Vikes are legit, the bubble bursts in Philly

Week 10 in the NFL provided more thrills and spills with the Vikings proving they are for real and the Packers breathing much-needed life back into their faltering 2022 season.

Both of those NFC North teams prevailed in fantastic overtime games, Minnesota in Buffalo and Green Bay after a terrific showdown with Dallas at Lambeau Field.

The final undefeated record in 2022 fell in Week 10 as the Philadelphia Eagles were stunned by the Washington Commanders on Monday Night Football.

Kansas City and Miami meanwhile now occupy the top two spots in the AFC playoff race after again using their explosive offenses to power to impressive wins.

Our Midweek Update is designed to give you added intel as you ponder your weekly picks, and here are some of the key storylines heading into Week 11.

NFL Injury Report

Pro football is a brutal game, played by powerful athletes at devastating speed. No wonder then that injuries play a massive part in determining which teams come out on top each February.

Here are some of the major injuries to hit the headlines in Week 10:

Cooper Kupp (WR, Los Angeles Rams): The season just gets worse for the Rams. Now they must spend the next month at least without the reigning Offensive Player of the Year after he sprained his ankle in Sunday’s loss to Arizona. He is headed for surgery and will now be placed on IR. Disastrous for the Super Bowl champs, who have nobody else producing offensively.

Zach Ertz (TE, Arizona Cardinals): Arizona’s win in Los Angeles was tarnished by a knee injury to the reliable and productive Ertz, who is now reportedly done for the season despite his ACL not being torn. It’s a major blow for the Cardinals, who already have a history of imploding down the stretch.

Jerry Jeudy (WR, Denver Broncos): At last, some good news for the Broncos. They feared the worst when former first-round pick Jeudy went down during Sunday’s loss in Tennessee. The injury is not serious though and he could yet figure this weekend vs Las Vegas.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR, Kansas City Chiefs): JuJu is now in concussion protocol after a scary incident during Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. He was left motionless on the turf after a helmet-to-helmet collision with Andre Cisco during the 27-17 victory, but later posted a positive update on Instagram. He is of course a doubt for the trip to the Chargers on Sunday Night Football, just as he was becoming a major part of the Chiefs passing attack.

Shaq Leonard (LB, Indianapolis Colts): A miserable 2022 season for Leonard ended early after he underwent his second back surgery of this year to try and finally solve an ongoing issue. He had also sustained a concussion and broken nose in his first game of the season in Week 4 – not a memorable few months for the luckless Pro Bowler.

Kwity Paye (DE, Indianapolis Colts): Another concern for the Colts coming out of that big win on the road in Vegas. Paye aggravated an ankle injury and, per interim head coach Jeff Saturday, his status is not yet known for Sunday’s home game vs Philadelphia.

Emmanuel Ogbah (DE, Miami Dolphins): Amid all the excitement about the Miami offense, the defense suffered yet another major injury blow during Sunday’s rout of Cleveland. Ogbah suffered a torn triceps and is finished for the season.

Donte Jackson (CB, Carolina Panthers): Even when the Panthers win, they still lose. Starting corner Jackson is gone for the season after suffering a torn Achilles during the victory over Atlanta on Thursday Night Football. Bad news for a team which incredibly is still somehow in the playoff hunt in a dreadful NFC South division.

Khalil Herbert (RB, Chicago Bears): Herbert will miss at least the next four games after being placed on IR with a hip injury following the 31-30 loss to Detroit. It does make things a little easier for fantasy players and punters trying to solve the ground game puzzle in Chicago. Now it’s ‘only’ Justin Fields and David Montgomery they need to account for.

Gerald Everett (TE, Los Angeles Chargers): This could be big for the Chargers, who saw Everett go down with a groin injury during the Sunday night loss in San Francisco. He is listed as day-to-day, but Los Angeles could yet be without him AND starting WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams for Sunday’s crucial showdown with the Chiefs at SoFi.

NFL Odds: Stock Rising

Week 10 delivered more fantastic performances which had a significant impact on the betting lines. Here are some of the displays which really jumped out:

Justin Jefferson (WR, Minnesota Vikings): Jefferson’s stock was already very high heading into Sunday’s trip to Buffalo, but he raised it several notches further with an incredible performance. Jefferson caught 10 balls for 193 yards and a score, including a highlight-reel effort which rates as one of the best grabs in years in the NFL. The fact it came on 4th and 18 to move the chains in a crucial situation makes it even better. No wonder Jefferson replaced Tyreek Hill as favourite to become Offensive Player of the Year after this showing.

Christian Watson (WR, Green Bay Packers): At last, the Packers got what they thought they were getting when they traded up to take the speedy Watson in Round 2 of the 2022 NFL Draft. He caught four Aaron Rodgers passes for 107 yards – three of them for touchdowns – to key a famous come-from-behind victory over the Dallas Cowboys in overtime. Watson, healthy at last after his rookie year had so far been beset by injuries, was impossible to cover with his mix of raw speed and ability to separate.

Kevin O’Connell (HC, Minnesota Vikings): When the Vikes hired O’Connell to replace Mike Zimmer, one of the main aims was to finally get the best out of all those offensive weapons (Jefferson, Dalvin Cook et al). Fair to say the former Rams OC has achieved that so far, leading his team to what is now level for the best record in the NFL this season.

Terry McLaurin (WR, Washington Commanders): McLaurin was a big reason that the Philadelphia Eagles finally lost their perfect record in 2022, catching 8 Taylor Heinicke passes in a massive upset win for the Commanders at the Linc on Monday Night Football. McLaurin now has 370 receiving yards in his last 4 games and appears primed for a big second half of the season.

Kader Kohou (CB, Miami Dolphins): Kohou’s journey to the NFL is pretty incredible, starting back when his father won a lottery in their Ivory Coast homeland for a US visa. Kader has been beating the odds ever since, and even making the Dolphins roster this year was a victory. Kohou though continues to surprise in a Miami secondary decimated by injuries – he was terrific in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns and improves week after week.

Cole Kmet (TE, Chicago Bears): As Justin Fields goes, so will Kmet. With the Bears QB gradually finding his feet in the passing game, Kmet’s targets and receptions are starting to grow too. The ability of Fields to scramble is giving opposing defenses fits, and it does open up possibilities through the air as well. Kmet has really exploded in recent weeks, catching 9 balls in the last two games and scoring 5 TDs in the last three. He is now a bona fide redzone threat and has fantasy and betting potential built in. His latest outing was his best yet – 4 catches for 74 yards and two scores in that agonising loss to the Lions.

Rachaad White (RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers): At last, when they really needed it, the Bucs found a running game. White took over the bulk of the load from Leonard Fournette in Week 10 and rumbled for 105 yards on 22 carries in Sunday’s huge win over the Seattle Seahawks in Germany. He provided much-needed juice for a ground game which had been utterly pathetic so far in 2022, and could be key to Tampa’s playoff push in the second half of the season.

NFL Playoff Scenarios: Who makes the post-season?

It’s never too early to start talking about playoff scenarios, so here we are. If the post-season began today, these teams would be playing on:

AFC

  1. Kansas City Chiefs 7-2
  2. Miami Dolphins 7-3
  3. Tennessee Titans 6-3
  4. Baltimore Ravens 6-3
  5. New York Jets 6-3
  6. Buffalo Bills 6-3
  7. New England Patriots 5-4

NFC

  1. Philadelphia Eagles 8-1
  2. Minnesota Vikings 8-1
  3. Seattle Seahawks 6-4
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-5
  5. New York Giants 7-2
  6. Dallas Cowboys 6-3
  7. San Francisco 49ers 5-4

NFL Game of the Week: Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings

The Cowboys feature in our GOTW for the second straight week as they head into Minnesota for a key NFC matchup with the streaking Vikings.

Dallas surprisingly trades as an early 1-point favourite despite falling to Green Bay in overtime last week, and giving up 207 rushing yards in the process.

Minnesota meanwhile proved it is legit with that stunning win in Buffalo, and Jefferson vs Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs is a mouthwatering matchup we should all be excited about.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook had a big day in Buffalo, complete with a long TD run, and he should be set for another productive afternoon against this Cowboys front.

On the opposite sideline it’s noteworthy for fantasy players and punters that Dallas TE Dalton Schultz appears to be back to something approaching full health despite that PCL injury. He has caught 16 balls in three games since Dak Prescott returned, having been shut out in the previous two.

One major question mark will be who gets the bulk of the carries in the Cowboy backfield if Ezekiel Elliott returns from injury this week. Tony Pollard has been terrific in going over 100 yards in both games missed by #21, but a Zeke return will likely impact his opportunities.


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