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Home / frontsports / The Wolf Sports Newsletter: October 24, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: October 24, 2023


A wild 2023 NFL season continued with an entertaining Week 7.

 

Bill Belichick likely not going anywhere

 

With the Patriots reeling early this season, news shared by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Sunday morning put the franchise’s situation into perspective: During the offseason, legendary head coach Bill Belichick signed a “lucrative long-term contract” to remain with New England for the foreseeable future.

 

 

Belichick’s future seemed to be a real mystery with some of the struggles the Patriots have had, but it does not sound like the six-time Super Bowl champion as a head coach (and twice as the Giants defensive coordinator) will soon be leaving the franchise he helped become the NFL’s gold standard since he took over in 2000.

 

  • Performance has been down since the greatest quarterback of all-time Tom Brady left the organization in 2020.
  • However, the issues have clearly been with player personnel on the offensive side of the ball—an issue that arguably dated back to the end of the Brady era in New England.
  • Belichick is a genius coach with a wealth of experience that makes his defenses consistently among the league’s best.
  • The bottom line is that—despite moronic talk that he’s a “bad” coach that was carried by Brady—Belichick deserves to walk away on his own terms, and it looks like he will unless things get really bad in future seasons.

 

Week 7 NFL highlights

 

Sticking with Belichick and the Patriots, they upset the Bills behind a strong start (10-0 first quarter) and a sharp outing by quarterback Mac Jones, who went 25/30 for 272 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner to Mike Gesicki with 12 seconds remaining. This was Belichick’s 300th career regular season win, and a huge one for New England to get to 2-5—perhaps showing they shouldn’t be totally counted out yet.

 

 

In the first matchup between former Alabama teammates Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, Hurts’ Eagles defended homefield in a 31-17 Sunday Night Football victory. Hurts threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns (one interception) while adding another touchdown on the ground via the unstoppable “Brotherly Shove,” and A.J. Brown tied the longest streak in NFL history of 125+ yard receiving games (five times, tied with Pat Studstill and Calvin Johnson). And Philly did it wearing arguably the best uniforms in sports, the Kelly Greens:

 

 

The Ravens dismantled the Lions, 38-6, with Lamar Jackson (21/27, 357 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, nine carries, 36 rushing yards, one rushing touchdowns) showing how dangerous he can be in a more open offense that’s hitting its stride several games in. Detroit had been blowing teams out heading into the matchup, making the performance by Baltimore extremely impressive.

 

 

Kansas City’s defense held the Chargers to zero second-half points in a 31-17 win, with Patrick Mahomes throwing for 424 yards and four touchdowns (one interception) along with 29 yards on the ground to pick up key first downs. The LA defense actually did a solid job in the second half after getting lit up to begin the game, but four different players caught a touchdown for the Chiefs—and Mecole Hardman Jr. had a big punt return in his first game back with KC after a trade with the Jets.

 

The Vikings played a great game on both sides of the ball to upset the 49ers on Monday Night Football and hand San Francisco their second consecutive loss. Minnesota’s first-round rookie receiver caught two touchdowns, including a 60-yarder at the end of the first half.

 

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1716627863196270616?s=20

 

Other Week 7 games:

 

  • Jaguars 31, Saints 24: On TNF, Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. led the way with his third consecutive game with two touchdowns, and Jacksonville was able to keep New Orleans out of the end zone to end the game late on a goal-line stand. Saints quarterback Derek Carr was visibly frustrated all night, and he admitted after the game that he needs to “chill out.”
  • Falcons 16, Buccaneers 13: Even with star rookie running back Bijan Robinson not playing much at all due to a headache, Atlanta was able to overcome critical turnovers and bounce back with an NFC South road win to get to 4-3—despite Tampa (3-3) coming off their bye week.
  • Bears 30, Raiders 12: A disgruntled Davante Adams started hot with a few early catches for Vegas, but the Raiders offense couldn’t get much going against the Bears defense for most of the game with Jimmy Garoppolo (back) out—and their defense struggled to stop undrafted Division II rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent in his first career start. Bagent did a nice job of keeping the offense moving and gave some words of wisdom after the win:

 

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1716472983353528787?s=20

 

  • Browns 39, Colts 38: In one of the wildest games of the year, the Browns beat the Colts in a shootout. The Cleveland defense had by far its worst outing through six games, but Myles Garrett had a monster day with two sacks, two forced fumbles, and a blocked field goal.
  • Giants 14, Commanders 7: Tyrod Taylor was excellent for the Giants, going 18/29 for 279 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns (to stars Darren Waller and Saquon Barkley). The New York defense sacked Sam Howell six times, with Washington’s offensive line—and Howell’s propensity to hold onto the ball—not leading to ideal results. Commanders defensive lineman Jonathan Allen was not happy after the loss (NSFW):

 

 

  • Seahawks 20, Cardinals 10: Rookie receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba (first round) and Jake Bobo (undrafted) caught touchdowns in a balanced offensive attack for Seattle. Bobo is showing he had no business going undrafted, but poor pre-draft testing (4.99 40-yard dash) led to that being the case—but he’s been a legitimate contributor to a contender.
  • Steelers 24, Rams 17: A questionable spot on a quarterback sneak—that could not be challenged by the Rams because they had no timeouts remaining—sealed a tight win for the Steelers. T.J. Watt dropped back in coverage and picked off Matthew Stafford in the win, and he joined Lawrence Taylor as the only other player in NFL history with 70+ sacks and 7+ interceptions through seven seasons. Pittsburgh is now 13-4 coming off the bye under Mike Tomlin.
  • Broncos 19, Packers 17: Green Bay lost coming off its bye week to drop to 2-4, while Denver got its second straight week of much better play on defense and is now at 2-5 with trade rumors swirling. Oddly, the Broncos now play the Chiefs for the second time in three games as they look to put together a second straight win and perhaps go on an unlikely run. For the Packers, things just feel off on the offensive side of the ball.

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 7

 

  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: 33.88 points
  • Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: 33.86 points
  • Bears RB D’Onta Foreman: 31.5 points
  • Chiefs TE Travis Kelce: 29.9 points
  • Vikings WR Jordan Addison: 27.8 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

NFL updates

 

  • As expected, Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson is officially out for the year due to shoulder surgery.

 

 

  • Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton will miss about two months with a dislocated wrist suffered in the Week 7 win versus the Chargers.

 

 

  • Seahawks pass rusher Uchenna Nwosu is out for the season with a torn pectoral.
  • Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (knee) began practicing last week and is set to play soon as he returns from his torn ACL.
  • 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel will be out through the team’s Week 9 bye after tests revealed a hairline fracture in his shoulder from an injury a couple of Sundays ago.
  • Rams running back Kyren Williams (seven touchdowns this season) was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury ahead of Week 7.
  • Bills tight end Dawson Knox is undergoing wrist surgery and will miss an undetermined period of time.
  • And Broncos defensive back Kareem Jackson has been suspended four games for a hit on Packers tight end Luke Musgrave. Jackson is appealing the suspension, but it comes after a few unnecessary roughness calls against him this season.

 

Eagles add Kevin Byard

 

On the heels of their win over the Dolphins, the Eagles acquired star safety Kevin Byard from the Titans for a fifth-round pick, a sixth-round pick, and safety Terrell Edmunds. Byard—a First-team All-Pro in 2017 and 2021—is one of the top safeties in football, with an all-around game but particularly proficient in pass coverage. A little over a year after the trade for stunning A.J. Brown, Philadelphia getting another top player from Tennessee is pretty crazy.

 

Roger Goodell extended

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract was officially extended through March 2027. Goodell has been the NFL Commissioner since 2006.

 

 

Dolphins on Hard Knocks

 

The Miami Dolphins will be featured on this year’s in-season Hard Knocks on HBO and MAX. More details will be revealed at a later time, but expect the season debut sometime next month.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

World Series: The Rangers blew out the defending champion Astros in last night’s ALCS Game 7 behind four hits and two home runs from Adolis Garcia, and they will face the winner of the Phillies and the Diamondbacks (NLCS Game 7 tonight at 8:07 PM ET on TBS).

 

College football highlights:

 

  • Marvin Harrison Jr. starred with 11 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns as No. 3 Ohio State beat No. 7 Penn State, 20-12.
  • No. 6 Oklahoma survived at home against UCF, 31-29, with a late two-point conversion stop in a matchup of quarterback Dillon Gabriel and his former school.
  • No. 11 Alabama went on a 27-0 run in the second half of a 34-20 win against No. 17 Tennessee.
  • No. 7 Texas held on against Houston, 31-24, but quarterback Quinn Ewers will miss time with a shoulder injury.
  • Virginia stunned No. 10 North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 31-27.
  • No. 4 Florida State came back and finished strong to beat No. 16 Duke, 38-20, after trailing 20-17 entering the fourth quarter.
  • No. 14 Utah topped No. 18 USC, 34-32, for the Utes’ fourth consecutive win against the Trojans. Preseason national title hopeful USC has lost two consecutive games.
  • Pac-12 After Dark: Despite not scoring a touchdown on offense, No. 5 Washington survived at home versus one-win Arizona State, sparked by a clutch fourth-quarter pick-six by Mishael Powell.

 

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