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Illini in the NFL: Week 8 Update

Bye weeks, Injured Reserve and Inactive lists. Still, Illini alums produced on Sunday.

New York Jets v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With a couple of players on bye weeks and others on Injured Reserve/Inactive lists, overall it was a pretty underwhelming Illini in the NFL week. That’s okay. Our boys continue to make us proud! ILL!

Baltimore Ravens

Jihad Ward, defensive end: Ward and the Ravens had a monster, AFC North clash against rivals Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore recently traded for D-lineman Yannick Ngakoue, which seems to have put Ward’s playing time on the back burner. In fact, Ward was inactive against the Steelers on Sunday.

Buffalo Bills

Del’Shawn Phillips, linebacker: The Bills scraped out a win, beating their division foes New England Patriots 24-21. Unfortunately, Phillips was placed on IR a couple of weeks ago and remains on the IR list.

Dallas Cowboys:

Malik Turner, wide receiver/special teams: Malik Turner and the Cowboys had an important divisional matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. Turner once again was on Dallas’ inactive list.

Houston Texans:

Whitney Mercilus, outside linebacker: The Texans were on bye this week... and they closed their facility last Wednesday due to a player testing positive for Covid. That’s something to keep an eye on.

Indianapolis Colts:

Tavon Wilson, safety: Wilson and the Colts returned to the field to play against one of Wilson’s former teams, the Detroit Lions. Wilson had 1 tackle for a Colts defense that dominated in an Indianapolis win.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

Dawuane Smoot, defensive end: Smoot and the Jags had a much-needed bye week this week. Jacksonville has lost six straight games after winning its opener, and now are squarely in the Trevor Lawrence draft sweepstakes.

Kansas City Chiefs:

Nick Allegretti, guard: Allegretti and the Chiefs were back at home, this time against the NFL’s worst team in the New York Jets. Allegretti once again started at left guard and played well for the defending Super Bowl champs. Not bad for a seventh-round pick.

Miami Dolphins:

The Dolphins had an extra week to prepare for a home game agains the LA Rams, featuring rookie Tua Tagovailoa in his first career start. Miami won 28-17.

Ted Karras, center: Karras continues to roll and play great football. His relationship with Tua will go a long way towards Miami reaching their goal of qualifying for the NFL Playoffs. Karras has started every game at center for Miami so far this season.

Clayton Fejedelem, safety/special teams: Tua didn’t have to do much in the game. Why? Miami’s defense and special teams were excellent, especially in the first half of action. Fej recorded 1 tackle in the game and per usual, does most of his damage on special teams.

Minnesota Vikings:

Hardy Nickerson, linebacker/special teams: In arguably the biggest upset of the weekend, Minnesota finds itself 2-5, having shocked the Green Bay Packers on the road. Nickerson recorded 1 tackle in the game and he continues seeing time as a rotational linebacker on Minnesota’s defense.

New Orleans Saints:

Justin Hardee, cornerback/special teams: Hardee was back in Illinois, as his Saints faced off against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon. Hardee recorded 2 tackles on defense and looked great on special teams, blocking for punt returner Deonte Harris.

Practice Squad guys:

Chase McLaughlin is a practice squad member on the Minnesota Vikings. Veteran defensive lineman and former first-rounder Corey Liuget is on the Houston Texans’ practice squad as of a few weeks ago.

*Just a reminder, Detroit Lions wide receiver Geronimo Allison and New England Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19.