NFL risers and fallers Week 8

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Indianapolis Colts strong safety Khari Willis (37) reacts after a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

For this past Wednesday’s paper, I apparently wrote the preview I normally write for Friday instead of the recap. If you’re a loyal follower of NFL content from The Daily Campus, I’m sure that devastated you. But fear not, let’s do it right now — just a couple days late. 

Riser: Indianapolis Colts 

The Colts, in my eyes, are without a doubt the shock of the season. After a mediocre 7-9 season and an uninspiring offseason, no one really expected anything from Indy. They added DeForest Buckner and brought in Philip Rivers to play QB, but both of these moves were questionable. Buckner cost the Colts the No. 13 overall pick, while Rivers was coming off one of the worst seasons in his career, not to mention that he was going into his age-39 season. Now, at the almost halfway point of the season, the Colts are 5-2 and tied with the Tennessee Titans for first place in the AFC South. 

Rivers has been really solid, averaging about 265 yards passing per game and what would be the highest completion percentage of his career. The defense, now with a new star on the defensive line in Buckner, is giving up the second-fewest yards and fifth-fewest points per game. They absolutely obliterated the Lions 41-21, and while yes, it’s just the Lions, 41 points is 41 points. They look legit, and maybe they can push the Titans for the division. 

Faller: Los Angeles Rams 

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) hands the ball to running back Cam Akers (23), during the second half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

The Rams are running out of time to try to make a push for the division. The Seahawks are one of the best teams in the league and the Cardinals are the only team to beat them this season. The Rams are clearly better than the 49ers, but if not for all of the injuries in San Francisco, the Rams would probably be the least talented team in the division. They’re not bad — they’re probably even above average across the league — but there’s just nothing special about them. The whole team is just uninspiring.  

They got manhandled by the Miami Dolphins this past week, with no one really playing well. Jared Goff threw for over 350 yards, but he only threw one touchdown. On top of that, he had four turnovers — two picks and two fumbles lost. Their defense also didn’t do much, and while they did get two fumbles, they didn’t do nearly enough against an unproven rookie to try to turn the tides in their favor. The team is just … bleh. 

Riser: Dalvin Cook 

What else can be said about Dalvin Cook. The man might legitimately be the best running back in the NFL. I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but the only one who I can really say has played better than him for sure is Alvin Kamara. Christian McCaffery got injured, Saquon Barkley is out for the season and Ezekiel Elliott has just … sucked. On Sunday, Cook was the only reason the Vikings were able to beat the Packers. Minnesota scored four touchdowns and Cook had them all. He also had well over 200 yards from scrimmage. When he’s healthy, there aren’t many backs I’d rather have. 

Faller: Le’Veon Bell 

Kansas City Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell (26) carries the ball against the New York Jets in the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

I was really, really excited for Le’Veon Bell this past week. As a noted Jets fan, I wanted Bell to absolutely tear up his former team. I wanted him to embarrass Adam Gase and the Jets. Don’t get me wrong, Gase and the Jets were embarrassed — it just wasn’t by Bell. He had six rushes, tied for the team lead, for a whopping seven yards. He did catch three passes for 31 yards (so not bad), but it still had his yardage average of just over three yards per touch. He even had a fumble, but it’s the Jets, so Kansas City kept the ball. I still believe in Bell and his ability to be a top back in the league, but this was not a good showing from him. 

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