We are getting closer to mid-way through the fantasy season and 2020 is shaping up to be an interesting, if unpredictable, year. Thursday night football featured a divisional grudge match between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in the city of brotherly love.
But first, we have some scheduling changes to address that impact this weekend’s slate of games.
COVID Schedule Change
Earlier this week, offensive tackle Trent Brown for the Las Vegas Raiders tested positive for COVID-19. All five of the o-line starters were sent home to isolate and were put on the reserve COVID list. To make matters worse, after investigating contract tracing to identify any players Brown had come into close contact with, it has come to light that Brown had not been wearing his tracking device as often as he should. Upon video review, the offensive line was also spotted congregated without masks. Hopefully, this whole pandemic surveillance won't result in coaches or GMs throwing the red challenge flag.
In a preemptive measure, the NFL has decided to make some key schedule changes. Instead of playing in primetime on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders will instead be competing on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 pm EST. The Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals will be now be playing on Sunday night.
This is stating the obvious here, but we need to keep a close eye on any further positive tests out of the Raiders’ camp. If the starters can clear the COVID protocols, they will be playing on missed practices. If they are unable to go, then a backup o-line will be in charge of keeping QB Derek Carr upright and giving RB Josh Jacobs a running lane against one of the best defenses in the league. The Raiders were facing an uphill battle against the Buccaneers to begin with and this makes matters much worse.
TNF Grudge Match in the NFC-Least
*Insert Dramatic Voice* Under the bright lights of Thursday night football, two division rivals with deep grudges go head-to-head to fight for first place in their division.
If there is one play that could possibly encompass the NFC East, it’s QB Daniel Jones tripping over himself at over 21 mph and coming up short of a touchdown with no one around him.
Jokes aside, this game was indeed a gritty grudge match. Both defenses stepped up to the plate, each with an interception and pressures to both quarterbacks the whole night.
If you just looked at the box score, it would appear the Eagles had the game in hand. They led in time of possession 32:17 to 27:43, had 117 more total yards, 17 more plays, and double the amount of passing first downs than the Giants.
However, if you are an Eagles fan, you were bemoaning the entire the game wondering why you became an Eagles fan in the first place. Although, I am told this happens every weekend. Even on bye weeks.
Despite a slow start and only a 10-7 score at halftime, the game picked up the pace dramatically at the end of the second half and was an exciting finish in a division that has been less so. The Giants are now 1-6 and the Eagles are 2-4-1, while the Cowboys are 2-4 and Washington is 1-5 heading into their Week 7 matchups. It’s amazing that the division leader has only two wins and a tie, yet here we are.
A few things became a bit clearer. The Giants are an enthusiastic but young team who have a lot of talent but a lot to learn while the Eagles just refuse to quit. It’s as though they are so used to being underdogs that is in those moments when they do their best work. Don't forget, they almost came back on the Baltimore Ravens last week, as well as manufacturing a comeback victory down by 11 in this matchup.
Despite all of the injuries and new faces, the Eagles will try to win on sheer determination alone. Sometimes, that is exactly what it takes to win in 60 minutes.
It wasn’t pretty, but I am not ready to count the Eagles the out just yet.
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Both Jones and Wentz scored above 20 points with 20.68 and 27.76 respectively. Eagles RB Boston Scott finally got comfortable being the next man up and rushed for 46 yards with three receptions, 46 receiving yards, and even hauled in the final touchdown of the game, scoring 18.2 in PPR.
Unfortunately, RB Devonta Freeman went down early with an ankle injury and Wayne Gallman was the primary beneficiary in his absence. He rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown and even caught five receptions for 20 yards and finished with 16.4 points. It’s doubtful you played him, but it’s important to note his usage once we know the extent of Freeman’s injury and whether or not he will miss time moving forward.
Newly activated off of IR, WR Sterling Shepard caught six receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, making Darius Slayton all but obsolete in the offense. Even Golden Tate found the end zone on one reception for 39 yards. Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham each caught five receptions and scored 15.2 and 12.3 points. However, DeSean Jackson suffered another injury, this time to his lower leg, and had to be helped off the field. He will be another missing piece the Eagles can’t afford to lose after his first game back since Week 3.
Backup TE Richard Rodgers saw action with six receptions, 85 yards, and 14.5 points while Evan Engram scored a healthy 10.9. Not too shabby for a Thursday night. Eagles TE Dallas Goedert should be ready to go after coming off of IR in Week 10 while Zach Ertz is set to miss four to six weeks with an ankle injury. The Eagles have a bye in Week 8 but Rodgers should be the primary target at the position in Goedert and Ertz’s absence.
You also weren’t too disappointed if you started the Eagles Defense who logged three sacks and three turnovers.
Despite the grind, punts, and 28 incompletions, there were several players who hopefully helped you get a head start in Week 7.
Injury Updates and Quick Hits
WR DeSean Jackson was helped off the field on Thursday night after being hit while fielding a punt return. He could not put weight on his leg. … Giants RB Devonta Freeman left the game with an ankle injury and did not return. … Saints WR Mike Thomas is now suffering from a hamstring injury and did not practice on Thursday. … Titans WR A.J. Brown did not practice Thursday due to a knee injury. … Jets WR Jamison Crowder did not practice. … Packers TE Robert Tonyan was limited in practice. … Bengals RB Joe Mixon missed practice. … Bills TE Dawson Knox and WR John Brown missed a second day of practice. … Browns WR Jarvis Landry is dealing with a painful broken rib. … Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins missed practice Wednesday. … Rams RB Darrell Henderson and TE Tyler Higbee both missed practice. … Vikings traded defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to the Ravens for a 2021 3rd-round pick a conditional 2022 5th-round pick. … Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery is available to trade. TE Zach Ertz is rumored to have been on the trade block prior to his injury.