Thursday, November 17, 2011

WVU Pros NFL Week 11 Preview: Ellis Lankster Gets It Started on Thursday Night

Ellis Lankster- (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)
  Usually, this column runs on Fridays and if I have time, I update it on Sundays before the NFL games begin. However, Ellis Lankster and the New York Jets sneaked up on me with a Thursday night game against Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos tonight. So, I'm a day early.
  Week 11 of the NFL is ahead of us this weekend, and there are some intriguing match-ups. At the beginning of the season, the Eagles playing at the Giants could have been a big inter-division game, but with the Eagles a mess with a 3-6 record, it falls short of what it could have been. That doesn't mean it's not going to be a good game to watch. Usually, Eagles/Giants games are hard fought and close games. Owen Schmitt will tell you below what is wrong with team and why the Eagles haven't given up hope on reaching the Playoffs.
  Before last weekend's games, five former Mountaineers were ruled 'inactive' for that weekend's games. The list included Brandon Hogan, Steve Slaton, Anthony Becht, Robert Sands, and Adam Pacman Jones. I'll tell you why I believe at least two of those players will be active for this week's slate of games.
  The schedule and breakdown of Mountaineers in action this week is after the jump.

New York Jets @
Denver Broncos
8:20 NFL Network
  Ellis Lankster provides support in the Jets secondary. He was a mid-season acquisition for the Jets after they cut him at the end of the Preseason. So far, he has contributed 4 tackles on the season.

Carolina Panthers @ 
Detroit Lions
1:00 FOX
  After adding Brandon Hogan to the active roster from the PUP list last week, Panthers' head coach Ron Rivera held Hogan out of Sunday's loss to the Titans. The Panthers are going to use the remaining games in this season to evaluate the roster to prepare for next year. The coaching staff are going to use players in different ways over the last seven games this season, and as soon as Hogan is in game-shape, he could see the field in several different ways for the Panthers. One of the weakest positions so far this season for the team is at cornerback, and the team has been anxious to see how Hogan can contribute. They feel that if he comes back completely healthy from a torn ACL suffered last December, he could be one of the steals from this year's draft. On defense, they could also plug him as a nickel safety. They also want to see how he does returning kicks. The Panthers face Matthew Stafford and the Lions this weekend, and you can bet that they are licking their chops at the prospect of having either Captain Munnerlyn and Chris Gamble lining up across from Calvin Johnson. If Hogan has showed he is in better shape in practice this week, there is a good chance he'll be activated to help defend against Johnson.

Buffalo Bills @ 
Miami Dolphins
1:00 CBS
  These are two teams going in opposite directions. At the beginning of this season, the Bills were one of the surprise teams in the league, now they are fading. The Dolphins lost their first seven games to start the season, but have won two in a row with journeyman quarterback Matt Moore at the helm. Steve Slaton was inactive last week for the Dolphins, and that's likely to occur again this week.
  Corey McIntyre is 5th in AFC special teams votes in Pro-Bowl balloting for the Bills. McIntyre did his part in giving back to the western New York community this week by donating $1,250 dollars to the 6th Annual Rock Out Hunger campaign. He said he would match up to $3,800 in addition to that.

Dallas Cowboys @ 
Washington Redskins
1:00 FOX
  Chris Neild recorded 1 tackle last week while playing in 18 snaps. Coaches want to increase his playing time in the latter half of this season to get him game experience while building towards the future.

Cincinnati Bengals @ 
Baltimore Ravens
1:00 CBS
  Adam Jones was a late scratch to last week's game due to a groin injury he suffered in practice. He's healthy now, and should play against the Ravens. Rookie Robert Sands has been a healthy 'inactive' in every game this season, and with the Bengals having one of the best records in the league, that trend should continue. Although he has been inactive, Sands has been able to practice fully with the team while he learns the NFL game.

Philadelphia Eagles @
New York Giants
8:20 NBC
  As I mentioned above, the Eagles are reeling, but they haven't given up on their hopes of reaching the Playoffs. FB Owen Schmitt still believes that can happen:
“I still believe we’re one of the most talented teams,” Schmitt said. “We can’t fire on all cylinders. It’s like we’re stuck in third gear. It’s frustrating. I wish I had an answer. I wish we all had an answer. Everybody is frustrated. But I thought we tried just as hard. It’s not like we’re giving up. It’s not over until it’s over. We can make the playoffs but we’ve still got to play our bleep off.”
Kansas City Chiefs @
New England Patriots
8:30 ESPN MNF 
  Anthony Becht was inactive for the Chiefs last weekend and that could be the case this week against the Patriots.

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