Monthly Archives: December 2016

The Giants didn’t get it done on Thursday against the Eagles

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New York Giants (10-5). The Giants didn’t get it done on Thursday against the Eagles, but the Saints helped them out by beating the Buccaneers, which allowed the Giants to clinch a spot in the NFC field. The Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed no matter what. They cannot improve or weaken their seeding, and they will open the playoffs at the home field of whichever team finishes in the No. 4 spot.

Detroit Lions (9-6). This is the most fragile seeding in the whole picture. Having lost Monday night in Dallas, Detroit still has a chance to finish as NFC North champ and will do so if it beats Green Bay on Sunday night. If Detroit loses Sunday, the Lions would need a Washington loss to get them in as a wild card.

“He has one OK game [against the Giants] in New Jersey and everybody’s calling for his head. And to see the way he responded the next week [against the Buccaneers], not just the way he played but how he controlled himself, he didn’t let it get to him.

Elite C. J. Prosise Jersey A historic winner, too. Prescott’s 13th victory tied him with Ben Roethlisberger for most ever by a rookie. Asked to define the significance of the milestone, Prescott said, “It means I’ve got to go get 14.”

Right answer. Wearing his bow tie at a postgame news conference, Prescott made it clear he wants to play against the Eagles in Philadelphia for his final regular-season game, and why not? He has completed 47 of 56 passes over the past two weeks. And he spent most of Monday night spiking the notion that he’s merely a master of the dink-and-dunk arts.

Ryan Mallett expected to start for the Ravens as an audition for 2016

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Authentic Omar Infante Jersey Quarterback Ryan Mallett is expected to make his first start for the Baltimore Ravens Sunday when they host the red-hot Pittsburgh Steelers, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Starter Joe Flacco is on injured reserve with a torn ACL. Jimmy Clausen started the Ravens’ last two games against the Seahawks and Chiefs.

Mallett was waived by the Houston Texans on Oct. 27 after missing the team’s charter flight to Miami for their matchup with the Dolphins in Week 7. He remained a free agent for several weeks, despite working out for the Ravens shortly after Flacco was placed on injured reserve.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Kansas City’s recent run of dominance is its defense, which is fourth in the league in turnovers. Rookie cornerback Marcus Peters had a pick-six in last week’s win over the Baltimore Ravens and defensive lineman Tyvon Branch picked up a fumble and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown, as well. On the whole, the Chiefs’ defense is ranked eighth in the NFL.

The other major reason why the Chiefs have been so hot lately has been their ability to protect the football. Quarterback Alex Smith went 312 consecutive passes this season without throwing an interception, which is the second-longest streak of all time. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds the record — that’s not bad company to be in.

Though Smith isn’t flashy, he’s almost always in control of the game. He’s also found a way to connect with dynamic wideout Jeremy Maclin, who has four touchdown catches in his last four contests.

Derrick Rose said things were clicking for the Knicks against the Pacers on Tuesday

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Sometimes it¡¯s worked, sometimes it hasn¡¯t been great. We want our big guys, I think sometimes the problem when we take those guys out our protection at the basket isn¡¯t as good, and that puts a bigger emphasis on our guys outside to stop the penetration, not let guys get in there. KP can block shots in there, but then his man might be doing stuff on the weak side. I think we¡¯re better in the long run when you have two big guys, KP and somebody else, back there on the inside.¡±

These players will get better D-League salaries and get paid NBA salaries when they’re on the big team. Currently players on D-League teams can get called up by any team. The hope is this will keep more players from going overseas if they don’t make a roster out of training camp or aren’t drafted, allowing teams to develop their young players over the course of a season.

Known for his direct communication style, Fizdale said the 18-12 Grizzlies “stayed in the locker room at halftime,” when they had a 45-31 lead. Boston rallied behind point guard Isaiah Thomas, who scored 36 of his career-high 44 points after halftime, and Fizdale blamed blown defensive assignments for setting the tone for the Celtics’ sizzling second half.

Asked for his reaction to Fizdale’s harsh criticism of Memphis’ leaders, Grizzlies captain Marc Gasol didn’t have much to say.
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Grizzlies coach David Fizdale ripped his team’s leadership Tuesday night following a third consecutive loss. “Our huddles are like tombs right now,” he said without prompting. “Nobody wants to step up and lead this group now during this tough time.”

“None,” Gasol said. He paused and repeated himself, exaggerating as he enunciated for effect.

The undrafted rookie will take over as San Diego¡¯s leading man in the wake of Melvin Gordon’s hip and knee injuries

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If you are in desperate need of a fill-in running back, the good news is that Peterson is not your only choice. Here is the skinny on three other guys who might still be available in your league:

Kenneth Farrow, San Diego Chargers. The undrafted rookie will take over as San Diego¡¯s leading man in the wake of Melvin Gordon’s hip and knee injuries.

Alex Carter Jersey Expectations should be tempered a bit with Farrow, too, because of his inexperience and because the Chargers may lean heavily on Philip Rivers and the passing game. But ESPN Chargers reporter Eric Williams said Farrow should ¡°handle the bulk of the workload¡± Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Tyrell Williams, San Diego Chargers, shoulder: It’s no secret that Williams is playing through a labral tear in his right shoulder, but he will continue to do so as long as he can be functional. So far, that has indeed been the case and Williams has been off the game status injury report for two straight weeks.

J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals, knee: Nelson has produced a touchdown in each of the past two games and with Michael Floyd no longer a member of the Cardinals, there is one fewer competitor for catches.

While his volume hasn’t been exceptional, he provides an opportunity for the upside play. He appears on the injury report because of a knee issue, but after two limited sessions he returned to full practice Friday. His removal from the game status injury report indicates he will play.

DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans, hamstring: Hopkins has had disappointing fantasy numbers, but he’s still an exceptionally talented receiver whom fantasy owners may be considering this Sunday. His appearance on the injury report with a hamstring could be unsettling, but it appears to be minor. Held to limited practice sessions daily as a means of protection, Hopkins’ removal from the game status injury report tells us he will be on the field Sunday.

The NFL had no comment beyond providing a copy of the applicable policy

When, at the end of our conversation, I asked Brian if I could share his story, I told him I was happy to either leave it be, or change any details he wanted if he didn’t want it to become public. I told him to discuss with Ashley and get back to me, no pressure either way.

Elite Kids Frank Zombo Jersey In a follow-up note, he wrote, “I initially wrote to you because I just wanted to say thanks. I know you get a lot of criticism from people via Twitter or email or what have you when your picks ‘miss,’ but I hope you don’t let that bother you and continue to do what you do.

“I am thankful that you, Field, Stephania, Daniel and the entire FF Now Sunday crew help me ‘escape’ and give me something fun to look forward to and enjoy with my wife and my friends. But when you reached out and wanted to write about it, we decided to go public to try and pay it forward.

Mike Pereira’s book, published in September 2016, digs into his life as an official and as the NFL’s former vice president of officiating.
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The NFL had no comment beyond providing a copy of the applicable policy, one that allows minimal interaction on game administration but not on the type of every-down decisions that Pereira said have been affected.

To be clear, it’s a big deal for a credible and respected former executive to charge that the league is breaking its own rules — even for an ultimately noble cause. Pereira said his theory is based on both his own observations and discussions with replay officials he maintains personal relationships with.

Just the opposite, actually. Traveling on a short week is never ideal, especially when you’ve just fired your coach and when you are heading to one of the toughest places to play in the NFL against a team that just got embarrassed by the Packers.

That’s what the Rams are up against. They have allowed a RB rushing touchdown in three straight games and during the past five weeks they have allowed 4.96 yards per carry (third most in the NFL) and 645 rushing yards (fourth most). Rawls should bounce back here with a strong performance.

Chiefs vs. Texans 2016 picks and predictions: Kansas City is a heavy favorite

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There isn’t a hotter team in football entering the playoffs than the Kansas City Chiefs, who finished the regular season riding a 10-game winning streak. And by all accounts, that streak is likely to extend to 11 games after Saturday’s Wild Card contest against the Houston Texans is finished.
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Kansas City’s defense is one of the best in the league, allowing the third-fewest points this season. The Chiefs are led by a dominant defensive line, which features four players with at least five sacks (Justin Houston leads the club with 7.5 sacks). The Chiefs back up their D-line with a strong secondary, including star rookie corner back Marcus Peters. Opposing quarterbacks have only thrown for an average of 231 yards per game against them.

McCarron has been starting since Dalton injured his right thumb in Week 14. The Bengals are 2-1 in his three starts, and McCarron has steadily improved. In five total games this season, McCarron has completed 79 of 119 passes for 854 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. Both of McCarron’s interceptions came against the Steelers in Week 14, when he saw his first substantial play of the season after Dalton was injured.

This will be the third time the Bengals have faced the Steelers, an AFC North rival, this season. Cincinnati won at Heinz Field in Week 8 by a final score of 16-10. Dalton was injured against the Steelers at home in Week 14, and Pittsburgh won that matchup 33-20.

Division games are often chippy, and there’s plenty of bad blood between these teams. The Steelers were unhappy about the way Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict reacted after injuring running back Le’Veon Bell in Week 8, and James Harrison and Burfict had to be separated after a scuffle before the Week 14 game. Burfict was fined for a low hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 14.

The Bengals have historically struggled in Wild Card games. Their last Wild Card win came in 1990 against the Houston Oilers, and the Bengals went on to lose to the Los Angeles Raiders in the divisional round. Since that time, the Bengals have had six Wild Card appearances and zero playoff wins.

It came as no surprise that Fowler turned down his mutual option with Chicago

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Dexter Fowler, who had a carer-high on-base percentage of .393 with the Cubs last season, can solidify the defense for the Cardinals’ outfield while providing a spark on offense.
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The Cardinals had discussions with the Chicago White Sox about Adam Eaton before he was shipped to the Washington Nationals for a trio of highly regarded pitching prospects. They also engaged other teams in trade discussions.

The Cardinals are aware they lost a lot of power when Matt Holliday and Brandon Moss became free agents, but Mozeliak indicated the team isn’t necessarily intent on signing one of the sluggers still available on the free-agent market and any further moves would likely be “complementary” acquisitions.

But one club they spoke with says they are listening on “everyone,” even though they’re trying to figure out a way to retool but still keep enough of the band together to make one last run at October. If that doesn’t work, though, then file away this prediction from one National League exec: “In July, they’ll be the biggest seller in baseball.”

Who out there would have bet on the Tigers trading nobody at these meetings? Not me. But that’ll change in the next couple of weeks. Clubs that spoke with them see J.D. Martinez and left-handed reliever Justin Wilson as the most likely Tigers to dial up United Van Lines, with Ian Kinsler and Jose Iglesias as outside possibilities.

But remember, as the White Sox, Twins and Royals all hit the reset button, the Tigers suddenly see an easier path to contention in the American League Central. And GM Al Avila told a number of teams they’re under no pressure to move money immediately. So this is not going to be a dramatic sell-off — because the Tigers are still set on trying to win next year.

We’ll continue to update our board as we get closer to the 2017 NFL draft

Here, we’ll look at which players have moved up and down our Top 32, drawing on the same scouting reports as before and making changes only where necessary.
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We’ll continue to update our board as we get closer to the 2017 NFL draft. While it’s a given that some players will move into the rankings and others will drop out, this provides a good snapshot of which players currently have the most NFL potential based on our evaluations.

McShay: LSU safety Jamal Adams. He hasn’t gotten a ton of love nationally, but he’s one of the most complete players in this draft class. He has everything you want — intelligence, toughness, ball skills and explosive tackling ability. Plus, he’s a really good leader.

Which prospect has helped his stock the most this season?

Kiper: McKinley has gone from just a guy to a potential top-10 pick, and it’s all because of his ability to rush the quarterback. The former junior college transfer had 10 sacks for the Bruins this season after just seven in his first two years. He’s not huge (6-foot-2, 240 pounds), but his speed off the ball is fun to watch.

If you had to put your money behind one guy from this class to be the NFL’s next great pass-rusher, who would it be?
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Thomas was lanky and athletic as a kid, but he always leaned toward the cerebral parts of the game. Growing up, his dad was in banking, which is maybe where Thomas gets his steady and reliable demeanor. He does not act like a guy who has an $84 million contract.

“We were obviously very aggressive in the draft, trading and positioning ourselves,” Brown says. “The culture we’re trying to build is to make sure these guys feel like this is a family, and Joe certainly is at least the big brother, if not the patriarch, of our locker room.”

Julian Edelman is averaging 90 receiving yards in his past four games

Devontae Booker, Broncos: Man, I want to be wrong about this. And I know people are excited for Booker’s workload with Kapri Bibbs now out for the year. But volume or not, he just hasn’t been great. In averaging just 2.8 yards per carry in his past five games, Booker has shown neither burst nor power. I’m not super worried so much about the presence of Justin Forsett this week, though I think he does get some work. Rather, it’s more about what the signing of Forsett (who has been brutal this year) says about what the team thinks about Booker internally.

Julian Edelman is averaging 90 receiving yards in his past four games after averaging just 44.8 in his first eight this season.

Others receiving votes: Fifth among running backs in yards per carry after first contact, hard-running Robert Kelley has better than 83 percent of the Redskins’ running back carries since Week 8. You know I expect Kirk Cousins to move the ball in this one, so I like Kelley’s chances at a score here. The Eagles have allowed a RB rushing touchdown in three straight games. …

Authentic Youth Paul Molitor Jersey Todd Gurley, Rams: I realize the Falcons may seem like an inviting matchup, but I’m nervous here. Other than that Philly game, where the Eagles ran all over them, the Falcons have allowed fewer than 60 RB rushing yards in five of the past six games. Now, some of that is due to shootouts or the other team, but with a rookie QB under center and a defense that has struggled recently, expect Atlanta to both score a lot of points and stack the box and make Jared Goff beat them.

Limited Womens Sam Martin Jersey Rashad Jennings, Giants: Jennings is starting to come on, just like he did last season, but I’m nervous here. The Cowboys have allowed the third-fewest running back points per game this season (12.3) and RB rushing yards per game (71.3), and I have a sneaky feeling we see more Paul Perkins in this one. Jennings is more of a flex play for me than a solid RB2. You need him, and not Perkins (or maybe a returning Shane Vereen), to be the pass-catcher here, as I suspect the Giants move the ball through the air, not on the ground.

Seattle uses a ton of play-action and with Russell Wilson’s skill set

On the other hand, in his seven AFC playoffs wins, only one was by fewer than seven points: the 38-34 AFC Championship classic against the Patriots in 2006.
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Albert Pujols Authentic Jersey Here is a look at Manning’s six first-game playoff losses in the AFC since the 2005 season (the Super Bowl is excluded because it has a distinct character separate from conference playoffs).

This was the Jerome Bettis fumble game, where Bettis fumbled at the 1-yard line, Nick Harper picked it up and looked like he was going to score before a desperation tackle by Ben Roethlisberger saved the day for the Steelers. In the game’s final seconds, Mike Vanderjagt shanked a field goal that would have tied the game and sent it to overtime. Only Blair Walsh’s miss this year was as badly kicked.

The Packers are coming into this game looking to not only keep their Super Bowl hopes alive, but also looking to prove they’re better than their earlier showing against Arizona. Packers guard T.J. Lang said the Packers have to keep the underdog mentality that helped them prevail against Washington last week.

“We’ve got to have the same attitude that we came into (last) week with, that nobody outside this locker room believes in us,” Lang told Jarrett Bell of USA Today Sports. “We seem to be everybody’s underdog right now.”

And the Cardinals are also looking for redemption after their Week 17 loss at the hands of the Seahawks. Head coach Bruce Arians called the loss a “valuable lesson” as the team looked toward the postseason. The Cardinals spent the bye week preparing for each of their potential opponents in the Divisional round, including the Packers.