The Seattle Seahawks are still getting the job done with defense:

Photo credit: Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Seattle Seahawks are currently in 1st place in the NFC West and that is largely because of their defense. The Seahawks have only surrendered 54 points all year and they are still winning football games with the same formula they won the Super Bowl with in 2014. That is by playing all around solid defense and dominating in the secondary with their talented defensive backs.. Seattle has surrendered the least yards out of any defense in the entire National Football League. The Seahawks are the 2nd best defense in terms of least amount of points allowed and are ranked 3rd in the league against the pass only allowing 183 yards per game. When you have a defense that is this suffocating and can take opposing quarterbacks out of the game production wise. You have a very special defensive unit and that has been the underlining reason why the Seahawks boast a 3-1 record entering week 6. This team has been talented for so long on the defensive side of the ball with big names like Michael Bennett, Earl Thomas, and Richard Sherman. Those players have consistently elevated their play when this team needed it the most and now they appear right back in the mix for another postseason run. It feels like the offense has been holding this team back this year but as long as you can keep your opponent from scoring you can compete in the sport of football. Seattle’s offense is ranked dead last in the league with only 79 points for the year, which means the defense has to take it a step further and find a way to intercept some passes and recover some fumbles and then find the end zone. Doing so would show just how much of an impact Pete Carroll’s defenders can have and it will likely win them some games when the postseason does come around. Give a lot of credit to that group of guys they have been the back bone of this team so far.

Charity of the day: Save the Children

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San Diego Chargers hold off the Denver Broncos for their second win of the season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The San Diego Chargers got their second win of the season when they edged out the Denver Broncos 21-13 in Thursday Night Football. The Chargers got on the board first when quarterback Philip Rivers connected with rookie Tight End Hunter Henry for a 5 yard touchdown pass. Henry had a great night for San Diego hauling 6 receptions for 83 yards and 1 touchdown when it was all said and done. Rivers had a decent night himself, the long time Chargers signal caller had 178 passing yards, 1 touchdown pass, and 0 interceptions on the evening. That was good enough to get the Chargers the win and Rivers did an exceptional job of not committing any turnovers in the match up. Second year Chargers Running Back Melvin Gordon also continued his solid year, Gordon rushed for 94 yards and was the leading rusher for either team. Defensively rookie Linebacker Jatavis Brown led San Diego with 14 tackles, 1 sack, and a forced fumble. While Kicker Josh Lambo had a stellar performance nailing 4 field goals for the Chargers. On the opposite sideline the Denver Broncos came up short and were handed their second loss of the season. Starting quarterback Trevor Siemian had a decent outing throwing for 230 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. That one touchdown pass went to Bennie Fowler but they couldn’t put together any other touchdowns other than that. Von Miller had another solid performance defensively for Denver. Miller recorded 6 tackles and another sack. That brings Miller’s season sack total to 7.5 and he has been playing lights out football all year. Finally Broncos Kicker Brandon McManus connected for 2 field goals but the Broncos lack of offensive production doomed them in the end. San Diego will take on the Falcons in their next contest, the Broncos on the other hand will host the Houston Texans.

Charity of the day: Mental Health America

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Derek Carr has the Raiders sitting atop the AFC West with a 4-1 record:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Oakland Raiders have had a stellar first 5 weeks of the season and now the Raiders enter week 6 with a 4-1 record. 4-1 is a definitely a huge accomplishment for this team especially since they only won 7 games all of last season. The main factor for the Raiders success this year has clearly been the development and growth of quarterback Derek Carr. Carr has been sensational this season for the Raiders throwing for 11 touchdown and only 2 interceptions. The 11 touchdowns lets you know he has been throwing the football effectively, while the 2 interceptions show Carr’s ability to protect the football. That is a winning formula for the quarterback position and when your most important player on the field (quarterback) is having success it makes winning so much easier. The defenses in the National Football League can stop the run much better than they can stop the pass. So when you have a good quarterback it gives your football team the ability to really take it to the defense. The other key piece to this Raiders offense over the first 5 weeks has been Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has been outstanding ever since he put on a Raiders uniform and this year he has 5 touchdown receptions. When you combine that with the 9 touchdowns he had last year in his first season with Oakland, you begin to see just how effective he has been. The Carr and Crabtree connection has clicked from day 1 and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. On the defensive side of the ball Reggie Nelson has been Oakland’s best player. Nelson leads the team with 37 total tackles 11 more than anyone else on the team, he also has 2 fumble recoveries and an interception. That has set the pace for Oakland’s defensive efforts and now this team will look to finish the second of the half of the season strong after a good start. It should be noted that Sean Smith has also added 2 interceptions to the Raiders defense as well and that is the latest update of what’s going on in Raiders land.

Charity of the day: Mental Health America

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Eric Decker will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets continue to get bad news after hearing today that starting wide receiver Eric Decker will be sidelined for the remainder of the season. Decker has a partially torn rotator cuff and the injury will need to be surgically repaired. That injury will require a significant length of time to heal itself and now the Jets find themselves in dire straits. This was football team that showed a lot of promise coming into the 2016 season after a 10-6 2015 campaign. This year though the Jets have amassed a 1-4 record and can’t seem to get anything going on the football field. Decker recorded over 1,000 yards receiving last season and 12 touchdown receptions. This season he ends his year with 194 yards and 2 touchdown catches. The loss of Decker’s offensive production will mean that Brandon Marshall will be tasked with picking up the slack. Marshall has 363 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns on the year, but now he will draw even more double teams and rolled coverages. The person who will be hit the hardest by the loss of Eric Decker will be quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick though. Fitzpatrick has 5 touchdowns passes and 10 interceptions this season and that was with all his receivers healthy. Now Fitzpatrick will have to squeeze out even more production with less talent on the field which will be very tough to do. The Jets are hoping Quincy Enunwa can be a guy that can step up and contribute more in Decker’s loss. The Jets number 3 receiver has been having a solid season with 294 yards and 1 receiving touchdown. So keep an eye on whether or not Enunwa’s production increases now that he will be taking on a larger role. Eric Decker is a major loss for the New York Jets but the bottom line is this team needs to find a way to win football games. At 1-4 they are quickly seeing their season slip away and it’s essentially now or never for this team Monday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Charity of the day: Natural Resources Defense Council

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Colin Kaepernick will get a chance to make a statement on the field:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The San Francisco 49ers have decided that they will turn the page from Blaine Gabbert and start Colin Kaepernick next Sunday instead. Gabbert who started every game this year for the 49ers simply wasn’t getting the job done and now Kaepernick will take over the 1-4 Niners in hopes of getting this team back on track. Kaepernick hasn’t started a game since November 1st 2015 so he will clearly have a little bit of rust on his game but the good news is Kaepernick fits in this offense well. It was kind of funny looking watching Gabbert run the zone read plays Kelly likes to run, however that same system will optimize Kaepernick’s talents. Mobile quarterbacks have a chance to flourish in zone read concepts and Kaepernick could use his speed to blow by defenders on game day. The knock against Kaepernick has been he doesn’t throw the football well enough so keep an eye on how Kaep looks mechanics wise. If he can come out and show he is effective on short, intermediate, and deep routes that might be enough to secure this job for the long term. The other thing Kaepernick has to do is prove he can take care of the football. Last season he threw 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions with a 59 percent completion percentage. That won’t be good enough to get the job done this year and you can’t have as many interceptions as you do touchdowns. That means you’re turning the ball over just as much as you’re scoring and that isn’t very efficient quarterback play. That completion percentage has been a consistent problem for Kaepernick as well, his career percentage is 59.9 percent. So he has to complete more passes and develop a rhythm and timing with his receivers. The promotion comes after Kaepernick’s highly controversial stance of kneeling during the National Anthem. So it’s safe to say Kaepernick will finally get a chance to make a statement on the field rather than off it. He gets his chance to do so Sunday against the Bills.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

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T.Y Hilton has provided a spark to the Indianapolis Colts offense:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Indianapolis Colts have a 2-3 record for the year but the player who has given this team the most production offensively has been wide receiver T.Y Hilton. Hilton has been having a spectacular year and is currently ranked 5th in the league in total yards receiving. Hilton has hauled in 507 yards this season and has got back to his playmaker ways. Just last Sunday against the Bears Hilton was able to bring in 10 receptions for 171 yards and 1 touchdown. That was good enough to elevate the Colts to a 29-23 victory over Chicago and things are looking up for Hilton for the rest of the season. Hilton is looking very dynamic on the field this year, which could be due to an increase in physical fitness. However one thing is clear Hilton is clearly benefiting from having Andrew Luck back in this line up. Luck has the arm strength to deliver deep strikes to Hilton and that was something the receiver missed last year with Luck out of the line up. T.Y Hilton has beat opposing defenses in so many different ways this season and that has really showed the wide receivers versatility on the football field. Hilton can run a fade route or a deep post and covert those plays into large gains for the Indianapolis’ offense. He also showed he can take short routes and produce plenty of yards after catch as well. Finally Hilton has shown no fear going over the middle and that is a testament to his toughness on the football field. It’s no secret the Colts are lacking talent collectively on their roster but Hilton has done an outstanding job of elevating his level of play and doing everything he can to give his team a chance. That shows what a competitor Hilton is and expect him to keep making plays for Indianapolis as the season moves forwards.

Charity of the day: Marine Mammal Center

Go Donate! www.tmmc.org

Gridiron battle: Tampa Bay edges out Carolina 17-14 in Monday Night Football showdown

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers headed to Charlotte North Carolina to take on the Panthers and in the end it was the Buccaneers who won the game 17-14. In a contest which featured no Cam Newton, it was Jameis Winston who propelled his team to victory. Winston finished the night with 18 completions out of 30 passing attempts for 219 yards and 1 touchdown pass. That lone touchdown strike was a 26 yard pass to Mike Evans in the 3rd quarter which tied the game up at 14 points apiece. With the game on the line the Buccaneers went to running back Jacquizz Rodgers time and time again. In fact the Bucs called Rodgers’ number 30 times in this match up and Rodgers responded with 101 rushing yards against the stout Panthers defense. Carolina’s most notable performers were running back Cameron Artis-Payne and Greg Olsen. Cameron Artis-Payne had a very compelling performance amassing 85 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. While Greg Olsen hauled in 181 receiving yards for the Panthers offense. Those two players played extremely well but ultimately it wasn’t enough to edge out Tampa Bay in a very close gridiron battle. Maybe the biggest story line however was Buccaneers kicker Robert Aguayo and the night he had. Aguayo started off the game on the right foot, he nailed his first two field goal attempts and put the Buccaneers up early 6-0. That’s when things got interesting though, Aguayo missed his next 2 field goal attempts and was suddenly 2 for 4 in the contest. At this point you could feel the frustrations from the coaching staff, fans, and teammates all building against Robert Aguayo but fortunately for the rookie kicker he got one more attempt. Aguayo’s final kick came late in the 4th quarter in a 14-14 tie football game. With only 3 second left on the clock Aguayo nailed a 38 yard gaming winning kick and that turned the 2nd round draft pick into the hero rather than an unreliable place kicker. The Buccaneers got their much needed 2nd win of the season, on the other hand the Panthers dropped to 1-4 and are quickly spiraling out of control. It wasn’t the prettiest game but give credit to Tampa Bay they made all the necessary adjustments and did enough to get win the when it was all said and done.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

The Titans have emerged as a threat to the Houston Texans in the AFC South:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Tennessee Titans were the worst team in all of football last year but this year it’s been a completely different story. The Titans are currently sitting in second place in the AFC South and are the main team that is threatening the Houston Texans in that division. Just yesterday the Titans knocked off the Miami Dolphins 30-17 and that’s a necessary step in the right direction for this football team. Not only that but Marcus Mariota threw for 4 touchdowns in that win and could start to build upon that positive momentum. Maybe the biggest underlining factor though might be the fact that the Titans have a great running game. Demarco Murray has been outstanding compared to last season, he rushed for 121 yards against the Dolphins. Then Derrick Henry came off the bench and had 54 yards himself. Together that tandem establishes the tempo for this offense and everything else just falls in place from there. If the Texans continue to regress which they likely will with JJ Watt being out of the line up, things could spiral out of control for Houston. That opens the door for the Titans to potentially seize that division and now it’s up to Tennessee to come out and execute on the field. Defensively the Titans have been a little better as well they are ranked 10th in the league which is a couple of spots higher than they were ranked last season. However that little bit of improvement defensively has the Titans producing great results this year and keep an eye on how this teams finishes over the course of these next 11 games. If they want to be the next up and coming team they have to prove their worth and go out and claim a division title or playoff birth. Doing so would put them in a good position this off-season and they could enter 2017 potentially a Super Bowl contender. Similar to what the Minnesota Vikings are doing right now.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

Buffalo gets their second consecutive win with a 30-19 victory over the Rams:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Buffalo Bills won their second straight game with a 30-19 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. The Bills led the entire contest and really looked good offensively in this match up. Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor only threw for 124 yards but he also threw 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the game. That was good enough for a 97.0 passer rating and ultimately Taylor’s team walked away with the win. Buffalo also got a huge day from LeSean McCoy, the Bills starting running back rushed for 150 yards on 18 attempts which included one run that went for 53 yards. McCoy was very effective for the Bills and when he plays like he did against the Rams, this team has a great chance to win football games. On the defensive side of the ball Lorenzo Alexander led the way for Buffalo. Alexander had 6 tackles and 3 sacks showing he can be a dominant force for Rex Ryan’s defensive unit. It isn’t too hard to figure out where the Rams went wrong in this game. First off quarterback Case Keenum didn’t do a good enough job, the Rams quarterback threw 2 interceptions and not one single touchdown. On top of that the Bills defense held Todd Gurley to under 100 yards rushing and the Rams defense surrendered far too many points. That collective poor performance caused the Rams to sputter and now Jeff Fisher’s team finds themselves sitting at 3-2 for the year. This was a game the Rams needed to win to continue their good momentum, but give credit to Rex Ryan’s team. Buffalo came into week 5 and handled their business. That puts them in second place in the AFC East and more importantly they having a winning record and their postseason hopes are still very much alive. Keep an eye on whether Buffalo continues their hot streak and keep in mind they will be much improved when they get some of their banged up players back on the field. So far Rex Ryan has been coaching pretty well this season and he deserves credit for his efforts. Buffalo will take on the 49ers next week, while the Rams head to Detroit for a showdown with the Lions.

Charity of the day: International Medical Corps

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The Redskins get their 3rd win of the season with a 16-10 win over the Ravens:

Photo credit: Todd Olszewski / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Washington Redskins took on the Ravens in a game in Baltimore Maryland. In that game it was the Ravens who would start off with all the momentum. The Ravens got out to a 10-6 lead in the first half, however it was the Redskins who battled back with 10 second half points and eventually won 16-10. The Redskins most notable play of the game might have come on special teams when Jamison Crowder returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown. That play was a spark plug for the Redskins and it’s always good when you can take a kick return or a punt return and turn it into 6 points. Kirk Cousins had a decent day for Washington he finished the contest with 260 yards and 1 passing touchdown. That 1 touchdown pass went to Pierre Garcon who also contributed 56 yards receiving. Defensively Will Compton and Duke Ihenacho led the way for the Redskins each recording 9 tackles apiece. For Baltimore Joe Flacco had 210 yards and 1 touchdown pass. Crockett Gilmore was on the receiving end of Flacco’s touchdown throw, while Terrance West added 95 yards to the Ravens running game. Cj Mosley continued his stellar defensive play by intercepting a pass and recording 6 tackles for Baltimore’s defense. When it was all said and done Washington got their much needed 3rd win of the season. They improve their momentum and now the stock arrow is pointing up for Washington after a slow start. On the opposite sideline the Ravens are now trending downward after losing 2 straight games. It’s been a tough couple weeks for Baltimore after an impressive 3-0 start. The Redskins will take on the Eagles in week 6. The Ravens on the other hand will take on the much improved New York Giants.

Charity of the day: International Medical Corps

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