Justin Jefferson’s rise; The new era of the Colts: Peter Schrager’s cheat sheet

Is Justin Jefferson the NFL’s Best Wide Receiver?

I know. A few weeks ago, I wrote here about how Tyreek Hill was on track to break Calvin Johnson’s single-season yards record and how Tyreek was not only the best wideout in the NFL, but perhaps the most influential for his team. Exactly a year ago at this time I think I said exactly the same thing about Cooper Kupp. And somewhere in the archives you can see me singing the same tune about Ja’Marr Chase, Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams or Michael Thomas. I’m sure there’s an article by TY Hilton or Antonio Brown or Julio Jones somewhere on the internet with the same crap from me.

But it’s November 2022, and I’m confident I can say right now, at this moment — Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in the NFL. What he did against the Bills on Sunday was unique. The 193 receiving yards, the fourth-and-18 catch, the OT grab on the third down that set the game-winning score are all part of the story. But I go to Next Gen Stats for what I like to see. Jefferson caught nine balls on Sunday that had less than a 50% chance of being completed. It’s the highest ever by a receiver in an NFL game. It’s also three more than the next higher recipient. When you add that to what he does and where he positions himself, Jefferson might also be the most versatile player in the league. He can line up outside, he can line up inside, and he can go over the middle or he can go deep. He’s also a more than adequate run blocker.

Justin Jefferson’s stunning catch propels Vikings to OT win over Bills

Justin Jefferson's stunning catch propels Vikings to OT win over Bills

The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Buffalo Bills 33-30 in overtime yesterday, and late in the fourth Justin Jefferson made an absurd one-handed catch in 4th and 18th place. How great is Jefferson? The undisputed hosts discuss.

He has a historic campaign, and it follows two other historic campaigns. Jefferson is on track for 2,002 yards, which would break Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson’s record of 1,964 yards set in 2012. He’s overtaken Hill this season. He’s had six straight games for 80 yards or more — and his team is winning. Jefferson came into the season as one of the top figures in the NFL and as the player whose touchdown celebration is most emulated by children under 12.

He is now developing into one of the elite players in the league. Now if I were asked to rank the best wide receivers in the NFL, I would have Jefferson in first place. And for those who say he’s got a lot going on and offers all sorts of explanations as to why he’s in a better position than, say, Davante Adams or anyone else – I don’t want to hear it. Jefferson is on a historical clip. We can’t control who other players have as QBs or which receivers sustain injuries.

Related: FOX Sports NFL writers rank the NFL’s top 10 wide receivers

This weekend’s matchup will be against Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. And I think Jefferson will eat. As he has done almost every single week of his NFL career.

Will The Jeff Saturday Era Be A Thing?

It’s one thing. With the reactions that Joe Thomas and Bill Cowher had on television last week, and the emotional response from the players, coaches and owners of the Colts on Sunday, this story will not go away. Win or lose on Sunday, the Jeff Saturday-led Colts will serve as a great case study for interim coaching employment for years to come.

I think Pat McAfee made a good point when he said that those who are crying out for Gus Bradley and John Fox have not identified the point that neither has been in the building more than six months and just because they previously had jobs as Head coaches had, they automatically got the right to get them back. On Saturday the guy is 1-0. But the real test comes on Sunday. Now that the emotions, surge of excitement and gust of fresh air have settled, how will the team emerge for an encore? Interim head coaches who won their first game went on to score a combined 11-19 in their second game. The message I received from the NFL Network research team states that the only former interim Colts HC to win his first game, Ron Meyer in 1986, won his second game and after that 1986 season got the job in received full-time. In the most unpredictable season I can remember, it would only be fitting that the one shot that caused the most outrage and polarization would absolutely work.

Jay Glazer reveals Colts’ reasoning behind hiring Jeff Saturday

Jay Glazer reveals Colts' reasoning behind hiring Jeff Saturday

Jay Glazer opens up on why the Indianapolis Colts hired Jeff Saturday and the future status of the coach.

If Saturday goes 2-0, not only does it mean the Colts are back in the thick of things with a 5-5-1 record, but it also means we could see more former players and new hires outside the box in years Consequences. Ron Meyer got the job full-time after winning two games. Who knows? Maybe Saturday can be even better.

Zach Wilsons time to prove yourself

You know what’s at stake Sunday in New England. A win at Foxborough will see the Jets top spot after the 10-game mark for the first time since 2010. Unfortunately, Gang Green lost 13 straight regular-season games to the Patriots, and worse, 13 straight regular-season games in New England. The last time the Jets won the regular season in New England, Brett Favre was the coach and Eric Mangini was the head coach. But here are the mighty Jets, freshly won against the Bills and the Dolphins and feeling themselves.

But this is all about Zach Wilson. Bill Belichick has spent bye week planning the game for the Jets, and if he does what he always does, he’ll get the opponent hitting him with his “left hand.” Belichick is a master at taking away the first option from the opponent; her greatest strength. If you’re a passing team, you need to beat them with the barrel. If you have a great #1 wideout, it will have you beating the Patriots with your second or third option. Most of the time (see both Super Bowls vs. the Rams) it works. On rare occasions (see Mario Manningham defeating the Patriots in the second Giants-Patriots Super Bowl) this is not the case.

Zach Wilson is clearly the Jets’ “left hand” at the moment. And against Belichick? There was little success. Wilson is 0-3 with two touchdowns and seven interceptions against the Patriots in his career — including Week 8 this season. He’s actually a .500 QB in games against non-Belichick head coaches.

This game will be left to Zach Wilson. If you have faith in the sophomore quarterback and his offensive coaches’ ability to plan things, the Jets should win. If you don’t, and you think he’s going to make the same mental mistakes he did three weeks ago, you won’t. I can’t think of a bigger game for a young quarterback that has all eyes on him.

Jack Sanborns big day

The tradition of great linebackers in Chicago is rich. From Butkus to Singletary and Wilber Marshall to Urlacher, Briggs and even Roquan Smith, the position has always been a special part of the Bears franchise.

Is it too soon to add undrafted first-year LB Jack Sanborn to this list of legends?

Sanborn has only started two NFL games but was an absolute sensation. On Sunday, the rookie had 10 tackles, 2 sacks and an INT that was taken away on penalty. The coolest part? Sanborn – whose name just screams Bears LB – grew up in the Chicago suburbs. A native of Lake Zurich, Illinois, he had a great career in Wisconsin only to never hear his name in the NFL Draft.

Another guy who didn’t get drafted and signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent after college?

Current Bear GM Ryan Poles.

With Roquan in Baltimore, the way is clear for Sanborn to move on. It was a fun ride to watch.

Saquon against them lions

Here’s a fun stat from the NFL Network research team: Saquon Barkley leads the league in rushing, and the Lions — the Giants’ opponent this weekend — are the league’s bottom-ranked defense. This is only the sixth time since 1960 that the league’s top rusher has taken on the team tied last in both ratings and total defense this week. The leading rusher is 5-0 with 110.4 rush YPG in these games. The winning margin in these games? 15 points.

Take Big Blue!

Peter Schrager is an NFL writer for FOX Sports and host of “Good Morning Football” on the NFL Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @PSchrags.


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