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FOOTBALL FREAK: Two key players suffer season-ending injuries

Professional football is a physical, rough and violent game, which unfortunately leads to injuries, and two of the biggest names in football found this out on Sunday.

Journal Pioneer NFL columnist John Turner.

Arguably, the biggest non-quarterback names in the NFL – JJ Watt of the Houston Texans and the New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. – suffered season-ending leg injuries. Both are huge losses for their respective teams. 
The Giants are done anyway at 0-5 (won-lost), so not having OBJ isn’t as important as the loss of Watt is to the Texans.
The loss of Watt and Whitney Mercilus in the same game will severely hurt Houston’s chances in winning the weak AFC South, or earning a wild-card berth. That is especially true now that Houston has finally found a quarterback that can lead the offence and score some points instead of relying solely on its defence to win games. 
With Watt leading the defence, the Texans were a tough team to play against.
The Giants, on the other hand, are looking at a top-five pick for the first time since 2004, when they drafted Phillip Rivers and traded him for Eli Manning.
Can you believe in Sunday’s game against the Chargers that the Giants lost four wide receivers to ankle injuries? 
Two of the other injured receivers, Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris, are also finished for the season. It will be interesting to see how the Giants play this out – will they give this year’s third-round pick Davis Webb a game or two at quarterback to see if he’s the heir apparent to Eli or not?
And if he isn’t, the Giants will need to draft a quarterback with their high pick as Eli’s career is coming to an end in the next couple of seasons.
 
Stat of the week
With the loss of OBJ, Marshall and Harris, the Giants replaced their total career catches of 1,342 with four from Tavarres King, Ed Eagan and Travis Rudolph. Good luck Eli!
 
Sure thing
The Giants, with all their regular starters out, have no chance in Denver against the league’s No. 1 passing D that is coming off a bye. The Broncos pound the Gmen, and the question is can Eli survive the game with Von Miller in his face all day, and no one to throw to?
The Browns passed on Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Deshaun Watson for DeShone Kizer. Looks like another bad quarterback draft choice in Cleveland. The Texans are tearing it up offensively at home. A big double-digit win for Houston.
The Falcons are at home against the Dolphins, and are coming off a bye. Can’t see them losing back-to-back games at home to teams like the Bills and now the Dolphins.
San Fran hasn’t won a game, but has back-to-back overtime losses as they head to Washington. The 49ers have a terrible record playing on the East Coast the last two seasons. The Redskins beat the 49ers.

Don’t mortgage the house picks
No one, even the most avid Jets’ fans, could have predicted this home game with the Patriots in Week 6 will be for first place in the AFC East. The Pats will outscore the Jets in this one.
The Chiefs definitely look like the team to beat, and one of the teams that was supposed to be a contender, the Steelers, are falling apart. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is playing with so much confidence, but his counterpart with the Steelers, Ben Roethlisberger, isn’t. This is a big game for both teams moving forward. The Chiefs feed off home crowd for a close win.

Upset special
The Vikings always play the Packers tough at home, even without their starting running back and quarterback. 
Minnesota’s defence will give Aaron Rodgers some trouble while its offence will need to control the clock with the running game and short passes to Adam Thielen and Steff Diggs. 
The Vikings upset the Packers in front of local fans Frankie, Bucky and Bagger.
Last week: 4-for-7.
Season: 24-for-35.

John Turner is a Summerside schoolteacher and coaches youth football. His column appears every Saturday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to ssidespartansfootball@yahoo.ca.

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