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Colts: Projecting Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins’ roles after Marlon Mack injury

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Here’s what the Colts backfield will look like in Week 2 and beyond following Marlon Mack suffering a season-ending injury.

Colts fans held their collective breath when they watched Marlon Mack get carted off the field during Sunday’s game against Jacksonville with what was originally tabbed as an ankle injury.

The 24-year-old running back was sent to the locker room to undergo further testing, which subsequently revealed that he might have suffered a torn Achilles. Unfortunately for the Colts, their worst fears were realized on Monday, as reports confirmed that Mack will miss the rest of the season.

Prior to suffering the injury, Mack was enjoying a solid game, tallying 26 yards on four carries while adding three receptions for 30 yards through the air. Big things were expected from the former fourth-round pick, who’s in a contract year, after he compiled 1,091 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 4.4 YPC in 2019.

To say that this is a huge loss for the Colts would be an understatement, but they are lucky enough to have reinforcements that should keep the running game operating smoothly for the rest of the year. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look as to how the backfield workload could pan out moving forward.

Second-round pick Jonathan Taylor took over as the Colts’ lead back once Mack was removed from the game, and we can expect him to be the starter in Week 2 and beyond, assuming he isn’t entirely ineffective. We didn’t think Taylor would be used as a reliever for Mack for very long, and it turns out we were right — for the worst reason possible.

The Wisconsin product struggled to find holes against Jacksonville’s front seven, managing just 22 yards on nine carries (2.2 YPC). However, it was refreshing to see how much Philip Rivers trusted him as a receiver coming out of the backfield. For the game, Taylor finished second on the Colts with six receptions for 67 yards, so fans should anticipate him receiving between 12-15 carries and 4-7 targets per game.

While that will likely account for the majority of the touches, don’t be surprised if Nyheim Hines comes close to splitting reps with the former Badger, as he was one of a few bright spots in the Colts’ humiliating loss. The North Carolina State product looked incredibly nimble on his way to registering 28 rushing yards on 4.0 YPC (plus a touchdown) and 45 receiving yards on eight receptions (plus a TD).

In the simplest of terms, Hines’ lively showing against the Jaguars should earn him a significant role, both as a runner and receiver, on the team for the remainder of the campaign.

As we know, Indianapolis was entering the 2020 season with the intention of deploying a three-headed monster in the backfield. This means that Jordan Wilkins will have a role to play. At 6-foot-1 and 216 pounds, the third-year pro is more physically imposing than Taylor (5-10) and Hines (5-9), so we could see the third-year pro be utilized in short yardage situations and maybe even on the goal line.

It absolutely stinks that we won’t be able to witness Mack’s response to Taylor supposedly coming for his starting job, but injuries are just a part of the game. In the meantime, this is how we’re expecting the Colts to split up the workload in the backfield for the foreseeable future.

Glad they kept Wilkins after all.

Next: Colts Defense Looked Awful Against Jacksonville

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Buffalo Bills: 4 X-Factors in Week 3 against the LA Rams

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ORCHARD PARK, NY – DECEMBER 08: Mitch Morse #60 of the Buffalo Bills readies to snap the ball during the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at New Era Field on December 8, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Baltimore defeats Buffalo 24-17. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

These are four players who could be X-Factors for the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Rams.

In the first two games, the Buffalo Bills have gotten big performances from key players outside of the team’s stars like Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs, and Tre’Davious White.

In Week 1, the play of Andre Roberts as their returner helped the Bills win the position battle against the New York Jets. While in Week 2, it was a diving touchdown catch by Gabriel Davis that helped the Bills take the lead back in the fourth quarter while Tyrel Dodson had big shoes to fill replacing Tremaine Edmunds and did a pretty good job.

These are four players in Week 3 who could play a pivotal role in helping the Buffalo Bills secure a victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Mitch Morse

There is no question that Buffalo Bills starting center Mitch Morse has a tall order in front of him with Aaron Donald lining up on the other side. The Rams defensive tackle is one of the best in the league and the Bills coaching staff has likely put together a comprehensive gameplan to try and slow him down.

One of the keys is going to be double team Aaron Donald whenever possible and this will mean that Morse will likely be helping out either Quinton Spain or Cody Ford at time.

However, communication will also be a key to their success and this is certainly going to fall on the Bills’ center. The Rams will likely try to stunt Donald or send delay blitzes behind the defensive tackle to try and get after Josh Allen.

There will be plenty of pressure on the Buffalo Bills offensive line, and especially Mitch Morse, in a key game for this team.

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4 big Panthers storylines to watch at the Chargers in Week 3

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(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Corn Elder

What are some of the big storylines to keep a close eye on when the Carolina Panthers travel to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3 of the 2020 season?

There might not be much riding on this season for the Carolina Panthers, but they will need to pick up their first win sooner rather than later.

It has been ten games since the Carolina Panthers’ loyal fanbase got the sweet taste of victory to celebrate. They deserve better and even though the most optimistic supporter went into this campaign with a sense of skepticism, it will not take much longer for the natives to get even more restless given the way this new-look roster has performed in their opening two games.

They face another significant challenge during their longest road trip of the season at the Los Angeles Chargers, who come into the game on the back of a creditable display against the Kansas City Chiefs that eventually ended with an overtime loss to the Super Bowl champions.

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert will get the start once again after Tyrod Taylor remains sidelined with a punctured lung following a procedure by a team doctor that went wrong. The former Oregon sensation showed enormous promise during an eye-catching debut and the signal-caller will be hoping for more success against a defense that has its fair share of weaknesses.

Everything will go right for the Panthers if they want to get anything out of this one. Starting the season 0-3 would be demoralizing for the coaching staff, players, and fans in equal measure and it would be a long road back to respectability when one considers the strength of opponents remaining on the schedule.

Here are some big storylines to watch from Carolina’s perspective when they take on the Chargers this weekend.

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Chicago Bears: 3 Keys to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons

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Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears will need to rely on these three areas to beat the Falcons

It has not been pretty, but the Chicago Bears are undefeated two weeks into the 2020 NFL season. This team has had some great moments, but also some really bad ones. In Week 1 the team did not show up for the first three quarters, but then in the fourth quarter, it seemed like everyone woke up. Most hoped it was just rust from not playing in the preseason, but Week 2 did not help erase fan’s fears that this team has flaws.

The first half of the Giants game looked great, but then things slightly derailed in the second half. The offense could not seem to find its groove again. When it comes to playing the Falcons in Week 3, putting up 17 points will not be enough. The team must find a way to score more points.

Now, in the Bears defense, a blown pass interference call on Eddie Jackson negated a defensive touchdown and a perfectly thrown ball to Anthony Miller was dropped in the end zone. Had either or both of these went the Bears way, the scoreboard would have looked much different. The good news for the Chicago Bears is that the Falcons defense has allowed the most points per game in the NFL thus far this season. This will be a good test for Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy.

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