Category: NFL Football News

NFL Football News

What we learned (and didn’t learn) in Week 8 of NFL

I stayed home on a Sunday for the first time this year and watched every game I could. Although that obviously leads to a lot of football thoughts bouncing around the brain, one kept coming back at me all evening:

And Iger wanted a piece of one of them. I never laid off Goodell even though the tip eventually turned out to be correct. The following May, I went on Dan Patrick’s show and was asked about Goodell and Deflategate. I made a “testicular fortitude” joke that read worse than it sounded. People wrote about it. Stories were emailed up and up and up the ladder, even as I was hosting The Grantland Basketball Hour on ESPN that same night. The next morning, we found out on Twitter that Skipper wasn’t going to renew my contract. It happened that fast. I have always believed that Iger made the final call.”

The NFC South could’ve put three teams in the playoffs if they weren’t about to spend the second half of the season beating up on each other.

Whipping Denver on Monday night put 6-2 Kansas City 2.5 games in front of the rest of the division. No other team is even .500. Imagine what this would look like if the Raiders hadn’t gotten, like, 14 shots at the game-winning touchdown in that Thursday night game in Week 7.

The Chiefs have beaten the Patriots and Eagles outside the division and the Chargers and Broncos in it. Of their remaining eight opponents, only Buffalo, Miami and the now Zeke-less Cowboys have winning records. This race is over, and while the Chargers, Broncos or Raiders might have chances to turn things around and make a wild-card run, all three have to be in the running for AFC’s most disappointing team of the season.

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Georgia opens at No. 1 in CFP, ahead of Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson

The SEC rules the top of this season’s first College Football Playoff rankings, but perhaps not in the way most would think.

Though Alabama is ranked ahead of Georgia in the AP poll, the CFP committee sees the unbeaten Bulldogs as the No. 1 team, ahead of the also unbeaten Crimson Tide, who sit at No. 2.

Oklahoma plants its flag behind Clemson at No. 5. It appears the CFP committee agreed with Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield, who said Monday he believes his team, which beat Ohio State in Columbus earlier this year, deserved to be ranked ahead of the Buckeyes because both have the same 7-1 record.

“Should be a great game,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said.

“I know it’s an important game to this state, to this conference race right now; important game on the national scene. That’s how Bedlam should be. One of the great rivalries in college football and one that we’re very much looking forward to going and playing.”

Mayfield and Rudolph, huge factors in their teams’ run of success in recent years, now stand as arguably the greatest all-time quarterbacks at their schools. This year, they’re both Heisman Trophy contenders perched at or near the top of the nation’s passing stats.

Rudolph leads all of FBS with 2,866 passing yards, while Mayfield ranks No. 8 at 2,628. Mayfield has thrown for 23 touchdowns, putting him in a tie at No. 5 nationally. Rudolph’s 22 scoring passes rank No. 8. Mayfield leads the nation in passing efficiency.raiders_080-223x223

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Cowboys DL Randy Gregory expected to apply for reinstatement in offseason

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory, who has missed all but two games since the end of the 2015 season due to substance abuse-related suspensions, is expected to wait until this offseason to apply for reinstatement.

But hold on to your hats, because the Chiefs weren’t done. They released Spiller again. The C.J. Spiller saga in Kansas City is far from over, because last Monday, they signed him yet again, according to the Kansas City Star’s Terez Paylor. One week later, they cut him again, per Paylor.

Charcandrick West went down with a head injury in the Chiefs’ loss to the Steelers last Sunday. West is in the concussion protocol, and the Chiefs need a short-term solution to complement Kareem Hunt and Akeem Hunt until West can return. Spiller’s release suggests that West may be healthy enough to get back on the field this week.

In his first public comments about the incident since that video was released, Bennett said the officer who detained him was not the one he was seen speaking with later. Bennett said he doesn’t feel a need to respond to those who don’t believe him “because nobody can be in my position.”

“Obviously, at the end of the thing, I’m talking to officers who weren’t a part of it. I got taken to another officer, and that’s the one I ended up talking to towards the end,” Bennett said. “So like I said, I don’t hate anybody or have a problem with any police officers. Just that what happened to me is a certain situation.

A top NFL official said he expects Colin Kaepernick will be invited to a meeting next week between the league and players to talk about social activism.

In a conference call Wednesday with reporters, NFL executive vice president of communications Joe Lockhart said the league will meet again with players next week, and he expects the former 49ers quarterback will be invited.
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Best NFL DFS matchups for Week 7

The highlight matchup this week is certainly the Super Bowl LI rematch between the Falcons and Patriots. Some of the league’s best offensive players will be in that one, but what if you’re playing a contest that does not include Sunday night’s game?

Sunday’s total is set at 46.5 points at online sports betting sites. The OVER is 11-1 in Green Bay’s last 12 games.

Keenum has performed well in back-up duties for the Vikings, but he shouldn’t be expected to win a shootout against one of the best quarterbacks in the game this week. If Minnesota hopes to be successful on Sunday, it will need to have a strong day on defense against this potent Packers offense.

It’s too early to know for sure whether Oakland made the wrong move, especially because quarterback Derek Carr hasn’t been healthy. But the two insiders picking Kansas City to win at Oakland on a short week think the Raiders are paying a price for the change.

The Colts beat San Francisco in overtime last Sunday. Indianapolis is 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five games coming off a win.

Tennessee’s season got off to a promising 2-1 SU and ATS start before hitting a massive road block in Houston in Week 4. The Titans lost to the Texans 57-14, and lost quarterback Marcus Mariota to a hamstring injury in the process.

In his 37-game career with the Jaguars, Myers missed a total of 27 kicks: 12 PATs and 15 field goals. Two of those misses came in a 16-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis in 2015. Myers missed a 53-yarder in regulation and a 48-yarder in overtime.
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the Warriors paid him no mind.

The Cavs could aim for better offense-defense balance by reverting to the Love-Thompson pairing once Isaiah Thomas replaces Derrick Rose — a shooting upgrade at point guard that might allow for a shooting downgrade up front. Thompson’s grimy defense doesn’t have quite as much value against opposing second units, anyway.

But that pairing flamed out in the Finals. Thompson was a disaster; on defense, the Warriors paid him no mind.

Oklahoma City could pivot the other way, and slide Patterson to center if Adams has trouble scampering around against Golden State’s offense. That would blow the lane wide-open for Westbrook’s rampaging drives, and allow the Thunder to use Roberson, the only non-shooter left, as a screen-and-dive guy — an important tactic if the Warriors stash Curry on him. Anthony’s bully-ball post game gives the Thunder access to Cleveland’s old caveman plan: slow the game, hunt mismatches, and go to work.

You can wait for your second shooting guard and do pretty well this late, as the likes of Rodney Hood and JJ Redick should set career highs in scoring opportunity and production.

Evan Turner and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist won’t excite you on draft night, but both blend strong rebounding rates and enough minutes each night to drive high-floor outcomes.

John Collins and Trevor Booker are awesome twilight-round buys for points leagues, as both are poised to possibly lead their respective teams in rebounding chances and raw rebounding volume.

Sticking with Atlanta, Kent Bazemore is much more interesting this year than last now that he costs nearly nothing in drafts and could complement Schroder on a needy Atlanta offense.tigers_053-115x115

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Smith delivered a more comprehensive examination in a Tuesday morning phone interview.

If 8-year-old Kevin McCallister could torment a couple of bungling burglars all by himself back in 1990, just imagine what 35-year-old Kevin McCallister could do to stop the Bears from the mayhem they’re creating in Chicago.

Johnson understands the game as a player and has the personality of an entertainer. He’d be able to make good personnel decisions and keep fans coming back for more. Plus, he could probably squeeze in some FIFA matches against fans at Paul Brown Stadium.

Smith delivered a more comprehensive examination in a Tuesday morning phone interview.

He said Garrett’s mother, Audrey, is from the Hampton Roads area near Smith’s home. He said she reached out to him via the NFLPA to counsel her son.

So, Smith traveled to the Garrett home in Arlington, Texas, on draft day.

“I met a quality young man,” Smith said. “He had a thirst for knowledge. He was like a sponge. We studied film for about an hour and a half. I could see that he is ready to play in the National Football League from a simple playing perspective. The conditioning, nutrition, proper study habits, those things must come. But nobody, I mean nobody, comes into the league being a polished pro. It takes a year or two and sometimes longer. But the ones that develop faster make a quicker impact and more meaningful contribution to the team and its success.

The NFL took a step in the right direction last year by eliminating the requirement that teams decide up front which player to return from injured reserve. This year, they improved the rules surrounding returning players from injured reserve once more by voting to allow teams to bring back two players instead of one.

For teams in playoff contention, this could be the difference between making the postseason and watching from the couch with everyone else. This change is good for teams, players, and for fans who want to see the best players on the field.

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There’s a reason the best teams use most of their first-round picks on defensive players

Every week as the draft has approached Conley has inched up, surpassing other cornerbacks. Now some are wondering if he’ll even get picked before teammate Marshon Lattimore. The Eagles are barren at cornerback. Conley would start immediately.

If Williams happens to fall out of top-10 picks — which could happen depending on Cincinnati and Buffalo — Baltimore could be his landing spot. Williams isn’t a superstar athlete for a wideout but he can go up and get the ball and give Joe Flacco a good lead receiver.

There’s a reason the best teams use most of their first-round picks on defensive players. The last few Super Bowl winners have been helped by the fact that they have their franchise quarterback, but there’s generally a much better return on defensive players in the draft’s opening frame. Few bust spectacularly, and even if those players don’t turn out to be superstars, they can be reliable starters. When a first-round quarterback flames out, it’s much harder to survive the damage.

Follow that logic into the later rounds of the draft. Load up on offensive line depth. Look for wide receivers or running backs on the second day of the draft.

Quarterbacks will be more successful if they’re surrounded by talent from day one than when a franchise tries to cobble together a team around a young signal caller. Think about Jared Goff and the Rams vs. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys.

His technique needs improvement, and it’s an issue because of his limited experience as a starter, but it hasn’t stopped him from being a sure tackler. He’s also not the fastest guy on the field, but his closing speed is remarkable.

Hooker is a phenomenal athlete and has all of the talent he needs to excel at the free safety position in the NFL. His fluidity and change-of-direction skills are advanced for a player with such limited starting experience, and will serve him well at the next level. Once he refines his technique and puts it all together, he should become an All-Pro caliber player.nike_redskins_2301-223x223

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Who should win NBA MVP? We debate the closest race in modern history

We’re in the middle of the most hotly contested NBA MVP race in years. Never have we been forced to choose among so many qualified candidates who are making history on a nightly basis for good teams. In a normal year, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, and James Harden would all be deserving.

But this is not a normal year, so we must pick one. Unfair as it may be to the three losers, this award can have only one winner. That does not diminish what all four players have accomplished, but it’s the reality of the situation.

To help us do that, we assembled a large crew for the first annual SB Nation NBA MVP debate. Our panelists:

Cleveland has not made up its mind at No. 1, per source. Split opinions. Some like Myles Garrett, some like Mitchell Trubisky. We will see.

Are the Browns really torn? It’s doubtful. The proverbial hay is in the barn at this point and this is probably nothing more than a smokescreen with Schefter’s source likely just trying to create some doubt surrounding the top pick with the draft just over two weeks away. It should be noted, however, that Trubisky is a Cleveland-area native.

That’s why I think it can be harder when those type of guys are going through competitions and stuff and like that because even though you’re trying to find the best guy, by trying to be fair to those quarterbacks you’re also being unfair to a team. You don’t really know what direction you’re going. So, if you have your pick of the best world, you’d like those guys to be somewhat similar, not just because that’s how you want the quarterbacks, just because of the work you’re doing for the rest of the guys on the roster.”
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Jones quickly responded to the decision made by his team’s owner and coach with gratitude.

After Jones’ felony charge was dropped, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and owner Mike Brown have both come to the veteran cornerback’s defense.

“His case continues to move forward. It will be whatever it is,” Lewis said.

“I’m going to give him a chance,” said Brown. “I hope it comes out right for him, for his family and for us. I know there are critics. I understand. But that is a full answer. And that’s what I have to say about it.”

Jones quickly responded to the decision made by his team’s owner and coach with gratitude.

During Griffin’s recovery you could sense that this avalanche was about to descend when Griffin started to indicate that he was ready before Shanahan thought he was. You could sense that a superstar athlete’s desire to play was turning into a bad thing, as the media invented a rift with his coach.

NFL fans look to players as characters. Story-lines are plots that fit within our soap opera of what we think football should be.

Our scandals are either based off of success — like bountygate and spygate — or because we’ve found a character that we can’t believe fits into our little perfect mold of a good guy or evil-doer. The fact that Richie Incognito could be pulled from central casting as a bully helped the Dolphins’ story go national.

The Redskins are and have been an average football team for the past year and a half. Their defense would be one of the worst in modern history were it not for DeAngelo Hall somehow scoring more TDs than their No. 2 receiver. Their offensive line is suspect, as is everyone else on the offense not named Alfred Morris or Pierre Garcon. Somehow we expect RGIII to cover up all of these deficiencies on his own. And when the team loses, we dissect his sentences for any trace of ego or blame.
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the Cowboys have held onto the top spot in the NFC East despite an up and down season

The term “Riverboat Ron” is bandied about with reverence for a man characterized as a seersucker-clad gambler willing to take big risks on football’s brightest stage. The real story behind “Riverboat Ron” was a desperate coach about to lose his job, throwing anything at the wall in a last-ditch attempt to have something stick.

On Sep. 16, Rivera had to stand in front of the media and explain a last-minute, one-point loss to the Bills. That game and his career to that point were summed up when he sent out the team’s field goal unit on fourth-and-1 to score three points and give the team a tenuous six-point lead. Buffalo’s rookie quarterback, E.J. Manuel, drove down the field and scored after that.

Reports emerged stating that the team began vetting potential head coach replacements after losing its third game of the season to Arizona. Suddenly it was no longer too early to show urgency. Rivera started telling his offense to go for it. Riverboat Ron was born.

Thanks to the weakness of the NFC East, the Cowboys have held onto the top spot in the NFC East despite an up and down season, and now face their toughest test of the year against the Saints. New Orleans, meanwhile, is facing stiffening competition in the division from the young Panthers team in the NFC South and needs the win on Sunday to maintain their one game lead.

The over/under is set at 44, which could be a tall order for two teams not known for their prolific scoring. The Bengals and Ravens combine for an average of 45.1 points per game, but with two solid defenses and unreliable running games, it’s unclear whether they can hit the over.

Cincinnati is coming of a tough loss to Miami, but it’s hard to see the Bengals succumbing to a trap game on the road. This season they’re the better team between the two and until the Ravens find consistency, it’s hard to see them stopping the slide now.5

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