Now past the halfway point for most teams, NFL teams are beginning to gear up for the playoffs or position themselves for next season. As this picture becomes clearer, we check in on how the Penn alumni Kevin Stefanski, Justin Watson and Brandon Copeland fared in Week 10.
Offensive lineman Greg Van Roten and his New York Jets were on a bye this week and are preparing to battle for their first win of the season next week against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Kevin Stefanski — Coach, Cleveland Browns
After a low-scoring game in their previous matchup, the Browns came out of the bye to another defensively dominated home affair against the Houston Texans. In a game with winds steadily around 38-45 miles per hour, the Browns only scored 10 points in the contest but held strong, ultimately defeating the Texans by a 10-7 score.
"They did not blink. They were unfazed," Stefanski said. "I told them in the locker room, this is 2020, but you should not expect anything less. I am sure something else is coming — weather-related or whatever it may be — but our guys understand they are just going to control the things they can control ultimately and really just focus on playing good football."
Stefanski's Browns are now 6-3 on the season, sitting in a tie with four other teams for the three wild card spots in the AFC. Due to tiebreakers, they are currently out of a playoff spot if the season were to end today. With the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in their division, it looks as if Stefanski and the Browns will have to earn a wild card to make the playoffs.
Justin Watson – Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One week after an embarrassing loss to the New Orleans Saints where Watson saw zero snaps, the Buccaneers bounced back to trounce the division rival Carolina Panthers 46-23. Watson saw four snaps in this contest, all coming late in the game when the Buccaneers put in their backup players, but did not receive a target. With the integration of new addition Antonio Brown into the offense, things do not look promising going forward for Watson.
However, the 2018 Penn graduate continues to shine on special teams, where he made his living for most of his first two seasons in the league. This week, when Panthers punter Joseph Charlton attempted a fake punt, Watson wrapped him up in the backfield, giving him a rare wide receiver sack, the first of his career.
Brandon Copeland – outside linebacker, New England Patriots
Copeland has not played since suffering a season-ending injury against the San Francisco 49ers in week seven. Despite his absence this past week against the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots managed to pull off an upset and beat the Ravens 23-17 in a game played in torrential rain.