San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle will miss his second successive game because of a knee injury.

Kittle missed out on the Niners' 31-13 win over the New York Jets in Week 2 and will not feature in Week 3 as they return to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Giants.

The All-Pro suffered a knee sprain and bone bruise in the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

He had been considered a game-time decision for the Giants clash, however, coach Kyle Shanahan elected to leave Kittle out after a discussion ahead of Friday's practice in West Virginia, where the 49ers have based themselves for the successive New York trips.

"We thought it was a lot safer to rule him out," Shanahan said in a media conference.

The 49ers are still favoured to beat the 0-2 Giants and will have to do so with backup quarterback Nick Mullens playing under center.

Mullens will start in place of Jimmy Garoppolo, who suffered a high-ankle sprain in a win over the Jets that also saw them lose defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas to torn anterior cruciate ligaments, while running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sustained knee injuries of their own.

Kittle broke out in the 2018 season as he set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single campaign, with 1,377 in a year in which Mullens played eight games due to a torn ACL suffered by Garoppolo.

He posted 1,053 yards in 14 regular-season games last season. Jordan Reed, who scored two touchdowns against the Jets, is again likely to see a heavy workload in Kittle's absence.

Jimmy Garoppolo will miss the San Francisco 49ers' clash with the New York Giants on Sunday because of a right high ankle sprain, with Nick Mullens starting in his place at quarterback.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Mullens would play in an interview with KNBR on Friday.

Garoppolo was one of a host of 49ers to sustain injuries in their Week 2 win over the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, where the Niners will face the 0-2 Giants.

Defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were each lost for the year to torn anterior cruciate ligaments while running backs Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sustained knee injuries that will keep them out against the Giants.

Star tight end George Kittle, who suffered a sprained knee and a bone bruise in the Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, will play only if there is no hesitation from himself or the team's medical staff, Shanahan said.

Garoppolo completed 14 of his 16 pass attempts for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against the Jets before Mullens replaced him in the second half.

An undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi, Mullens started eight games of a 2018 season that saw Garoppolo tear his ACL in Week 3.

Mullens went 3-5 as a starter, completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 2,277 yards, 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

 

Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson will do battle on Monday Night Football in Week 3 as the Kansas City Chiefs face the Baltimore Ravens.

Mahomes, the Super Bowl LIV MVP and 2018 season NFL MVP, and fellow quarterback Jackson, the 2019 season's NFL MVP, will hope to get the W that moves their team to 3-0.

That clash, one of a number of enticing Week 3 matchups, will provide an early indication of which franchise might be in the best shape to be the AFC's Super Bowl LV representative too.

Here, using Stats Perform data, we break down that game and the other top Week 3 showdowns.

 

FEATURE GAME

Chiefs at Ravens - Monday, 8.15pm (All times Eastern)

- There have been 13 games featuring the reigning and previous NFL MVPs starting against each other at the quarterback position (including playoffs). The reigning MVP has led his team to victory in eight of the last 10 such matchups, and is 8-5 overall.

- Mahomes hooked up with Tyreek Hill for a 54-yard touchdown in the win over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2. That was Mahomes' 11th career touchdown pass of 50-plus yards (most in the NFL since 2018). The Ravens as a team have only had nine such touchdowns since 2015, four coming from the arm of Jackson.

- The Chiefs are 6-3 against the Ravens, including wins in each of the three most recent matchups and they have a 4-1 record in Baltimore.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Texans at Steelers - Sunday, 1pm

- The Steelers are 2-0 for the seventh time since 2000. They made the playoffs in each of the previous six seasons, reaching three Super Bowls and winning two titles. Pittsburgh's last 3-0 start was in 2010, when the Steelers made their last trip to the Super Bowl.

Raiders at Patriots - Sunday, 1pm

- New England are tied for ninth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (142.0) and are eighth in passing offense (268.5 yards per game). They are one of three teams in the league's top 10 in both categories, joining the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams. In Sunday's loss at the Seattle Seahawks, Cam Newton passed for 397 yards, including 312 in the second half.

Rams at Bills - Sunday, 1pm

- Buffalo are attempting to start 3-0 for a second straight season, a feat they have accomplished only twice previously in franchise history (1964-65, 1991-92). The Bills have won 10 straight games since December 2018 when scoring 20 or more points, the longest active streak in the NFL. 

Cowboys at Seahawks - Sunday, 4.15pm 

- Dak Prescott enters this weekend with 99 career touchdown passes in 66 career games. With another touchdown pass on Sunday, Prescott would be the fastest Cowboy to reach 100 TD passes – Tony Romo currently holds the record at 79 games.

Packers at Saints - Sunday, 8.20pm

- Since 2018, Davante Adams - who could miss this game through injury - has accounted for 27.8 per cent of Green Bay's receiving yards, the fifth-highest mark in the NFL. The player with the highest percentage during this span is Saints star Michael Thomas (34.5 per cent), who is out this week with an ankle injury.

ELSEWHERE...

Titans at Vikings - Sunday, 1pm

- Ryan Tannehill threw for four touchdowns and no interceptions in the win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, extending his streak of regular season games with multiple touchdown passes to a franchise-record nine games. Tannehill has a 118.1 passer rating since joining Tennessee in 2019, the best mark in the NFL over that span (minimum 250 attempts).

Buccaneers at Broncos - Sunday, 4.25pm

- Melvin Gordon has tallied 148 rushing yards on 34 attempts this season, 124 more than the Broncos' next-leading rusher (Phillip Lindsay, 24). Gordon also has five receptions and has accounted for 41.9 per cent of the Broncos' touches this season, fifth highest in the NFL.

Ryan Fitzpatrick made history after his three touchdowns fuelled the Miami Dolphins to a 31-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dolphins quarterback Fitzpatrick became the first NFL QB to claim six wins over the same opponent with six teams following Thursday's triumph in Jacksonville.

Fitzpatrick, who also topped the Jaguars during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals (2008), Buffalo Bills (2012), Tennessee Titans (2013), Houston Texans (2014) and New York Jets (2015) starred as the Dolphins posted their first win of the season.

The 37-year-old led the Dolphins as Miami scored touchdowns on their first three drives in a fast start on the road in Week 3.

Fitzpatrick connected on his first 12 pass attempts – a career high – to guide the Dolphins to a 21-7 half-time lead behind touchdown throws to Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki.

Jordan Howard also scored to put the Dolphins in control after two quarters, following James Robinson's TD for the struggling Jaguars.

Fitzpatrick, who finished 18-of-20 for 160 yards and two TDs and seven rushes for 38 yards and a score, rushed for a touchdown to extend Miami's lead to 28-7 in the third period.

Jacksonville's Robinson rushed for another touchdown in the final quarter, but it was too late as Jason Sanders' 30-yard field goal completed the scoring for the Dolphins.

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II was 30-of-42 for 275 yards, no touchdowns and an interception, to go with four sacks after Jacksonville dropped to 1-2 for the season.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes heaped praise on Baltimore Ravens counterpart Lamar Jackson ahead of Monday's blockbuster NFL showdown.

It will be a battle of two former MVPs and two of the hottest teams in the league when Jackson's Ravens host Mahomes and the Chiefs in Baltimore.

The Ravens and Super Bowl champions the Chiefs are both 2-0 heading into Week 3 amid plenty of hype as reigning MVP Jackson and 2018 Most Valuable Player Mahomes go head-to-head.

Mahomes – the Super Bowl LIV MVP – hailed Jackson, telling reporters on Thursday: "He can make all the throws; he can run with the ball; he can really do it all.

"It's always fun to watch guys like that -- that work hard, put in the work, and they're able to go out there and have success on the field.

"And then as far as our relationship, talking and stuff like that -- we kinda have the same endorsements with Oakley and EA Sports, and so we've seen each other through that.

"Then when you play this quarterback position, there's kinda like a group; it's a tight group where you kinda shoot ideas off each other and stuff like that. So he's a great player, and I look forward to the contest this week."

"It's a little different 'cause when you're on offense, you're never gonna go face-to-face; you never get to go straight-up against Lamar, but you know that he's gonna go out there and put up points," added Mahomes.

"So you just have to trust in your defense that they're gonna make stops when they're needed, they're gonna find ways to do whatever they can to stop all the great stuff that he does. And then as an offense, you're facing a great defense, and so you're gonna have find ways to put up points on the board if you want to get the win."

 

Baltimore Ravens star Lamar Jackson said facing Patrick Mahomes and Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs is "just like any other game" as he downplayed the blockbuster NFL clash.

It will be a battle of two former MVPs and two of the hottest teams in the NFL when the Ravens host the Chiefs in Baltimore on Monday.

The Ravens, who lost in the divisional playoffs last season having posted a 14-2 record, and the Chiefs are both 2-0 heading into Week 3.

But speaking to reporters on Thursday amid plenty of hype regarding the showdown, Ravens quarterback and reigning MVP Jackson said: "It's just like any other game."

The Ravens will come up against former MVP and Super Bowl MVP Mahomes – who finished 27 of 47 for 302 passing yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 54 yards in Kansas City's 23-20 overtime win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week.

"I don't have to focus on Mahomes," Jackson said. "I got to focus on their defense. I got focus on scoring. I got to focus on my job and making my offense do our thing. But my defense has to worry about him."

The Ravens overcame a slow start to extend their regular-season winning streak to 14 games – the longest run since the Carolina Panthers reeled off 18 successive victories in 2014-15 – after topping the Houston Texans 33-16.

Jackson threw for 204 yards and a touchdown, while he rushed for 54 yards.

The Ravens and Chiefs were on track to meet in the AFC Championship game last season before Baltimore were upstaged by the Tennessee Titans as Kansas City went on to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

Asked if the Ravens eventually need to beat the Chiefs, Jackson said: "Yeah, eventually. And they're in our way right now, so that's our goal."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Tom Brady believes wide receiver and team-mate Mike Evans is a future Hall of Famer.

Evans has been compared to Hall of Famer Randy Moss, with the pair the only wide receivers in NFL history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in each of their first six seasons.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Evans caught seven passes for 104 yards and a touchdown as the Buccaneers topped the Carolina Panthers 31-17 last week, having struggled to connect with Brady in the team's opener.

Legendary quarterback Brady paid Evans the ultimate compliment as he likened the 27-year-old to former New England Patriots star Moss, telling reporters on Thursday: "From a physical standpoint – both [have] big bodies, big catch radiuses and great body control. [They have] great understanding of the game – feel, instincts, [etc.].

"Randy is a Hall of Famer. I think Mike is going to be one too and it's been amazing to play with him. I love playing with Mike. He's been just spectacular from the day I met him. I admired him from afar for a long time.

"I'm just blessed to play with him and Chris [Godwin with] what he's accomplished in his short time in the NFL. I think those two guys really lead the charge for our receivers and they're great mentors for the young players we have.

"We're just going to keep working hard every day to try and be on the same page more and more."

The Buccaneers, who face the Denver Broncos in Week 3, have multiple running backs in their rotation.

On Tampa Bay's depth, six-time Super Bowl champion Brady said: "You can't strain any one position too much. You're going to have situations over the course of the year where guys get worn down or guys tweak something and they're not in there as much.

"Guys are going to have to fill a role and they're going to have to do it well. Having depth at these positions that are so important to our offense – everyone is going to play a critical role. We're really deep at receiver [then] all of the sudden, Chris [Godwin] doesn't play, Mike [Evans] is out for a play, J-Wat [Justin Watson] gets banged up in the game – next thing you know, it's like, 'All right, what happened to the depth?' It just goes quickly. That's just part of football. Every team is dealing with it. Denver [have] injuries – they've got to adjust. We've got injuries – we've got to adjust. It's a contact sport.

"Everyone is not going to be there every single day [or] every game – it's just not the reality. You've got to work with everybody [and] you've got to have enough communication with everybody. Everybody plays a vital role and I think when you can gain confidence in the players – they may think they're in a backup role, but once the game starts, they're in a featured role – those guys have to take advantage of those opportunities.

"That's how I got my start. I look at it like, no one ever thought of me in 2001. I thought I was third-string quarterback going into training camp. Two weeks into the year, I'm the starting quarterback. You've got to take advantage of your opportunity because you don't know when you're going to get it. I try to stress that to the young players. Every day in practice you've got a chance to make an impression on a player [or] on coach and build trust in your teammates, so that when you get the opportunity, you go and take advantage of it and you never look back."

Dak Prescott "looked like Michael Jordan" as he guided the Dallas Cowboys to an incredible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, according to Rob Ryan.

Dallas trailed 20-0 and 29-10 on Sunday, then were still nine points behind by the time Atlanta punted the ball back to them with just over three minutes remaining.

A touchdown, a recovered onside kick and a field goal gave the Cowboys the most unlikely of 40-39 victories, quarterback Prescott ending the day with 450 yards and one touchdown through the air, having completed 34 of 47 attempts.

He added three rushing touchdowns after earlier being responsible for one of the team's three fumbles, with Ryan seeing Prescott's clutch play in the closing stages as similar to NBA great Jordan in his prime.

Ryan also feels the victory, which moved the Cowboys to 1-1, will help Prescott to get the recognition he has not always received amid a high-profile contract negotiation with his team.

"He looked like Michael Jordan did late in games - he was intense, ready for the moment," Ryan, the former Cowboys defensive coordinator, told Sky Sports.

"This guy has been putting up great numbers and all that for the last few years - people just don't give him the respect that he deserves. Maybe after this game they will start doing it."

Prescott is not the first QB to be compared to Jordan, Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney previously doing the same with Houston Texans signal caller Deshaun Watson.

Ryan has concerns over Dallas' defense ahead of their Week 3 trip to the Seattle Seahawks, who themselves won a thriller last time out, emerging triumphant against the New England Patriots.

He added: "The Cowboys have to play much better defense. They have not stopped anybody since I got fired [in 2012].

"Coming up to play the Seahawks this week; two of the most emotional wins for anybody in the regular season – they are now going head to head. That is going to be a great game.

"Russell Wilson is so great. He just torched the number one defense in football and, specifically, the number one cornerback in football [Stephon Gilmore] - last year's defensive MVP.

"He is on an absolute roll; he has been a great player for a long time."

Chicago Bears legend and Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers has died at the age of 77.

The Hall of Fame confirmed his passing in a statement on Wednesday.

"All those who love the game of football mourn the loss of one of the greatest to ever play this game with the passing of Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers," Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement.

"He was the very essence of a team player -- quiet, unassuming and always ready to compliment a team-mate for a key block. Gale was an extraordinary man who overcame a great deal of adversity during his NFL career and life.

"The 'Kansas Comet' burst onto the scene in the National Football League and captured the attention of all of America. Despite playing only 68 NFL games because of an injury-shortened career, Gale was a clear-cut -- and first-ballot -- Hall of Famer for his accomplishments on the field and for the man of character he was in life.

"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Gale. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Ardie, and their entire family.

"We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will fly at half-staff until he is laid to rest."

A fourth overall pick by the Chicago Bears in 1965 after racking up 4,020 all-purpose yards at the University of Kansas, Sayers made league history as a rookie.

Sayers scored an NFL-record 22 all-purpose touchdown in his first season, including six in one game.

He earned four Pro Bowl selections and five first-team All-Pro nods in his decorated career and came back from an injury-shortened 1968 season to lead the league in rushing yards in 1969.

His efforts in that season earned him the Comeback Player of the Year award but further injuries cut his career short.

Sayers retired before the 1972 season and was inducted into Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer five years later. 

Labelled "the greatest player I've ever seen" by fellow Bears legend Mike Ditka, Sayers was named to the NFL's 50th, 75th and 100th Anniversary teams. His jersey number 40 is retired by the Bears.

Former Pro Bowler Devonta Freeman has agreed to join NFL franchise the New York Giants, his agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed.

The Giants and running back Freeman have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3million following star Saquon Barkley's season-ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Freeman – a two-time Pro-Bowl RB – has been a free agent since leaving the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason.

"Devonta turned down more money from other teams because he likes the opportunity with the Giants best," Rosenhaus told ESPN.

Freeman, who reportedly had offers from the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles, was selected by the Falcons in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The 28-year-old spent the first six years of his career in Atlanta, where he had two 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2015 and 2016.

However, Freeman left the Falcons following 656 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 184 carries last season as Atlanta turned to Todd Gurley.

The Giants are 0-2 following a winless start to the season as they prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Jon Gruden insisted he is trying his best in terms of wearing a facemask and communicating with his Las Vegas Raiders players as a number of NFL coaches received fines for not wearing theirs.

Gruden and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton were each pictured not wearing masks during the Raiders' 34-24 victory on Monday.

NFL Network reported that San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Denver Broncos boss Vic Fangio had all been handed fines for violating rules regarding wearing face masks during Sunday's action.

Each coach has been fined $100,000, with their respective teams docked $250,000.

It appears a similar punishment awaits both Gruden and Payton but the Raiders head coach appears willing to pay the price. 

"I'm doing my best. You know, I've had the virus, okay. I'm doing my best," Gruden said in a media conference. "I'm very sensitive about it, but I'm calling plays.

"I just want to communicate in these situations and I apologise and if I get fined, I will have to pay the fine, but I'm very sensitive about all of that and I apologise."

Drew Brees hit back at suggestions he is in decline after a disappointing showing in the New Orleans Saints' 34-24 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 41-year-old quarterback is in his 20th season in the NFL but he failed to shine at Allegiant Stadium on Monday, finishing with 312 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 26 of 38 completed passes.

It has played into an emerging narrative that Brees – the NFL's all-time leader in passing yardage, completions and touchdown passes – is losing his touch, but he rejected that notion and cited a wider malaise in the team.

"Well, my job is to execute the offense," he said, having seen opposite number Derek Carr chalk up three TDs. "My job's not to have the most air yards or throw the ball down the field most or anything like that.

"I think I've always evaluated myself on being a great decision-maker. And so, at the end of the day, I'll throw the ball to the open guy, move the ball down the field, score points, help us win football games. So that's my job.

"My job's to help us win. My job's to help put everyone around me in the best position to succeed."

The interception Brees threw came at a pivotal moment, with the Raiders capitalising to score a field goal that levelled the scores just before half-time.

Still, it was a generally lacklustre display from the Saints, with Brees suggesting they have some way to go to find their top level.

"Are we totally in sync right now? No, we're not. We're not even close to where we are capable of. Not even close," said Brees.

"We did some good things early on, but it just wasn't enough for the few opportunities that we had. Again, I think we just need to be more efficient.

"We called a shot play or two today and just got the wrong coverage on both of them. So what could've been big-play opportunities, what could've been throws down the field unfortunately had to be checked down.

"But I think both of those [resulted in completions for about 10 yards]. At the end of the day, our job is to move the ball and score points, however we have to do that."

Derek Carr was hailed "a great quarterback" by Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden after getting the better of Drew Brees in Monday night's win over the New Orleans Saints.

While veteran Brees struggled to make an impression for the Saints, Carr was the driving force behind a 34-24 win at the Raiders' new Allegiant Stadium home.

The 29-year-old completed 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns, while Brees managed 312 yards, a TD and an interception on 26 of 38 completed passes.

Victory moved the Raiders to 2-0 and inflicted a first loss on the Saints.

There have been reports in the past that Gruden is not Carr's biggest fan, but those have been quashed recently, and Monday's performance confirmed to the coach that his signal caller is among the best in the business.

Gruden said: "There's a lot of people that make a lot of opinions on Derek and Derek's performance and our relationship. You know he had nine different flankers last year. Nine."

Reflecting on his first spell in charge of the Raiders, taking in each season from 1998 to 2001, Gruden recalled: "We had Tim Brown [as wide receiver] every week for four years.

"We've had I don't know how many different combinations on the offensive line. Yet he threw for over 4,000 yards and 70 per cent [last season], put us in a position to make the playoffs in Week 15.

"This guy's a great quarterback. We're surrounding him with better players. And once our defense I think starts playing to their potential, he can even be better.

"He does so much with the ball and without the ball and behind the scenes that I think Raiders fans should really be proud of him, and I know I am."

The Las Vegas Raiders started life at their new home Allegiant Stadium with a 34-24 win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr led the Raiders to a 2-0 start to begin the 2020 season as they played their first game at their new stadium, where no fans were in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Carr completed 28 of 38 passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders handed the Saints their first loss.

Darren Waller had 103 receiving yards on 12 receptions for the Raiders.

While the Saints made the better start, Drew Brees was unable to see them to victory, the veteran QB finishing with 312 yards, a TD and an interception on 26 of 38 completed passes.

Alvin Kamara rushed over for the game's first touchdown in the first quarter as New Orleans opened up a 10-0 lead.

Carr led an 11-play, 63-yard drive that was completed by a short pass to Alec Ingold, but Brees and the Saints responded to restore their 10-point lead after a six-yard pass to Jared Cook.

But the Raiders would draw level before half-time, Carr leading another drive before a 15-yard pass to Zay Jones and a Daniel Carlson field goal making it 17-17.

Las Vegas pulled away in the second half, Carr and a wide open Waller combining before Jalen Richard's brilliant 20-yard run made it 24 unanswered points for the Raiders.

Kamara gave the Saints hope before Carlson delivered a 54-yard field goal with just over a minute remaining to seal the win.

San Francisco 49ers star Nick Bosa has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will miss the rest of the NFL season.

Bosa, 22, was hurt during the 49ers' costly 31-13 win over the New York Jets in the NFL on Sunday.

While the 49ers were initially waiting for scans for Bosa, the team later confirmed the 2019 Pro Bowl had torn his ACL.

"An MRI confirmed Nick Bosa suffered a torn ACL in yesterday's game," they wrote on Twitter.

"We're all wishing @nbsmallerbear a speedy recovery."

Bosa, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert were the key players hurt in the 49ers' win.

In his rookie year in the NFL, Bosa had 47 tackles, nine sacks and an interception as the 49ers reached the Super Bowl before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bosa was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The 49ers are 1-1 to begin the 2020 season and face the New York Giants on Sunday.

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