Alvin Kamara will sit out the New Orleans Saints' game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday with a knee injury. 

Star running back Kamara did not practice on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and will be absent for the crunch Week 10 matchup against the number one team in the AFC. 

The four-time Pro Bowler has rushed for 530 yards and three touchdowns in his eight appearances for New Orleans this season. 

His absence is another significant blow for head coach Sean Payton, with starting quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas already sidelined for the rest of the campaign.

The 5-3 Saints are in with a decent shot of making the postseason but will have to bounce back from a 27-25 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons when they take on the 7-2 Titans. 

Trevor Siemian will again start at quarterback, having completed 25 of his 41 passes for 249 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Falcons. 

The NFL has branded allegations from Jon Gruden as "entirely meritless" after it was announced the former Las Vegas Raiders coach is suing the league following his resignation last month.

Gruden resigned from his post of head coach on October 11 after an investigation into the Washington Football Team revealed numerous offensive emails he sent while working as a television analyst before returning to the coaching ranks. 

His exit came shortly after the New York Times released a story quoting from a trove of emails from the coach's personal account that included multiple racist, homophobic and sexist remarks.

On Friday, Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in Nevada's District Court.

Gruden's attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that Gruden is alleging the league and Goodell sought to destroy his career and reputation through a "malicious and orchestrated campaign".

A statement from Hosmer-Henner read: "The complaint alleges that the defendants selectively leaked Gruden's private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden's reputation and force him out of his job.

"There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden's emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL's investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders' season."

In response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement: "The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims."

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will again be without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski as they return to action against the Washington Football Team.

Tampa Bay had a bye last week and will be keen to atone for their 36-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 8.

Bruce Arians' team will be widely expected to bounce back against Washington, whose 2-6 record is in part down to a steep decline from their defense.

However, the defending Super Bowl champions must do so minus Brown and Gronkowski, robbing Tom Brady of two reliable targets.

Tight end Gronkowski has featured just once since injuring his back in the Week 3 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams. He returned to face the Saints but played just six snaps before leaving the game.

Brown has been out of action since Week 6 because of an ankle injury and the Bucs' receiving group could also be missing Chris Godwin, who is expected to be a game-time decision with a foot issue.

Tampa Bay's trip to FedEx Field is a rematch of last year's NFC Wild Card clash, which the Buccaneers won 31-23 en route to victory in Super Bowl LV.

Even at the midway point of the NFL season, it is difficult to make definitive judgments about many teams in the 2021 campaign.

The AFC is a jumbled mess with no clear frontrunner, though the Tennessee Titans may feel differently after surging to the top of the conference with a 7-2 record. 

In the NFC, it is easier to discern the elite, but picking the teams who will claim the last two Wild Card spots from a crowded field is not a simple task.

What we can do, however, is look at the standings and see which teams are either over or underperforming.

Stats Perform has done just that by assessing the records of every team compared to their power rating, a model that, using X-info data, looks at seven different facets of each team: quarterback, offensive skill players, run blocking, pass blocking, pass rush, run defense and pass coverage, and the player rates associated with each.

These seven facets are weighted according to modelled importance, and then aggregated to a team-level rating.

And that process has produced some clear standouts who either have more wins than the model suggests they deserve or are failing to live up to its expectations.

Overperforming

New Orleans Saints – Power rating: 29th

If Sean Payton isn't getting Coach of the Year hype come the end of the season, something has gone severely wrong.

Payton has the Saints in position to claim an NFC Wild Card berth at 5-3 despite a quarterback situation most would struggle to overcome, with Trevor Siemian stepping in to replace the injured Jameis Winston.

The Saints' most pressing issue beyond signal-caller is at wide receiver. Their most targeted receiver, Marquez Callaway, is registering a burn – or, in other words, winning his matchup with his defender when targeted – 56.4 per cent of the time, below the average of 60.6 for wideouts (min. 10 targets).

That has led New Orleans to lean on running back Alvin Kamara and the defense.

Kamara is unsurprisingly making the most of his significant opportunities as a receiver, his big-play percentage of 23.6 fourth among backs with at least 10 targets.

The defense is allowing a league-low 3.19 yards per carry and leads the NFL in run disruption rate, but comparative struggles against the pass (6.92 yards per play) and in getting after the quarterback could spell trouble if Siemian cannot maintain a surprisingly strong start to his time under center.

Cincinnati Bengals – Power rating: 23rd

The Bengals have been brought back down to earth with a bump over the past two games, losing to the New York Jets before being blown out by the Cleveland Browns.

First in the AFC before that slump, they are now last in the AFC North but, with a 5-4 record, they can still be considered to be outperforming expectations.

The problem area for the Bengals continues to be the trenches. Joe Burrow has been sacked eight times over the past two games, Cincinnati's struggles up front reflected by a ranking of 21st in pass protection win rate.

Things have been worse up front on defense, the Bengals 30th in pass rush win rate despite the best efforts of Trey Hendrickson, who has beaten a pass blocker on 28 of his 43 pressures.

Burrow has the best percentage of well-thrown balls among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts. He is delivering an accurate pass on 84.4 per cent of attempts.

His second-year leap is no mirage and has been aided by the outstanding rookie season of former LSU team-mate Ja'Marr Chase, eighth among receivers (min. 50 targets) with 3.5 burn yards per route. Yet, without improvement in other areas, elevating the Bengals back to the postseason could prove too much of a challenge for that truly dynamic duo.

Arizona Cardinals – Power rating: 16th

The Cardinals being this low down the list may be difficult to reconcile given they are 8-1 and just convincingly beat the San Francisco 49ers with their backup quarterback.

Yet holes have emerged on a defense now without J.J. Watt, whose addition had proven so critical to the interior of the D-line.

Arizona's defense is allowing 4.81 yards per rush, the second-most in the NFL, with the Cardinals in 22nd in run disruption rate.

Their pass rush win rate position of 24th belies the production of Markus Golden (nine sacks) and Chandler Jones (six), with those numbers suggesting the Cardinals' strength against the pass is more a product of the impressive play of a secondary that has surpassed expectations.

Though there is reason for doubt when it comes to the Cardinals' defense, this is a team that will go as far as Kyler Murray and the offense.

Murray is firmly in the MVP mix with a well-thrown percentage of 81.3, and receivers DeAndre Hopkins (80.9) and Christian Kirk (79.2) are each in the top five among wideouts (min. 10 targets) for burn rate.

With an offensive line ranked eighth in pass protection win rate doing an excellent job of keeping Murray clean, the Cards have an offensive recipe well suited to winning in 2021.

Yet their power rating and performance on defense indicates this team is not as complete as their record suggests.

Tennessee Titans – Power rating: 18th

Five straight wins, including victories over the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams, and the Titans are only 18th?!

It may be difficult to believe, but Tennessee's position in the bottom half of the NFL by power rating is one mirrored by the Titans' spot in Stats Perform's Efficiency Versus Expected (EVE) rankings.

EVE looks at several factors to train a model to predict yardage output for any game situation and then compares the projected yards to the actual yards gained or prevented in those situations.

The Titans are a disappointing 17th in EVE, despite Ryan Tannehill enjoying a season that has seen him deliver an accurate well-thrown ball on 83.5 per cent of his passes.

But Tannehill is now without his security blanket with Derrick Henry, who was threatening Eric Dickerson's rushing record and averaging 3.05 yards per carry on disrupted runs, and is throwing to a receiving corps that has just one member, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine (63.6), with a burn percentage above 60.

Their stunning primetime win in Los Angeles was largely a product of turnovers and a startling amount of pressure from the defensive front, and the latter appears unlikely to be sustainable.

In the bottom half of the league in pass rush win rate (31st) and run disruption rate (27th), the production the Titans have got from the likes of Harold Landry, Denico Autry and Jeffery Simmons has not been the result of consistent dominance up front.

The story is the same for an offensive line ranked 29th in pass protection and 17th in run block win rate. Beyond Tannehill and Henry, areas where the Titans consistently excel are not obvious. The receivers will need to step up or the defense will need to prove a breakout performance against the Rams was not an anomaly for Tennessee to turn the doubters into believers.

Underperforming

Kansas City Chiefs – Power rating: 3rd

The uneven nature of the Chiefs' performances to this point makes them moving to 5-4 last week actually seem pretty impressive.

Yet, for all their issues on defense, and the doubts about an offense lacking the explosiveness of years gone by, the Chiefs should have fared even better over the first nine games, at least according to their power rating.

Though Kansas City only managed 13 points in their win over the Green Bay Packers, it is the Chiefs' offense that provides the most cause for optimism.

Patrick Mahomes' well-thrown percentage of 79 is above the league average of 78.5 for quarterbacks with a minimum of 10 attempts, and he is being well protected by the Chiefs' reworked offensive line.

The Chiefs rank fourth in pass protection win rate and first in run block win rate, with their rushing average of 4.62 yards per play the eighth-best in the NFL.

It is those game-changing downfield shots that are conspicuous by their absence for the Chiefs, with Tyreek Hill's underwhelming big-play percentage of 24.8 illustrating their struggles in that regard.

But this remains a team set up for offensive success, and if a defense that has not allowed a 300-yard passing game since Week 5 can continue making incremental improvements, Kansas City could yet enjoy the season many envisioned.

San Francisco 49ers – Power rating: 8th

A route to contention is not as easy to plot for the 3-5 49ers, who continue to beat themselves with mistakes that negate their overall efficiency.

The 49ers are eighth in EVE, with their position in offensive yards over expected (eighth) and yards allowed under expected (14th) painting the picture of a top-half team on both sides of the ball.

Yet a turnover differential of -9 that is superior to only that of the New York Jets (-12) makes a losing season a more realistic possibility for the Niners than a playoff push.

The offense is the primary source of hope. Deebo Samuel is on pace for over 1,800 receiving yards and his 4.1 burn yards per route are second for receivers with at least 50 targets, while George Kittle had a 100-yard game on his return from injury last week and ranks second among tight ends (min. 10 targets) with 3.1 burn yards per route.

With rookie Elijah Mitchell impressing at running back, Brandon Aiyuk emerging from Kyle Shanahan's doghouse and a line ranked in the top 10 in pass protection and run block win rate, the Niners theoretically have the offense to compete with anyone.

Poor execution has prevented them from doing so. If the Niners are to somehow stay in the hunt, the turnovers must stop, but change is also required on defense.

The 49ers have struggled to disrupt the run, and disappointing secondary play has limited the impact of a stellar season from Nick Bosa, whose adjusted pass rush win rate of 41.09 per cent is way above the average of 21.88 for edge rushers.

Time is running out for San Francisco to figure it out; if the Niners cannot do that, it will be another frustrating year for a team too talented to be struggling this much.

Minnesota Vikings – Power rating: 10th

It has been a typical Vikings season, with a talented and potent offense seeing their efforts go largely unrewarded as they have flirted with both triumph and disaster late in games on a near-weekly basis.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins might have an MVP case were the Vikings in a better position to contend. He has been extremely accurate, posting a well-thrown percentage of 81.8, and has generally avoided turnover-worthy plays, throwing just four pickable passes on 285 attempts.

Dalvin Cook's missed tackle per touch rate of 0.269 is the best among running backs with at least 50 carries, and Justin Jefferson is again one of the league's elite separators at receiver, as evidenced by his burn rate of 72.1 per cent.

Yet the Vikings are only 13th in offensive yards over expected, speaking to an issue that continues to hold this team back, with Minnesota again in the lower reaches of the league in pass protection win rate.

It has been a different story on the other side of the trenches, the Vikings seventh in pass rush win rate, though the absence of Danielle Hunter with a torn pectoral muscle may see them lose that position.

Soft against the run, allowing the third-highest yards per rush (4.77) in the NFL, the Vikings are a team whose lofty power rating is easily explained through a loaded passing game and a pass rush that has excelled through their first eight games.

But their 3-5 record is reflective of an incomplete team that maintains an obvious weakness in the trenches and lacks the defensive solidity to put games to bed. The Vikings may be a top 10 team on paper, but it is tough to trust them to perform to that standard consistently.

The New England Patriots and the Cleveland Browns head into week 10 off the back of impressive wins as both look to further improve their playoff chances when they face each other on Sunday.

Bill Belichick, who was the Browns' head coach from 1991 to 1995, has a 7-2 record against Cleveland since he became the Patriots' head coach in 2000, including winning all five home games against them.

The Arizona Cardinals boast the outright best record in the NFL right now at 8-1 after beating the San Francisco 49ers, and welcome the Panthers to State Farm Stadium as they seek to make it nine wins out of 10.

There has been a lot of talk about form, or lack thereof, when it comes to star quarterback Patrick Mahomes but he will be betting on himself to silence the critics as his Kansas City Chiefs make the trip to Las Vegas.

 

Cleveland Browns (5-4) @ New England Patriots (5-4)

The Patriots moved to 5-4 after a 24-6 win at the Panthers last week, while the Browns have an identical record following their emphatic 41-16 victory against the Bengals.

The Browns' 25-point margin of victory was their second largest in any game since the Cleveland franchise was revived in 1999. The Browns' biggest winning margin over the past 23 seasons was 38 points, in a 44-6 rout of the Cardinals in 2003.

Running back Nick Chubb has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his past three road games for the Browns. Jim Brown is the only other player in the franchise's history with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games on the road in one season, although he managed that feat three times (1961, 1963 and 1964).

The Patriots won their last home game 54-13 against the Jets in Week 7 after losing their first four at Gillette Stadium this season. The 41-point margin of victory was the Patriots' largest in a home game since 2010, when they beat the Jets 45-3.

Baker Mayfield will have to keep an eye out for J.C. Jackson, who made two interceptions in the Patriots' game at Carolina, including an 88-yard touchdown return. Jackson has a league-high total of 22 interceptions in his four seasons in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers (4-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (8-1)

The Cardinals will go into this one as heavy favourites but the Panthers have actually won their previous five meetings, including in the 2015 Wild Card and 2016 NFC Championship games.

After throwing three interceptions last week against the Patriots, Carolina have now turned the ball over in six consecutive games. The only team with a longer active streak of games with a turnover is the New York Jets (nine games, going back to last season).

However, with Sam Darnold out for the next few weeks with a shoulder injury, the Panthers are expected to start P.J. Walker at quarterback, despite Thursday's announcement that Cam Newton has re-signed with the franchise.

Walker has previously started just one game for Carolina, which was a 20-0 win over Detroit in Week 11 last season where he completed 24 of 34 passes (70.6 per cent). The only other Panthers QB to have their first start with the team and complete a higher percentage of their passes was Steve Beuerlein in 1996 (71 percent).

The Cardinals' victory over the 49ers was the third time this season they have gone on the road and gained 350+ yards without turning the ball over. Over the past 70 years, the Cardinals have never had more than two such road games in any season.

Arizona have completed 73.9 percent of passes this season. No team in the Super Bowl era has ever held a completion percentage that high over the course of an entire season, with the 2018 Saints coming the closest (73.4 percent). 

Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) @ Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)

All eyes will be on Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who finished with 166 passing yards in last week's 13-7 win against the Green Bay Packers, the second-lowest total in his career. Interestingly, Kansas City are 6-0 when Mahomes has thrown for 200 yards or fewer.

Since 2013, the Chiefs are 13-3 against the Raiders. Two of the losses were on the road (2014 and 2017), and one came at home last season.

The Chiefs home victory against the Packers last week saw their fewest points in a win since a 10-3 success over San Diego in 2015. Having allowed an average of 32.6 points against in their first five games (2-3), they have averaged just 16 points against in their previous four (3-1).

The Raiders lost to the New York Giants 23-16 on the road last week. They have lost all three games in which they have managed fewer than 20 points this season.

Raiders QB Derek Carr threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions last week. It was his first game with more interceptions than touchdown passes since Week 13 of the 2019 season, which was a 40-9 loss in Kansas City.

 

Elsewhere...

The Green Bay Packers (7-2) will be hoping to get back on track against Seattle (3-5) after a rare defeat last time out and will be confident of doing so having won nine straight home games against the Seahawks dating back to 2003 (including playoffs). It is the Packers' longest home winning streak against any opponent since 24 straight against the Lions (1992 to 2014). The Hawks' last win in Green Bay was in 1999.

The Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) will be hoping for another big performance from quarterback Justin Herbert when they host the Minnesota Vikings (3-5). Herbert tallied 356 passing yards in last week's 27-24 win against the Eagles, going 32-for-38 (84.2 percent). It was the highest completion percentage all-time by any Chargers QB to throw for at least 350 yards.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) picked up a shock 9-6 win against the Buffalo Bills last week but may need to score more points against the Indianapolis Colts (4-5) if they want to succeed again. Last week's victory was the first time since the beginning of last season that a team was held under 10 points in a game and still won. Teams are now 1-59 in the past two seasons when scoring single digits.

After a bye week to clear their heads, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) will be looking to bounce back from their 36-27 defeat in New Orleans as they travel to Washington (2-6). Since Tom Brady joined the Buccaneers in 2020, Tampa Bay are 5-1 following a loss.

Lamar Jackson could not lead another fourth-quarter recovery as the Baltimore Ravens suffered a shock loss to the Miami Dolphins on Thursday.

The Ravens entered the game 6-2 with their struggling opponents 2-7, but Baltimore have been run close in a number of their wins this season.

Four times they have trailed in the fourth quarter but come back to win, tying the Los Angeles Chargers for the most fightbacks in the NFL. The Ravens had only four such wins across the previous five years.

But a fifth turnaround proved beyond Jackson and Baltimore in a 22-10 defeat.

They had won each of their previous three meetings with the Dolphins by more than 30 points – tying a league record for one team against another – but this time paid the price for a sloppy start.

The Ravens punted on four of their first six drives – including a pair of three-and-outs – and made and missed a field goal from the other two to head in 6-3 down at halftime.

Crucially, there was precious little improvement in the second half this time, with three more punts in the third quarter and then a fumble that Xavien Howard recovered for a Miami touchdown at the start of the fourth.

Jackson, who had 238 yards passing and just 39 yards rushing, finally led Baltimore back down the field to cut the Dolphins' lead to 15-10, only for Tua Tagovailoa – returning from injury in relief of Jacoby Brissett – to run in another TD.

An interception on third and goal capped a dismal night for Jackson and his team, with the tone set right from the start.

"We've been slow, slow every week. It's ridiculous," the quarterback said. "I don't understand it.

"We've just got to do a better job of hitting the ground running like we're supposed to. That starts by staying calm, just doing us, not putting anything else on our mind."

Miami had success in blitzing the 2019 NFL MVP, who had tossed an accurate, well-thrown pass on just 67.9 per cent of his previous attempts when blitzed this year, the ninth-worst rate in the league.

Jackson believes he and the Ravens are capable of dealing with similar defenses, though.

"Play our game, do us. We don't change for anybody, we'll be good," he said. "There were some plays we left on the field, little mishaps."

Indeed, coach John Harbaugh said he was to blame for the offense being exploited.

"This falls squarely on me as head coach," he said. "We were not prepared as we needed to be prepared, our schemes were not up to snuff. We weren't prepared to execute the way we needed to.

"That's it – not on one player. The players played their hearts out, worked hard all week, they did everything they could to be prepared, and we just weren't ready. That's on me."

The Miami Dolphins ended their drought against the Baltimore Ravens after upstaging Lamar Jackson's visitors 22-10 in the NFL.

Miami had lost their last three games against Baltimore entering Thursday's matchup, with each defeat by more than a 30-point margin – 38-6 in 2016, 40-0 in 2017 and 59-10 in 2019. The only other time an NFL team had three consecutive wins by 30-plus points against a particular team was in 1994-1995 when the San Francisco 49ers dominated the Atlanta Falcons, per Stats Perform.

But the streaking Dolphins (3-7) snapped that skid against the Ravens (6-3) as they celebrated back-to-back victories after Tua Tagovailoa sealed the win with a late touchdown.

It was a tense showdown at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Dolphins took a 6-3 lead into half-time via consecutive field goals from Jason Sanders.

Sanders converted another field goal early in the fourth quarter before Xavier Howard's 49-yard fumble recovery stretched the Dolphins' advantage to 15-3.

Lamar Jackson (26-of-43 passing for 238 yards, a touchdown and interception, while rushing for another 39 yards) found Mark Andrews with less than five minutes remaining to close the deficit, but Tagovailoa had the final say with a rushing TD to ensure Miami emerged triumphant in Week 10.

Tagovailoa completed eight of his 13 passes for no TD or interception, though he did rush for a score as fellow Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett was 11-of-23 passing for 156 yards.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is confident Odell Beckham Jr. will contribute to the Super Bowl-chasing franchise as he hailed the star wide receiver.

Beckham agreed a deal with the Rams on Thursday after clearing waivers following his release from the Cleveland Browns.

The Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were also reportedly interested in the free agent.

Now in Los Angeles, where the Rams are 7-2 and second in the NFC West, Stafford praised the three-time NFL Pro Bowler.

"It's an opportunity for us as a team, it's an opportunity for him to come in here and prove himself to us," Stafford told reporters.

"What our room is about in the receiver room is pretty special. I know he'll fit right in and continue to get better and hopefully help us as a team."

Beckham was sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 2020 and has made 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games this season. 

The 29-year-old was traded to the Browns by the New York Giants in 2019, where he topped 1,000 yards in four of his five seasons. The year he failed to hit that mark he spent most of the campaign out with an ankle injury. 

Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6) were the only wide receivers to average more yards per game than Beckham (92.8) between 2014 and 2018.

Stafford added: "Everybody on our team carves out their role. They do a great job of figuring out what that role is going to be and going out there and proving it both on the practice field and in games, and given the opportunities I know he'll do the same."

Rams wide receiver Robert Woods said: "We're all working for the same goal. His thing is, I feel like, why he left -- he wanted to be a part of it and contribute, and I think just coming into this offense, he wants to work and contribute.

"We're all working toward the same goal: winning, grinding. I don't think it should be anything disruptive.''

The high-flying Rams face the San Francisco 49ers on Monday.

Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson said he is close to "100 per cent" after returning from finger surgery.

Wilson is set to be involved against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, having been sidelined since injuring the middle finger on his right hand during an October 7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The one-time Super Bowl champion's injury ended a 10-year run of starts, the sixth-longest such streak of any quarterback in NFL history, and the longest of any QB currently active within the league.

But Wilson – who was initially facing six to eight weeks out – is gearing up for his comeback against the Packers.

"I wasn't going to take six to eight," Wilson told reporters on Thursday. "That wasn't in my mind."

"I've been blessed to be able to play all the games I've been able to play and all the things I've been able to do so far in this league," Wilson said.

"I feel like it's a new beginning, it's a new start and I feel like it's time to get going again all over again."

Wilson added: "I feel great. I feel really close. I'm not 100 per cent yet, but I'm pretty dang close. I would say 90th percentile if not higher. I feel great.

"I've got great conviction about what I'm doing, how I'm doing it. My mindset is better than ever. I'm ready to roll and ready to go."

Before a bye last week, the Seahawks (3-5) beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home 31-7. Seattle are 7-4 (63.6) in the first game coming off a bye week since Carroll became head coach in 2010, per Stats Perform.

DK Metcalf has eight touchdowns in the Seahawks' eight games this season. That matches the best mark by a Seattle player through the team's first eight games with Daryl Turner in 1985 and Metcalf himself last year. Metcalf finished 2020 with 10 total TD catches.

Seattle have 20 red-zone drives this season – third fewest in the NFL – but has scored touchdowns on 75.0 percent of those drives, second best in the NFL. The Packers' defense have allowed touchdowns on 76.0 per cent of red-zone drives, second worst in the NFL.

Odell Beckham Jr. has signed for the Los Angeles Rams following his release by the Cleveland Browns.

The veteran wide receiver officially left Cleveland on Monday and no other NFL team put in a claim on him before Tuesday's deadline, making him a free agent.

Beckham had initially asked to be traded before last week's NFL deadline but no deal materialised and he opted to miss practice for the rest of the week.

He cleared waivers on Tuesday and was subsequently able to pick his next team, with ESPN reporting earlier in the week that he planned to sign with a playoff contender.

The 7-2 Rams are second in the NFC West, with the Arizona Cardinals (8-1) the only team in the NFL with a better record.

The three-time Pro Bowler was sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 2020 and has made 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games this season. 

Beckham was traded to the Browns by the New York Giants in 2019, where he topped 1,000 yards in four of his five seasons. The year he failed to hit that mark he spent most of the campaign out with an ankle injury. 

Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6) were the only wide receivers to average more yards per game than Beckham (92.8) between 2014 and 2018.

Odell Beckham Jr. has signed for the Los Angeles Rams following his release by the Cleveland Browns.

The veteran wide receiver officially left Cleveland on Monday and no other NFL team put in a claim on him before Tuesday's deadline, making him a free agent.

Beckham had initially asked to be traded before last week's NFL deadline but no deal materialised and he opted to miss practice for the rest of the week.

He cleared waivers on Tuesday and was subsequently able to pick his next team, with ESPN reporting earlier in the week that he planned to sign with a playoff contender.

The 7-2 Rams are second in NFC West, with the Arizona Cardinals (8-1) the only team in the NFL with a better record.

The three-time Pro Bowler was sidelined with a torn ACL in 2020 and has made 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six games this season. 

Beckham was traded to the Browns by the New York Giants in 2019, where he topped 1,000 yards in four of his five seasons. The year he failed to hit that mark he spent most of the campaign out with an ankle injury. 

Julio Jones (103.8) and Antonio Brown (100.6) were the only wide receivers to average more yards per game than Beckham (92.8) between 2014 and 2018.

The Carolina Panthers have re-signed former number one overall pick Cam Newton after first-choice quarterback Sam Darnold suffered a shoulder injury.

Darnold was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, leaving the 4-5 Panthers short under center with P.J. Walker set for his second NFL start against the Arizona Cardinals.

However, the Panthers moved quickly on Thursday to agree a deal for a free agent they know well.

Newton was released by the New England Patriots in training camp this year as Bill Belichick instead went with rookie QB Mac Jones in Foxborough.

The dual-threat QB had also been released by Carolina following the 2019 season, moving on under new coach Matt Rhule following an injury-hit year.

Newton played only two games in 2019 due to a Lisfranc fracture in Week 2, having only returned from a shoulder issue at the start of the season.

Having been the league MVP in 2015 with the Panthers, throwing 35 touchdown passes and rushing for a further 10 scores, Newton's performances with New England were rather more ordinary.

Still retaining that same athleticism, the 32-year-old had 12 rushing TDs in 2020, his most in any season since his rookie year.

But Newton was poor through the air, tossing eight TDs to 10 interceptions and moving the ball just 7.07 air yards per attempt as the Pats ranked 23rd for yards per passing play (6.06).

That might still represent an upgrade on Darnold, though, who has the Panthers 30th by the same metric this year with 5.42 yards per play.

Like Newton, Darnold has provided a threat with his legs, scoring five rushing TDs, but he has thrown only seven scores to 11 picks.

Carolina exercised Darnold's fifth-year option following his trade from the New York Jets but will now be paying former favourite Newton up to $10million to potentially fill his boots this year, according to reports. That includes $4.5m guaranteed and a $1.5m roster bonus.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady criticised the NFL's "terrible decision" to add a 17th game to the regular season.

For the first time ever, teams will play 17 regular-season games instead of 16 after the NFL increased the schedule for the 2021 campaign.

The move has not gone down well with record seven-time Super Bowl champion Brady, who hit out at the decision.

"I think it's pointless. I thought it was a terrible decision," the 44-year-old said on the Let's Go! Podcast ahead of Sunday's Washington Football Team matchup. "So I don't like the fact that we're playing a 17th game at all.

"I think 16 is plenty. And, again, you're eight games into the year and you're not halfway through, so that's kind of a little frustrating aspect ... A lot of people know my feelings on some of these topics.

"I've been pretty vocal about NFL issues over the last couple of years and some of the things that are done that I don't necessarily think are in the best interests of the game."

Brady has thrown an NFL-high 25 touchdowns to help Super Bowl champions the Buccaneers to a 6-2 record to start the season.

The evergreen QB leads the league in attempts per game (42.9), completions per game (28.9), passing yards per game (331.3) and big plays passing (24).

Brady added: "A lot of guys probably miss games over the course of the season anyway, so they probably don't play all 16, most guys.

"But if you're fortunate to be able to make it through a season and you got to play the 17th game, I think there's a lot of things that I would adjust to, you know, the offseason, you know, the regular-season schedule."

"Usually what the owners want the owners get. So, that's just the way the business has gone," Brady said. "And we need strong union leadership from the player standpoint and a unified union in order to have the right amount of leverage to negotiate what we think is appropriate for an NFL player."

Since Brady joined the Buccaneers in 2020, Tampa Bay are 5-1 following a loss, with their average margin of victory in those five games being 15.8 points, according to Stats Perform.

This is the third time in Brady's career where his team have lost a game and then gone into a bye week. His teams are 1-1 in games following, with Brady having an average passer rating of 94.2 in those games.

Arizona Cardinals star Kyler Murray is hopeful of being fit enough to face the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Murray sat out last week's 31-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers due to a sprained left ankle – the first time the quarterback had missed an NFL game in his career.

The 2020 Pro Bowler, who did not practice on Wednesday, hopes to suit up for the Panthers clash.

"I think it's day by day," Murray told reporters midweek, with the Cardinals (8-1) this season. "I think we've got a great plan.

"I feel way better than I did when I talked to you last time, so, I think that's a plus and I'm excited."

Murray leads the NFL in completion percentage (72.7), while he has tallied 2,276 yards for seven touchdowns with a career-high 110.4 rating.

"I think I made crazy strides as far as in a positive direction since it happened," Murray added.

"I think I'm one of those guys that's able to kind of hone in and not be able to do that for maybe some time and get back out there and still play at a high level," Murray said.

"I think, obviously, for anybody, those reps are crucial, but I'm pretty confident in when I do come back that I'll be fine."

The Cardinals' victory over the 49ers was the third time this season Arizona went on the road and gained 350-plus yards without turning the ball over.

Over the last 70 years, the Cardinals have never had more than two such road games in any season, according to Stats Perform.

Russell Wilson "looks pretty good" as he steps up his return from finger surgery, according to Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Wilson returned to practice on Monday after the eight-time NFL Pro Bowler injured the middle finger on his right hand in an October 7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The one-time Super Bowl champion's injury ended a 10-year run of starts, the sixth-longest such streak of any quarterback in NFL history, and the longest of any QB currently active within the league.

Wilson is in line to make his comeback for the Seahawks (3-5) against the Green Bay Packers (7-2) on Sunday.

"I've just seen him in the walk-through since then and you would never have known," Carroll said of the Seahawks star before Wednesday's practice.

"So I don't know what that means yet, but he looks pretty good."

"He doesn't have to wear anything unless he chooses to," Carroll said. "He has been experimenting with some stuff just to see what's out there for him."

Before a bye last week, the Seahawks beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home 31-7. Seattle are 7-4 (63.6) in the first game coming off a bye week since Carroll became head coach in 2010, per Stats Perform.

DK Metcalf has eight touchdowns in the Seahawks' eight games this season. That matches the best mark by a Seattle player through the team's first eight games with Daryl Turner in 1985 and Metcalf himself last year. Metcalf finished 2020 with 10 total TD catches.

Seattle have 20 red-zone drives this season – third fewest in the NFL – but has scored touchdowns on 75.0 percent of those drives, second best in the NFL. The Packers' defense have allowed touchdowns on 76.0 per cent of red-zone drives, second worst in the NFL.

 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.