completion percentage at 55.6, yards per attempt at 6.0, passer rating at 73.1 and sacks with 26.

After sacking Marcus Mariota 11 times last week, Baltimore’s pass rush will set their sights on Brees, but New Orleans’ offensive line has given up just eight sacks all season – tied for the second-fewest in the league.

Brees is one of the best at getting the ball out quick and will also have his two running backs, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, to lean on.

Here are more talking points in Week 7.

ANOTHER SUNDAY NIGHT SHOOTOUT?

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The Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots put on a show last week in primetime with their 43-40 shootout, and there’s a chance the clash between the Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night could be a worthy encore.

Cincinnati don’t have Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, but they have their own collection of dangerous skill players around Andy Dalton that should give Kansas City’s defence trouble.

The Bengals are averaging 29.9 points, but they’re also surrendering 409.2 yards and 26.3 points per game, which means there should be no shortage of points once again in a game the Chiefs are involved in.

Kansas City will hope to fix their recent red zone issues, which has resulted in 10 touchdowns to nine field goals in the last three games – a drop-off from the blistering pace Patrick Mahomes and the offence were on early in the season.

“We’ve stalled on getting it in the end zone. I take responsibility for that,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We want to score touchdowns. I love (Harrison) Butker, but I’d rather score touchdowns.”

RAMS KEEP CHARGING

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It will take a substantial upset to knock off the only remaining undefeated team in the league this week.

The San Francisco 49ers get the unenviable task of slowing down a red-hot Los Angeles Rams team that features the top-ranked offence and a playmaker in Todd Gurley who is coming off a 200-yard rushing performance.

At the start of the season, the match-up had the potential to be a fight over the division crown. However, after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending injury in Week 3, the 49ers have lacked the same bite on offence with back-up quarterback C.J. Beathard, who is 1-7 as a starter.

San Francisco’s defence will have one less weapon to worry about with wide receiver Cooper Kupp out to a knee injury, but quarterback Jared Goff still has Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods to work with – the latter of which has totaled at least 92 receiving yards each of the past four contests.

Considering the Rams’ form and opponent this week, there’s little reason to think they’ll suffer their first loss on Sunday.

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Duke Johnson, Taylor Gabriel and other fantasy NFL sleepers for Week 7

Jay Asser 20/10/2018
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Here are five players who you can pluck off your bench or waiver wire and insert into your starting lineup for this weekend’s games.

DUKE JOHNSON

Even before Carlos Hyde was traded away this week, Johnson was a worthy flex play thanks to his role in the passing game. But with Hyde gone, Johnson’s workload could be even bigger if he gets more chances on early downs.

He’ll face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defence that is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs.

TAYLOR GABRIEL

Gabriel’s past two performances should be reason enough to get him in your lineup this week. He was the the model of efficiency in those games, hauling in all 12 of his targets for 214 yards and two touchdowns, and on Sunday he should have a positive game-script to work with against New England as the Bears are expected to be chasing points.

of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Miami, Florida.

ELI MANNING

Whether it’s in real life or fantasy, Manning doesn’t inspire confidence. But leave your hesitations at the door this week with the Atlanta Falcons’ leaky defence on the menu.

Atlanta are giving up the second-most fantasy points to QBs this season, and have been particularly vulnerable against pass-catching backs. Good luck stopping Saquon Barkley.

C.J. UZOMAH

Injuries have paved the way for Uzomah to be fantasy relevant after starting tight end Tyler Eifert broke his ankle and back-up Tyler Kroft suffered a broken bone in his foot.

Whether you need a short-term streamer or a tight end with staying power for the rest of the season, Uzomah is an intriguing option, especially against the Kansas City Chiefs defence this week.

FRANK GORE

An ageless wonder, Gore continues to produce at the age of 35. The veteran running back has led the Miami Dolphins in carries each of the past four games and is coming off his best outing of the season, in which he tallied 101 rushing yards on 15 attempts.

Start Gore with confidence as a flex or low-end RB2.

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Poor coaching has held Josh Rosen and Arizona Cardinals offence back

Jay Asser 20/10/2018
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Josh Rosen hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in his rookie season, but he and the Arizona Cardinals offence as a whole have been let down by uninspired coaching.

Arizona’s offensive struggles continued in the 45-10 shellacking at the hands of the Denver Broncos on Thursday, in which the Cardinals became the first team since the 2005 Houston Texans to fail to top 270 total yards in seven straight games.

Rosen also became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw two pick-sixes in the first quarter, while finishing with five turnovers in total (three interceptions and two fumbles).

Needless to say, Arizona are in desperate need of a change, which is why Mike McCoy was fired as the offensive coordinator on Friday.

While it’s fair lay some of the blame on the Cardinals players for failing to execute on the field, the coaching staff deserves much of the criticism for not putting them in much of a position to succeed.

For one, Arizona were fine with Rosen taking a beating by asking him to drop back over and over again despite trailing by 35 points near the end.

He’s also being asked to direct a passing game that isn’t taking advantage of one of its best weapons, with running back David Johnson almost strictly being used as a between-the-tackles runner.

Johnson, who had 80 receptions on 120 targets for 879 yards in 2016, has been thrown to just 30 times through seven games and has barely been lined up outside of the backfield.

Using Johnson more creatively could open up the rest of the offence and allow them to move the ball better, while taking pressure off Rosen.

That should be the focus of new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, who has been promoted from quarterbacks coach after playing nine seasons in the NFL as a quarterback himself.

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