As of right now, week 12 has yet to conclude, and it has been a strange week in the NFL. The well documented rescheduling of what originally was the Thanksgiving Night showdown of the Steelers-Ravens is now scheduled to kickoff at 2:40 CST Wednesday. There have been ten-straight days of positive COVID-19 tests for the Ravens, and with two additional positive tests yesterday that were deemed “not unexpected and not a concern for the game” the game – at the moment – seems like it will finally happen, per Adam Schefter.
Baltimore’s team flight is leaving, game is still on, but the Ravens did have two more positive tests today, per sources.It is thought to be one player, one staff, and in the words of one source “not unexpected and not a concern for the game.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 2, 2020
In addition to this chaos, the Denver Broncos were without a quarterback as its entire position group had to quarantine due to possible exposure flipping the competitive balance in the Saints favor.
The Denver Broncos will not have a quarterback on their roster Sunday when they take on the New Orleans Saints. https://t.co/bHWa4sfqX4— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) November 29, 2020
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Kendall Hinton, who last played quarterback over two years ago, was tasked with leading the Denver offense. This was without any practice reps at the position and being resigned to the Broncos practice squad on November 4 of last month. The game went as expected for Denver, having to adapt to the situation, and highlights how difficult the quarterback position can be in the NFL. Hinton did his best given the circumstances, and was able to complete a pass to TE Noah Fant to start off a bizarre NFL career.
There was a game today. The final score is what it is. Undrafted rookie WIDE RECEIVER @Kendall_Hinton2 came off the practice squad, had zero practice reps and competed in his first NFL game as the Broncos’ QUARTERBACK—an unprecedented situation. He deserves all the respect. pic.twitter.com/C4UpkPTZBQ— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) November 29, 2020
Jarvis Landry-WR (CLE)
The Cleveland Browns are 8-3 and with the win this past Sunday, they will finish .500 or better for the first time since 2007. The past two weeks the Browns have played in terrible weather in Cleveland – winning both games – and relying on their rushing attack with Hunt and Chubb to take care of business. Travelling to Jacksonville, and having much better weather, helped the Browns hold off on a late Jaguar comeback and opened up the passing game as well.
The Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a season-ending ACL injury in week six. Outside of one matchup against the Bengals since then, Cleveland had not completed over 250 yards receiving. Against Jacksonville, Landry and quarterback Baker Mayfield were able to connect and display what the offense can do when both the passing and rushing attack are clicking. Landry caught eight catches for 143 yards and one touchdown, his only touchdown and best game so far this season.
Landry was a monster in receptions his first four seasons in Miami, averaging 100 receptions per season. Since the trade to Cleveland, Landry has averaged 82 receptions in his first two seasons; still productive but not the focal point of the offense that he used to be. However, in 2020, Jarvis is on pace to only catch 67 passes well below his career marks. This drop off in production can be attributed to the effectiveness of the rushing attack, and that the Browns are playing with leads this season. Under new head coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns rushing attack has improved from 12th overall last season, to leading the league through eleven games, per ESPN stats. Based on the overall team performance, it might be safe to assume Landry is alright with how things are going. He has not been on a winning team since 2016, but its nice to be productive once in a while.
Justin Jefferson-WR (MIN)
It is enjoyable to watch what Jefferson is able to accomplish each game as this season goes on. Coming from behind, the Vikings were able to stay afloat in the wild card race as they knocked off the Panthers. Jefferson’s seven catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns were the most productive from a fantasy perspective for the Vikings, but also in getting the win. His first touchdown got the game going for the Vikings as he got the safety for the Panthers to bite on his cut.
The second, another beautiful route and cut by Jefferson made both defenders miss as he fought his way in for the touchdown.
He is up to six now on the Griddy count. Adam Thielen is unlikely to miss Sunday’s game against Jacksonville as he was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but if the Vikings receivers can replicate what they did against the Panthers, look for another productive day for Jefferson.
Tyrann Mathieu-S (KC)
Nothing against Tom Brady, but now that he is in the NFC watching his team lose is a little more enjoyable. The Bucs are sixith in the NFC playoff seeding after losing to the Chiefs, their third loss in four games. Mathieu and the Chiefs made their presence felt early, and held off against a late Bucs rally in the fourth quarter. Mathieu had an interception late in the third quarter that prevented the Bucs from scoring as they were already in field goal range at that point. Brady threw two interceptions against the Chiefs, but the bigger story was what Tyreek Hill was able to accomplish in the first quarter. Hill had 203 yards in the first quarter alone and scored all three of the Chiefs touchdowns, the longest being 75 yards. The Chiefs had one sack and eight quarterback hits, disrupting Brady’s game and helping seal the victory for the now 10-1 Chiefs.
Week 13 has a lot of scheduling changes in place due to the Steelers-Ravens drama. There will not be a Thursday night game, but two Monday games and one Tuesday, if things do not change any further. Notable games include the Browns-Titans, Rams-Cardinals, and the Eagles-Packers, but also divisional matchups like the Saints-Falcons, Lions-Bears, Colts-Texans and Broncos-Chiefs. Hopefully there will not be as much disfunction this week and the coming weeks ahead.