Wed Oct 13 5:57pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, left, looks for a receiver as Tennessee Titans defensive end Jeffery Simmons (98) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) runs for a touchdown past Tennessee Titans defensive end Denico Autry, left, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates after sacking Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer reacts to a play as he watches a video replay of a call he disputed during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Tavon Austin, right, runs past Tennessee Titans safety Dane Cruikshank (29) after a reception during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Urban Meyer is undefeated overseas.
Meyer was Notre Dame's receivers coach in 1996 when the Fighting Irish played Navy in Dublin, Ireland. Notre Dame won 54-27. Twenty-five years later, Meyer will try to get to 2-0 when his winless Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) play a ''home game'' against cross-state foe Miami (1-4) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Sunday.
''It's just kind of ironic we're going all the way to London to play a team from Miami,'' rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence said Wednesday.
The Jaguars have lost 20 consecutive games, six shy of the NFL record set by Tampa Bay in 1977. They actually have a better winning percentage in London (.429) than in Jacksonville (.333) since they started playing annually across the pond in 2013.
London is supposed to be Jacksonville's second home. The 8,500-mile round trip is significant for the small-market franchise's financial stability. The Jaguars credit about 11% of their local revenue to playing annually abroad.
Jacksonville's ticket, television, sponsorship and stadium revenue streams are smaller than NFL teams in larger markets. Earning money in London helps offset some of the disparity, and the game remains a critical part of the team's long-term plan.
Jacksonville played a ''home game'' at iconic Wembley Stadium every year between 2013 and 2019 and would have played there again last year had COVID-19 not shuttered international travel. The Jaguars signed a long-term deal with the NFL that granted them extended territorial rights - essentially allowing sponsorship deals - in the United Kingdom and landed them ticket revenue from Wembley, an 86,000-seat venue.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who also owns Fulham Football Club, is ready to sign another contract to remain ''London's team'' and play one home game annually at Wembley. Khan tried to strengthen Jacksonville's foothold in London by bidding to buy Wembley in 2018. He withdrew his offer for the English Football Association's main asset after recognizing the extent of opposition to the sale.
Khan surely still would be interested in purchasing Wembley and would prefer playing there Sunday. A confluence of factors related to scheduling issues caused by COVID-19 forced Jacksonville to settle for playing one of three NFL games at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
And the Jags ended up facing the Dolphins in a matchup of Florida teams that are a five-hour drive apart.
Jacksonville has 26 players on its 53-man roster who have played at least one game in London. It was a higher percentage a few years ago, but a roster overhaul and missing last year's trip caused that number to dip.
Meyer and several assistants also will be making the trip for the first time. Meyer is relying on a group of staffers who have been over there enough times to have it down to a science to make it smooth for everyone - and give the Jaguars their best chance of ending an embarrassing skid.
''I've not done it, but the Jaguars have,'' Meyer said. ''The Jaguars have a pretty good plan.''
Meyer allowed his leadership committee, a group of players who serve as liaisons between the locker room and the coaching staff, to help pick what day to leave. They had several options, two of which included leaving earlier in the week. They landed on leaving after practice Thursday.
Meyer's main concern is making sure everyone stays hydrated before and during the flight and gets plenty of rest in hopes of feeling little or no jet lag caused by the time difference.
''The one thing I found out: the players actually, the ones I've talked to, enjoy it,'' Meyer said. ''They like going over there. We had a long discussion about it, long discussion about why we do it and then the international appeal of the NFL.''
The Jaguars, however, have no interest in playing home games in Germany. The NFL selected Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich to enter a final bidding stage to host a regular-season NFL game.
Germany has a strong and growing NFL fan base and is one of the world's largest economies, making it a logical target for a league with visions of worldwide growth.
But the Jaguars are committed to London, their second home and potentially the site of their first victory in nearly 400 days.
''The leaders we have on this team have been awesome and obviously it's been a tough start, especially for the guys that have been here,'' Lawrence said. ''It's tough kind of the situation we're in. ... If we stick together and just make these plays here and there eventually everything's going to fall into place. Hopefully that's sooner rather than later.''
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (shoulder, hamstring) appears to be facing an uphill battle to play in Week 7's game against the Atlanta Falcons, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Parker had been listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited participant in all three of the team's practice sessions throughout the week. If he is declared active for the game, he could be viewed as a flex option in fantasy leagues, although owners should have alternatives available in the event that he misses this afternoon's contest.
Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff is not in danger of losing his job as the team's starting quarterback to QB David Blough, according to multiple sources.
Fantasy Spin: Goff has only thrown two touchdown passes in his last four games and has not reached the 300-yard passing mark since the season opener. With few offensive playmakers on the roster, he should be avoided in most fantasy leagues.
New York Giants wide receiver John Ross (hamstring) is likely to suit up for Sunday's outing against the Panthers. Ross has been dealing with a hamstring issue, although he managed to practice sparingly on Thursday and Friday, which is always a good sign regarding a player's anticipated availability. The former Bengal received an uptick in snaps over the last few weeks. However, with Darius Slayton (hamstring) andEvan Engram (calf) expected to play, andSterling Shepard (hamstring) labeled as a game-time call, Ross should be avoided in all fantasy formats in Week 8.
Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (shoulder, groin) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Atlanta Falcons. He was listed as questionable on the injury report after being a limited practice participant throughout the week.
Although Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (calf) is unlikely to participate in a light practice session when the team returns from their bye Monday, Oct. 25, he could resume practicing Wednesday, Oct. 27, according to multiple sources. The team is optimistic that he will be able to start Week 8's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Fantasy Spin: Although Prescott should be started in all fantasy formats when healthy, he makes a somewhat risky option for Week 8 because the Dallas-Minnesota contest will be the Sunday Night Football matchup, which would leave many owners in a bind if he is declared inactive at the last minute. Fantasy owners should check back for frequent updates throughout the week on Prescott's status at practice.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (calf) has been progressing in the right direction after being injured during the Week 6 matchup against the New England Patriots. Prescott spent most of his bye week in the pool, and he should be ready to practice by Wednesday. Nonetheless, fantasy managers should continue to monitor his status and await his official designation ahead of the Week 8 outing in Minnesota.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) is out for Week 7 versus the Panthers. However, while he has a slight chance to make it back for Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs, fantasy managers realistically shouldn't expect him back until Week 9 versus the Oakland Raiders. Nonetheless, until Barkley is ready to return, Devontae Booker will likely continue to handle duties out of the backfield and has plenty of appeal in all formats.
Washington Football Team QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) is still relying on crutches to get around and is not close to returning to action, according to multiple sources. He is expected to undergo an MRI exam in the next few weeks and appears unlikely to return before the team's Week 9 bye on Nov. 7.
Fantasy Spin: Fitzpatrick's rehab process has not moved as quickly as initially hoped and there is a possibility that he won't return to the field this season. Taylor Heinicke will continue to serve as Washington's No. 1 quarterback in the interim and can be a starting option in two-quarterback fantasy leagues.
San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo will start Week 7's game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo had been sidelined recently because of a calf injury but is no longer listed on the team's injury report after logging two limited practice sessions and one full session during the week. Although he won't have to worry about sharing offensive snaps with injured QB Trey Lance (knee) this weekend, Garoppolo is only worthy of being a starting option in two-quarterback fantasy leagues.
New York Giants TE Evan Engram (calf) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Carolina Panthers, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Engram had been listed as questionable on the injury report after missing practice Thursday, Oct. 21, and participating in a limited practice session Friday, Oct. 22. If he is declared active for the game, he should be viewed as a low-end TE1 option in deeper fantasy leagues.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring) is considered a game-time decision for Week 7's game against the Carolina Panthers, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard sustained a hamstring injury during practice Thursday, Oct. 21, and was officially designated as questionable after participating in the following day's practice session on a limited basis. If he is declared active, he should be viewed as a WR3 or flex option for fantasy leagues.
New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (calf) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring) are likely to play Sunday against the Panthers. ESPN's Adam Schefter notes that the two should be good to go unless they suffer a setback in pre-game warmups. Engram and Slayton have had limited roles so far- but could be pivotal players against Carolina with the Giants already down Saquon Barkley (ankle), Kenny Golladay (knee), and Kadarius Toney (ankle). The Panthers have a stingy pass defense, ranking seventh in pass DVOA, though Engram and Slayton could see enough volume to make an impact this week.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (shoulder, hamstring), listed as questionable, is looking iffy for Sunday's game against the Falcons. Parker seemed to take a step in the right direction, as he was a limited participant at practice after not taking the field for any sessions the previous week. Fellow wideout Preston Williams (groin) is also questionable for the contest. If Parker misses another game, look for rookie Jaylen Waddle, coming off of a 10-catch, 70-yard, two-touchdown game, to command a large number of targets once again in an excellent matchup against Atlanta. Mike Gesicki should also continue to see his fair share of work in the passing game. Both are strong plays Sunday.
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (shin), dealing with a nagging injury, is expected to suit up Sunday against the Packers. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Gibson was dealing with a hairline fracture in his shin earlier in the year, an injury that seemed to pop back up during last week's contest. Bothered by the injury, the star halfback has yet to exceed the 100-yard scrimmage mark since Week 3- though he does have three touchdowns in his last three games played. Gibson remains in starting territory thanks to his talent and a favorable matchup against a Packers defense that ranks 30th in rush DVOA. He will likely continue to be more touchdown-dependent than usual.
Philadelphia Eagles LB Genard Avery was fined $5,111 by the National Football League for getting in the face of Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette late in Week 6's game and taking a critical penalty.
Los Angeles Rams RB Sony Michel (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 7's game against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Sean McVay.
Fantasy Spin: Michel had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. He should see a decent number of offensive snaps this afternoon and can be considered as a flex option in deeper fantasy leagues.
Jacksonville Jaguars S Rayshawn Jenkins was fined $10,300 by the National Football League for his actions in Week 6's game against the Miami Dolphins.
There is optimism that Tennessee Titans WR Julio Jones (hamstring) will play in Week 7's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: Jones had been listed as questionable on the injury report after logging two limited practice sessions during the week. Despite the favorable matchup against the Kansas City defense, he should be viewed as a risky WR3 or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) expressed optimism that he would be ready to play against Kansas City, with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noting that that is the team's expectation. Jones suffered a hamstring injury a few weeks ago, sidelining him for two games- though he aggravated the injury during his team's win over the Bills on Monday night. Still, it seems like Jones, who will take on a Chiefs defense that ranks 31st in pass DVOA, will be out there for a big game Sunday. His recent injury track record makes him a risky play, but it could pay off if Sunday's game becomes high-scoring.