Something to encourage the Raiders: In 2015, a team started 1-5, won their last 10 games, made the playoffs, won a playoff game and gave the Patriots a run in the next round. That team was the Chiefs. Beating that team now could turn Oakland’s season around. Losing to them means they need to do something that isn’t impossible, but is too rare to count on. For what it’s worth, as much as NaVorro Bowman helps the Raiders defense, they need much more help than that against Alex Smith.
The aforementioned Hundley gets his first career start in place of Aaron Rodgers. If there’s such a thing as good timing on Rodgers breaking his collarbone, it’s fortunate that the Packers are playing the Saints’ defense. It will help Hundley. It will not help the Packers that their own defense is so shaky, and they’re facing Drew Brees and a team that dropped 52 on the Lions.
It would be no surprise if Browns coach Hue Jackson, 1-22 so far, gets fired if Cleveland loses at Twickenham Stadium. The Browns are off next week, which would allow for more time to adjust to a new boss.
Cleveland is making its first regular-season international trip and doing so without the face of the franchise. Tackle Joe Thomas underwent surgery for a torn triceps that sidelined him in last week’s overtime loss to Tennessee. Thomas participated in 10,363 consecutive plays since being drafted in the first round in 2007.
Minnesota’s balance has been impressive. Sitting atop the NFC North, the Vikings are getting solid contributions from third-string (albeit veteran) QB Case Keenum, wideout Adam Thielen, RBs Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray, and a staunch defense led by end Everson Griffen. He stands third in the NFL with nine sacks and has at least one in each game.
Flacco was initially placed in concussion protocol, and by halftime was ruled out. He went 10 for 15 for 101 yards, including a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin.