The main reason for the AFC’s struggles? Look under center.

If an opposing defense first tries to take away Ingram and Kamara, Brees can be put in favorable position to pick it apart when needed. The Saints’ defense isn’t close to perfect, but it keeps making timely plays, much like the Super Bowl unit of 2009. As long as the Saints can keep thriving on both lines of scrimmage, they will keep winning.

Both Green and DeMarcus Cousins are the lone players this season meeting these thresholds. You don’t often think of “Boogie” and Green as peers, but there is indeed overlap in their rare abilities to sustain a blend of defensive diversity with shooting success.

Allen Crabbe, Brooklyn Nets (10.7): You will net some lean box scores from Crabbe, given his dependence on scoring to provide value. If you can embrace the inherent variance of his production pattern, Crabbe can provide helpful rates from beyond the arc (2.6 3PG over his past seven games). A shooting specialist of sorts for deeper leagues, Crabbe is worth considering, given the Nets’ currently shallow backcourt.

Julio Jones’ dropped touchdown becomes internet meme

Julio Jones’ dropped touchdown late in Sunday’s game against Carolina wasn’t just a gift for the Panthers, but for all of us.

In case you missed the play, check it out and cringe accordingly as one of the game’s most sure-handed and prolific receivers bobbles and drops an aerial handoff:

The photo is juxtaposed on Goodwin’s feed alongside a video of him paying tribute to Marquise Jr. after scoring a touchdown in Sunday’s game as well as a black and white photo of the baby’s hand on a parent’s finger.

Gordon also gave reassurance of his progress knowing that he has the support of his teammates and coaches behind him. Gordon was suspended indefinitely after multiple violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy and spent a lengthy stint in rehab that started in June 2017. He was released from rehab Sept. 21 and began working with trainer and former Olympian Tim Montgomery to get back in shape.

This back-and-forth is the latest episode in the contentious feud between Jones and his fellow owners regarding Goodell’s tenure and compensation.

The feeling among some owners is that Jones’ beef with Goodell stems from the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but Jones insists it’s about bigger-picture issues such as declining television ratings and sponsors’ consternation with the commissioner’s handling of player protests.

Jones also has an issue with the money Goodell is to make under the contract currently being negotiated. On Wednesday, Jones distributed a copy of a five-year extension for Goodell proposed by the compensation committee in July that called for a $2.5 million pay cut of the commissioner’s $42 million annual compensation package. The committee says that proposal is outdated, and Goodell is requesting an annual package of $49.05 million, according to ESPN.

Texans kneel during national anthem to protest owner Bob McNair

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson agreed to rework his contract to help facilitate Seattle’s trade with the Texans that netted left tackle Duane Brown, MMQB’s Andrew Brandt first reported.

“I truly love this game — the strategy of the game, the relationships in the game, the passion I have for getting the most out of people,” he said. “I want everyone who has an opportunity to be able to experience what I’ve experienced in this game, all the good things that have happened to me because of this game.”

Packers tight end Martellus Bennett wrote on Instagram Story that he’s leaning toward retiring when this NFL season is over.

“After conversations with my family I’m pretty sure these next 8 games will be the conclusion of my NFL career,” Bennett wrote. “To everyone who has poured themselves and time into my life and career. These next games are for you. Thank you.”

Currently in his 10th season in the NFL, Bennett was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2008 draft. He spent four seasons in Dallas, then one with the Giants, three with the Bears and last season with the Patriots, before moving on to Green Bay this season.

Kapler’s only managerial experience came in 2007 when he took a season off from playing to lead Boston’s Single-A affiliate. He also coached Team Israel during the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifying period.

The only thing you might worry about is how the Jaguars have been remarkably healthy: Their 11 defensive starters have yet to miss a game this season, and that’s without getting to rotation players such as Dante Fowler Jr. and Aaron Colvin. Marcell Dareus will add another interior pass-rusher to the rotation, as if the Jags needed one.

Yet Thursday was still the best of the primetime meetings this week.

So for the entirety of Mike Tomlin’s tenure as head coach, the team has never traded away a player during the season. This is a franchise that has a way of doing business: patience with the head coaches, no contract negotiations after the season starts, never trading away players in-season.

Look, if somebody in the league came along offering an All-Pro safety playing on a rookie-level contract, or if a team headed toward the top five in the draft offered its No. 1 pick, the Steelers would do it. Their way of doing things does not include abject stupidity. But not even the poorest-run franchise is going to overpay for a wide receiver whose track record includes a season-long suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

The “Thursday Night Football” paradox rears its head again in Week 6, for the second straight week.

There are not a ton of compelling matchups this week — and that’s not good considering it’s just the second weekend of October — but the Eagles visiting the Panthers was one of them. Problem is, of course, it was Thursday.

The late-afternoon window is worthwhile, particularly Pittsburgh going to unbeaten Kansas City. Thankfully, neither is on a short week.

Hundley struggled against the Vikings. He finished 18-of-33 passing for 157 yards with a TD and 3 interceptions. The third-year quarterback was groomed within Green Bay’s system, and he is the first option. Hundley likely will start at home next week against New Orleans before the Packers’ bye.tigers_135

Jags claim Jaelen Strong off waivers from Texans

Wide receiver Jaelen Strong was claimed off waivers Tuesday by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team announced.

Strong was placed on waivers by the Houston Texans on Monday.

The Jaguars’ depth chart at wide receiver took a hit in Week 1 when No 1. wide receiver Allen Robinson was lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are experienced players who have combined for 281 catches since 2014, but since Robinson’s injury, the Jaguars were forced to rely on undrafted rookie Keelan Cole in three-receiver sets.

Davis was injured tackling Giants running back Paul Perkins midway through the fourth quarter. When Davis helped make the play, he immediately rolled over and put both hands on his helmet. Trainers came onto the field, and he was on the ground being looked at for a minute or two before walking off slowly.

The rookie had six tackles and his first career sack Monday night. He was seen in the locker room after the win moving around somewhat slowly. He was replaced in the middle of Detroit’s defense by Tahir Whitehead, who held the role last year.

Davis has worked almost every snap at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense since becoming the Lions’ first-round pick in April, including the season-opener against Arizona and the first three-plus quarters against the Giants.

The score should be high when the winless Patriots and winless Saints, with their exceptional passing games, meet in a dome. The Patriots had plenty of trouble handling Chiefs Alex Smith and Tyreek Hill, as well as running back Kareem Hunt, and since the Saints have several running backs apparently sharing the role, making none of them a great play, go with the top receiver. Thomas finished with single digits in PPR scoring Monday at Minnesota, and it might be the only time this season that occurs. — Eric Karabell
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