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Texans beat Bengals, Packers rout Vikings


Texans beat Bengals, Packers rout Vikings

More rematches ahead.

After Green Bay routed Minnesota 24-10 Saturday night, it set up a trip to San Francisco. The 49ers beat the Packers at Lambeau Field to open the season.

The Packers didn't let 2,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson run over them again. Indeed, Packers fullback John Kuhn had a bigger impact with two touchdowns.

And the Houston Texans are heading back to New England, where their season began to unravel. A 19-13 win over Cincinnati on Saturday in the wild-card round means the Texans have a date next Sunday in Foxborough. Arian Foster, the catalyst in the victory against the Bengals, isn't fazed by facing the AFC East champions, who routed Houston 42-14 last month.

Houston (13-4) lost three of its last four games to blow home-field advantage in the conference, slipping to third overall.

New England (12-4) is a 9 1/2-point favorite.

``I'm not a big believer in momentum,'' Foster said. ``Every Sunday you have to come out and bring your best or you can get beat on any day.''

Adrian Peterson and the Vikings didn't bring their best to Green Bay. One week after Peterson rushed for 199 yards to lift Minnesota into the playoffs, the 2,000-yard runner was held to 99. And Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was sidelined by an elbow injury; backup Joe Webb couldn't manufacture much offense.

On Sunday, the Beltway will be buzzing. First, AFC North champion Baltimore hosts Indianapolis. Then NFC East winner Washington plays Seattle.

While Houston heads to Foxborough next weekend, AFC West winner Denver (13-3) will host either Baltimore or Indianapolis next Saturday. NFC South champ Atlanta (13-3) gets either the Redskins or Seahawks next Sunday.

Packers 24, Vikings 10

Ten receivers caught passes from Aaron Rodgers, tying a playoff record, with Kuhn scoring on a 9-yarder. DeJuan Harris also had a 9-yard TD run, and Green Bay kept Peterson in check. It was a turnaround from what the star running back did in his last trip to Lambeau, when he rushed for 210 yards.

It was Rodgers' first home playoff victory.

Minnesota's late touchdown was a 50-yard pass to Michael Jenkins.

Next, the Packers get the Niners (11-4-1), who won 30-22 at Lambeau to start the season. San Francisco is a 3-point favorite.

``They're different as well,'' Rodgers said. ``They're a great defense. Very talented offense as well. It's going to be a very tough challenge for us.''

Texans 19, Bengals 13

Foster gained 140 yards, becoming the first player with at least 100 yards rushing in his first three postseason games. He scored on a 1-yard run and also had eight receptions.

``It only takes one week to turn things around in the NFL and we did that,'' said Foster, whose team lost to Minnesota and Indianapolis to slip to the AFC's third seed.

Cincinnati (10-7) gained only 198 yards and had 12 first downs. Its touchdown came on Leon Hall's interception return.

``It's hard to put it into words,'' Hall said. ``It's disappointing. I mean, we had a good year, but it didn't end how we wanted it to and how we planned it to. At the end of the day, they made the plays that won the game for them.''

With a second straight wild-card loss in Houston, the Bengals extended one of the NFL's longest playoff droughts. They haven't won a postseason game since the 1990 season.

They got two field goals from Josh Brown, and Andy Dalton overthrew an open A.J. Green in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.

Along with Foster's touchdown, the Texans got four field goals from Shayne Graham.

Colts (11-5) at Ravens (10-6)

From Ray Lewis' pending retirement to Chuck Pagano's return to Baltimore to the history of these two franchises, this game has all kinds of intriguing story lines.

Lewis announced this week he will end his 17-year career as one of the NFL's premier players, let alone linebackers, after the playoffs. He's hoping for a long run duplicating the 2000 season, when he was Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP.

``That moment I walk out of that tunnel Sunday, every person that was a Ravens fan - 1996 to this day - we will all enjoy that moment,'' he said. ``It will probably be one of the glorious moments in my life.''

Pagano spent four seasons coaching defense in Baltimore, then landed the head coaching job in Indy. He missed 12 games while undergoing treatments for leukemia and came back last week in a win over Houston.

Now he's back in Baltimore.

And he knows all about the history of the Colts leaving for Indianapolis in Mayflower moving vans in the middle of the night in 1984.

``Yeah, because when this opportunity presented itself, I remember seeing the paper when I left town,'' Pagano joked. ``I was driving a Mayflower out of town, so I fully understand. They had me in the cab, if I remember right.''

Seahawks (11-5) at Redskins (10-6)

Two streaking teams with sensational rookie quarterbacks, making it three such starters in action Sunday; Andrew Luck leads the Colts.

Washington took its final seven games to grab its division title. QB Robert Griffin III (102.4) had the best single-season rookie passer rating in NFL history; Seattle's Russell Wilson was next at 100.0. Griffin also set a league mark for yards rushing by a rookie QB (815).

Wilson threw 26 TD passes, tying Peyton Manning's NFL rookie record set in 1998.

``He's a playmaker. He's a football player. He makes plays running around, like a video game, buying time for the receivers, taking off with the football himself,'' Redskins veteran linebacker London Fletcher said.

He was talking about Wilson; could have been about Griffin, as well.


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NFL Pro Bowler Deonte Harris donating meals to hometown of Baltimore

NFL Pro Bowler Deonte Harris donating meals to hometown of Baltimore

Deonte Harris, a Pro Bowl return man for the New Orleans Saints who originally hails from Baltimore, is helping provide food for those facing food insecurity as COV-19 continues to strain wallets and resources across the world.

According to the NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Harris is working with local food banks in New Orleans and Charm City to provide 10,000 meals to the two communities.

Harris was an undrafted rookie free agent just one year ago, and was a D-II player at Assumption College prior to that. Now, he joins a growing list of athletes to step up for the communities during the pandemic.

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What are the fantasy implications of the Ravens trading Hayden Hurst?

What are the fantasy implications of the Ravens trading Hayden Hurst?

Fantasy football and the NFL season now go hand-in-hand. For many, drafting players and setting lineups each week in hopes of beating friends or co-workers has become the main incentive to keep up with the sport.

So, when the Ravens sent tight end Hayden Hurst to the Falcons in exchange for draft picks, it was more than a standard football trade to many. The swap will have an effect on the fantasy value and performance of both Hurst and the remaining tight ends on the Ravens roster.

On the latest Ravens Talk Podcast episode, NBC Sports Washington's Jordan Giorgio, Andrew Gillis and Ryan Wormeli discussed the trade and what's to come for both sides. From their analysis, one can begin to evaluate how the move will impact the fantasy football world.

Beginning in Baltimore, the trade doesn't mean that the Ravens are losing their No. 1 option at tight end. Though Hurst put up a solid 30 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns in 2019, it was Mark Andrews who had the breakout year on offense.

With 64 catches for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns, the Pro Bowler quickly became one of Lamar Jackson's go-to pass catchers. Now with Hurst departing, Andrews looks to be in line for even more production. Despite his impressive numbers from a season ago, it's possible that Andrews was held back a little by Hurst due to both tight ends needing time on the field and targets. 

Baltimore's three tight end system worked well in 2019, but with Hurst now in Atlanta, it seems that Andrews could benefit from more targets coming his way. Already a high-value fantasy tight end, there's no reason to think he's hit his peak just yet.

Fellow tight end Nick Boyle could see a bump in his production as well. Used more often as a blocker last season, Boyle still essentially mimicked Hurst's statline, catching 31 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns.

However, it would be naive to assume that all of Hurst's production will transfer to Andrews and Boyle. As Gillis explained on Ravens Talk, Baltimore will have to find someone new to replace Hurst's numbers - even if it isn't a tight end.

“You do lose that three-headed monster at tight end, you have to replace that with something," Gillis said. “It doesn’t have to come in the area that you would expect. It can be a receiver, It can be another running back if you like.”

That hole will most likely be filled during the 2020 NFL Draft in April. For now, all signs point to Andrews, and even Boyle, providing fantasy upgrades. Yet, their full value may be unknown until the Ravens 2020 offense takes its full form.

As for Hurst, the tight end could be heading for the breakout season that Baltimore had hoped for when it selected him 25th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. To get an idea of what may be in store for Hurst in Atlanta, Austin Hooper's 2019 numbers are helpful.

The former Falcons tight end, now a member of the Cleveland Browns, had 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns a season ago. Hurst can be looked at as his replacement, meaning he'll garner all of the targets Hooper received in an offense that loves to throw the football.

That, paired with Hurst's potential, could lead to a big 2020 season, according to Wormeli.

“It would not surprise me if he has a breakout season in Atlanta," Wormeli said. “They obviously lost Austin Hooper, Matt Ryan likes to throw to his tight ends so he’s going to get looks over there."

Gillis believes that being in Atlanta could help turn Hurst into "that Mark Andrews-type" player.

The coming months will help paint a clearer picture in terms of what is to come for Hurst and Andrews both on the field and in fantasy lineups. On paper, however, the trade looks to have increased both of their value come fantasy draft season.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.