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Illini in the NFL: Week 12 Update

Turkey Day and Football Weekend.

Houston Texans v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

It was a fun, long weekend for Illini alums in the NFL. Happy Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season!

Baltimore Ravens

Jihad Ward, defensive end: Ward and the Ravens will play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday night. Positive Covid-19 tests within the Ravens organization forced this game to be moved a couple of times.

Buffalo Bills

Del’Shawn Phillips, linebacker: Unfortunately for Phillips, he was put on the Injured Reserve list for the second time this season a couple of weeks ago. Per league rules, that means his season is officially over — he is ineligible to return to the active roster since he’s been placed on IR twice. We wish Phillips the best in his recovery and hope he has plenty of opportunities down the road.

Dallas Cowboys:

Malik Turner, wide receiver/special teams: Turner was inactive for Dallas’ Thanksgiving Day game versus rivals Washington Football Team. He has not played since Week 4.

Houston Texans:

Houston was feeling good after beating the New England Patriots last week. On short rest, the Texans faced the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving and played their best football of the season. Houston won 41-25.

Corey Liuget, defensive tackle: Liuget was on the active roster for the Thanksgiving tango versus Detroit. He had 2 tackles, one of which was behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage.

Whitney Mercilus, outside linebacker: Mercilus recorded 1 sack and batted down a pass. He also etched his name in the Houston Texans record books:

Indianapolis Colts:

Tavon Wilson, safety/special teams: Wilson was active for Sunday’s game versus division rivals Tennessee Titans. A top-notch game featuring two 7-3 teams, Wilson had 1 tackle and appeared on special teams in Indy’s loss.

Jacksonville Jaguars:

The 1-9 Jaguars had their second home game in a row against the extremely solid 7-3 Cleveland Browns. Jacksonville’s 27-25 loss to the Browns means the Jags are now losers of their last 10 games in a row.

Chase McLaughlin, kicker: Just as he was starting to solidify himself as the Jaguars first choice placekicker, McLaughlin was placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list. It’s unclear when he’ll return to action. McLaughlin did not play in Jacksonville’s game versus Cleveland.

Dawuane Smoot, defensive end: Smoot had himself a nice game in his first start of the season. He’s starting in place of the injured Josh Allen who went on the injured reserve list last week. More than his hard stats, he’s always forcing himself in the backfield and making opposing quarterbacks feel uncomfortable. He recorded 1 sack on Baker Mayfield, seen here:

Kansas City Chiefs:

Nick Allegretti, guard: Allegretti and the Chiefs offense are must-see TV. This week was no different, especially when matched up against Tom Brady (and in Allegretti’s case, Ndamukong Suh) and the Tampa Bay Bucs. Allegretti started his fifth consecutive game for Kansas City at left guard.

Miami Dolphins:

The Miami Dolphins had their second road game in a row — this time in a divisional match up at the winless New York Jets. Miami got back on track and won 20-3 with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting at quarterback in place of the injured Tua Tagovailoa.

Ted Karras, center: Karras continues to play well and has started every game this season for the Dolphins.

Clayton Fejedelem, safety/special teams: Fej had one of his best games in a Dolphins uniform last week. This week he recorded 1 tackle and did his usual dirty work on special teams.

Minnesota Vikings:

Hardy Nickerson, linebacker/special teams: Nickerson did not record any defensive stats in Minnesota’s win versus the Carolina Panthers in the early window on Sunday.

New Orleans Saints:

Justin Hardee, cornerback/special teams: Dealing with a groin injury, Justin Hardee is on New Orleans’ IR list. He has not played since Nov. 1 against the Chicago Bears in Week 8.

*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.