NFL power rankings 2017, Week 6: Alex Smith has the Chiefs rolling

The nature of the NFL makes me want to believe that the downfall of the Kansas City Chiefs is coming. The defense isn’t that good, and Alex Smith is eventually going to turn back into a game-managing pumpkin at some point, right?

With three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 46-34 win over the Texans, Smith became only the fifth quarterback to start the first five games of an NFL season and have a passer rating over 125.

Three of the other four to accomplish the feat Peyton Manning in 2013, Tom Brady in 2007, Daunte Culpepper in 2004 and Kurt Warner in 1999 finished as the NFL MVP. Only Culpepper didn’t, although he definitely had an argument with 39 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and an NFL-best 4,717 yards.

Goff gets the opportunity this week as his Los Angeles Rams host the Cardinals. He is better than you may think, specifically in his efficiency, as he trails just Alex Smith, Kirk Cousins and Tom Brady in yards per attempt this season. Goff is protecting the ball well, too, as he’s thrown just three picks through six games. Look for Goff to find his secondary receivers often and to score at least 20 fantasy points. — Daube

Widely available in ESPN leagues thanks in part to his team’s Week 6 bye, Taylor is poised to produce QB1-caliber results against a reeling Tampa defense that is allowing the fourth-most points per drive (2.16) and the second-most touchdowns per drive of any defense in the NFL. We all know Taylor has what the cool kids call the Konami Code for quarterbacks — an ability to drive fantasy value with his legs. Taylor is second among quarterbacks in rushes per game, so he could do damage as a dual-threat weapon against what has been one of the best matchups for signal-callers this season. — McCormick

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Browns name DeShone Kizer starting QB again after one-game replacement

DeShone Kizer will return as the Cleveland Browns’ starting quarterback Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, the team announced Wednesday.

Kizer, a rookie second-round pick, started the first five games of the season before being replaced for one game by Kevin Hogan. The results were not good, as the Browns fell to 0-6 and Hogan threw for 140 yards with three interceptions during a 33-17 loss in Houston.

The premise of your article is silly, @forargument tweeted on Oct. 3 at the Journal after an article about disagreement among league owners over handling of the anthem protests. What board of directors in this country would all agree on this issue?

A thousand thoughts swirled through his mind. He thought about the barbecue, and how protective he’d become of Teddy, on and off the field. He thought about Bridgewater’s mom. It sounds crazy, but he did. His mom. Boone looked at the helmets popping off heads and spinning into the air, and he heard someone yelling to call 911, and he thought about how nobody ever calls 911 for an injury at an NFL practice, and then he looked down at Bridgewater’s left leg and thought, Who’s going to tell his mom?

Boone saw that the human scattering served a practical purpose: It cleared a path for the trainers and first responders, the people who could do more than scream and swear and think about Bridgewater’s mom. They went to work the way they’re supposed to: quickly and with expertise. The buzz up the spine, the helplessness, dissipated some. When a knee dislocates and the ligaments tear free of the bones, leaving the fibula and tibia to their own devices, the next concern is nerve damage that might lead to amputation. In the coming days, after Bridgewater undergoes extensive surgery, the Vikings’ trainers and the local first responders will be credited for saving his leg.

The Vikings walked quietly to the locker room and gathered as a team to say a prayer.

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you know who else played at Kansas with Steckel under Mitchell?

The undefeated season is over, and if the Chiefs want to bounce back from a 13-point effort against the Steelers, they’ll have to do it on the road. They travel to Oakland, Dallas and New Jersey to face the Giants for three of their next four.

Methodology: These rankings are based on which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn’t guarantee a jump, and a loss doesn’t guarantee a fall.

Future Bears special teams coach Mike Sweatman, whom Steckel hired in 1984 when he was head coach with the Vikings. As Pat Mannelly told us, Sweatman is the coach who implemented the fake field goal ninja, which the Bears ran for a touchdown in 2001 against Washington, with Brian Urlacher catching and scoring.

The article, written by Football Scoop’s Scott Roussel, provided a bit of background on the play, noting that it came from Tampa Bay’s then-offensive coordinator Les Steckel. Roussel remembered the play as soon as he saw it, as did several high school and college coaches who Roussel saw tweeting that they’d run the play before.

He located it from a Buccaneers-Packers game in 2000 and found the clip. He ended the article writing:

Something tells me Coach Steckel enjoyed seeing that one called last night; and he probably remembers to this day the coach from whom he got the idea…
My best guess? Steckel’s coach at the University of Kansas, Jack Mitchell.

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Roger Goodell’s wife Jane ran a burner Twitter account dedicated to defending him

YO, GET THIS: Jane Skinner Goodell, the wife of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, has been fighting Twitter battles for her husband under the alias @forargument and the name Jones smith, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Jane Goodell hosted a daytime show on Fox News until 2010, when she left to spend more time with her family.

That said, the cookie decoration station was a big hit, and it bought the adults a long stretch of time where the kids are stationary and mostly quiet. This was a REVELATION. Ever since my wife gave birth twice in 19 months, I haven’t spoken to another adult at a kid’s birthday party for longer than 45 seconds.

The Chargers are a team that has building blocks for the future. They have some elite talent already. And they are not necessarily one of the worst teams in the league, but the AFC West is the strongest division in football and they are by far the worst team in it. Perhaps with a strong offseason, they can crawl out of the cellar and maybe even challenge for a Wild Card spot next year, but for now, they are already out of contention.
And the rest …

Silver and Black Pride just wants the Oakland Raiders to stay out of the cellar:

The Chargers are very capable of coming to Oakland and getting the win, and if they do, it would drop the Raiders to 2-4 and to the bottom of the division officially.

Derek Carr is expected back this week from his back injury. That’s good news for the Raiders, but Carr wasn’t playing well even before he left, so his return is no guarantee the Raiders will suddenly be dominant again.

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This week may not be the indication of what happens over the next few weeks.

Minnesota has also allowed opponents to post a 92.7 passer rating, a mark that ranks 18th in the league but looks much better when you consider the quality of quarterback it’s had to face. If the Vikings were able to limit Stafford to 209 yards on 31 passes, what will a debuting quarterback with only 13 collegiate starts under his belt do?

We got a good idea of what Trubisky brings to the table this preseason, albeit against a litany of role players and roster hopefuls. He completed nearly 68 percent of his passes for 364 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. More importantly, he showed off play-extending mobility in the pocket:

But now things are different. He’s 36, the Giants aren’t close to being a winner, and it’s getting harder to imagine another Super Bowl run coming with Manning under center.

Pocic, a second-round pick known for his versatility, worked at right tackle over the summer but has been a backup at guard and center since.

I think we’re very fortunate to have Glow in that competition because of his background, Carroll said. He’s started and he’s played a lot of football for us and he knows our system, he’s been on that side (of the offensive line), all of that stuff. So that’s a positive. But also, we’re so encouraged by Ethan’s play that we want to give him a chance to see how far he can take it in the coming weeks here and see what it means.

This week may not be the indication of what happens over the next few weeks. We’re going to start the competition and let these guys go at it. Both guys are athletic, both guys move equally well and can do everything we need. It’s just going to be how they fit in, their ability to handle the challenges of the scheme and the calls and all that.

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Kevin Hogan will take over as Browns’ starting QB. It’s the right call

DeShone Kizer has undeniable talent, but some inconsistencies in his college game suggested he shouldn’t be a day one starter in the NFL. The Browns rejected that idea, and Kizer earned the starting job in Cleveland. Head coach Hue Jackson benched Kizer in favor of Kevin Hogan at halftime in Week 5, and Hogan will take over the starting role this week, Jackson said Wednesday.

This isn’t a What We Learned from this week, because the Cowboys were off, but I have spoken with people close to the situation about what the Cowboys would do at running back if they had to play without Ezekiel Elliott for a long period of time. And with Elliott apparently re-suspended for the next six games, it’s worth mentioning.

People were surprised that Dallas went with Alfred Morris and not Darren McFadden as the backup to Elliott out of the gate in Week 1. Part of that was because Morris had an especially strong camp, but according to the coaches with whom I’ve spoken, the main reason was game plan-driven. They’d installed a game plan thinking they’d have Elliott, and that game plan is designed for one back to get the bulk of the carries. They believed Morris was better equipped to operate that game plan if something were to happen to Elliott during the game, so he was active and McFadden was not.

They do like McFadden better than Morris in some areas, however, including the passing game. So if they know they’re going to be without Elliott, expect a change in the way the Cowboys’ offensive coaches make a game plan and a lean toward a system in which Morris and McFadden (and maybe Rod Smith) split duties and carries in some way. That’s what I’ve been told to expect by folks in the know there, which is unfortunate for fantasy players who might have been hoping that Morris or McFadden would simply slide into Elliott’s spot and get his workload. Sorry to be the bearer of bad fantasy tidings.

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In 2016, Trubisky threw a pass of 44 yards or longer in 10 of his 13 starts.

He’ll have a tougher time against a different class of defense and one of the league’s least intimidating receiving corps, but his presence makes the Bears eminently more watchable.

And that’s important because Week 5 marks their first Monday Night Football appearance of the season. Chicago embarrassed itself last Thursday as Glennon did his best to ensure the Packers had every opportunity they needed to find the end zone. The Bears will play before an even bigger audience against the Vikings.

Finding quarterbacks isn’t easy. It’s a whole lot better to build a team with one than start from scratch, throw some poor soul into the fire, and hope he’s up to the task.

New York already had a ton of reasons to give up hope on 2017, but the world’s worst wide receiver luck could negatively impact the franchise beyond this year too. Who would’ve thought it would be way easier to be a Jets fan in New York this year?

While his game-manager style of passing contributed to an overtime win against the Steelers and a near-upset of the Falcons, last week’s two-interception, two-fumble performance against Green Bay spelled the end of Glennon’s starting tenure. In four games, he’s thrown four touchdown passes but turned the ball over eight times.

There are varying opinions about Manning that range from he’s awful to he’s underrated and dragged down by a bad offense around him. But no matter your thoughts on the quarterback, it makes sense for the Giants to begin grooming a replacement.

If a full rebuild is on the way, what’s the point in even dragging Manning along for it?

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