Monthly Archives: December 2016

Rookie signal-caller Dak Prescott has led the Cowboys to a 13-2 season and the 1-seed in the NFC

Christie grew up in Jersey wanting to be Roger Staubach, and after he left the Dallas locker room, he told ESPN.com that he is amazed by the way Prescott has managed the burdens that come tethered to perhaps the highest-profile job in sports.

“The guy every week just sounds under control and looks under control on the field, and it really is extraordinary,” Christie said. “He’s only going to get better, and I think it says a lot about kids who stay in school all four years. He had five years at Mississippi State, and he came in ready to respond to the pressure he’s under week after week.
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Surging: Washington might have cost itself a playoff berth with its home loss in Week 15 to the Carolina Panthers, but it rebounded nicely Saturday and still is in the race. If Washington beats the Giants on Sunday — assuming the Detroit-Green Bay tilt doesn’t end in a tie — Washington will get in as a wild-card team.

Mathew Barzal Authentic Jersey Slipping: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t eliminated, but a ton has to happen for them to get in. They need to win. They need Washington to tie. They need Green Bay to lose. And they need all four of the following teams to win their Week 17 games: San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis and Dallas. Sounds like next year for Tampa.

Worth noting: The Minnesota Vikings (7-8) started the season 5-0 but were eliminated from playoff contention with Saturday’s loss in Green Bay. They traded their first-round pick to the Eagles for quarterback Sam Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, and now they face an early and uncertain offseason.

How many teams that started 4-6 and were riding a four-game losing streak could say that?

New York Islanders Kids Jersey A prophetic quarterback and an even-keeled head coach have the Green Bay Packers in a position no one could have imagined a month ago: one victory away from another division title.

How many teams that started 4-6 and were riding a four-game losing streak could say that?

If you ask Aaron Rodgers — and he was indeed asked after Saturday¡¯s 38-25 victory over the Minnesota Vikings that put the Packers at 9-6 and extended their winning streak to five games — not many.
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¡°Says a lot about the leadership of this football team and the way that we didn¡¯t start pointing fingers or be the unnamed source in the paper that¡¯s calling somebody out,¡± Rodgers said. ¡°We just got back to work and trusted the system and plan as many questioned obviously myself and my teammates, but [also] coach [Mike] McCarthy and his plan and his system, which again stands the test of time and has proven to be something that works.¡±

There will be more angst between now and next Sunday¡¯s NFC North title game at Detroit given the unpredictability of this team, but the reality is this is the best the Packers could have hoped for when they departed Washington after a 42-24 loss to the Redskins on Nov. 20.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins: Those of his fantasy owners who survived his season-low nine fantasy points of Week 15 (that tied with his Week 1 output) were rewarded with one of the best performances of his career Saturday, as Cousins’ 29 tied for the third-best score of his career. Unfortunately, his owners were more hesitant to start him this week: He was active in 45.3 percent of ESPN leagues, ninth-most among quarterbacks, compared to 63.8 percent in Week 15.

Odell Beckham Jr.’s ‘catch’ against Lions: Worst call of the year?

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A 4-yard completion to New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. just might qualify as the worst officiating call of the NFL season.

Now Pittsburgh has key injuries to tight end Ladarius Green (concussion) and defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee), two pieces they’ll need against the Ravens at Heinz Field.

But the Steelers’ offense came alive, and that was the difference. In the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh figured out the Bengals’ Cover 2 defense — striking over the middle instead of trying deep shots. Green and Eli Rogers were huge late, with Rogers — the owner of the Steelers’ only receiving touchdown over the past two weeks, a 24-yarder — finally being utilized after a slow month of production.

Scoring range was kryptonite for much of the game, with Roethlisberger completing five of his first 14 passes inside the Bengals’ 40-yard line. Steelers place-kicker Chris Boswell’s six field goals were the only hope for a large part of the game.

“We wanted to try to take advantage of the middle of the field,” said Roethlisberger, who finished with 286 passing yards and the touchdown strike to Rogers with 7:29 left. “We just had to stay patient.”

Adam Dunn Jersey Pittsburgh was clutch enough to overcome those problems, and the defense adjusted with disciplined play in the second half. After Bengals running back Jeremy Hill pretended to rip a towel after a 4-yard touchdown to go up 17-3, the Steelers outscored Cincinnati 21-3.

“We have played that team five times in 12 months — it’s not a lot of secrets,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “It’s just technical expertise and a lot of butt-kicking, and smiling in the face of adversity.”

McDaniels pumped his fists in excitement

Jan. 14, 2006: Broncos 27, Patriots 13 — In the AFC divisional round of the playoffs, Denver cornerback Champ Bailey¡¯s 100-yard interception return was an unforgettable play as Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson chased Bailey down with an all-time hustle effort to prevent a return touchdown. Brady was 20-of-36 for 341 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. The loss ended the Patriots¡¯ quest to become the first team to win three consecutive Super Bowls.

Oct. 11, 2009: Broncos 20, Patriots 17 (OT) — Facing former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for the first time after he was hired as Broncos head coach, Matt Prater’s 41-yard field goal split the uprights in the extra session to keep Denver undefeated. McDaniels pumped his fists in excitement. Brady was 19-of-33 for 215 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Dec. 18, 2011: Patriots 41, Broncos 23 — A Brady vs. Tim Tebow matchup started fast for Denver, which built a 16-7 lead before the Patriots roared back as Brady was 23-of-34 for 320 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Fox sent out a teaser of the interview on Friday, after the Rams suffered a 24-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks that gave them nine defeats in 10 games.

In the interview, Fisher was asked why he believes the Rams let him go.

“I didn’t win enough games, and the organization has a much bigger picture,” he said.

Fisher, who told Fox that he wants to continue to coach, was then asked if he has a “perfect scenario.”
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“I want a chance to play the Rams,” he said, smiling.

Limited Womens Paul O’Neill Jersey “We’ve had instant replay reviewed in our central office for two years now,” Goodell said. “In the beginning, there was a sense that it might be hard for us to have an integral role in all the games going on at one time, but there’s more confidence now that we’re in a position where maybe instead of the official coming to the sideline, we could have a (Microsoft) Surface tablet brought out to him and we could get in his ear and make the decision quicker.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to fire Chip Kelly

Elite Youth Mikko Koivu Jersey The drama may not be over in New Orleans, but the team will rightly be in Payton’s hands for the foreseeable future.
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Less than one year after giving Chip Kelly total control over football operations, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to fire him. The case can be made that Kelly deserved to be relieved of his GM duties after a disastrous offseason that featured him parting ways with LeSean McCoy, spending gobs of money on DeMarco Murray and bringing in Sam Bradford as his franchise quarterback.

But as a head coach, Kelly compiled a 26-21 record in Philadelphia. He deserved more time to implement his program.

Sunday’s early game is a regular season rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won their first division title since 2009, finally breaking the Green Bay Packers’ long reign. The Seahawks had a rough 2-4 start to the year but dominated down the stretch and are expected to get Marshawn Lynch back this week. When these teams met in Week 13, Seattle ran Minnesota off the field, 38-7. The Seahawks are a unanimous pick to get their second win over the Vikings this year.

There’s another split game in the late Sunday game between the Green Bay Packers and Washington. Green Bay is limping into the postseason with a 4-6 finish after starting the season 6-0.

The offense has taken several steps back and Aaron Rodgers isn’t looking like his usual self. Meanwhile, Washington is riding high on a four-game winning streak, winning the NFC East in Week 16 (which is an accomplishment in the NFC East this year). Kirk Cousins defied all expectations, breaking several franchise passing records this season. Will he keep his mojo going and get Washington its first playoff win since 2005? Four of our writers think so, while the other four pick Green Bay.

Wade Davis brings historically great numbers, fastball to Cubs

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The Chicago Cubs on Wednesday traded Jorge Soler to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for one of the most dominant relief pitchers in baseball: Wade Davis.

Davis is the only pitcher in MLB history to have multiple seasons with at least 50 innings pitched and an ERA of 1.00 or lower. He accomplished that in 2014 and 2015.

Chicago¡¯s new closer owns the lowest ERA in MLB history as a reliever among all pitchers with at least 250 career innings in relief (1.51). He has faced 706 batters the past three seasons and allowed three home runs.

Authentic Mens Orlando Pace Jersey Since becoming a full-time reliever three years ago, Davis leads all pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched in ERA and opponent OPS.

The Cubs are going to have one of the best fastballs in baseball at the back end of their bullpen in 2016.

Davis has allowed an opponent batting average of .160 in at-bats ending with fastballs over the last three seasons. That¡¯s the lowest mark out of the 289 pitchers who have finished off at least 400 batters with some variation of a fastball.

Hitters have missed on 29 percent of swings against Davis¡¯ fastball since 2014, the seventh-highest rate in the league.

The Cubs, the current favorite to win the World Series, obtained a reliever with a great postseason r¨¦sum¨¦. Davis is 4-0 with four saves and a 0.84 ERA in 32 1/3 postseason innings pitched. He was on the mound for the final out of the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets.

Pitch-framing is a skill that teams have increasingly sought and paid for, and more and more, teams give evaluation demerits to catchers who don¡¯t rate highly. Matt Wieters is seemingly one catcher who has been hurt by this, after finishing low in these metrics.

Would you go so far as to call this a bad QB class, Todd?

Kiper: There’s really only one guy right now, and he might not even enter the draft. That’s North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky, a fourth-year junior who is in his first season as the starter. Trubisky has thrown 28 touchdown passes to only four interceptions, but he’s still green — with another year of seasoning, he could be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft. He’s not ready to play right away in the NFL.

I don’t see any other first-rounders in the group. Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer, a third-year sophomore, has to go back to school. Clemson’s Deshaun Watson has taken a step back this season. Underclassmen Luke Falk and Patrick Mahomes could use another year in school, and they don’t project as first-rounders.

I wouldn’t say it’s likely, but there’s a chance no quarterback goes in the first round. The last time that happened was 1996.

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It used to be that Sundays and Mondays were the worst days for Thomas because the biggest pain he felt was from the losing. Now that he’s 32, Tuesdays by far are the hardest. All of his joints ache. His shoulders hurt so badly that it feels as if he’s been hit by a car. Tuesdays are off-days, so the loss is still smacking him in the face, too.

But by Wednesday, when the team meets for practice, Thomas is reinvigorated. He’s ready to prepare for the next opponent. For nearly 10 years, he’s always believed the same thing: The Browns will beat their next opponent.

Thomas’ unbroken snap streak has survived six head coaches and 18 starting quarterbacks.

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NFL playoffs 2016, AFC wild card live stream: How to watch Steelers vs. Bengals online

The Cincinnati Bengals will play host to a familiar foe on Saturday in the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The two teams fought all season for control of the division and a spot in the postseason, and in the end Cincinnati ended up with the third seed, so they get the home game for Saturday’s wild card playoff game.

Game Kids Courtney Upshaw Jersey While the Bengals obviously want as many home games as possible, it’s worth noting that they split the season series against Pittsburgh, beating them on the road in Week 8 but losing at home in Week 14.

It’s unclear if Brown will be able to play for the Steelers in their Divisional round game against the Denver Broncos. Schefter notes that Burfict has already been fined a total of $69,454 for a combination of plays directed at Steelers players that the league felt warranted punishment.

Burfict has two years remaining on a contract extension he signed in 2014. It’s too early to predict what the Bengals will do moving forward, but after the debacle on Saturday night, there will be a lot of voices wanting things to change in Cincinnati.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been eye-opener for Washington. He is ranked 10th in the league in yardage for quarterbacks and tied for 12th in the league with 29 touchdowns. Fourteen other quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than him this season, and his 101.6 rating puts him in fifth place, above guys like Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers and MVP frontrunner Cam Newton.

Game Womens Theo Riddick Jersey Washington’s surprising competence this season, especially in the second half, is one of the bigger storylines of the year. Jay Gruden’s club was one of the worst teams for much of last season, and with upheaval around the quarterback situation and the preseason decision to bench Robert Griffin III, a couple of wins were the most anybody expected.

Chandler Jones required medical attention after using synthetic marijuana, per report

New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones was hospitalized Sunday morning because he had a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana, Chris Gasper of the Boston Globe reports. The Boston Herald reported Tuesday evening Jones was rushed to the hospital after he showed up to the Foxboro Police Station for an undisclosed medical emergency.

Though synthetic marijuana isn’t on the NFL’s banned Elite Youth Robert Quinn Jersey substance list, the Globe’s Ben Volin adds that Jones could still be placed in the league’s program for substance abuse. Former tight end Kellen Winslow was arrested for synthetic marijuana possession in 2014 but never faced a suspension.

Shortly after the Herald’s report was published, the Patriots released a statement that says Jones reported to the facility on time Monday morning and has been present at all meetings and practices since then.

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, Robinson’s willingness to keep Mularkey Garry Gilliam Elite Jersey factored into the Titans’ decision to hire him.

Chip Kelly was interested in bringing Robinson to Philadelphia last season, but an interview request was declined by the Bucs, according to Pro Football Talk. Kelly is now a free agent and could be interested in reuniting with quarterback Marcus Mariota, who played for him at Oregon.

That said, it’s unclear how much say Robinson will have in the Titan’s search for a head coach. According to the Tennessean, the Titans will have a four-person interview committee which will included owner Amy Adams Strunk, co-owner Kenneth Adams IV, president and CEO Steve Underwood and Vin Marino, the team’s vice president of football administration.

Robinson will replace Ruston Webster, who was fired in January after four years with the Titans. He’ll take over a Titans team that finished the season 3-13, tied for the worst record in the NFL, and has gone 5-27 over the past two years. The Titans, however, own the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft and also have last year’s No. 2 pick, Mariota, on the roster.

Can the Seattle Seahawks protect Russell Wilson versus the Carolina Panthers?

The Steelers are 6.5-point favorites at home.

Can the Seattle Seahawks protect Russell Wilson versus the Carolina Panthers?

In Seattle’s Week 12 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Wilson was sacked six times and hit 11 more as the offense managed just one field goal in 11 offensive possessions. It was the third time this season the Seahawks failed to produce an offensive touchdown.

Per OverTheCap.com, the Seahawks currently have $6.29 million committed to the offensive linemen on their roster, the lowest amount of any NFL team. No one else is below $13.9 million.
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Will Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers make up ground in the NFC North? Rodgers is coming off a brilliant Week 12 performance and will look to get the Packers (5-6) back to .500 with a win over the visiting Houston Texans.

Green Bay got cornerback Damarious Randall back from injury last week. According to ESPN Stats & Info, when the Packers have had Randall, Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Quinten Rollins on the field together, they’ve allowed a Total QBR of 57.5. Without all four healthy, they’ve been at 79.3.

That’s bad news for Brock Osweiler and a Texans passing offense that ranks last in the NFL in efficiency.

A Packers victory combined with a Detroit Lions loss would put Green Bay one game out of a first-place tie.

The Packers are 6-point favorites at home.

That includes former Oakland Raiders right tackle Lincoln Kennedy, who now works games as the team’s radio sideline reporter.
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It was in Week 9 of the 1999 season when Rich Gannon, in his first season with the Raiders, played through a similar, if not as well-known, injury that endeared the first-year Oakland quarterback to his teammates and then-coach Jon Gruden.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a dislocated finger in Week 12.