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Colts: 3 reasons to be optimistic about Philip Rivers in Week 6

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Here are three reasons why Colts fans should be optimistic about QB Philip Rivers in Week 6.

Fans in Indianapolis have been engulfed in a state of panic following the Colts’ loss to Cleveland in Week 5, and you know what? We really don’t blame them. After all, the consensus immediate reaction was that they would have come out on top if they’d had a more responsible quarterback under center, as two Philip Rivers interceptions — plus a boneheaded safety — ultimately resulted in nine Browns points.

Ironically enough, that was precisely the amount that Indianapolis lost by. As much as we would have liked to defend Rivers from the mountain of criticism he’s received from fans and media members this week, his play was so poor that it simply wasn’t possible.

With so many people calling for Rivers’ job, head coach Frank Reich actually answered questions about whether he was considering benching him. It goes without saying that Rivers has his flaws and we were never really sold on giving him $25 million, but we never would have guessed his evident decline in 2019 would drastically worsen after joining a team in Indianapolis which boasts a superior offensive line and rushing attack to that of the Chargers.

With all of that being said and amid all of the questions about whether signing Rivers was the right move by general manager Chris Ballard, however, there’s still plenty of reasons out there to be optimistic about him heading into Week 6 against a 1-3 Bengals team that is fresh off getting trounced by Baltimore.

Here are three that stick out the most.

Colts

Colts QB Philip Rivers (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

3. His Tendency to Bounce Back

Colts QB Philip Rivers tends to deliver his best games amid adversity.

One thing that Rivers doesn’t get enough credit for is his perseverance. People forget that he came into the league back in 2004 as a gunslinger in every sense of the word. His fearlessness in a collapsing pocket and willingness to fit throws into tight windows is part of what made him such an intriguing prospect coming out of North Carolina State.

Though nobody thought it would become this concerning, Rivers was always expected to drive coaches mad with his turnovers. However, he admirably hasn’t let it define his career. Since becoming the Chargers’ full-time starter in 2006, the former No. 4 overall pick has thrown less than 10 interceptions just twice in 15 seasons. How many signal callers would let those struggles consume them and ultimately derail their respective careers?

Rivers has probably had dozens of games like Week 5 against Cleveland when his turnovers were solely responsible for his team’s loss. It says a lot about the 38-year-old’s resilience that he’s still here and playing (mostly) at a starting-caliber level.

A number of Colts fans are probably writing him off on the heels of his putrid performance last Sunday, and understandably so. However, we would advise against doing so, as Rivers has proven throughout his career that he is capable of bouncing back.

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Atlanta Falcons prediction: Can the birds get their first win of the year?

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The Atlanta Falcons are back in action for the first time since firing Dan Quinn.

At 1-4 the Minnesota Vikings aren’t much better than the 0-5 Atlanta Falcons. This has all the makings of a really bad pillow fight among two teams that had Super Bowl hopes coming into 2020.

This will be the fifth time that these two teams have met over the last seven NFL seasons, the Falcons are 0-4 in the previous four meetings. The Falcons last win against the Vikings came in 2011 when Matt Ryan threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns.

Here is how the staff at Blogging Dirty thinks the game turns out.

Jeff Benedict – Site Expert

When these two teams met last season, I was shocked at how bad the Atlanta Falcons had looked. Minnesota jumped out 28-0 and never looked back.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook evolved into one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league and while he was able to rush for 111 yards, he didn’t embarrass the Falcons like he did other teams across the league.

He will be out Sunday, which is a big advantage for the Falcons.

This Vikings team is much different on the defensive side than they were a year ago and I think the Falcons will be able to take advantage of that.

I think Raheem Morris starts his Falcons coaching career with a win.

Joe Beasley – Contributor

I expect the Falcons to play with some type of fire. If interim head coach Raheem Morris wants a shot at this job or any other head coaching gig, he has to show he can somewhat fix this mess in Atlanta.

The offense does get Julio Jones back which is good for everyone except a young Vikings secondary. Add that to the fact that Dalvin Cook isn’t playing and you have a perfect storm for the Falcons to get their first win.

Besides, I’m bound to get one of these right.

Justin Churchill – Contributor

Last week the Vikings were close to beating the Seahawks. They have a very good offense but may struggle without Dalvin Cook in the backfield.

Their defense will give up a lot, hopefully allowing Todd Gurley to get back into a groove. However,  I think the Vikings will win this one.

Ross Terrell – Contributor

It’s officially a new era in Atlanta. Maybe just maybe Raheem Morris was gunning for this job the whole time. So he sabotaged Quinn to get his shot as head coach. Or maybe the Falcons downward spiral will continue.

Let’s hope the latter isn’t true and the Atlanta Falcons finally pull themselves off the mat.

Next: Falcons have a chance to get out of sports purgatory

Ethan Johnson – Contributor

The Atlanta Falcons will not win this game. The team may come out inspired and rejuvenated, or heartbroken because their coach is gone.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter because they haven’t beaten the Minnesota Vikings since 2011, and that streak won’t end Sunday.

 

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Buffalo Bills: 4 defensive tackles to consider trading for this season

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Sep 22, 2019; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) jogs off the field following his sack of Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (not pictured) during the first quarter at New Era Field. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

These are four defensive tackles the Buffalo Bills should consider trying to trade for before the trade deadline.

The defensive line for the Buffalo Bills went through a significant change this past offseason. They saw free agents Jordan Phillips and Shaq Lawson leave in free agency but the front office replaced them with Vernon Butler, Quinton Jefferson, and Mario Addison as well as selecting A.J. Epenesa in the second round.

In addition to those offseason moves, the Bills had last year’s starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei elect to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns around the pandemic.

After six games, it is clear that the changes have caused this defense to take a step backward stopping the run and the front office may need to look outside the organization on how to correct this.

The focus for general manager Brandon Beane should be to look for someone similar to Lotulelei in terms of a zero tech defensive tackle that can eat up space and take on multiple defenders. This will help force running backs into fewer lanes but also free up Tremaine Edmunds and the rest of the second and third-level defenders clear running lanes to get to the ball carrier.

These are four defensive tackles that could be available for a trade that makes sense for the Buffalo Bills.

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4 tight ends the Carolina Panthers should target in the 2021 NFL Draft

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Ian Thomas

Which college prospects are emerging as early draft candidates for the Carolina Panthers at the tight end position?

The Carolina Panthers clearly have a need at the tight end spot which needs to be addressed next spring. They are getting next to no production from either Ian Thomas or Chris Manhertz through six games of the 2020 season and this is a stark contrast to what the team got from prolific veteran Greg Olsen for so many years.

It’s hard to deny that this isn’t what the Carolina Panthers expected coming into the season. They had high hopes for Thomas to step up and fill the void left by the Pro Bowler, who opted for one more shot at a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks before inevitably taking up a broadcast position next year.

Thomas hasn’t lived up to his billing this season. He has accumulated just six receptions, 39 receiving yards, and one touchdown from 11 targets, which simply isn’t good enough if the former Indiana standout wants to make a real go of things from a starting role.

Although all hope isn’t lost, he is clearly skating on thin ice.

There were fewer expectations on the shoulders of Manhertz. The veteran is seen as more of a blocking tight end and has aided the Panthers in this area. This has been of particular use to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Mike Davis, depending on what play is called by Joe Brady.

If things continue as they are then this might be priority No.1 for the Panthers once the dust has settled on the 2020 season. Whether they bring in a veteran during the free agency period is up for debate, but there are plenty of exciting tight end prospects entering the 2021 NFL Draft that will also warrant consideration during the evaluation process.

Let’s take a look at four players at the position who could come into Carolina and potentially make a big impression.

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