The Pittsburgh Steelers are the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFL, but the Baltimore Ravens will hope to stop them earning a slice of history.

For just the second time, the Steelers are 6-0 and victory at M&T Bank Stadium would see them match the franchise-best seven-game undefeated start set in 1978.

Games between these NFC North rivals are typically tight affairs, though. Since 2008, 14 of their 24 regular-season meetings have been decided by three points or fewer – the most of any matchup in that time frame – and the Ravens have won eight of those 14 nail-biters.

The Minnesota Vikings have the unenviable task of trying to stop an in-form Aaron Rodgers when they return from their bye week, while a significant milestone is in the offing for Travis Kelce.

We use Stats Perform data to preview the standout matchups on the Week 8 slate.
 

FEATURED GAME

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens – Sunday 1pm (all times Eastern)

- Lamar Jackson has been held under 200 passing yards in four consecutive starts, though the Ravens won three of those games. Jackson has completed less than 60 per cent of his attempts in three of his last four contests, dropping his season completion percentage to 63 – 26th among 32 qualifiers.

- Since 2000, the Steelers (226) and Ravens (210) rank second and fifth respectively in total victories (regular season and playoffs). The teams have combined to win 14 of 18 AFC North titles all-time, and, in 19 of the past 20 seasons, at least one of the two teams reached the postseason.

- After throwing one interception in the first five games of 2020, Ben Roethlisberger was picked off three times in last Sunday's victory at the Tennessee Titans. Including the postseason, Roethlisberger is 15-10 in his career against the Ravens – but only 4-6 on the road. However, he was triumphant on his past two visits to Baltimore (2017, 2018).

OTHER KEY GAMES

Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns – Sunday, 1pm

- The Browns' last-minute 37-34 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last week moved them to 5-2, giving them their best seven-game start to a season since re-joining the NFL in 1999. It is the fourth time since the merger that Cleveland has five or more wins through seven games (1977, 1993, 1994).

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers – Sunday, 1pm

- Rodgers had four touchdown passes and no interceptions in a 35-20 win against the Houston Texans last time out. His 17 TD passes this year matches a career high through six games of a season, along with his 2011 MVP campaign

New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, 1pm

- Kelce has 6,966 receiving yards in 103 career games. If he gets to 7,000 on Sunday, he would be the second-fastest tight end in NFL history to reach that mark, behind only Rob Gronkowski (100).

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears – Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Saints beat the Carolina Panthers 27-24 at home last week. Each of their past three games has resulted in a win by six points or fewer, just the third time they have ever had such a streak (three games across the 1990 and 1991 seasons; four games in 1988).

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Niners are averaging 7.0 yards per carry when rushing to the right (483 yards on 69 attempts), more than any team in any direction this season. They have a combined 479 yards on 122 carries to the left and up the middle

ELSEWHERE…

Los Angeles Rams at Miami Dolphins – Sunday, 1pm

- Tua Tagovailoa will be making his first career start on Sunday. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, he is the second highest-picked Alabama quarterback of all time (Harry Gilmer went first overall in 1948), and the second-highest QB ever selected by the Dolphins (Bob Griese went fourth overall in 1967).

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New York Giants – Monday, 8.15pm

- With a 45-20 win over the Raiders last week, Tampa Bay have now had back-to-back wins of at least 25 points for the first time in franchise history (defeated Green Bay by 28 in Week 6). The Bucs had just two such wins over the previous seven seasons combined.

The Seattle Seahawks' flawless start to the NFL season came to an end in dramatic fashion against the Arizona Cardinals, while Tom Brady made history in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' crushing win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Arizona converted a field goal with only seconds remaining in overtime as the Cardinals completed a thrilling 37-34 comeback win over the previously unbeaten Seahawks on Sunday.

Brady surpassed New Orleans Saints counterpart Drew Brees for a league record, while Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers also won.

 

CARDINALS SOAR AS SEAHAWKS FALL

In one of the games of the season, the Cardinals triumphed thanks to Zane Gonzalez's field goal with 15 seconds remaining in Arizona.

The Seahawks – led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson – appeared on track to improve to 6-0, having led 27-17 at half-time and 34-24 heading into the final three minutes of regulation.

But the Cardinals rallied – Kyler Murray's eight-yard pass to Christian Kirk reducing the deficit to three points before Gonzalez converted a 44-yard field goal to force OT.

Gonzalez had the chance to settle the contest with a field goal early in OT but missed, however, the Cardinals kicker redeemed himself at the death.

Murray finished 34-of-48 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while Wilson was 33-of-50 for 388 yards, three TDs and as many interceptions.

In a remarkable showdown, Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf produced a sensational chase-down, delivering a touchdown-saving tackle on Budda Baker's 90-yard interception return in the second quarter.

 

RECORD-SETTING BRADY INSPIRES BUCS

Bucs quarterback Brady moved top of the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes after leading Tampa Bay to a 45-20 rout of the Raiders.

Brady replaced Brees for the most TD passes in league history with his throw to Tyler Johnson in the fourth quarter.

A six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady eclipsed Brees' record with his 559th career touchdown pass, one ahead of his Saints counterpart.

Brady completed 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions or sacks against the Raiders (3-3) as NFC South leaders the Buccaneers improved to 5-2 for the season.

Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller – who finished with 109 yards – Chris Godwin and Johnson all connected with Brady for TDs, while Raiders QB Derek Carr was 24-of-36 for 284 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and three sacks.

 

CHIEFS TAKE DOWN BRONCOS, 49ERS THRASH NEWTON'S PATS

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were too good for the Broncos, winning 43-16 on the road.

Played in snow, the Chiefs (6-1) led 24-9 at half-time and never looked back as they claimed their 10th consecutive victory over AFC West rivals the Broncos (2-4).

Mahomes extended his NFL-leading streak to 17 successive games with a touchdown throw, finishing 15-of-23 for 200 yards and a touchdown, while Le'Veon Bell impressed on debut after rushing for 39 yards on six carries.

It was a forgettable outing for Cam Newton and the New England Patriots, who were easily beaten 33-6 by the 49ers in Foxborough.

Newton – who was nine-of-15 for 98 yards – threw three interceptions and was replaced in the fourth quarter as the Patriots slumped to their third consecutive loss.

Former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo enjoyed his return to New England, where the 49ers star was 20-of-25 for 277 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

"It was a cool week," Garoppolo said. "Just a lot of emotions, a lot of memories. Especially coming back here, seeing the same stadium, hearing the same songs they used to play, a lot of memories came back ... But it was a fun night.

"Couldn't imagine it going any better than this."

Meanwhile, Justin Herbert threw three touchdowns as the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 39-29.

 

Week 7 scores:

Philadelphia Eagles 22-21 New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 Tennessee Titans
Washington Football Team 25-3 Dallas Cowboys
Buffalo Bills 18-10 New York Jets
New Orleans Saints 27-24 Carolina Panthers
Green Bay Packers 35-20 Houston Texans
Cleveland Browns 37-34 Cincinnati Bengals
Detroit Lions 23-22 Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45-20 Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers 33-6 New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs 43-16 Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers 39-29 Jacksonville Jaguars
Arizona Cardinals 37-34 Seattle Seahawks (OT)

Jimmy Garoppolo spoke of his appreciation for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ahead of his first game against his old team.

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback was traded away by New England almost three years ago in a move that prompted debate despite Tom Brady being entrenched as the starter.

Garoppolo will take on the Patriots for the first time since that move on Sunday as his 3-3 Niners travel to Foxborough to face a team now led by Cam Newton.

Despite only starting two games due to the presence of Brady, Garoppolo remembers his spell with the Patriots (2-3), which included two Super Bowl wins, fondly.

"It set me up for everything here, made the transition a lot easier," he said about his time under Belichick.

"Initially I could remember the first OTAs and training camp. It was rough going from college to the NFL. That is why when you see these guys who come in and start right away, it is impressive.

"It is an exciting week. I get to go back to where it all started for my NFL career. I feel like I have come a long way, so I cannot wait for Sunday."

Asked about Belichick, Garoppolo added: "He was just very honest.

"Really never beat around the bush. He is very black and white with everything they did. That is kind of how I am. I really appreciate that from him.

"Whether it was my first day there or when I got traded, he always shot me straight and when you are talking about just man to man, that is all you could really ask for at the end of the day."

Garoppolo won his first five starts with the Niners in 2017 and after the following season was curtailed by a knee injury in Week 3, he led the team to last year's Super Bowl with a 13-3 record.

But that late Super Bowl loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and a disappointing start to 2020, not helped by an ankle injury, has Garoppolo under the spotlight ahead of the Pats game.

While he bounced back with three passing touchdowns in the Week 6 win over the Los Angeles Rams, his 63.6 per cent completion percentage is 6.2 per cent below expectation, per the NFL's NextGen stats. 

That is 35th out of 38 qualifying QBs this year, a metric he was ninth in last season with a positive rate of 1.7 per cent above expectation.

Still, apart from a forgettable two-interception first-half showing in a loss to the Miami Dolphins that saw him taken out of the game, he has not thrown a pick. 

"The tough game our whole team had versus Miami with him getting taken out there in that game – yes, it was tough, but the way he came into work on Monday, you could not tell," Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said.

"He is very mentally strong, that is one of the most impressive things about Jimmy."

Ahead of their meeting, Belichick was similarly warm when reflecting about his time with Garoppolo.

"Everybody here had a lot of confidence in him," the Patriots coach said. "It is one of those situations where you are not able to keep all the players, based on the system that is set up, which is understandable. 

"I am glad that it has worked out for him and San Francisco. I hope it doesn't work out on Sunday.

"But otherwise, I am happy he has the opportunity to play for a great coach and a great organisation and play on a great team. He deserves that."

Two of the NFL's leading quarterbacks go head-to-head in Sunday's NFC West divisional match-up between the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks.

The 5-0 Seahawks are coming off a bye week and have QB Russell Wilson putting together an MVP year, although he has struggled against the Cardinals in the past.

Meanwhile, Kyler Murray is impressing in an Arizona team that beat Seattle when they last met in December 2019.

We use Stats Perform data to look at that game and the rest of the Week 7 slate.
 

FEATURE GAME

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals - Sunday, 8.20pm (all times Eastern)

- The Seahawks are 6-1 (.857) in games after a bye week since 2013, which is the best record in the NFL. The lone loss during this span came against the Cardinals in 2015 (39-32).

- Since 2018, Wilson is averaging 183.3 passing yards and has three passing touchdowns to one interception over four games against Arizona. Against all other opponents in this span, Wilson is averaging 252.3 passing yards and has an 82/14 TD-INT ratio (33 games).

- Murray completed a career-low nine passes in the win over the Cowboys, but still finished with 188 passing yards. The last player to rack up that many yards through the air on fewer than 10 completions was Brian Hoyer on October 12, 2014 (217 yards on eight completions versus Pittsburgh).

OTHER KEY GAMES

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans - Sunday, 1pm

- This is just the sixth game in the Super Bowl era between two teams entering the game at 5-0 or better. Each of the previous five were won by a team that went on to make the Super Bowl (1973 Vikings, 2004 Patriots, 2007 Patriots twice, 2015 Broncos). Both franchises are 5-0 for the second time in their history. Pittsburgh started 7-0 in 1978 and went on to go 14-2 and win the Super Bowl, while Tennessee were 10-0 in 2008.

San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots - Sunday, 4.25pm

- Sunday's game will be played 6,566 days since the last time the Patriots took the field on or after October 1 with a sub-.500 record. This last occurred on November 3, 2002, when New England travelled to Buffalo to face – just as this week, with the 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo – a former Patriots QB. They defeated Drew Bledsoe and the Bills 38-7.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos - Sunday, 4.25pm

- Patrick Mahomes is the third quarterback in NFL history to have at least 15 TD passes and no more than one interception over his team's first six games of a season, along with Aaron Rodgers in 2014 and Tom Brady in 2015.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Las Vegas Raiders - Sunday, 4.05pm

- After going down 10-0 in the first quarter, Tampa Bay ripped off 38 unanswered points to defeat the Packers last week, the second-longest unanswered scoring run in franchise history. The longest came in a 41-0 win over Chicago back on September 10, 2000. Tampa Bay's defense held Green Bay QB Rodgers to a 35.4 passer rating in last week's win, the third-lowest of his career. The Buccaneers have now caused two of Rodgers' three career pick sixes after Jamel Dean took one to the house in the second quarter.

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams - Monday, 8.15pm

- The Bears improved to 5-1 with a 23-16 win over the Panthers in Week 6, their best start since going 5-1 in 2012. Chicago's average margin of victory is just 4.0 points this season compared to 19.4 points during the 2012 start.

ELSEWHERE...

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team - Sunday, 1pm

- Washington lost to the Giants 20-19 in the Meadowlands last week, their first one-point defeat since a 24-23 decision against the Cowboys in Week 16, 2013. Sunday was the eighth time since 2018 that Washington have had at least two fourth-down conversions, tied for third-most in the league (0-8 in those games).

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets - Sunday, 1pm

- The Jets are 0-6 for just the second time in franchise history after starting 0-6 in 1996 (finished 1-15). They rank last in scoring offense (12.5 PPG) and point differential (-18.3). That is their second-worst point differential through six games in franchise history ahead of the 1976 Jets (-20.3).

Kyle Shanahan was proud of the way the San Francisco 49ers responded against the Los Angeles Rams after "getting embarrassed" by the Miami Dolphins. 

The 49ers improved to 3-3 with a 24-16 win over the Rams, a week on from a 43-17 blowout at the hands of Miami. 

Coach Shanahan had sensed there was a strong performance in the offing all week, having been impressed by the attitude in practice. 

"When you get embarrassed like that, you can find out a lot about your team," he said. "I was very impressed with the character of our team and the way they carried themselves and the way they came out to practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and really the way they responded to all of us getting embarrassed. 

"They tried to get better this week and not worry about anything else, and usually when you do that, you can put together those type of practices, usually the results are better, and I'm glad that they were because I thought they really earned it throughout the week and today." 

Jimmy Garoppolo, who was benched midway through that defeat to the Dolphins, bounced back in style on Sunday to throw three touchdown passes to Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk. 

Garoppolo completed 23 of 33 passes for 268 yards and was 18 of 23 on throws of five yards or less as he flourished in a "pick-your-poison" plan by Shanahan. 

Such was the authority with which San Francisco started that they were 21-6 ahead in the second quarter, the Rams outgained 291 yards to 102 as Garoppolo's counterpart Jared Goff struggled in the first half.  

"Kyle is mixing all that stuff up like that, it makes it hard on defenses," Garoppolo said. "It's a pick-your-poison type of thing, and Kyle did a great job tonight putting us in good positions. He was on point tonight, so it makes all of our jobs a lot easier. 

"I thought the O-line as a whole just did a phenomenal job. It started with the run game and then the pass game, the pockets were clean all night ... I didn't get hit very much, felt great coming out of this game. When the O-line plays like that, it sets a tone for our whole offense, and they did it tonight." 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers handed the Green Bay Packers their first loss of the NFL season, while Tua Tagovailoa made his debut as the Miami Dolphins thrashed the New York Jets.

Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers went head-to-head, and the Buccaneers came out on top at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday.

In Florida, the Dolphins blew out the Jets, leaving New York 0-6 and putting further pressure on under-fire head coach Adam Gase.

In the last game of the day, the San Francisco 49ers bounced back from consecutive losses by beating the Los Angeles Rams.

 

DEAN SPARKS BUCCANEERS AGAINST PACKERS

With the Buccaneers trailing 10-0, Jamel Dean's pick-six of Rodgers sparked Tampa Bay on the way to a 38-10 victory.

The Buccaneers scored 38 consecutive points, with Brady throwing touchdown passes to Tyler Johnson and Rob Gronkowski in the second quarter.

Brady completed 17 of 27 passes for 166 yards and the two TDs.

The quarterback connected with former New England Patriots team-mate Gronkowski for their 79th TD. They are tied for the fourth most by a duo in NFL history, alongside Dan Marino and Mark Clayton, as per NFL Research. Only Peyton Manning-Marvin Harrison, Philip Rivers-Antonio Gates and Steve Young-Jerry Rice are ahead of them.

Packers star Rodgers threw two interceptions and was sacked four times, finishing with just 160 passing yards after completing 16 of 35.

 

MORE MISERY FOR JETS AS TUA DEBUTS

Tagovailoa, the fifth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, came on for his debut in the Dolphins' 24-0 win over the struggling Jets.

He replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had completed 18 of 27 passes for 191 yards, three TDs and two interceptions as the Dolphins improved to 3-3. Tagovailoa completed two passes for nine yards.

Under pressure at the helm of the Jets, Gase said his players were hurting.

"In this locker room, these guys are good guys that work extremely hard. It's frustrating when you talk to them on Monday and you can tell they're hurting," he said.

"They come in to work and do a good job and have high energy at practice. I feel the players are the ones who are trying to flip this thing, they're taking the lead on this. We've just got to keep grinding and find a way to fix these early mistakes to try and flip the game."

 

49ERS BOUNCE BACK

The 49ers improved to 3-3 courtesy of a 24-16 win over the Rams.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw three touchdown passes – to Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk – and completed 23 of 33 for 268 yards.

Kittle had 109 receiving yards for San Francisco, including a 44-yarder from Garoppolo for a TD in the second quarter.

Rams QB Jared Goff struggled, completing just 19 of 38 passes for 198 yards, to go with two TDs and an interception.

 

Week 6 scores:

Tennessee Titans 42-36 Houston Texans
Baltimore Ravens 30-28 Philadelphia Eagles
Atlanta Falcons 40-23 Minnesota Vikings
Pittsburgh Steelers 38-7 Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts 31-27 Cincinnati Bengals 
Detroit Lions 34-16 Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears 23-16 Carolina Panthers
New York Giants 20-19 Washington Football Team
Denver Broncos 18-12 New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins 24-0 New York Jets
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-10 Green Bay Packers
San Francisco Giants 24-16 Los Angeles Rams

The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers will renew their fiery rivalry in Week 6 of the 2020 NFL season. 

Although neither team were in playoff contention last year, things got ugly between the AFC North rivals in their first meeting of 2019 when a fight broke out and Myles Garrett hit Mason Rudolph with his own helmet. 

The mood in both camps will be upbeat heading into Sunday's game at Heinz Field, though, as they have been victorious in each of their past four outings. 

A meeting of Cleveland's top-ranked rushing attack and the Pittsburgh's second-ranked run defense promises to serve up quite the contest. 

The Steelers have limited two of their first four opponents to fewer than 30 yards on the ground and allow 64.0 yards per game, while the Browns' average in rushing yards per game is almost three times that figure. 

The New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans are back in action after seeing games postponed by positive COVID-19 tests, while veteran quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady will go toe to toe in Tampa. 

We use Stats Perform data to look ahead to another mouthwatering schedule.


FEATURE GAME

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers - Sunday, 1pm (all times Eastern)

- The Browns have scored 30 points in each of their past four games and their total of 150 in Weeks 2-5 were the most in the NFL. They lead the NFL in rushing (188.4 yards per game) and are fourth in stopping the run (87.0 yards per game).

- Pittsburgh are 4-0 for the first time since 1979 – the last Super Bowl-winning season of the Chuck Noll/Terry Bradshaw/Steel Curtain era. The season before that Pittsburgh started 7-0, also en route to the Lombardi Trophy.

- Ben Roethlisberger is 22-2-1 in 25 career starts versus the Browns, including 11-0 at Heinz Field. In addition, he came off the bench to pass for 379 yards in a home victory over Cleveland in 2015. He last faced the Browns in 2018, throwing four interceptions in two games.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers – Sunday, 1pm

- Teddy Bridgewater's 73.0 completion percentage ranks second in the NFL behind Derek Carr (73.1 percent). The all-time single-season high for a Carolina quarterback is 68.0 percent by Cam Newton in 2018 (minimum 10 attempts).

Baltimore Ravens at Philadelphia Eagles – Sunday, 1pm

- Baltimore improved to 4-1 with a 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The Ravens' +73-point differential leads the NFL and ranks second in franchise history through five games, behind only 2011 (+77).

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sunday, 4.25pm

- Rodgers and Brady have split their head-to-head matchups 1-1, with the latter taking the most recent one in Foxborough back in 2018 (31-17). However, Rodgers is in strong form this year – he is just the fourth quarterback in the past 70 years to throw for at least 13 touchdowns without an interception through the first four games of a season (2018 Patrick Mahomes, 2013 Peyton Manning, 1966 Don Meredith).

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers – Sunday, 8.20pm

- The Rams have nine rushing touchdowns this season, more than any other team in the NFL. Five different Rams players have run for a touchdown this season, with Darrell Henderson (3), Malcolm Brown (2) and Jared Goff (2) all doing so multiple times.

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills – Monday, 5pm

- Mahomes suffered just his eighth defeat in 36 regular-season games as a starting quarter back in Week 5. He’s bounced back well after the first seven defeats, going 5-2 and throwing 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions following losses.

ELSEWHERE…

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots – Sunday, 1pm

- The Pats are 2-2 and in danger of falling below .500 in October or later for the first time since 2002. Their streak of 225 consecutive games in October or later without being below .500 (either before or after the game) is the longest streak in NFL history.

Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys – Monday, 8.15pm

- DeAndre Hopkins had six receptions for 131 yards in a 30-10 rout of the New York Jets in Week 5 and leads the NFL with 45 catches and 528 yards. Hopkins surpassed 9,000 career receiving yards in the win, becoming the fourth-youngest player in NFL history to do so at 28 years and 127 days old. Only Randy Moss (27 years, 310 days), Calvin Johnson (28-56) and Hopkins' team-mate Larry Fitzgerald (28 years, 81 days) got there at a younger age.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was not on head coach Kyle Shanahan's injury list on Wednesday as they prepare to face the Los Angeles Rams.

Garoppolo's display in a shock 43-17 blow-out loss to the Miami Dolphins last Sunday raised concerns over a high ankle sprain he suffered in Week 2 and forced him to miss two NFL games.

The former New England Patriots quarterback completed just seven of his 17 passes for 77 yards and two interceptions in the first half before being benched for C.J. Beathard.

It was a performance that raised doubts over whether Garoppolo will feature in the primetime clash with NFC West rivals the Rams, but he appears on track to do so.

Shanahan confirmed Garoppolo would be a full participant in Wednesday's practice.

Asked about how he could gauge the health of Garoppolo's ankle, Shanahan told reporters: "The only thing we can test more is tackle him to the ground, and that's not something we're gonna do."

Linebacker Kwon Alexander was not on hand for practice due to a high-ankle sprain.

Cornerback Richard Sherman is not expected to play this week after suffering setbacks in his recovery from a calf injury, but fellow corner Emmanuel Moseley appears set to return from a concussion having been cleared to return to practice in a blue non-contact jersey.

Following successive defeats to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dolphins, reigning NFC champions the 49ers are 2-3 after five games.

 

Week 5 of the NFL season came to a belated end on Tuesday, with attention quickly turning to Week 6 as fantasy owners scramble to make waiver claims and get line-ups in place. 

With no Thursday matchup because of the rescheduling caused by recent coronavirus cases, there is a little more time to do the latter ahead of the Sunday slate of games. 

For those with a losing record through five weeks, the time to turn things around is growing shorter, making it especially crucial to pick the right team for Week 6. 

Here is a little guidance with a look at some of the best fantasy options for the upcoming games.


QB: Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions

Stafford has seven touchdown passes in his last three games and, while his average of 254.3 yards per game is mediocre, the Jacksonville Jaguars defense presents him with a significant opportunity to pad his stats.

Indeed, the Jaguars have given up 30 points in each of their last four games and have allowed 300 yards passing in back-to-back weeks. A quarterback of Stafford's quality should have no problem making it three in a row.

RB: Raheem Mostert – San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers on offense may be tough to trust following their nightmare in the loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5, but one San Francisco player you can depend on is Mostert.

San Francisco's starting running back has over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his three games this season and, while the Los Angeles Rams boast a formidable defense, they are susceptible to the run, having surrendered over 100 yards on the ground in four of their five games.

WR: Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings

Rookie first-round pick Jefferson came back down to earth in last Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks as he followed successive 100-yard displays with an effort that saw him record three catches for 23 yards.

The Atlanta Falcons, though, provide the perfect bounce-back opponent for the Minnesota wideout, who has at least five targets in each of his past three games. Interim Falcons head coach Raheem Morris takes charge of a team that is giving up 335.8 passing yards a game and has allowed 15 touchdowns through the air already this year. Theirs is a defense Jefferson should be able to exploit early and often.

TE: Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins

Gesicki enjoyed his second-best outing of the season with a five-catch 91-yard display in the shock blowout of the 49ers last week. 

His production this year has been of the boom-or-bust variety, but Gesicki is averaging over five targets a game and, against a porous New York Jets defense ranked a lowly 25th in the NFL against the pass, that kind of share of the workload should be enough for him to produce his third double-digit fantasy performance of the campaign.

D/ST: New England Patriots

While the postponement of the Patriots' game with the Denver Broncos may have been viewed as a hindrance, what it has done is given defensive mastermind Bill Belichick an extra week to prepare for an inferior opponent. 

New England held Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs offense to 19 points in their last encounter. With Broncos starting quarterback Drew Lock a doubt through injury, the Patriots could face a signal-caller in Brett Rypien who threw three interceptions in his debut against the Jets. 

The Broncos are without top receiver Courtland Sutton for the rest of the season and could be missing tight end Noah Fant again in a game most expect them to have to chase. That is a recipe for a strong defensive showing from the Patriots.

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and his return from injury has been put on hold, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Sherman has been on injured reserve with a calf injury since last month, missing four consecutive NFL games for the 49ers.

The 49ers had hoped to have Super Bowl champion Sherman back for practice this week, but the five-time Pro Bowler's comeback has been delayed ahead of the Week 6 clash against the Los Angeles Rams.

"The healing hasn't gone the way we were hoping for," Shanahan said on Monday. "I know we're gonna try a few different procedures this week, but I know I'm not counting on this week. "

"So, we'll see how that goes with the new stuff we're going to try."

Shanahan added: "He's gonna get some shots that he thinks can help in his leg.

"No surgeries or anything, just different types of shots to take to see if they can take the inflammation down and stuff like that."

The 49ers – last season's Super Bowl finalists – are 2-3 following last week's 43-17 humbling at the hands of the Miami Dolphins.

Jimmy Garoppolo returned from an ankle injury, but the 49ers quarterback was later replaced by C.J. Beathard.

Garoppolo had thrown two interceptions and completed just seven of 17 passes for 77 yards, while also being sacked three times.

"We'll see how he is on Wednesday," Shanahan said. "I expect him to be at least the same, if not better.

"So hopefully he can get a week of that and have no setbacks Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; and hopefully we can get him out there Sunday night."

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will return to the starting line-up against the Miami Dolphins after recovering from an ankle injury.

Garoppolo missed two NFL games after suffering a high ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over the New York Jets.

But 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Garoppolo's recovery ahead of Sunday's clash with the Dolphins at Levi's Stadium.

"He did a good job," Shanahan told reporters on Friday. "Each day it got better, never felt too sore the next day.

"So we needed to hear that today and see him out there today, and we feel good to go and he'll be starting Sunday."

Garoppolo returned to practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday, and the 49ers star made it through the week without an issue, practicing in full on Friday.

"I got the last couple weeks off to get it right," Garoppolo said on Friday. "As far as getting out there, I had the whole week to work on it, so it's feeling pretty good right now."

Garoppolo has completed 33 of 49 passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns for last season's Super Bowl finalists the 49ers in 2020.

The 49ers (2-2) are coming off a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles as they prepare to host the Dolphins (1-3) in Week 5.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returned to practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday. 

Garoppolo has missed the last two games due to a high ankle sprain sustained in the Week 2 win over the New York Jets. 

"He did a good job through walkthrough and we'll see how he does," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. 

"We're going to throw him in there today and that'll give me more of an opinion at least." 

Shanahan would not confirm who will be the quarterback against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday if Garoppolo is not able to play. 

Nick Mullens endured a difficult outing in the Niners' 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, throwing two interceptions - one in the red zone and another returned for a touchdown - while also losing a fumble. 

C.J. Beathard replaced him in the fourth quarter, leading a touchdown drive before seeing a Hail Mary attempt for a game-winning touchdown knocked down in the end zone. 

"I have [made a decision], but I'm going to hold that just because there is a difference between them," Shanahan added.

"And if Jimmy can't go, I'd like Miami to find that out on Sunday. But I've decided that we'll get both of them reps because both of them do have to be ready in case Jimmy doesn't go."

Running back Raheem Mostert (knee) also returned to practice after missing the last two games.

However, Shanahan does not expect cornerback Richard Sherman to play in Week 5. Sherman has not featured since a season-opening defeat to the Arizona Cardinals.

"He was hoping he could get back in practice this week," said Shanahan. "We're going to hold him a little longer. I'm hoping he continues to improve and I'm hoping he'll be ready for next week.

"I'd be surprised if he got in later this week."

The 49ers are 2-2 going into their meeting with the 1-3 Dolphins at Levi's Stadium.

The NFL season is entering its second quarter but, even if you started your fantasy campaign 0-4, there is still reason for hope of a turnaround. 

It is early enough in the year to mount a revival, albeit for those owners looking to recover from a poor start, nailing roster construction is paramount. 

There will also be additional challenges from this week onwards with regular bye weeks, meaning a strong set of options on the bench will be crucial. 

Ahead of Week 5, we pick out at five players who have the potential to score big and should be firmly in your consideration as starters. 

QB: Teddy Bridgewater - Carolina Panthers

Save for the postponement of the Tennessee Titans' game with the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, it is the first round of games where teams will be on bye. 

That means many fantasy owners will be on the lookout for quarterback fill-ins - and Bridgewater stands out as a leading candidate. 

Bridgewater threw for 276 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 4 win over the Arizona Cardinals, which also saw him run for another score, his efforts good enough for 27.2 fantasy points. 

This week, Bridgewater faces an Atlanta Falcons defense surrendering 341.5 passing yards a game. The odds are in favour of Bridgewater logging his third successive start against an NFC South opponent with over 300 passing yards.

RB: Jerick McKinnon - San Francisco 49ers

With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman sidelined, McKinnon has taken on the lead role in the San Francisco backfield. 

His production has not been efficient as the Niners have found it tough sledding on the ground in recent weeks. However, he has a touchdown in all four games this season and is a featured part of the passing game. 

McKinnon is averaging 16.6 fantasy points a game in points per reception leagues and should continue his strong start to the season against a Miami Dolphins defense that has already conceded seven rushing touchdowns. 

WR: Will Fuller - Houston Texans

Will the Texans finally get a win following the dismissal of Bill O'Brien as head coach and general manager? If they do, Fuller should play a considerable role. 

The speedy but oft-injured receiver had six catches for 108 yards and a touchdown in last week's defeat to the Minnesota Vikings and has five catches in two of his last three meetings with this week's opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Jacksonville is surrendering 6.2 yards per play, making the Jaguars' defense ripe for the picking. 

TE: Eric Ebron - Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers will have watched 49ers star tight end George Kittle pick on the Philadelphia Eagles' linebackers and safeties last Sunday to the tune of 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. 

Ebron is not the same dynamic threat as Kittle to opposing teams, but he had five catches for 52 yards and a score in the Week 3 meeting with the Texans and will have the benefit of a week's rest. 

His 17 receiving touchdowns are tied for the most among tight ends since 2018 and Ebron, who has 12 targets in his last two games, is primed to play a key role on offense as the Steelers aim to move to 4-0.

D/ST: Los Angeles Rams

The most challenging aspect of the Rams' matchup with the Washington Football Team may be the cross-country travel.

This is a perfect set up for a Rams defense that already has 12 sacks and six takeaways this season.

Washington's tally of eight turnovers is tied for the second-most in the NFL and, after benching Dwayne Haskins, they are turning to a quarterback in Kyle Allen who had 16 interceptions in 12 starts for the Panthers last year.

That is a recipe for a huge day for Aaron Donald and Co.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will remain the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins when they face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Dolphins have started 1-3, with questions over when Miami will turn to rookie fifth overall pick Tua Tagovailoa increasing in the wake of last weekend's defeat to the Seattle Seahawks.

Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions in the 31-23 loss, with the Dolphins ending just one of their three red-zone trips with a touchdown.

In his 16th season in the NFL, Fitzpatrick is 25th in the NFL in adjusted net yards per pass attempt with an average of 5.51 yards.

However, head coach Brian Flores is not yet ready to hand the keys to the offense to Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip in his final collegiate game for Alabama last November, with that injury likely playing a role in the Dolphins' decision not to rush him into action.

In a storied career with Alabama, Tagovailoa threw for 7,442 yards and 87 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. He also added nine touchdowns as a runner.

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