Monday night’s NFC North tilt between the Lions and Packers was an entertaining one that ended in miserable, embarrassing fashion as the refs took control of the game and gifted the Packers numerous extra plays and sets of downs in the fourth quarter by calling a pair of phantom illegal hands to the face penalties on Lions DE Trey Flowers, which directly led to a 35-yard Aaron Rodgers-to-Allen Lazard touchdown and the "game-winning" chip-shot field goal for Mason Crosby as time expired. On the final “penalty,” the Lions sacked Rodgers to force a fourth down and long field goal with just under two minutes on the clock and were going to get the ball back. Instead, the Packers kneeled it and kicked the game-winning field goal as the clock struck zeroes.
Detroit is this horrendous officiating display and a Patrick Mahomes-led final-drive touchdown in Week 4 against the Chiefs away from going into Week 7 against the Vikings undefeated. The Lions missed plenty of opportunities of their own Monday night by settling for too many field goals, but the NFL has a serious problem on its hands with its refs. Too many games are being decided by them on bad or missed calls. Something has to be done because what happened to the Lions was pure nonsense.
But back to Lazard. He did all of his damage in the fourth quarter after Geronimo Allison left with a concussion and chest injury. Allison's initial replacement in three-wide sets, Darrius Shepherd, was quickly benched after muffing a punt then dropping a pass at the goal line that ended up an interception. Lazard has tantalizing traits at 6'5"/227 with 4.55 wheels and was leaned on heavily by Rodgers late in the comeback "win," though Lazard's touchdown never should have been due to one of the phantom illegal hands to the face penalties called on Trey Flowers that should have led to a fourth-down punt. Still, Lazard showed big upside and has Rodgers' eye now after the quarterback admitted he was the one that urged coaches to put Lazard in the games. If Allison and Davante Adams (toe) remain out, Lazard could be in for big things Week 7 against the Raiders. In light week on the waiver wire, Lazard is shaping up as someone to target.
Jamaal Williams was concussed Week 4 and missed Week 5 against the Cowboys when Aaron Jones rushed for four touchdowns. It was Williams' show Monday night, however, especially after Jones coughed up a first-quarter fumble and dropped a wide-open, surefire 33-yard touchdown from Rodgers. Jones was pulled from the field the very next play and Williams benefited by catching a short score from Rodgers a few downs later. Williams out-touched Jones 18-15 and out-gained him 136-60. This backfield will continue to be a weekly hot-hand situation. Both backs obviously need to be owned everywhere. Williams will be an RB2/3 next week against the Raiders.
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Cam Newton (foot) has been cleared to return to practice following the Panthers' Week 7 bye. The Panthers will have a decision to make come Week 8 when Newton will be ready to return to game action. Either they'll keep delaying the injury and wait for Kyle Allen (4-0, zero INTs) to lose a game and/or play bad, or they'll slide Newton right back in as the starter after he started the year 0-2 without throwing a touchdown while playing through his preseason injury. It's a decision coach Ron Rivera wasn't ready to make after the Panthers beat the Bucs in London.
Amari Cooper is battling a bruised quad, the same injury that kept Todd Gurley out for the Rams in Week 6, and ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer reports Cooper’s status for Week 7 is in serious question. Coach Jason Garrett is labeling Cooper day to day.
Emmanuel Sanders’ knee injury isn’t believed to be serious. The Broncos have a quick turnaround for Thursday night against the Chiefs. In an estimation, Sanders was listed as a limited participant in Monday’s practice. We’ll know more Tuesday or Wednesday. Sanders has cooled down considerably after a hot start to the season.
The Giants should get back some offensive reinforcements Week 7 after all three of Saquon Barkley (ankle), Evan Engram (knee), and Sterling Shepard (concussion) practiced Monday. Shepard is still a long shot, but Barkley and Engram have legitimate shots to suit up Week 7 against the Cardinals.
Quarterback & Running Back Quick Slants
Coach Brian Flores expects to name Josh Rosen the starter for Week 7 against the Bills. … Coach Mike Vrabel remained noncommittal on his Week 7 starting quarterback after benching Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill midway through Week 6 against the Broncos. … Mason Rudolph (concussion) is eyeing a Week 8 return after being concussed in Week 5. … Rookie Drew Lock (thumb, I.R.) is said to be ahead in his recovery from a sprained thumb. He’s eligible to return to practice this week. … Coach Bruce Arians said Jameis Winston needs to learn how to throw the ball away instead of forcing throws after he tossed five interceptions Week 6.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Quick Slants
Deebo Samuel injured his groin late in the Week 6 win over the Rams and is day to day. … Randall Cobb (back) is “doing a little better” after missing Week 6 against the Jets. … Patriots TE Matt LaCosse is expected to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. On Monday, the Patriots re-signed TE Ben Watson after releasing him following his four-week suspension to open the year. … Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was estimated as a limited participant in Monday’s nonexistent practice. The Chiefs and Broncos play Thursday night. Watkins has missed the last two games. … The Jets activated Chris Herndon from the suspended list. He’s still dealing with a hamstring issue, however, but Herndon needs to be owned in all formats at a weak fantasy position. … Coach Zac Taylor was noncommittal on A.J. Green’s (ankle) status for Week 7. … Marquise Brown (ankle) is considered day to day after missing Week 6. … Marqise Lee is week to week with a sprained ankle. He’s barely made an impact in 2019. … DeSean Jackson (abdomen) has missed the last five games and isn’t expected to practice Wednesday. Coach Doug Pederson said the team is hopeful he can return this week, however. … N’Keal Harry (ankle, I.R.) is expected to resume practicing this week. … Giants re-signed WR Bennie Fowler.