If you wanted to sleep through this matchup, I don’t blame you. It seemed like many of the players wanted to do the exact same thing. You know it’s bad when the first play of the game is a pick six by Muzammil Rizvi. You know it’s worse when captain Imran Ebrahim forces his way under center, only to throw the awaited first interception that had the crowd dying of laughter.
With QB Taleb Zaidi ruled out at the last minute, captain Muhammad Ali took the responsibility of playing QB into his own hands. As expected by everyone (including probably himself), that didn’t turn out great. Although there were some throws that made you cringe, Muhammad Ali was able to slice through the defense on others, including a beauty to Ahmed Goralwalla.
The Colts continued to do what they do, spreading the ball around to multiple targets as four of their players hauled in TDs. QB Kumail Meghani tacked on a few passing touchdowns as well as a pick six to most likely seal his campaign for Most Valuable Player.
On the theme of sleep, the Vikings sleepwalked through a dismantling loss to the Texans, who could be the league’s hottest team right now. While a close loss would’ve definitely hurt, the brutality with which the Texans dominated the Vikings puts a major hold on the Vikings’ playoff aspirations. Before this week, many would’ve expected the Vikings to give the Colts a run for their money. But with a performance like this, league members are wondering if they can beat the 3rd place Patriots.
QB Salim Ladha threw seven touchdowns to his two favorite targets this season, Khaleel Kassam (3 TDs) and Omar Khamissa (4 TDs). However, the biggest feat for this team was keeping an Ali Haroon-led team out of the end zone for most of the game. Khaleel, Salim and Mikael Ratansi each forced an interception while holding the Vikings to their lowest scoring game of the season.
Colts vs Texans 10AM
Season Record: Colts 3-0
Matchups to Watch:
Omar Khamissa vs. Colts’ defense.
Colts’ spread offense vs. Texans’ CBs.
While the standings show that this is a 1-4 matchup, the play on the field clearly projects a much closer battle. Don’t expect a lot of scoring, as the top two defenses go head to head. If the Colts can find a way to slow down Omar Khamissa (23 TDs) and force QB Salim Ladha to look at his second, third and fourth options, they could see themselves in the finals. Meanwhile, the Texans have to have a near perfect game on defense as the Colts have shown no reluctance to spread the ball around to every option on offense.
Prediction: Colts 6 Texans 4
Vikings vs Patriots 11:10AM
Season Record: Vikings 2-1
After the horrid performance by the Vikings this past week, we’re quick to forget that they were playing without their QB Hisham Ali. Adding their QB gives them a top-tier receiver in Ali Haroon. If Ahmed Goralwalla can match up with Ali Haroon throughout the game, the Pats may be the ones advancing. Captain Mujtaba Abidi is sure to have a big game, but it’ll come down to Shoaib Mamdani, Abuzar Abbas, and the rest of the Vikings’ supporting cast to take down the Patriots. Missed flags will decide this one.
Prediction: Patriots 8 Vikings 7
As a member of the audience for this game, you wouldn’t be faulted if you looked at the field and felt completely underwhelmed by the matchup. For the Patriots, starting QB Taleb Zaidi found himself hindered by car issues. So who would find themselves in the Jimmy Garropolo (or in this case, Jacoby Brissett) role? None other than captain Muhammad Ali. Having not attempted a pass this season, it looked like the Patriots would struggle to obtain their second win of the season. For the Vikings, starting QB Hisham Ali was off adventuring somewhere in the Caribbean… And once again, you find the team captain stepping up to the challenge. While Ali Haroon, whose last attempt at QB resulted in a stat line of 24/28 and 10 passing touchdowns, lined up at WR, captain Mujtaba Abidi thought his season 11.1% completion percentage could will the Vikings to victory.
As for the first half of this game, apart from a few great plays by our makeshift QBs, I won’t waste your time with a recap. Just picture the Cleveland Browns facing the Jacksonville Jaguars.
On the other hand, the last few drives of this game compacted the excitement of a Warriors-Cavaliers series into the span of three minutes. After an injury put Mujtaba Abidi on the bench, QB Ali Haroon took control of the offense as he should’ve from the start. The scoring connection of Muhammad Ali to Shabbir Rizvi kept the Patriots’ lead at one with the clock rapidly approaching zero. But a laser dart to Shoaib Mamdani brought the score to even once again. Showing his worth, as he earned himself the Offensive Player of the Week, Shabbir Rizvi took a short route to the house after the Vikings continue on their season-long trend of missing flags. Four Vikings’ games this season have been decided by a point or less (2-1-1 record), so a close game doesn’t come as a surprise to them. Many expected another quick dart and a tie for the standings. All that changed when Ahmed Goralwalla hauled in a majestic one-handed interception, which looked like it should be gracing the cover of Madden NFL 18, and propelled the Patriots back into third place.
In what could have easily been labeled as a “trap” game for the 1st place Colts, especially against the surging Texans, this game turned out the exact way most people expected it to. The Colts came up with a lead, steadily continued building the lead, and the Texans didn’t have enough firepower to match.
The most telling stat of the season for the Texans comes down to this: against all other teams, the team averages almost 7 points a game; in three matchups against the Colts, this Texans team has averaged almost THREE points a game. Offensively, even though the Colts couldn’t force QB Salim Ladha to commit a turnover, the Texans struggled to put the ball in the zone. Although, it seemed like they passed midfield on every drive, they could only muster up three touchdowns, including one ricochet off a defender that landed in Omar Khamissa’s hands. While it was tough enough for them to score, it seemed just as tough to keep the Colts out of the end zone.
On the other hand, the Colts were scoring with relative ease. QB Kumail Meghani continued on his MVP campaign, spreading the love to all of his receivers as has been his M.O. for the year. Receivers Farhan Ratansi, Murtaza Shah, and Mujahid Hemani each caught two touchdowns with captain Imran Ebrahim hauling in one of his own. The Colts are clicking on all cylinders, tied for the most points in the league but allowing the fewest. It’s not surprising that they have the top two flag grabbers in the league (Farhan Ratansi and Imran Ebrahim). Their rematch against the Vikings this weekend should really be another major test on their road to 9-0.
Team Score Patriots 5 Texans 8
After a season of writing off the Texans, they finally started to make a bit of a splash. Finding themselves in 3rd place after a victory against the Patriots, the Texans will look to capitalize on their newly-found team chemistry against the undefeated Colts.
A shrewd move by captain Omar Khamissa, who sat himself for the first couple offensive possessions to get his QB out of his “tunnel vision,” gave Salim Ladha the exact jolt he needed to get the offense on the right track. Although they remain the worst offense in the league, the Texans took strides on a path that seems like it could result in more victories. QB Salim Ladha was sharing the love, as he hit 5 different receivers for scores on his way to an 8-touchdown game. Offensive staple Omar Khamissa hauled in 3 TDs and Mikael Ratansi brought in another two, including a nifty catch-and-run for six. Khaleel Kassam now has an interception in two straight games and will look to continue his streak against the Colts’ formidable offense.
While the Patriots haven’t ever had problems with their offense, the lack of defense has been the key in them taking a free-fall in the standings. Although they didn’t give up any turnovers, it’s hard to gain a victory when you’re not taking some for yourself either. For just the second time this year, the Patriots defense couldn’t force the opposing offense to make a mistake. QB Taleb Zaidi continues to pile on his stats, with Asghar Molu (15 total TDs) and Muhammad Ali (12 total TDs) now being 2nd and 4th in receiving touchdowns, respectively.
Team Score Colts 9 Vikings 8
Just based off the standings, this had to be the best game of the year. What was the icing on the cake was the trash talk that put this matchup on a pedestal.
Without Kumail as the QB, [the Colts] would be in last place.
– Anonymous Vikings player
Determined to prove it wrong, the Colts were amped up to get this matchup under way. Even with a few hecklers on the sidelines, the team managed to answer every shot the Vikings took. QB Kumail Meghani continues to impress, with 7 passing touchdowns and 2 rushing touchdowns. Captain Imran Ebrahim played a fervour some say he’s been lacking as he hauled 4 catches, a touchdown, and 8 flag grabs. Mujahid Hemani and Murtaza Shah also contributed 2 touchdowns each in this close battle.
It looks like captains came to play in this one. Mujtaba Abidi caught 7 passes while also collecting a sack and an interception. Ali Haroon hand-slaughtered (if you know, you know) the defense, on his way to collecting two touchdowns and one breath-taking effort of a catch. But this game came down to three plays, and unlucky for them, they all went against the Vikings. In the last play of the first half, the Colts were able to score in the back of the end zone as time expired. Halftime didn’t seem to help either, as Kumail Meghani shook his way to a touchdown on the first play of the second half. And lastly, while being down just one score, QB Hisham Ali threw a heart-breaking interception that would seal the victory for the Colts.
These two teams play again in a couple of weeks, and you can bet to see a similar showdown.
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Team Score Texans 1 Colts 3
As has been the trend for this season, teams have been putting up points faster than Lavar Ball can think of something new to say. Apparently, this week, the Colts and Texans didn’t get the memo. In what was the first true defensive battle of the year, the Colts were one play away from pitching a shut-out and left the Texans with yet another loss.
After a historic performance by Omar Khamissa, the Texans had difficulty moving the ball down the field, let alone scoring it. QB Salim Ladha, an otherwise accurate QB, ended the game with a 44.7% completion percentage and two interceptions. The receivers didn’t do their QB too many favors, as there were plenty of missed opportunities for the Texans’ pass-catchers. While the offense had nothing to hang their hat on in this one, there are grounds for a moral victory as they kept the highest-scoring team in the league to simply three touchdowns. Khaleel Kassam displayed amazing awareness, reading QB Kumail Meghani’s eyes with a spectacular sliding interception. In their first game with seven players, the Texans showed the league that they could do some damage and move up the standings if the attendance keeps up.
When you score two plays and >50 seconds into the game, you would expect to be able to put up loads of points… Didn’t exactly translate over for the Colts. While two of their touchdowns were scored (by Muzammil Rizvi and Farhan Ratansi) in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the offense couldn’t take advantage of plenty of opportunities. But ask any Colts player and they’ll be proud of their defensive effort. Mohammed Railey was able to grab his first interception of the year, while Farhan Ratansi hauled in a beauty of an interception, literally stealing away a would-be touchdown. The Colts will need to be clicking on all cylinders for their next game though, as they take on the second-hottest team in the league, the Vikings.
Team Score Vikings 9 Patriots 8
At this point, the Patriots must be tired of it. In what was their third loss of the season after holding a 2+ score lead (two games to the Vikings, one to the Colts), the team was left to reassess what can be done to cure the dry spell. Meanwhile, the Vikings were able to continue their non-losing streak (they haven’t lost since Week 1) and maintain on their collision course to battling the #1 Colts.
Although they were missing a large piece in Ahmed Goralwalla and introducing key players to their team (Shabbir Rizvi and Qumber Ali), the Patriots were able to adjust on the fly and kept up with the Vikings throughout. Captain Muhammad Ali and Asghar Molu carved up the Vikings’ secondary, grabbing 18 catches and 7 touchdowns. Shabbir Rizvi was able to ingratiate himself with his new team quite quickly, as he hauled in an beauty of a deep ball thrown by QB Taleb Zaidi. While the red zone offense was clicking, the Patriots dug their own graves with two turnovers and an inability to keep up on defense. However, don’t discount these Patriots just yet. Playing the newly-energized Texans in Week 6 should show the team’s true colours, regardless of the result.
After a terrible start, that had QB Hisham Ali tossing two interceptions early, the Vikings were able to turn it around as they kept up with the high-powered Patriots offense. As has been their M.O. for the season, QB Hisham Ali was able to spread the ball around, giving six different receivers a chance to celebrate in the end zone, including three to Ali Haroon. Captain Mujtaba Abidi, who battled through injury, showed out with what might be his most complete game of the year with 4 catches, 7 flag grabs, a touchdown, and an interception. However, the difference in this game was Shoaib Mamdani, who some may call the X-Factor of this team. If he performs well, the team has a high chance of coming out as victors. And perform he did, with 8 catches, 2 touchdowns and a great “tip drill” interception that showed off his awareness.
Team Score Texans 6 Vikings 7
While this game was between the Vikings and the Texans, it may as well have been Vikings vs. Omar Khamissa. With a performance that could’ve easily propelled him to the top of the MVP ladder had his team had a better record (Russell Westbrook, anyone?), Omar Khamissa and the Texans saw another game go down to the finish against those pesky Vikings.
Just to put how great his performance truly was (11 catches, 6 touchdowns), if Omar began the season with just this game to his name, he’d already be third in the league in receiving touchdowns. Of course, some love goes to his QB Salim Ladha who seemed to have his eyes set on just giving Omar the ball. Although the offense kept pace with the Vikings, the defense couldn’t capitalize on their one forced turnover. In the end, it came down to the last play of the game. A tightly defended ball and a drop in the end zone sealed the loss for the Texans.
In what was an overlooked performance next to Omar’s heroics, the Vikings actually piled up some of their own stats as well. QB Hisham Ali terrorized the Texans’ defense with seven touchdowns and a completion percentage of 81.4%. He also did a great job spreading the ball around, as five Vikings were able to haul in at least three passes. Abuzar Abbas continues to make the Colts pay for trading him as he piles on his second game of the season with 4+ receiving touchdowns.
Grabbing their second win of the season, the Vikings have cemented themselves as a scary team for weeks to come. With a win against the Patriots next week, they’ll set up a great #1 vs. #2 battle against the Colts. Meanwhile, the Texans continue to lose games by close margins, leaving many to wonder if a full team could be the cure to all their problems.
Team Score Colts 9 Patriots 7
Rivalry week ends with a rematch of the exciting game between the Colts and the Patriots. Coming off a 9-6 loss to the Colts, the Patriots put the pressure on the league leaders early, capitalizing on costly mistakes as well as some horrific defensive efforts to jump out to a 3-1 lead. But we all know how good 3-1 leads are these days…
Straight out of the gate, QB Taleb Zaidi looked like he couldn’t be stopped. Couple this with a terrible lateral play by the Colts on 4th down, and the Patriots looked like they could be the first ones to tarnish the Colts’ record. The Patriots took advantage of plenty of holes on the opposing defense, leading to Asghar Molu’s three touchdowns and Ahmed Goralwalla’s wide open abuse of the secondary. But perhaps the best player for the Patriots was captain Muhammad Ali who snagged in two touchdowns and a team-leading five flag pulls.
After a disastrous start to the game that left Colts players with their heads down, a halftime speech by Mujahid Hemani invigorated the squad into a complete Jekyll and Hyde performance. With just two touchdowns in the first half, the team was able to turn it around and score a whopping seven touchdowns on the Patriots’ defense. Continuing his outstanding play for the season, QB Kumail Meghani showed off his versatility by adding two rushing touchdowns to his seven passing. The duo of Muzammil Rizvi and Murtaza Shah (the league leader in interceptions) combined for 10 catches and five touchdowns.
While it was great to see the Colts with their first real deficit of the year, the Patriots showed that with a few changes and a complete game on both sides of the ball, they’re right in the hunt as the best team in the league.