Colin Kaepernick, QB (49ers)

NO 41 at SF 23

At first I was surprised to see the 49er’s QB listed as Week 9’s passing leader.  But, it makes sense that a player with tremendous athletic gifts for the game is getting more comfortable with that Chip Kelly offense after a few games back on the field this season.  Kaep threw for 398 yards (his 2nd best passing day ever), 2 TDs and had a passer rating of 102.3.  These numbers contributed towards 486 yards of total offense for San Fran.  But (and you knew there was a but), even with these totals, the 49ers turned the football over 4 times (including twice by Kaepernick) and they were poor in the red zone (2-9 on 3rd down conversion).  Meanwhile, the Saints converted on 11-17 third down attempts.  Next week will likely be more difficult as San Fran heads to Arizona, a team with one of the best passing defenses in the league (3rd ranked).  Kaepernick should try to use his legs more than his arm this time, as the Cardinals rushing defense is not as good (16th ranked).

Melvin Gordon, RB (Chargers)

TEN 35 at SD 43

This 2015 first round draft pick by the Chargers is having a break out season.  So far this year, the sophomore is the league leader in rushes with 193 attempts which already tops his 2015 total (184 attempts in 14 games).  In Week 9, he had an absolute monster game with 196 rushes in 32 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per carry and 1 TD, plus another 65 yards receiving.  One of his rushes was a gain of 47 yards towards the end of the game, which helped the Chargers get to a 4-5 record & keep their playoff hopes alive.  Gordon’s performance was recognized by the NFL with a well-deserved AFC Offensive Player of the Week Award.  SI’s Chris Burke also suggested this week that he should be a candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Robert Woods, WR (Bills)

BUF 25 at SEA 31

The Week 9 receiving leader was Woods with 162 yards and 10 catches.  These numbers in both yards and receptions were both career highs for the 24-year-old out of USC in his 4th year with the Bills.  Pro Football Focus considers him last week’s top slot receiver as he “beat out 5 different Seattle defenders for receptions”.  Next week is a bye for Buffalo which will be helpful for Woods, as he has been nursing a nagging foot injury.  The team will need him fully back down the stretch with some winnable games coming up against the Bengals, Jags, Raiders, Steelers, Browns, Dolphins and Jets.

Landon Collins, S (Giants)

PHI 23 at NYG 28

Collins makes this list for the 2nd time this season (Week 7) for another tremendous performance in which he had 12 tackles, a sack and an interception that helped to set up a difference making TD.  He also garnered another NFC Defensive Player of the Week Award and became the first player to win the award in consecutive games since 2010 (Polamalu).  He’s also the only player in the league leading his team in tackles (69), interceptions (3) and sacks (3).

Matt Prater, K (Lions)

DET 22 at MIN 16

Prater is one of the best place kickers in the league not because he owns the record for the longest field goal in NFL history (64 yards; 2013), but because he is the most clutch kicker in league history.  He is an incredible 23 – 23 on game-tying or go-ahead Field Goal attempts in the 4Q or overtime and has the record for longest clutch kick in the 4Q (59 yards; 2016).  He continued his late game clutchness during Week 9 when he made a 58-yard field goal to tie the game with the Vikings and send it to OT.  Eventually, Detroit went on to win and now sit in 2nd place in the NFC North with a 5-4 record.  The league recognized Prater’s heroics with an NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honor.

Brock Osweiler, QB (Texans)

5-3, AFC South

In the off-season, Houston made the gutsy move of signing free agent and former Broncos’ QB Brock Osweiler to a $72 million contract. I thought it a decent move at the time, considering Houston seemed to be only a franchise QB and a few pieces away from going deep into the playoffs.  And, despite the fact that Osweiler had only 7 career starts at the time, he did a solid job as backup to Peyton Manning while he was injured.  But, the question remained:  Is Osweiler a franchise QB?  During training camp with the Texans, all seemed to go well for him.  He apparently settled in nicely, had a reputation for working very hard, and was understanding the play calling quicker than expected.  However, as the regular season has progressed, Osweiler’s play has progressively worsened.  Heading into Week 10, he has a total completion rate of 59.3%, 9 TDs, 9 Interceptions and his QBR is 47.4 (28th).  And, instead of being a .500 offense, the Texans currently rank 30th in Total Offense and 30th in Passing Offense.  Osweiler has reportedly also failed to make a connection with elite WR DeAndre Hopkins, a star in 2015.  Luckily, the Texans defense has been decent enough, particularly in the secondary, which has helped keep Houston afloat a crummy division (AFC South). But, there is worry that Osweiler will never get it and I tend to agree.  Though he has only 15 career starts, he’s been around the league since 2012 before starting full-time and he is just downright bad under any kind of pressure.  Statistics show he performs average with time, but without it – he can’t find a way to score points or get first downs and becomes shoddy with ball security.  Alas, the Texans will likely win their division by default and make it to a wild card game in the playoffs, like last year.  And, like last year, they probably won’t go much farther.  Only time will tell if Osweiler can pick up his game and carry this team better than he has so far in 2016 and farther into the playoffs.


Source : NFL

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