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Packers: Davante Adams, Kenny Clark ‘ready to go’ in Week 6

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Davante Adams and Kenny Clark are “ready to go” for the Packers in Week 6.

As expected, the Green Bay Packers will get two star players back in Week 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Packers have released their injury report ahead of Sunday’s game, and both wide receiver Davante Adams and defensive tackle Kenny Clark don’t carry an injury designation.

Head coach Matt LaFleur said that both players “will be ready to go” on Sunday.

There’s more good news as cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Chandon Sullivan will play. Alexander has been dealing with hand and knee injuries, while Sullivan is back from a concussion.

However, Green Bay could be without another starting cornerback, Kevin King, who is listed as questionable to play. He didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday but did return on Friday, although he was limited.

Some more concerning news is that edge rusher Za’Darius Smith is also questionable. A full participant at practice earlier in the week, Smith was downgraded to limited on Friday as he deals with an ankle injury. It would take a lot for Smith not to play, so we should expect him to battle through his injury.

Another edge rusher, Rashan Gary, is also questionable due to an ankle injury. He missed the game in Week 4 and has been limited at practice all week. The Packers will need both Smith and Gary this week up against a strong Buccaneers offense.

The Packers are relatively healthy after the bye. Running back/returner Tyler Ervin is the only player ruled out due to a wrist injury, while no players on the injury report have been listed as doubtful.

The Bucs haven’t ruled any players out for this game, although cornerback Carlton Davis, defensive lineman Khalil Davis, and running back Leonard Fournette are all questionable. The talented receiving trio of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Scotty Miller will all be available.

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Patriots: It’s really hard to believe Cam Newton’s comments about his receivers

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As much as we admire Patriots QB Cam Newton’s confidence, it’s impossible to believe his latest comments about his wide receivers.

Teams generally use bye weeks to regroup and address concerns that were on full display in previous games. Unfortunately for the Patriots, however, their makeshift bye in Week 5 featured a slew of COVID-19 diagnoses, forcing them to close their practice facilities on multiple occasions.

Nothing is fair about the Patriots suffering the consequences of the NFL’s failure to implement a proper contingency plan, but we don’t see the Titans, whose outbreak was far more severe, using that as an excuse, as they’ve rattled off two straight wins since being cleared to return to the field.

In their first post bye clash on Sunday, the Patriots looked like anything but a playoff contender, losing to an inferior Broncos side despite holding the touchdown advantage and forcing two interceptions of quarterback Drew Lock down the stretch.

In terms of takeaways (other than what Lock did), the biggest on the afternoon was clearly the offense’s shocking inability to move the ball down field. While Cam Newton looked like a player who was away from the team for several days, his wide receiving corps did him zero favors, as everyone struggled to muster separation from defenders all game long.

Following their lackluster performance — it feels like we’ve said that a lot this season — Newton continued to express confidence in the group while speaking to reporters after the loss.

Newton doesn’t usually offer much during press conferences following defeats, so we wouldn’t look too deeply into him providing a two-word response when asked about his confidence in his current options at WR. It would also be an awful optic for him to come out and chastise the Patriots’ roster, but we find it really hard to believe that he’s this optimistic.

The 31-year-old quarterback completed just 46% of his pass attempts (6-of-13) vs Denver when throwing to Patriots receivers, and we’re honestly not sure what’s worse: his completion percentage when targeting them, or the fact that he only threw their direction 13 times.

If that doesn’t speak to his lack of trust in them, maybe the fact that running back James White led the way with eight receptions (on nine targets) for 65 yards will do the trick. For added context, no Patriots wideout finished with more than three receptions or 38 yards.

We’re not saying that Newton was perfect — he struggled a lot on deep balls — and he admirably took responsibility for the loss after the game, but it’s hard to come down on him when you consider the talent, or lack thereof, that he’s working with.

It’s duly noted that Bill Belichick has enjoyed tremendous success, often without superstar receivers, throughout his esteemed coaching career, but this team is going nowhere if he doesn’t get his quarterback some help on the perimeter. Those are just the facts, and Patriots Nation should be on its knees praying that he doesn’t take Newton’s postgame comments to heart.

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NY Giants must stick with Andrew Thomas vs. Eagles … Here’s why

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The NY Giants have a monumental decision to make at left tackle, but benching Andrew Thomas moving forward would be the wrong move

The NY Giants benched No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas for Sunday’s game against Washington after the rookie was late for a team meeting Saturday night, and despite his replacement, fellow rookie Matt Peart, playing well, must fight the temptation to keep Thomas on the bench.

Peart, chosen by the NY Giants in the third-round of April’s NFL Draft out of UConn, finished Sunday’s game as the Giants’ highest-graded offensive player with an 89.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, including a 93.4 run-blocking grade.

Despite lining up at times against Washington Football Team rookie defensive end Chase Young, Peart only allowed one pressure on 11 snaps.

Monday, Giants head coach Joe Judge wouldn’t commit to Thomas starting Thursday against the Eagles.

“We’ll go through practice this week and kind of see where everything shakes out right now,” Judge said Monday. “But I was pleased with the way both he and Matt played, along with Cam (Fleming). We have multiple guys who can play the positions.

“We’ll go through practice these next couple of days and kind of see how everything shakes out. But again, we expect all of them to be at the game and we expect all of them to play.”

With only one real practice prior to Thursday night’s game, this isn’t the time to make a permanent change at left tackle, offensive line guru Duke Manyweather says.

“You have to roll with Thomas,” Manyweather tells GMenHQ. “He’s the No. 4 pick in the draft. You play him. Period.”

Thomas has looked stout against the run the past two games, but still has an overall grade of just 59.1 from Pro Football Focus and a pass blocking grade of 47.5.

“The real bad part is that Thomas hasn’t really improved in six weeks,” NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger told GMenHQ. “The same flaws I saw at Georgia, I’m still seeing now. He can’t keep his feet on the ground. It’s maddening to watch.”

While Baldinger thinks the Giants would be wise to sit Thomas and get Peart snaps, Manyweather believes Thomas’ flaws are fixable.

“He needs to find more consistency with his base,” Manyweather said. “Consistency in his pass sets, he tends to overset, which presents the green light for inside moves from defenders.

“Because his base isn’t always consistent with width and weight distribution, he has had some issues redirecting to post-cover the inside. He’s also been way too early with his hands way too often, which is a byproduct of him being out of position with his feet.”

Peart certainly played well enough to earn extended playing time in coming weeks, and as Baldinger points out, Peart’s 86.5 wingspan “might be the longest in the NFL, and that’s a huge asset,” getting Peart on the field should not come at the expense of playing Thomas.

What Judge, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and the Giants must realize is that like it or not, this team remains in the infancy of an overdue rebuild, and given what the organization has invested in Thomas along with his immense potential, giving up now could destroy his confidence and his upside.

“Growing pains happen,” Manyweather said. “It would be a huge blow if they benched him because of this. We give up on guys way too soon in the NFL.”

To give up on Thomas now could be disastrous in the short and long-term for the Giants.

Next: Way too early Giants 3-round 2020 NFL Mock Draft

Matt Lombardo is the site expert for GMenHQ, and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday for FanSided. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL. 

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LA Rams vs. SF 49ers: 5 players to watch most on Sunday night

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San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Richie James (13) against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With an upcoming NFC West bout against the LA Rams, these five SF 49ers players are ones to watch out for most on Sunday night.

Matchup

Los Angeles Rams

4-1

San Francisco 49ers

2-3

Sunday, Oct. 18

8 p.m. ET

The SF 49ers begin their toughest stretch of the season with a Sunday Night Football matchup at Levi’s Stadium with long-time division rivals the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6.

The Rams are off to a good start, having only lost a single game to the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills, in what was a good game on both sides of the ball for each team. They currently sit a game behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West.

The SF 49ers, on the other hand, are coming off a bit of a skid in their season. After a very successful, if not costly, road trip to MetLife Stadium for two blowout victories, the Niners have returned home to play a couple of stinkers against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins, with the latter marking a new low in the season, a game Niners were never really in.

Despite the Niners limping into this game with a league-high 13 players on injured reserve and numerous other players ailing from nagging or shorter-term injuries, the team still has a chance to right the ship and make noise in the playoffs, even if a second-straight division title seems highly unlikely.

If that’s to be the case, the recentering will have to begin on national television in front of the entire country with a massively in-form Rams team looking to enact a little revenge on an SF 49ers team that beat them twice in 2019.

The good news is that Sunday night will mark the return of those excellent all-white 49ers throwback jerseys from last season, too.

Just another reason not to take your eyes off these five SF 49ers players.

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