Category: NFL Football News

NFL Football News

Falcons hire Greg Knapp as new quarterbacks coach, SN source says

Matt Ryan has a new tutor.

The well-traveled Knapp is returning to the franchise where he was offensive coordinator from 2004 to 2006 when Michael Vick was at quarterback. Besides holding that position with the Falcons, Knapp has previously served as OC in San Francisco (2001 to 2003), Oakland (2007-2008, 2012) and Seattle (2009).

Atlanta (11-7) was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last weekend by Philadelphia.

Of course, AirbnbWatch was created by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, whose members would much rather you stay in one of their hotels. But on Super Bowl weekend, both routes are going to cost you plenty, especially now that the hometown Vikings are out of the picture.

Keenum, a backup behind Sam Bradford when the season started, has enjoyed a breakout season leading the Vikings to an NFC North title. It looked as if the Vikings were going to blow their 17-0 halftime lead Sunday against the Saints, but Keenum threw a touchdown as time expired to win.

While both teams have endured injuries, they have enough talent to reach the Super Bowl. But the Vikings are more well-rounded, and the football gods appear to be on their side. Keenum has strong odds of winning this week, and he might not even need another miracle.

Speaking of wild finishes, the Jaguars treated fans to an interesting start to their game last week, jumping out to a quick 21-0 lead over the Steelers. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey already has promised a Super Bowl victory, raising the eyebrows of Patriots players.

The Patriots have a 10-1 record all-time when facing the Jaguars (including the playoffs), their lone loss in 1999 at Jacksonville in the AFC wild-card round.
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Continuing the discussion on ratings and being proactive in finding answers won’t solve the league’s problems.

wings_1033Then Newton hit Christian McCaffrey for a 56-yard touchdown in under a minute, giving the Panthers some life. The Saints had a fourth down late at the two-minute warning, and they went for it. They didn’t get it, with a Carolina player picking it off instead of simply hitting the ball away, so the Panthers lost a good chunk of yardage when they took over with no timeouts remaining.

Carolina marched all the way downfield, into the red zone, but an intentional grounding call and a sack had the team well out of range, and the Saints held on to win.

On Saturday, the Tennessee Titans just edged out the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Atlanta Falcons handled the Los Angeles Rams. The Titans will play the New England Patriots and the Falcons will play the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round.

Again, no one is claiming that fights with the White House’s social media wing and players kneeling during the anthem are even close to the only reasons for the professional football model being shaken up a bit. But the fact is, that model has been shaken up a bit, and the league doesn’t sit on its hands waiting for situations like this to steady themselves.

But as Jones, and others see it, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

They’ve been looking for their franchise quarterback since the end of the Colin Kaepernick era in San Francisco. After trading a second-round pick for a quarterback who went 5-0 with 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions, it makes sense that he’s going to receive a nice payday.

And they have to. After Kaepernick’s departure, the 49ers let Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard take over the reins, and it was genuinely ugly. They were nearing Browns levels of bad. In their 31 games before his starts, the 49ers went 4-27.

“He’s as confident as he appears to be, but he’s never comfortable,” Hinch said. “What I mean by that is, the drive and the right amount of awareness of what he has to do to be successful never wavers. Most of us would probably bask in the glory of having his bat-to-ball skills or his success rate. This guy is as hungry as he is respectful of what it takes.”

The Astros followed their leader through one more round, finishing a trifecta of knocking off the teams with the biggest payrolls in ascending order: the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers, icing on the cake for an underdog like Altuve.

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So, what are the odds the Vikings can earn a ninth straight win this week?

Because Paul can make Harden’s life easier and preserve his energy, Harden should be able to maintain his MVP-level pace over the course of the season and through the playoffs.

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is one game short of tying his personal record of five consecutive games without an interception. He also has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in December.

“It’ll be fun,” Goff said Wednesday. “I think it’ll be good to see him, good to talk to him and good to compete on the same field. But ultimately, I’m competing against their defense and he’s competing against ours and that’s kind of the way it goes.

“I’m sure it will be a fun one to watch.”

Both quarterbacks have blossomed in their second NFL seasons. Goff, whom the Rams selected No. 1 overall from California, has thrown for 3,184 yards with 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions to help the Rams (9-3) clinch their first winning season since 2003.

Cam Newton came through in the clutch Sunday afternoon to earn an important win over the Vikings. The Panthers overcame the NFC North-leading Vikings for a 31-24 win.

Newton spearheaded the final drive with a 62-yard run. The run set up a game-winning touchdown from Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart, who finished the day with three touchdowns and 103 yards. Newton finished 13 for 25 with 137 yards, one interception and a touchdown.
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Marshall Faulk among NFL Network employees suspended amid sexual harassment allegations

Taylor, a former Steelers defensive back turned analyst, allegedly sent Cantor a video of him masturbating in the shower and McNabb, a former analyst, also sent explicit comments to her phone, according to the compliant.

The Bloomberg report does not specify the allegations against Evans. Representatives for the accused did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comments.

Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers, shoulder, 1:00 p.m. ET: McCaffrey’s status was legitimately in question up until shortly before game time in Week 13, but once he took the field, you couldn’t tell he had been limited during the week. He logged fairly even splits between pass catches and rushing attempts and even found his way into the end zone. This week McCaffrey is another week removed from injury and took all his reps in practice. His removal from the pregame injury report indicates that he is improving and expected to play against the Vikings.

Jurich, who conceived of the partnership with the shoe company during Adidas-sponsored retreats in Santa Barbara, California, and Banff, Alberta, says he knew nothing about the Bowen deal, but he acknowledged that Adidas, which was to pay Louisville cash incentives for Final Four appearances and NCAA championships, had a financial interest in Louisville’s success.

Philly fans received a lump of coal for Christmas, when Eagles quarterback and MVP front-runner Carson Wentz suffered an ACL tear in his left knee during Sunday’s 43-35 win over the Rams.

Nick Foles will take over for the injured Wentz, and at least one Eagles fan is confident in the quarterback, as he or she has created an amazing Star Wars-themed Foles hype video.

The video has the potential to convince even the biggest doubters that the Eagles still have a shot at the Super Bowl with Foles under center.

The sixth-year veteran, helped rally Philadelphia to Sunday’s NFC East-clinching victory after Wentz left the game.chargers_005

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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