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SF 49ers, Mohamed Sanu mutually benefit each other

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The SF 49ers are bringing aboard veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, and each party can help resurrect each other for the rest of 2020.

The SF 49ers needed veteran wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.

Sanu needed a team like the Niners.

So, at least according to Sanu’s agent, Mike McCartney, and backed up by a number of other leaguewide reports, Sanu will be joining San Francisco on a one-year deal where he’ll reunite with a coach under whom he had great success, previously, Kyle Shanahan.

Sanu, 32 years old, didn’t pan out late in 2019 after the New England Patriots acquired him from the Atlanta Falcons, where Sanu and Shanahan first developed their working relationship together.

Under Shanahan, though, Sanu flourished as a big-slot wide receiver, putting together 653 yards and four touchdowns during the Falcons’ Super Bowl run that year. While Shanahan frequently featured Atlanta’s No. 1 receiving target that year, Julio Jones, Sanu performed the perfect complementary role.

So it makes sense Shanahan previously told reporters he wouldn’t rule out the idea of adding Sanu to his already-depleted and uninspiring wide receiver corps.

Well, literally, he didn’t.

 

SF 49ers to benefit from Mohamed Sanu

At least in one aspect, Sanu will help San Francisco’s wide receiver room much in a way now-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders did during the latter half of 2019 after being acquired from the Denver Broncos. The Niners wideout room is predominantly young, meaning Sanu’s veteran presence and playoff pedigree should do some good.

But there are far more aspects and benefits to Sanu coming aboard.

Speaking of the lack of impact wideouts, the SF 49ers are already hurting without their clear-cut No. 1 option, Deebo Samuel, who is still on the mend after suffering a broken foot earlier this offseason. And while there’s a lot of hype surrounding the team’s first-round NFL Draft choice, Brandon Aiyuk, it’s important to remember he has yet to play a regular-season down at the NFL level.

The lack of spring workouts and no preseason also hinder Aiyuk’s development.

The shortages left Shanahan with two depth wide receivers, Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis, to start in Week 1. San Francisco also lost wide receiver Richie James to a hamstring injury during the game, potentially increasing the need to bring aboard Sanu to an even greater level than before.

Plus, Sanu won’t have to adjust too much to Shanahan’s intricate and complex offense. He’s done that before.

And a big-bodied 6-foot-2, 215-pound target will surely add to the 49ers’ physical presence on the field.

Next: 3 reasons why 49ers lost ugly to Cardinals in Week 1

Week 1’s lack of receiving prowess during the Niners’ opening day loss to the Arizona Cardinals, combined with the injuries Shanahan is dealing with at the position, prompted this move.

And both parties now stand to benefit from the other’s presence.

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Arizona Cardinals look to fly into win streak after upset win

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If expectations weren’t high enough for the Arizona Cardinals this season, things are going to get even tougher as they look to build their first winning streak of 2020.

To some, the Arizona Cardinals aren’t expected to do much in 2020. They weren’t supposed to beat the reigning NFC Champions on the road for the season opener. Kyler Murray wasn’t supposed to get away from Nick Bosa and their defense. And the defense wasn’t supposed to get the stop at the end of the game for the win.

They fell behind 10-0 and things looked bleak early on. But they fought back, and Kyler Murray showed the NFL world that his MVP mentions aren’t just a fantasy, but a reality for the second year quarterback.

Kyler and Co. will look to follow up the upset at home, as they face off against the Washington Football Team in Glendale on Sunday. Washington defeated the the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1. A game in which their defense only allowed 57 yards rushing and 208 yards passing. Carson Wentz was also sacked 8 times, as Ryan Kerrigan and rookie Chase Young dominated the battered up offensive line. The nameless team looked like a hungry bunch looking to establish a name of their own against a division opponent.

The Cardinals will look to combat that pass rush with their high-flying offense after putting up 404 yards of total offense against the Niners. Murray finished the day with 230 yards passing, 91 yards rushing and two total touchdowns. WR DeAndre Hopkins will look to also follow up his Cards debut after catching a career-high 14 passes for 151 yards. Certainly an established rapport for the new duo.

Entering Week 2, the Cardinals have won their season opener, are over .500, and in first place in their respective division, for the first time since 2015. If they want to keep riding this momentum, they’ll need to filter out the extra attention, welcome the adversity and just play Cardinal football. The sky will truly be the limit for the Red Birds.

Next: 3 key matchups for Cardinals vs Washington

Again, to some, they aren’t supposed to be a playoff contender. To some … but not the Arizona Cardinals.

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Atlanta Falcons secondary will be the key to winning versus Cowboys

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After a terrible game plan in week one, the Atlanta Falcons have a chance for redemption.

The Atlanta Falcons secondary gets a second chance Sunday, for fans to see what they’re all about. In fact, the Falcons defensive backs versus the Cowboys receivers will be the key to winning the game Sunday.

The last time these two teams matched up in 2018, Julio Jones made the Falcons best play as a defender. Matt Ryan overthrew him, Jones turned and leveled the defender breaking up a for sure interception. If Raheem Morris is smart, he would be showing his young guys that play.

The Cowboys will roll out Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. You can expect them to get the bulk of the targets as the Boys will be without their top tight end. But don’t forget about that man Ezekiel Elliott.

The Atlanta Falcons would be wise to stack the box against him just about every chance they get. That’s a running back that can change the game.

And if they do that, they are going to have to rely heavily on man to man coverage in the secondary. The Atlanta Falcons forced just four incompletions last week versus Seattle on 35 attempts. That’s real life, not a Madden statistic. And while Dak Prescott is no Russell Wilson, any professional quarterback should be salivating seeing the way the Falcons secondary performed last week.

What do the Atlanta Falcons put more emphasis on in Week 2?

The Falcons are going to have to pick their poison: sell out to stop the run, or allow Zeke to carve them up so they can stay comfortable in their outdated Cover 2 scheme. For some reason, the coaching staff still sees potential in Isaiah Oliver despite receivers being more open than Waffle House when they’re going against him.

You can expect him to be matched up on Amari Cooper. The Cowboys would also be smart to make sure Cooper gets plenty of chances against AJ Terrell. While a rookie cornerback might be the hardest position in the NFL, we expected him to struggle at points this year. ACC, SEC, whoever he faced in college, you’re going against talent on a different level.

Next: Recent history favors the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday

If the Falcons hope to win Sunday and save their season and keep Dan Quinn’s seat just warm, Oliver and Terrell are going to have to play like the professionals they are getting paid to be. If not, the Cowboys might have their way on the ground and through the air. If the two young corners step up, we might see a glimpse of what the Falcons defense can be.

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Buffalo Bills: Inactives for Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins

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Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano were ruled out Friday. Both linebackers suffered injuries in Week 1 and with Edmunds practicing on a limited basis and Milano not practicing at all, this wasn’t much of a surprise.

The additional players that are inactive this week are: quarterback Jake Fromm, running back T.J. Yeldon, linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips, offensive lineman Ike Boettger, and tight end Lee Smith.

The loss of Edmunds and Milano is certainly big for this defense. Tyrel Dodson is expected to start at middle linebacker while A.J. Klein will be the second linebacker when they go to their nickel defense.

As for the third linebacker, this will be a team effort as the Bills will look at a combination of Deon Lacey, Andre Smith, and even possibly Siran Neal in certain passing situations. Lacey is an interesting active because the Bills just added him this week. While he may see some time on defense, he will likely see a majority of his playing time on special teams.

On the positive side, Bills fans for the first time this year will get to see defensive tackle Vernon Butler, who is active for today’s game. He missed last week after dealing with a hamstring but should get a full workload against the Dolphins this week.

Next: Who will be the X-factor for the Buffalo Bills in Week 2?

In addition to Butler, the Bills second round pick A.J. Epenesa will be active for the first time in his NFL career. He was a surprise inactive against the New York Jets but the question now is how much playing time will he get. The Bills will have nine defensive linemen active for today’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

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