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NFL Week 7: Over and Under Best Bets

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we're offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we’re making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we’re offering up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week. 

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: New England Patriots at Chicago Bears

Total: 49.5

New England has scored 38-plus points in three straight games, and more than 60 points were scored in each of their last two affairs. Meanwhile, the Chicago offense has really made strides, with Mitchell Trubisky and Co. combining for 76 points in their last two games.

Throw in that the Chicago defense looked extremely vulnerable against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 and that the New England D has surrendered 57 points in two road games and this looks and feels like an obvious 55-plus point game.

The total might be below 50 because the Bears still rate well on defense and there might be concerns about the consistency of the Chicago offense, but nobody is stopping the Pats right now and it’s time to start believing in that loaded Bears attack.

This thing should hit the 50s with plenty of room to spare.

Predicted score: Patriots 33, Bears 30

Under of the week: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Total: 43

Both the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars rank in the bottom 12 offensively and the top 12 defensively, and the Texans managed just 14 points in two games against the Jaguars last year.

So why do sportsbooks believe these two will combine for 43 on Sunday?

It could have to do with the fact the vaunted Jags defense has suddenly given up 70 points the last two weeks. But those games came on the road. At home this year, Jacksonville has surrendered just 13.7 points per game. They should bounce back from a tough stretch against a Texans offense that has been held to 22 or fewer points in five of six games.

It’s still hard to trust Blake Bortles and a depleted Jags offense, but that unit might not need more than 20 against Houston.

Predicted score: Jaguars 23, Texans 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 2-0
2018 season: 7-5

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Heisman Trophy Winner Props: Updated through Week 7

Tua Tagovailoa remains the favorite, but Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins close the gap and both jump to 3/1.

Note: The change column indicates the percentage change in the odds of each player. Positive change labeled in green means the player is getting bet and his odds are lower, while the negative change in red

Tua Tagovailoa remains the favorite, but Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins close the gap and both jump to 3/1.

Note: The change column indicates the percentage change in the odds of each player. Positive change labeled in green means the player is getting bet and his odds are lower, while the negative change in red means the player’s odds have regressed.

Heisman Trophy Winner Props


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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 6 Results

The Patriots came so close to putting us very much in the green, but their inability to hold a double-digit halftime lead put our dreams on hold. Still, as it was, we had a very good week, going 3-1-1, making it our fifth week out of six where we avoided going under .500.

The Patriots came so close to putting us very much in the green, but their inability to hold a double-digit halftime lead put our dreams on hold. Still, as it was, we had a very good week, going 3-1-1, making it our fifth week out of six where we avoided going under .500. Unfortunately, we took a shot with $10 of our $20 budget on the Patriots, so that game was where all the money was this week.

That being said, we still grabbed a return on investment of about 25 percent this week and have pulled almost exactly even on the season. Our pick percentage is also sitting at 56 percent, meaning that if it creeps a little bit higher in the coming weeks, we’ll be close to the professional standard of 60 percent.

LOSS: Panthers over Redskins (EVEN): Redskins 23, Panthers 17.

Oh, so close. Like I said, we had every reason to think the Panthers would drop this one, but their talent should have won out. Washington went up 17-0 and I gave up on Carolina. However, they climbed back into the game and were in the red zone when they failed to convert on fourth and 5 to end the game.

Cam Newton and Co. got hot just a little too late and they fell on the road to a Washington team that looked terrible a week ago. That’s just the NFL sometimes. The fact the Panthers even made this close at the end made this one exciting. Unfortunately, they couldn’t come through in the end. Total win: $0.

WIN: Seahawks -3 vs. Raiders (EVEN): Seahawks 27, Raiders 3.

They say the Seahawks are a different team away from home. They were REALLY far from home this week as this game was played in London, but it didn’t seem to affect Seattle. Russell Wilson and his talented receiving corps picked apart the Raiders secondary and dominated from the jump. Even more importantly for the Seahawks, the defense balled out as well, forcing turnover after turnover.

By the end of the first half, this one wasn’t in doubt and it felt good knowing we were going to have a game in the win column early in the day. We should also keep in mind that Seattle has been great against the spread this season, losing against it only once. Total win: $6.

WIN: Ravens -3 at Titans (-110): Ravens 21, Titans 0.

This game wasn’t the prettiest to watch, but Baltimore easily covered and that’s all we really care about. That defense is scary, now allowing just 12 total points over their last two games. They also found more ways to get Lamar Jackson involved in the offense and he provided a spark. We’ll keep this in mind for potential unders to bet in the future, although you can guess oddsmakers are probably already catching onto this defensive trend.

Tennessee has been feisty this season, ruining several spreads including when they came back and beat the Eagles in overtime to lose us a bet. They showed very little fight today, though, and just like Seattle, Baltimore provided us with plenty of breathing room and the confidence that we were in for a good week. Total win: $5.70.

WIN: Jaguars-Cowboys OVER 40.5 points: Cowboys 40, Jaguars 7.

I certainly can’t claim to have foreseen this outcome, but hey, it won us our bet. Nobody or their moms thought Dallas would put up 40 points on the Jaguars’ defense. It just doesn’t make sense. One of the NFL’s most anemic offenses simply torched the league’s best defense. Blake Bortles also looked terrible for the second week in a row. They have to get something figured out with him or they aren’t winning the division again.

After Dallas hopped out to a 24-0 lead, this seemed like a sure win since Jacksonville would be playing catch up, but it actually ended up being close. The Jags were never able to get anything going offensively, so thank goodness the Cowboys added another touchdown of insurance or this game would’ve ended at 33-7, good enough to break our hearts by half a point. Total win: $3.80.

PUSH: Patriots -3 vs. Chiefs (-110): Patriots 43, Chiefs 40.

We can’t ever have nice things, can we? We would have had a phenomenal day if the Patriots could have better protected their 15-point halftime lead, but I suppose we will settle for a push. New England looked unstoppable in the first half and Kansas City had to keep settling for field goals. In the second half, those field goals turned into trouble and allowed the Chiefs to take the lead at one point late.

It really would have been nice to chalk this one up in the win column and be way up for the season, but as it is, we’re moving on up and that pick percentage continues to rise as well. As we look ahead to next week, it again will be all about picking how much to put on each game. Our only problem this season has been putting small money on our winning picks. Let’s keep reversing that trend into Week 7. Total win: $10.

PIGGY BANK: $116.81 (-2.7% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 56% (15-12-3)

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Rams’ McVay laments sharing division with 49ers’ Shanahan

Rams' McVay laments sharing division with 49ers' Shanahan

Arizona Cardinals: A day after Broncos linebacker Von Miller said his team would kick the Cardinals' (expletive) in Thursday night's game, Arizona head coach Steve Wilks told reporters he doesn't expect his guys to need the bulletin-board material for motivation. "I hope not, from a

Rams’ McVay laments sharing division with 49ers’ Shanahan

Arizona Cardinals: A day after Broncos linebacker Von Miller said his team would kick the Cardinals’ (expletive) in Thursday night’s game, Arizona head coach Steve Wilks told reporters he doesn’t expect his guys to need the bulletin-board material for motivation. “I hope not, from a standpoint of trying to get guys ready to play football,” Wilks said. The 1-5 Cardinals will be without guards Mike Iupati (back) and Jeremy Vujnovich (hamstring) for the game, while guard Justin Pugh is questionable with a hand injury. Safety Tre Boston (shoulder, ribs) is also out, while cornerback Jamar Taylor (back) is questionable.

Los Angeles Rams: As they prepare to meet for the third time as head coaches, Sean McVay lamented that he can’t talk football as much with good friend Kyle Shanahan as much as he used to, now that they lead division rivals. “Any time that we cross paths at the combine or whatever it might be, we always enjoy talking ball, and it doesn’t have to be anything where you’re giving your secrets away,” McVay told reporters. “We certainly still talk. I know that I feel like I wish he wasn’t in our division and we didn’t have to play twice a year so that we could be a little bit more open with our dialogue. … But, we’re fortunate to even be in these roles. So we’ll take it, but I would prefer not to have Kyle Shanahan in our division, if you ask me.”

San Francisco 49ers: The offense took a big step forward last week in scoring 30 points against the Green Bay Packers, and while it wasn’t enough for a win, Shanahan is optimistic about the group with the return of wideout Marquise Goodwin from injury. “We’d been missing Quise a lot,” Shanahan said. “He’s been battling to get back. … He played very well for us, not just the plays he made, but he blocked very well and did a lot of good things when he wasn’t getting the ball. That loosens up the coverage for everyone. Quise does a good job and he also helps out other people and helps our run game.” Goodwin totaled 126 yards and a pair of scores on four catches against Green Bay.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle hit its bye coming off its best game of the season, a 27-3 romp over the Raiders in London, and defensive end Frank Clark capped the triumph by being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday. Clark hounded rookie tackle Kolton Miller to rack up 2.5 sacks, including two sack-fumbles that were recovered by teammates, in just 29 defensive snaps as he battled an illness. In a contract year, Clark now has 5.5 sacks this season, best on the team and 1.5 shy of the NFL lead (J.J. Watt, Danielle Hunter).

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Broncos CEO hints Joseph’s job in danger

NFL notebook: Broncos CEO hints Joseph's job in danger

Denver Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis indicated Wednesday that head coach Vance Joseph's job could be in danger if he doesn't right the ship soon.

In acknowledging concern over nearly 10,000 no-shows in Denver's home loss to the unbeaten Los

NFL notebook: Broncos CEO hints Joseph’s job in danger

Denver Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis indicated Wednesday that head coach Vance Joseph’s job could be in danger if he doesn’t right the ship soon.

In acknowledging concern over nearly 10,000 no-shows in Denver’s home loss to the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams last weekend, Ellis did not shy away from alluding to possible changes if the Broncos continue to struggle on the field and at the gates.

“I understand it, between weather and performance, these things happen,” Ellis told The Athletic from the NFL owners meetings in New York. “We’ve got to figure out a way to stop talking about how we need to do things differently and actually do things differently.”

“We [made an in-season coaching change] in 2010, I think,” Ellis added, referring to Josh McDaniels being fired with four games remaining in that season. “So we’ll see, we’ll see. I’m trying to stay focused on one game at a time and see where we go from there, and having conversations with [general manager] John Elway and see where we go.”

–Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss Week 7’s game against the Detroit Lions in Miami as he continues to battle a right (throwing) shoulder injury, head coach Adam Gase announced.

Tannehill did not throw during the open portion of Wednesday’s practice, and backup Brock Osweiler was expected to take all of the first-team reps, per the Miami Herald.

Meanwhile, the NFL is investigating the team’s handling of Tannehill’s injury and how it was disclosed on injury reports last week, according to multiple reports. Tannehill had been listed as a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday before being downgraded to questionable on Friday. However, NFL rules require a designation of limited when a player is unable to take all of his normal reps, which Gase has said was the case for Tannehill on Thursday.

–Newly signed quarterback Derek Anderson will start Sunday for the Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis, coach Sean McDermott announced. “It’s the right decision for our football team right now,” McDermott said.

Rookie starter Josh Allen is out indefinitely with an elbow sprain, and McDermott chose not to turn to interception-prone Nathan Peterman, who started the season at quarterback but quickly was benched in favor of Allen.

Anderson, 35, is in his 13th season in the NFL and spent four seasons in Cleveland, one in Arizona and seven with the Carolina Panthers.

–Leonard Fournette did not practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a signal that he might not play for the third straight week because of the hamstring injury he sustained in Week 1.

Fournette has missed four of the last five games with a hamstring injury. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Fournette will try to practice Thursday. The Jaguars (3-3) lost their past two games, and Fournette has yet to finish a game this year.

Fournette’s replacement, T.J. Yeldon (foot, ankle), also missed practice Wednesday. Veteran Jamaal Charles, signed last week, and rookie David Williams are the other running backs on the Jacksonville roster.

–Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton returned to practice on after missing the past two games with chest and hamstring injuries.

Hilton was listed as a full participant as the Colts prepared for Sunday’s visit from the Bills. Neither Hilton nor Colts coach Frank Reich confirmed that Hilton would play, but Andrew Luck’s top target acknowledged the team could really use him in uniform.

“I don’t wanna go out there and hurt myself,” Hilton said. “So, for me, I’ll give it a test today. We’re in a must-win game, so I’ve gotta be out there.”

–Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is focusing on listening and learning, which has resulted in increased quality on and off the field.

“When you have people working together, listening to one another and that level of respect, I think everyone feels better,” Goodell said as the NFL fall owners meetings wrapped.

Goodell said overall quality and competitiveness are up across the league with a margin of victory on pace to be the third- or fourth-closest in NFL history. While some are concerned with growing protection of quarterbacks, Goodell said the focus on player safety is coming through in every game.

–Just four months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, Houston Texans safety Andre Hal is practicing with the team again.

Hal has been on the non-football illness list since his diagnosis in early June. With the lymphoma in remission and Hal back at practice, the Texans have 21 days to decide whether to activate him as part of the 53-man roster.

The team announced June 8 that Hal had been diagnosed with nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. It was diagnosed after Hal reported he had blurry vision while practicing, and the cancer was discovered in his armpit and stomach.

–Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced that he has abandoned his 600 million pound bid to buy London’s Wembley Stadium from the Football Association.

The FA’s leadership was due to vote on Khan’s proposal next week, and Khan did not expect enough support in his favor.

–Field Level Media

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Jags owner withdraws bid to buy London’s Wembley

Jags owner withdraws bid to buy London's Wembley

Shad Khan, who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, won't be adding the home of English soccer to his portfolio.

Khan announced Wednesday that he has abandoned his 600 million pound bid to buy London's Wembley Stadium from the Football Association.

Jags owner withdraws bid to buy London’s Wembley

Shad Khan, who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, won’t be adding the home of English soccer to his portfolio.

Khan announced Wednesday that he has abandoned his 600 million pound bid to buy London’s Wembley Stadium from the Football Association.

The FA’s leadership was due to vote on Khan’s proposal next week.

“At this moment, following last week’s FA council hearing, it appears there is no definitive mandate to sell Wembley and my current proposal, subsequently, would earn the backing of only a slim majority of the FA Council, well short of the conclusive margin that the FA chairman has required,” Khan said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favored by the FA Chairman to sell Wembley Stadium. Until a time when it is evident there is an unmistakable directive from the FA to explore and close a sale, I am respectfully withdrawing my offer to purchase Wembley Stadium.”

FA chief executive Martin Glenn said in a statement, “At a recent meeting with Mr. Khan he expressed to us that, without stronger support from within the game, his offer is being seen as more divisive than it was anticipated to be and has decided to withdraw his proposal. Wembley Stadium is an iconic venue that is revered around world and it will continue to thrive under the ownership and direction of The FA.”

Khan also owns a London-based Premier League soccer team, Fulham FC, but he reportedly was not planning to move the club’s base to Wembley. The Jaguars have played at Wembley five times since 2013, and they are due to play the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles there on Oct. 28.

In future years, the NFL is scheduled to play four games a year in London, two at Wembley and two at Tottenham Hotspur’s under-construction stadium in North London.

Wembley serves as the home of the England national soccer team as well as playoff rounds of the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Football League.

–Field Level Media

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Colts WR Hilton returns to practice

Colts WR Hilton returns to practice

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the past two games with chest and hamstring injuries.

"The guys need me," HIlton said earlier in the day. "So I'm here for them."

Hilton was listed as

Colts WR Hilton returns to practice

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the past two games with chest and hamstring injuries.

“The guys need me,” HIlton said earlier in the day. “So I’m here for them.”

Hilton was listed as a full participant as the Colts prepared for Sunday’s visit from the Buffalo Bills. Neither Hilton nor Colts coach Frank Reich confirmed that Hilton would play against the Bills, but Andrew Luck’s top target acknowledged the team could really use him in uniform.

“I don’t wanna go out there and hurt myself,” Hilton said. “So, for me, I’ll give it a test today. We’re in a must-win game, so I’ve gotta be out there.”

Hilton has 21 receptions for 294 yards and two touchdowns in four games this season. He eclipsed 100 yards in his most recent game, a 37-34 overtime loss against the Houston Texans on Sept. 30.

As he had missed just two games in his first six seasons, which included four Pro Bowl selections, Hilton told reporters he is eager to work back into shape.

“Just watching it on TV not being there with them, you know, it hurts me,” Hilton said. “It hurts me a lot.”

–Field Level Media

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Eagles’ Wentz limited in practice with back injury

Eagles' Wentz limited in practice with back injury

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was one of four players limited in practice on Wednesday, according to the team's injury report.

Coming off a Thursday night win over the New York Giants and with a few extra days of rest before the

Eagles’ Wentz limited in practice with back injury

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was one of four players limited in practice on Wednesday, according to the team’s injury report.

Coming off a Thursday night win over the New York Giants and with a few extra days of rest before the Eagles host the Carolina Panthers this Sunday, Wentz did not fully participate in practice because of a back injury.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the team expects Wentz to practice without restrictions Thursday. The Eagles’ third-year passer missed this season’s first two games after recovering from a season-ending left ACL injury last December.

The three other players who did not complete a full practice Wednesday were tackle Jason Peters (biceps), defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf).

Six Eagles were sidelined for all of Wednesday’s practice — tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), cornerback Sidney Jones (hamstring), running back Darren Sproles (hamstring), safety Corey Graham (hamstring), plus linebackers D.J. Alexander (quadricep) and linebacker Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee).

–Field Level Media

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Eagles’ Jason Peters expected to play with torn biceps

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters isn't expected to miss a game despite tearing his biceps.

The 36-year-old Peters was limited in Wednesday's practice, but coach Doug Pederson says "there's no concern with injuring him any further" and "he'll be ready to go" for Sunday's game against Carolina.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Eagles nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters isn’t expected to miss a game despite tearing his biceps.

The 36-year-old Peters was limited in Wednesday’s practice, but coach Doug Pederson says “there’s no concern with injuring him any further” and “he’ll be ready to go” for Sunday’s game against Carolina.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced Peters in the starting lineup after the two-time All-Pro tore an ACL last October and missed Philadelphia’s run to a Super Bowl title. Vaitai has filled in this season when Peters has left a couple of games because of various injuries.

The Eagles have two games remaining before a bye week, but Pederson says he isn’t planning to rest Peters.

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Rams WR Reynolds ready to start in place of injured Kupp

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds prepares every week as if he is a starter.

With Cooper Kupp not expected to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday because of a knee injury, Reynolds will finally get to take his mindset literally.

"If you practice like

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds prepares every week as if he is a starter.

With Cooper Kupp not expected to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday because of a knee injury, Reynolds will finally get to take his mindset literally.

“If you practice like you’re a starter or prepare like you’re a starter, you know, you’re pretty much a starter,” Reynolds said Wednesday.

“You know everything. You know your assignments. You know what you’re supposed to do, and that’s like 95 percent of offense. If you know what you are doing then you’ll be pretty good.”

In his second season out of Texas A&M, Reynolds proved his worth as a reserve against Seattle in Week 5 when Kupp got a concussion late in the second quarter. Reynolds had two receptions for 39 yards and one carry for 10 yards, all on three consecutive plays during Los Angeles’ first possession of the third quarter.

When quarterback Jared Goff called the fly sweep, Reynolds was still tired from making his first catches of the season. But the whole sequence confirmed that Reynolds was capable of playing without a drop-off behind the three starters in Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.

“I kind of just chuckled and was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be fine,” running back Todd Gurley said.

For Reynolds, who had played just nine of the Rams’ 267 offensive snaps through the first five games, the quick introduction got him right in the flow of the game.

“I wasn’t used to three plays in a row like that from being a backup kind of guy,” Reynolds said. “But definitely being able to go in there and get those catches, it builds some confidence for me leading through the rest of the game and it helped a lot.”

Reynolds was pressed back into action when Kupp sprained his knee at Denver on Sunday, though he did not make as much of an impact as the previous week. He had one reception for a 2-yard loss and had another pass hit him in the facemask, bouncing up in the air and being intercepted.

It was only the sixth turnover of the season for the Rams, something Reynolds credits to Goff’s timing and the overall rhythm of the offense. He is still getting used to it after playing nearly 60 percent of snaps the past two games.

Still, Reynolds has made substantial strides in his overall understanding of coach Sean McVay’s offense.

“I’m able to work things out,” Reynolds said. “I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the offense and knowing my assignments, so it definitely slows the game down for me.”

The difference will be on display this week, as McVay effectively ruled out Kupp from the Rams’ third straight road game.

To add depth at receiver, the Rams signed free agent Nick Williams on Tuesday. Williams has familiarity with some of the terminology and schemes McVay uses after playing in Washington, Atlanta and Tennessee. Williams most recently worked with former Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur in a stint with the Titans earlier this season.

The addition of Williams became even more important as Reynolds was limited during Wednesday’s walkthrough because of a hand injury. Despite leaving the locker room with his hand wrapped in ice, Reynolds was looking ahead to a possible matchup with 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.

“He’s an elite athlete, but at the same time I’m a player,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to have to compete. I’m not starstruck.”

NOTES: DE Michael Brockers (shoulder), OLB Matt Longacre (back) and LG Rodger Saffold (knee) did not participate Wednesday.

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Duffner aims to turn around Buccaneers’ defense

Duffner aims to turn around Buccaneers' defense

Atlanta Falcons: With starting running back Devonta Freeman (groin) on injured reserve, the club is hoping Tevin Coleman can find his stride. The fourth-year pro has a team-leading 260 rushing yards but has tallied 35 or fewer in four of six games. Coleman's best game was

Duffner aims to turn around Buccaneers’ defense

Atlanta Falcons: With starting running back Devonta Freeman (groin) on injured reserve, the club is hoping Tevin Coleman can find his stride. The fourth-year pro has a team-leading 260 rushing yards but has tallied 35 or fewer in four of six games. Coleman’s best game was a 107-yard effort against the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. Rookie Ito Smith is also an option and has 102 rushing yards on the campaign but he has just 27 on 14 carries over the past two games. Smith has recorded a rushing touchdown in three straight games. Getting the ground game clicking is a priority with Atlanta ranking 29th in the NFL at 86.0 rushing yards per game.

Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have a road test against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday as they look to end an early season trend. Carolina is 3-0 at home but lost both its road contests, including a 23-17 loss to the Washington Redskins last weekend. The three-turnover showing wasn’t a good sign for a team that believes it can advance deep into the playoffs this season. “We’ve got a great group of guys that are coming together, obviously,” coach Ron Rivera told reporters. “But you’ve got to win football games, and that’s probably the biggest thing. You can put up all of the points you want, put all the yards up but people won’t look at you (as great). To me, it’s as simple as that. We had a little bit of a setback last week. We will bounce back from it.”

New Orleans Saints: The team is coming off a bye but receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is still struggling with the knee injury that caused him to miss the Week 5 game against the Washington Redskins. Ginn didn’t practice on Wednesday, nor did rookie defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth. Ginn’s absence against the Redskins opened the door for rookie Tre’Quan Smith, who caught two touchdown passes — including a 62-yarder on the play in which quarterback Drew Brees set the all-time record for career passing yardage. Smith had three receptions for 111 yards in that contest and figures to be part of the game plan whether or not Ginn is healthy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: New defensive coordinator Mark Duffner’s first task is getting the unit to be more stingy in terms of other teams lighting up the scoreboard. The Buccaneers are last in the NFL in scoring defense (34.6), prompting the firing of Mike Smith earlier this week. Duffner, who was defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals from 2001-02, is happy to get another opportunity at age 65. “I think every coach has aspirations to take on more responsibility,” Duffner told reporters. “I’ve been a defensive coordinator in the NFL before and I’ve been a college head coach, so is this something I was dying to do? I just love coaching. I like working with young men and trying to help them get better.”

–Field Level Media

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Fans weigh in on future of Cowboys coach Garrett

Fans weigh in on future of Cowboys coach Garrett

Dallas Cowboys: When DallasCowboys.com reported Tuesday that the organization, according to sources, is pondering offering head coach Jason Garrett a contract extension, fans went wild on social media. Owner Jerry Jones denied the report on a local radio show, but it was clear by

Fans weigh in on future of Cowboys coach Garrett

Dallas Cowboys: When DallasCowboys.com reported Tuesday that the organization, according to sources, is pondering offering head coach Jason Garrett a contract extension, fans went wild on social media. Owner Jerry Jones denied the report on a local radio show, but it was clear by the fans’ reactions that they think the Garrett era has run its course in Dallas. Garrett is in his ninth season and has a 70-56 career record, including 3-3 this season. The Cowboys have qualified for the playoffs in two seasons during his run, going 1-2. The reaction of one fan on Twitter: “If he gets one we should all boycott. He’s horrible.” And another: “Don’t fear fam. Couple more losses will do it. … We wasted too many talents as an organization. At one point we had 9 dudes in the pro bowl at the same time and still did nothing.”

New York Giants: As the Eli Manning era limps to its eventual end in New York, there’s a lot of talk about his replacement. And there’s a thought that the Giants might not want to draft and develop a quarterback, but instead acquire a veteran to complement Odell Beckham Jr. and a productive corps of receivers, as well as running back Saquon Barkley. One name the Giants have been linked to is Oakland signal-caller Derek Carr, who might become available if the 1-5 Raiders are ready to hit the reset button. Carr has four years and about $78 million left on his deal; the Raiders could save $15 million against the cap by parting ways with him this offseason.

Philadelphia Eagles: Quarterback Carson Wentz missed practice Wednesday with what was termed a minor back injury, but he’s expected to practice Thursday and play Sunday when the Eagles host the Carolina Panthers. ESPN’s Tim McManus reported Wentz was believed to have muscle spasms. That’s a relief for the Eagles, who had a long list of players miss practice on Wednesday: LB D.J. Alexander (quad), CB Rasul Douglas (not injury related), LB Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee), S Corey Graham (hamstring), OT Lane Johnson (ankle), CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) and RB Darren Sproles (knee).

Washington Redskins: Quarterback Alex Smith, acquired in the offseason, still is finding his way in the Redskins offense and trying to build some chemistry with the team’s receivers. Coach Jay Gruden told reporters this week that Smith, who has thrown for 1,205 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions, needs to be quicker in making his decisions. “I think the critical side of me, the coaching side of me, there are some things we’ve got to clean up,” Gruden said. “Get his eyes in certain progressions a little bit quicker and maybe get off some a little bit quicker. Sometimes he hangs on too long giving guys too much of a chance where he needs get off of them, get to the next guy. But for the most part, I thought he improved from last week to this week and there is still some improvement to do for everybody across the board. I like where he’s at. I like that he’s buying in and he’s learning.”

–Field Level Media

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Broncos CEO unafraid of in-season coaching change

Broncos CEO unafraid of in-season coaching change

Is Thursday night's game against the Arizona Cardinals a must-win for Vance Joseph and his 2-4 Denver Broncos?

Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis indicated Wednesday that the time for action -- i.e. drastic changes on the coaching staff, including Joseph -- may

Broncos CEO unafraid of in-season coaching change

Is Thursday night’s game against the Arizona Cardinals a must-win for Vance Joseph and his 2-4 Denver Broncos?

Broncos President and CEO Joe Ellis indicated Wednesday that the time for action — i.e. drastic changes on the coaching staff, including Joseph — may be near if the team can not right its season quickly.

In acknowledging concern over nearly 10,000 no-shows in Denver’s home loss to the unbeaten Los Angeles Rams last weekend, Ellis did not shy away from alluding to possible changes if the Broncos continue to struggle on the field and at the gates.

“I understand it, between weather and performance, these things happen,” Ellis told The Athletic on Wednesday from the NFL owners meetings in New York. “We’ve got to figure out a way to stop talking about how we need to do things differently and actually do things differently.”

Coming off a 5-11 season in Joseph’s rookie campaign, the organization’s plan for 2018 included a strong draft and big-money signing of quarterback Case Keenum. So far this season, the new mix has not translated into more wins.

When pressed last week before the Rams game on whether changes needed to be made, Ellis portrayed confidence is saying the Broncos “know what needs to be done to fix” their issues. While at the time Ellis praised Joseph, the CEO stopped short of promising no drastic measures.

“We’re all pulling for him and supporting him and we’ll see where this goes,” Ellis told reporters about Joseph.

Wednesday in New York, Ellis sounded open to an in-season coaching change, if the Broncos could not rebound soon.

“We did it in 2010, I think,” Ellis told The Athletic, referring to Josh McDaniels being fired with four games remaining in the season. “So we’ll see, we’ll see. I’m trying to stay focused on one game at a time and see where we go from there, and having conversations with [general manager] John Elway and see where we go.”

Heading into this Sunday’s game against 1-5 Arizona, the Broncos will be without right tackle Jared Veldheer (knee), outside linebacker Shane Ray (ankle, wrist) and cornerback Adam Jones (quad). Left guard Ronald Leary (Achilles) was lost for the season against the Rams last week and will be placed on injured reserve.

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Chiefs’ offense looking to fine tune in red zone

Chiefs' offense looking to fine tune in red zone

Denver Broncos: Trying to end a four-game losing streak Thursday night in Glendale, Ariz., the Broncos will be without starting right tackle Jared Veldheer (knee), third cornerback Adam Jones (quad), outside linebacker Shane Ray (ankle, wrist) and safety/special teamer Dymonte Thomas (chest). Also part

Chiefs’ offense looking to fine tune in red zone

Denver Broncos: Trying to end a four-game losing streak Thursday night in Glendale, Ariz., the Broncos will be without starting right tackle Jared Veldheer (knee), third cornerback Adam Jones (quad), outside linebacker Shane Ray (ankle, wrist) and safety/special teamer Dymonte Thomas (chest). Also part of that group is left guard Ronald Leary, who was lost for the year with a torn Achilles last week and will be placed on injured reserve. While it won’t help this week, Denver could get reinforcements soon in safety Su’a Cravens and wideout Jordan Taylor, who returned to practice this week. Recovering from meniscus surgery, Cravens can be activated from injured reserve in two weeks, while Taylor has been on the PUP list after having offseason surgery on both hips.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs’ offense has been one of the league’s very best, but some hiccups in the red zone in Foxborough last week have Andy Reid & Co. focused on improvement as the Bengals come to town. “I take responsibility for that,” Reid said. “We want to score touchdowns. I love [kicker Harrison] Butker, but I would rather score a touchdown.” Quarterback Patrick Mahomes shouldered the blame for the issues against the Patriots after he missed a few throws. “You can’t miss like Kareem (Hunt) on that seam route and Tyreek (Hill) on the deep cross and (Travis) Kelce on the corner,” Mahomes said. “I know they’re tough throws on some of those, but when you play really good teams, and we are playing a really good team this week, we’ve got find ways to get in that end zone.’

Los Angeles Chargers: With the Chargers’ struggles to draw interest from fans since their move to Los Angeles, the viability of the team remaining in L.A. was a topic of discussion at league meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to ESPN. Per the report, the topic was not brought up formally, but there were many side discussions about the Chargers’ issues building a fan base. The team initially targeted a goal of generating $400 million in revenue once it moved into the new stadium in Inglewood, Calif., but that target is expected to be cut to $150 million, per ESPN, with much of the projected cut accounted for in lowered ticket prices.

Oakland Raiders: With the Raiders in turmoil at 1-5 and new head coach Jon Gruden showing he’s not afraid to make changes, trade rumors have begun flying surrounding recent first-round picks Amari Cooper, Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley. Some have even speculated about the future of quarterback Derek Carr, whom the Raiders made the highest-paid player in NFL history at the time when he signed an extension in June of 2017. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora suggested the team could look to trade Carr near the NFL Combine, guessing the New York Giants as a possible destination. Parting ways with Carr after the season would save Oakland $15 million against the cap and leave a dead-money charge of $7.5 million.

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Rivers, Chargers determined to keep win streak going

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers are on a roll with a three-game winning streak.

Philip Rivers is determined to keep the momentum going, even with an overseas trip and a game in London looming.

"The guys have been great and we know we're in kind of a groove right now,"

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers are on a roll with a three-game winning streak.

Philip Rivers is determined to keep the momentum going, even with an overseas trip and a game in London looming.

“The guys have been great and we know we’re in kind of a groove right now,” the 36-year-old quarterback said. “This is a different week, but our mindset is whatever you normally do, just do it. We want to keep this going.”

The Chargers returned to the practice field Wednesday, brimming with confidence after their 38-14 victory over the Browns three days earlier. The decisive win raised their record to 4-2 and kept them one game behind AFC-leading Kansas City.

The team remains in Cleveland and is training at suburban Baldwin Wallace University, hoping to maintain some normalcy before its Sunday game against the Tennessee Titans at Wembley Stadium in England.

“We practiced today at the same time that we’ll play (6:30 a.m. Pacific time), so that should help our bodies get accustomed to the time change,” said Rivers, who has thrown 15 touchdowns and has the second-best passer rating in the NFL at 115.1.

“As a player, Wednesday always feels like the start of the workweek — and we were all ready for it today. The challenge will be Thursday night to Friday morning with us flying all night to get to London.”

Los Angeles linebacker Denzel Perryman joked that avoiding jetlag will be easy, saying, “If you get some sleep medicine, you’ll be all right.”

The fourth-year pro turned serious when asked if the Chargers’ focus was where it should be, namely stopping Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and running backs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis.

“It’s a different environment and different weather here, but we got some good work done today,” Perryman said. “We know Tennessee has got a lot of nice weapons and an explosive offense with a nice duo back there. And Mariota, he can run and pass, so he’s a difficult matchup. But we’ll be ready for them, no doubt.”

The extended road trip has taken on special significance for Rivers, who has only played in London once in 15 pro seasons. He threw a costly late interception in the Chargers’ 37-32 loss to New Orleans on Oct. 26, 2008.

Rivers noted this will likely be his last game in England, given his age and the league’s rotation of all 32 franchises for international games.

“It’s been 10 years, but shoot, I remember everything about it,” he said. “Staying right next to the stadium before the game, and every time the ball went in the air, there were oohs and aahs.

“That was one of the first times the NFL had been to Wembley, so it’s a little more common now, but I’m sure we’ll see a lot of Chargers and Titans fans there supporting their favorite teams.”

Making this trip even more important, a win would make Los Angeles 5-2 on the season, which Rivers has only experienced twice before in 2006 and 2014. The latter team faltered down the stretch and missed the playoffs.

With Melvin Gordon now one of the top running backs in the league and standout defensive end Joey Bosa expected back in early November from a left foot injury, Rivers doesn’t want to let this opportunity slip away.

“We’ve got a chance to get to 5-2 and we’ve got to do whatever it takes to get there,” he said. “If you had told us back in August we’d be in this position, we’d have taken it. We feel pretty good about ourselves right now.”

NOTES: Chargers coach Anthony Lynn expects linebacker Jatavis Brown (groin) and kicker Caleb Sturgis (right quadriceps) to be game-time decisions. Michael Badgley made his NFL debut filling in for Sturgis against the Browns, making all five of his extra points and his lone field-goal attempt. … C Mike Pouncey (knee), WR Travis Benjamin (foot), TE Virgil Green (ribs), NT Damion Square (shoulder) were limited in practice, while Bosa and LB Kyzir White (knee) remain out.

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Saints’ already potent offense widening options

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — No team has done more to limit Saints running back Alvin Kamara's influence on a game this season than New Orleans itself.

That was by design, and Kamara says he's OK with it if an increasingly dynamic offense helps the Saints keep winning.

"I'm not worried about touches, whether

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — No team has done more to limit Saints running back Alvin Kamara’s influence on a game this season than New Orleans itself.

That was by design, and Kamara says he’s OK with it if an increasingly dynamic offense helps the Saints keep winning.

“I’m not worried about touches, whether it’s a lot or a little,” Kamara said after practice Wednesday. “Just take advantage of the plays that come.”

The Saints relied heavily on Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas in the first month of the season, when Kamara had more than 600 yards and six touchdowns from scrimmage and Thomas made 42 catches for 445 yards.

In the most recent game before their Week 6 bye, the Saints demonstrated in a lopsided victory over Washington that they no longer need to do that.

Suddenly, quarterback Drew Brees had more options when deciding where to go with the ball. That development could make it considerably harder to defend an offense that twice put up more than 400 yards and at least 40 points before running back Mark Ingram or rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith had touched the ball once this season, and before fellow receiver Cameron Meredith, seen as a key acquisition in free agency, had made as many as two catches.

“Everybody on the offense can make a play at any moment,” said Kamara, whose six carries for 24 yards and three catches for 15 yards against Washington represented by far his lowest production this season. “We’re a good offense and we’re doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, whose team hosts New Orleans on Sunday, said the Saints have “two of the premier backs in the whole game” and an offense that is “back to full strength.”

“It kind of completes the picture that the Saints have for their offense,” Harbaugh said.

Meredith, who missed last season with a knee injury after leading Chicago in receiving in 2016, did not make his first catch with the Saints until Week 3, when his 11-yard touchdown was his only reception of that game. During the two games that followed, he caught eight passes for 103 yards.

“The more time we get together as a unit, it’s only going to progress,” Meredith said. “We’ve got young guys who are learning on the fly. All of that stuff is going to play a part.”

Smith made his first catch in Week 4, then caught three passes in Week 5 for 111 yards, including touchdowns of 62 and 35 yards.

Ingram rushed 16 times for 53 yards and two TDs, and also caught two passes for 20 yards, in his 2018 debut after serving a four-game suspension for use of a banned substance.

Meanwhile, New Orleans has found opportunities to further stress defenses by inserting Taysom Hill into games as a change-of-pace, read-option QB.

Saints coach Sean Payton said he expected his offense to eventually become more diversified as the season wore on and will “continue to look at that and keep finding ways to mix and match who’s in the game and how we can get them the ball.”

That has long been Payton’s strong suit, Brees said.

“Everybody has their package of plays, the things that they’re going to know stone cold so that when they go out there they can play with a ton of confidence and everybody knows that their opportunity can come at any moment,” said Brees, who has completed 78 percent of his passes for 1,658 yards and 11 touchdowns without an interception.

“One game it’s one guy carrying the load in the backfield for 100-plus yards and a couple touchdowns. The next game it might be the tight end position. The next game it might be a young guy like Tre’Quan coming up with two touchdown catches — three catches for over 100 yards. You just never know. And all those guys understand the importance of their role every week.”

Brees said the re-introduction of Ingram, combined with the emergence of Smith and Meredith, should only make it easier for the Saints’ offense to adjust during games to the way they’re being defended.

“We try to paint the picture for each guy that, ‘Hey, we’re not sure what we’re going to get (defensively), but if we start getting this, man, this is your opportunity,” Brees said.

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Cowboys look to solve road puzzle with trip to Washington

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Well more than half of Dak Prescott's sacks and all four of the Dallas Cowboys quarterback's interceptions have come on the road.

There are plenty of other numbers to illustrate the stark contrast between the Cowboys at home and away from AT&T Stadium, starting with the symmetrical records of

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Well more than half of Dak Prescott’s sacks and all four of the Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s interceptions have come on the road.

There are plenty of other numbers to illustrate the stark contrast between the Cowboys at home and away from AT&T Stadium, starting with the symmetrical records of 3-0 and 0-3.

While a visit to NFC East-leading Washington on Sunday is a chance for at least a tie for first place along with their first winning record this season, the Cowboys would probably view it as a road breakthrough more than anything.

“We’ve talked about it all year,” right guard Zack Martin said. “It’s usually been reversed. We’ve usually been better on the road than we have at home. I think the biggest thing is our communication on the road has not been anywhere near how it’s been at home.”

Communication speaks to the protection issues with Prescott, whose passer rating is more than 40 points lower on the road — 67 compared to 108.

Toss in the NFL’s second-lowest road scoring average (12.3 points per game), and the Cowboys haven’t given themselves much of a chance in losses at Carolina to open the season, followed by Seattle and Houston. They’ve alternated road and home games — and losses and wins — all season.

Dallas has transformed into one of the NFL’s youngest teams over the past couple of seasons, and coach Jason Garrett has mentioned youth a few times when asked about the difficulties away from home. The question is whether it’s the primary reason.

“Possibly, but that’s irrelevant,” Garrett said. “What’s relevant is we have to do a better job of it. At times on the road, when we were all together and communicated well and everybody was on the same page, we executed pretty well. But there are too many examples in each of those games where we didn’t do that.”

While the passing yardage is close to the same, it’s somewhat misleading because the Cowboys struck for big plays early in home wins over the New York Giants and Jacksonville and turned to the running game to protect leads in the second half.

And there’s something to be said for the rushing attack, which the Dallas offense is built around, being reliable on the road. The Cowboys are averaging 119 yards on the ground in the three road defeats.

The only time Ezekiel Elliott, second in the NFL in rushing, was truly shut down was the 19-16 overtime loss to the Texans. He averaged a season-low 2.7 yards per carry, and when he was stuffed on third-and-1 in overtime, Garrett was criticized for punting from the Houston 42-yard line. The Texans drove to the winning field goal.

“That’s our focus this week is going into this game, having great communication and starting fast, putting points on the board,” Elliott said.

The Cowboys are converting less than 25 percent of third downs on the road, which is partly explained by long-yardage situations caused by penalties.

There also have been several instances of silent counts gone awry, with linemen getting slow starts on snaps and causing problems for Prescott. The third-year QB has been sacked 13 times on the road compared to six sacks at home.

“Up front it’s being on the same page with the calls and communicating, whether it be different snap counts or different line calls when it’s real loud, or different signals to different guys,” Martin said. “That’s really what’s killed us the first three road games.”

The Cowboys also had two big changes to their line — one expected and one not. Four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick is out indefinitely with a nerve disorder and won’t be eligible to play for at least seven more games. Rookie Connor Williams is starting at left guard.

“From Carolina to where we are now, I think we’ve come a long way,” Martin said. “I think guys are getting a lot more comfortable in there. We still have a long way to go. I think we’re making progress week by week and that’s what you want to see.”

NOTES: DE David Irving was limited in practice while still dealing with personal issues. He’s been in a custody battle involving his daughter. … WR Tavon Austin (groin) and LB Joe Thomas (foot) didn’t practice. Both injuries could be long-term issues. … LB Sean Lee (hamstring) was limited. The question with the 2016 All-Pro is whether to keep him out a fourth straight game for the extra healing time that goes with the open week after playing the Redskins.

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Belichick: Don’t compare Bears’ Mack to LT just yet

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — No matter how dominant Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick wanted to make one thing clear.

He's no L.T.

"Wait a minute, we're talking about Lawrence Taylor now," Belichick said Wednesday. "Yeah, I'm not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor's class. So, you

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — No matter how dominant Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick wanted to make one thing clear.

He’s no L.T.

“Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now,” Belichick said Wednesday. “Yeah, I’m not putting anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s class. So, you can put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players now, but we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor.”

The Patriots visit the Bears this week and that means Belichick will get an up-close look at one of the game’s top outside linebackers, assuming Mack is ready to play after injuring his ankle last week.

Belichick knows the Patriots could have their hands full with a two-time All-Pro and havoc-wreaking edge rusher who has energized a struggling franchise. He’s just not ready to place Mack — or anyone else — on Taylor’s level.

“He’s already had a huge impact on the Bears’ defense in the first five games,” said Belichick who was Taylor’s position coach and then defensive coordinator with the New York Giants.

“So, I’m not taking anything away from him. You’re talking about Lawrence Taylor, you’re talking about probably the greatest defensive player in the history of the game. So, I think it’s a little early. I mean, look, I wouldn’t put anybody in Lawrence Taylor’s category. Not that I’ve seen. And I’ve seen a lot of great players.”

Whether Mack will play this week is up in the air after he was injured in an overtime loss at Miami. He did not practice Wednesday, and coach Matt Nagy said he is day to day.

Mack was hurt early in the game against the Dolphins and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in each game ended. Playing without him would be a huge blow, particularly with Tom Brady and the Patriots visiting on Sunday.

“We’re just going to continue to keep an eye on it and make sure whatever we do, we’re more cautious than anything,” Nagy said. “I believe in that and I think it’s important to go that route.”

Mack has not missed a game since Oakland drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2014. Chicago acquired him from the Raiders just before the start of the season, after he held out the entire offseason and preseason trying to secure a long-term deal rather than play under the final season of his rookie contract. Mack and the Bears then agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million.

The trade for Mack has boosted a franchise with four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North. Despite the loss at Miami, the Bears (3-2) remain in sole possession of the division lead for the first time since late in the 2013 season. But the defense wasn’t the same against the Dolphins with Mack at less than 100 percent.

The pass rush never got to Miami quarterback Brock Osweiler, and the Bears’ league-best run defense was trampled by 35-year-old running back Frank Gore for 101 of Miami’s 161 yards rushing.

Missed tackles on Albert Wilson contributed to two shorter passes going for long touchdowns to cap off a rough game in the heat for the Bears.

“I guess it happens every once in a while, not maybe to that extent, to have that much of an impact on a game,” said cornerback Kyle Fuller, who had two interceptions. “But it’s one of those things we just learn from it and move forward.”

NOTES: CB Prince Amukamara (hamstring), WR Allen Robinson (groin) and LG Eric Kush (neck) were limited in practice. DB Marcus Cooper (hamstring) did not participate.

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AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this report.

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Browns’ Mayfield ready to get past ‘worst loss’ of career

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield bravely stood in the pocket last week, held the ball — sometimes for too long — and took some punishing shots from the Los Angeles Chargers.

He hasn't recovered.

Physically, he's fine. Mentally, Cleveland's quarterback hasn't healed.

"That is the worst loss that I have ever had," Mayfield said

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield bravely stood in the pocket last week, held the ball — sometimes for too long — and took some punishing shots from the Los Angeles Chargers.

He hasn’t recovered.

Physically, he’s fine. Mentally, Cleveland’s quarterback hasn’t healed.

“That is the worst loss that I have ever had,” Mayfield said Wednesday.

For the first time this season, the Browns (2-3-1) weren’t competitive in Sunday’s 38-14 loss to the Chargers, and Mayfield looked like what he is: a rookie who is going to make mistakes and take some lumps from time to time.

But as he and his teammates prepare to play at Tampa Bay on Sunday, the No. 1 overall pick is showing leadership and a resolve not to let it happen again. The Browns may soon find out how far they’ve come — or how far they’ve got to go.

“Any loss like that hurts,” Mayfield said. “You have to push forward and just have to do your job, and you will find out what this team is made of. It is never about the week before or if you win or lose — it is how you react from it. Coming off of a loss, we will really see what this team is made of.”

Mayfield’s third career pro start was one of the worst of his football life. He completed just 22 of 46 passes (48 percent) for 238 yards with two interceptions.

For a player who completed 71 percent of his passes last season at Oklahoma and 69 percent over four years (the first at Texas Tech), Mayfield’s inaccuracy against the Chargers was an anomaly.

It was the first time his completion rate was under 50 percent since Nov. 21, 2015, when he went 9 of 20 against TCU. However, he only played the first half of that game because of a concussion.

Mayfield only twice completed less than 50 percent of his passes in 48 college games, which is why he was so despondent about his performance last week.

“Mathematically, which I think goes hand in hand with emotionally,” he said when asked why he called it his worst loss. “Just did not play well, plain and simple. No way around it. It was not fun.”

Cleveland’s offensive line struggled to protect Mayfield, whose mobility was impacted when he slipped and tweaked his ankle while running out of bounds in the first quarter. The Chargers were able to keep Mayfield from rolling out and making plays.

But perhaps more problematic was Mayfield missed open receivers, misread coverages and didn’t release the ball quickly enough. There were plays when a simple dump-off throw to a running back would have been a better option.

“Kudos to them for doing their job,” Mayfield said of the Chargers. “They did it well. At the same time, if I get the ball out of my hands, then none of that really matters. It just comes down to me not doing my job to the best of my ability, plain and simple. There is no way around it. I have to be better for this team and be that for our offense.”

Browns coach Hue Jackson was pleased to hear that Mayfield was accountable. However, it wasn’t entirely his fault as Cleveland’s receivers weren’t getting open and rookies Antonio Callaway and Damion Ratley didn’t make plays on deep balls that could have been touchdowns.

Mayfield took the blame.

Jackson spread it around.

“We have to make sure that we are in the right spots for him all of the time,” Jackson said. “I think there were some opportunities there. As I said to our line coaches, we have to make sure that we give up ground grudgingly for this young man. I do not want people hitting our quarterback. He has been hit way too much in my mind and then he has to get the ball out of his hand.

“I have seen some things where he can improve, but I have seen some things where the unit can improve more than anything.”

NOTES: QB Tyrod Taylor, who lost his job to Mayfield when he suffered a concussion in Week 3, believes he can still be a winning NFL starter. The 29-year-old said he has not considered asking for a trade. “My mindset is to continue to keep helping this team,” Taylor said in his first extensive interview since getting hurt. “It’s a new role for me.” Taylor will be a free agent after the season, and Jackson expects him to finish it with the Browns. “Until someone tells me something differently,” Jackson said. “He is our backup quarterback.” … Starting C JC Tretter (ankle) did not practice, but Jackson thinks he’ll be ready for Sunday. If not, rookie Austin Corbett will start.

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Manning teams up with Bryant for NFL version of ‘Detail’

Peyton Manning will be doing analysis of NFL games this season after all.

ESPN and Kobe Bryant's Granity Studios announced Wednesday that Manning will be part of a football edition of the "Detail" franchise. The eight-episode series will be on the ESPN+ streaming service and debuts on Thursday.

Bryant said during a phone

Peyton Manning will be doing analysis of NFL games this season after all.

ESPN and Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios announced Wednesday that Manning will be part of a football edition of the “Detail” franchise. The eight-episode series will be on the ESPN+ streaming service and debuts on Thursday.

Bryant said during a phone interview with The Associated Press that he started discussions with Manning once “Detail” premiered last April.

“I had an idea in the back of my mind once I came up with it on where it can expand to other sports,” Bryant said. “Peyton was the perfect choice. He seemingly spoke a foreign language while on the field but he can outline what he is seeing and why they are making adjustments.”

“Detail” debuted with 10 episodes during the NBA playoffs, often focusing on one player. The football iteration will carry the same blueprint. Manning’s first episode analyzes Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen’s game last week against the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL Films will also work in collaboration with Granity Studios in producing and editing the series. Bryant said the series is an extension of Manning watching game film and saying what he usually wrote in his notebook.

Manning was courted by Fox and ESPN for their Thursday and Monday night packages but he declined. Whether this is a first step toward him exploring a role as a full-time analyst beginning next season remains to be seen.

“I’ve always enjoyed talking football with coaches, players and passionate fans, and that’s at the core of this show,” Manning said in a statement. “I’m honored to help expand Kobe’s Detail to a football audience.”

The NBA and the NFL aren’t the only sports that “Detail” will focus on. A UFC edition will debut next year when ESPN takes over as the rights holder. Bryant is also interested in adding baseball and soccer editions.

Bryant said a second season of NBA “Detail” is on track to debut after the All-Star break in February.

“I had fun looking at it analytically because that is hard to turn that off,” Bryant said. “It is taking everything as is but seeing how film should be looked at. There is a curiosity in watching the game and the broad concepts. Then everything opens up as a young kid and athlete.”

Bryant was in Minneapolis on Wednesday but said he is excited to see LeBron James’ home debut with the Lakers on Saturday against Houston.

“I think they are going to do better than what most people think. It is an exciting time for LA and to have that energy back,” Bryant said.

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Jets, Darnold to face QB who spurned team

 

 

Buffalo Bills: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is in his 13th NFL season and has played only in Buffalo. The Bills had to work to encourage the 35-year-old to return in 2018, but he said he's glad he did, even though the Bills are off to a 2-4 start. "I came back to be

 

 

Buffalo Bills: Defensive tackle Kyle Williams is in his 13th NFL season and has played only in Buffalo. The Bills had to work to encourage the 35-year-old to return in 2018, but he said he’s glad he did, even though the Bills are off to a 2-4 start. “I came back to be a Buffalo Bill, to play for Sean McDermott and play for my teammates,” Williams said on the team’s radio station. “There’s ups and downs during seasons. We did it last year, up and downs, as low as it got, and we had to come back up. There’s struggles, and you just never know what’s out there.” The Bills’ defense has been a highlight on the season, ranking as the third best in the NFL and allowing 311.7 yards per game. He has 3.5 sacks on the season, trailing Jerry Hughes (4.5) for the team lead. He also has 12 tackles.

 

Miami Dolphins: As the former defensive coordinator of an AFC East team — the Patriots — Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia said he knows what to expect when his team meets the Dolphins Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. “I’ve always had battles with this team,” Patricia told reporters. “This is a grueling team to play at home.” The Dolphins (4-2) have not lost in three home games, averaging 28.7 points per game. On the road, the Dolphins have averaged about half of that. Patricia said the South Florida weather could compound the problems for the Lions. “It’ll be a big challenge for us,” he said. “We haven’t had heat or humidity like they’re anticipating down there this weekend. I think you saw in the Chicago game, you definitely could see the sideline with the sun on the visitor sideline beating down on the players there and as the course of the game goes on, when you start to get into those 80-plus-play games, you just kind of wear out at the end. “

 

New England Patriots: Tom Brady will retire — someday — with a truckload of awards, multiple entries in the team and league record books, and lots of rings. But here’s one fun fact about Brady that most people don’t know. Since taking over as starting quarterback of the Patriots in 2001, Brady has more regular-season and postseason wins to his credit than only one major league pitcher. Brady has won 227 games in 294 starts. CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees has 256 wins in 561 starts, according to Boston Sports Info. Starting pitchers who stay healthy and throw every fifth game start an average of 32.4 games per year — double the number of NFL regular-season starts.

 

New York Jets: When the Jets host the Minnesota Vikings this week, the game will feature New York’s franchise quarterback against the man who could have been their franchise quarterback. The Jets made a big offseason play for free agent Kirk Cousins, who spurned them for the Vikings. That led to the Jets moving up in the draft to grab a quarterback, who turned out to be Sam Darnold. Some NFL insiders said this week that the Jets should thank Cousins for passing.

“Cousins or Darnold? Me, personally, I’d take Darnold,” a longtime NFL talent evaluator told ESPN on the condition of anonymity. “They gave up a lot for Darnold, but you can’t minimize the money and how it impacts their cap. They got Darnold at a fraction of the price. I thought they did a good job.” And here’s another take from a rival general manager. “Cousins is likely who he is in terms of ceiling, but at that, it’s good and productive. I just think when you get a chance to draft and groom your own guy to play for 10 or 12 years, it can be special.”

 

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins’ Tannehill ruled out; NFL investigating injury reporting

Dolphins' Tannehill ruled out; NFL investigating injury reporting

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss Week 7's game against the Detroit Lions as he continues to battle a right (throwing) shoulder injury, head coach Adam Gase announced Wednesday.

Tannehill did not throw during the open portion of Wednesday's practice, and

Dolphins’ Tannehill ruled out; NFL investigating injury reporting

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss Week 7’s game against the Detroit Lions as he continues to battle a right (throwing) shoulder injury, head coach Adam Gase announced Wednesday.

Tannehill did not throw during the open portion of Wednesday’s practice, and backup Brock Osweiler was expected to take all of the first-team reps, per the Miami Herald. Osweiler, who started Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears, met the media at the podium on Wednesday, part of the normal routine for the starting quarterback.

Meanwhile, the NFL is investigating the team’s handling of Tannehill’s injury and how it was disclosed on injury reports last week, according to multiple reports. Such investigations are not uncommon, particularly when involving prominent players, but there is reason to believe the Dolphins’ injury report last week was inaccurate.

Tannehill had been listed on the report as a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday before being downgraded to limited on Friday, when he was designated as questionable to face the Bears. However, NFL rules require a designation of limited when a player is unable to take all of his normal reps, which Gase has said was the case for Tannehill on Thursday, as Osweiler took some first-team reps during that practice.

If the NFL finds rules violations, it can levy punishments that include fines of the team or people involved, suspension or the docking of draft choices.

Osweiler went 28 of 44 for 380 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the overtime win over the Bears, though an incredible 274 of his yards came after the catch. He was just 7 of 16 with both interceptions on throws that traveled at least 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

Tannehill, 30, has lost multiple games due to injury in three consecutive seasons after starting the first 77 games of his career. He missed the final three games of the 2016 season with a sprained ACL and all of last season after the ligament tore fully.

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Texans S Hal returns with cancer in remission

Texans S Hal returns with cancer in remission

Just four months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, Houston Texans safety Andre Hal is practicing with the team again.

Hal has been on the non-football illness list since his diagnosis in early June. With the lymphoma in remission and Hal back

Texans S Hal returns with cancer in remission

Just four months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, Houston Texans safety Andre Hal is practicing with the team again.

Hal has been on the non-football illness list since his diagnosis in early June. With the lymphoma in remission and Hal back at practice, the Texans have 21 days to decide whether to activate him as part of the 53-man roster.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said the team was excited Wednesday morning when it was announced that Hal would be practicing.

The team announced June 8 that Hal had been diagnosed with nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma. It was diagnosed after Hal reported he had blurry vision while practicing, and the cancer was discovered in his armpit and stomach.

“I had my faith in God,” said Hal, who elected not to do chemotherapy with hopes of returning to the field sooner. “I did everything I could to beat this. The cancer went away.”

Hal, a product of Vanderbilt, was selected by the Texans in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He has appeared in 61 games with the Texans (38 starts) and has nine career interceptions.

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Ravens’ No. 1 defense: Brees test is no breeze

Ravens' No. 1 defense: Brees test is no breeze

Baltimore Ravens: The No. 1-ranked scoring offense in the NFL led by Drew Brees is up next for the Ravens' top-ranked scoring defense. Baltimore gives up less than 13 points per game and hasn't allowed a second-half touchdown all season. Safety Eric Weddle is

Ravens’ No. 1 defense: Brees test is no breeze

Baltimore Ravens: The No. 1-ranked scoring offense in the NFL led by Drew Brees is up next for the Ravens’ top-ranked scoring defense. Baltimore gives up less than 13 points per game and hasn’t allowed a second-half touchdown all season. Safety Eric Weddle is in the crosshairs when Brees is on the other side, a challenge he’s ready to embrace. “It’s a fun challenge,” said Weddle. “The great ones always bring out the best in you, and they can bring out the worst in you too. If you make a mistake, it’s a touchdown. So that’s the pressure you like, especially for myself.”

Cleveland Browns: Leading tackler Joe Schobert said his hamstring is not “as bad as it could be,” but he will not return to the field this week, missing his first game of the season when the Browns take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Outside linebacker Christian Kirksey will start in the middle, but the Browns haven’t determined who will fill the starting spot outside this week. According to Pro Football Focus, Schobert leads the NFL among linebackers in coverage this season. Schobert identified fifth-round rookie Genard Avery as the most likely starter outside this week.

Cincinnati Bengals: Andy Dalton enjoyed seeing Patrick Mahomes perform when the teams met last preseason and is not surprised to see his “arm talent” getting national notice in his second season. “He’s obviously been showing it all year,” Dalton said. “He’s playing really well and at a really high level. That’s the biggest thing everybody knew about him when he was coming out.”

Pittsburgh Steelers: Rookie first-rounder Terrell Edmunds is six games into his NFL career and said he is understanding the importance of taking care of his body. “We’ve been non-stop ever since last college season,” Edmunds said. “Straight into draft workouts, minicamp and into the season. We’ve already played 10 games. Our whole college season is already done right now. We’ve got a whole lot of football left right here.” Edmunds said he will return home during the bye week to “get some good meals in” after living with his brother during the season.

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Colts WR Hilton aims for Sunday return

Colts WR Hilton aims for Sunday return

Houston Texans: Quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled while playing with a chest injury in last Sunday's victory over the Buffalo Bills, and he said Wednesday that his health is vastly improved. "I'm cleared to do everything, so I'm good," Watson declared. The second-year pro isn't concerned about

Colts WR Hilton aims for Sunday return

Houston Texans: Quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled while playing with a chest injury in last Sunday’s victory over the Buffalo Bills, and he said Wednesday that his health is vastly improved. “I’m cleared to do everything, so I’m good,” Watson declared. The second-year pro isn’t concerned about the pounding he has taken this season. Watson said little ailments don’t bother him and that his track record shows he will be ready on game day with the exception of suffering two serious knee injuries. “I played through a lot of injuries before as a young kid through high school,” Watson said. “Never missed a game until I got to college where ACL was the issue and then last year, same. ACL was the issue that kept me out. Outside of that I was just always on the field playing.”

Indianapolis Colts: Receiver T.Y. Hilton returned to the practice field Wednesday as a full participant after missing the previous two games with chest and hamstring injuries. It is a welcome sight with the team mired in a four-game slide and the passing attack being hindered with dropped passes. “Yeah, but at the same time, I’ve gotta make sure I’m healthy,” Hilton said when asked if he is feeling the pressure to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. “I don’t wanna go out there and hurt myself. So, for me, I’ll give it a test. We’re in a must-win game, so I’ve gotta be out there.” Hilton has 21 receptions for 294 yards and two touchdowns this season, and his presence would be a boost with wideouts Ryan Grant (missed practice Wednesday) and Marcus Johnson (placed on injured reserve) suffering ankle injuries during last Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are in an antsy mood after being outscored 70-21 over their past two games against the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs, and coach Doug Marrone was on the warpath during Wednesday’s practice. “There is no way anyone in this building should be comfortable,” Marrone said. “We earned that right to be where we are. We’re the ones that put us where we are.” Quarterback Blake Bortles is fine with the heat Marrone is putting on the players leading up to Sunday’s game against the Texans. “Coach Marrone felt like we needed to push that a little bit and that’s what we did today,” Bortles said. “I thought it went well. We got a lot of good reps in and it’s obviously hotter. That’s the camp feel, and I thought it was good.”

Tennessee Titans: Cornerback Malcolm Butler (one interception) hasn’t made much of an impact in his first season with the team, and he is attempting to make changes. Butler said he went back and studied his 2014 rookie film with the New England Patriots and he found some motivation while dissecting the video. “Just to see where you started out, how hungry I was back then,” Butler said. “That fire has to get back in me, and it is back in me now. It’s lit, man. I’m ready to go out there and practice right now, and play on Sunday. I am pissed (with my performance), but nobody can change that but me — no coach, no player, no teammates, no scheme, no nothing. I have to change that, and that is what I am going to do. That is what they got me here for.”

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Redskins’ defense ready for Elliott-led Cowboys running game

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Even after Dak Prescott rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown last week, the Washington Redskins aren't zeroing in on stopping the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

"We don't really care about him running," linebacker Zach Brown said. "Him running is not really our concern."

Their concern is Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys' top

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Even after Dak Prescott rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown last week, the Washington Redskins aren’t zeroing in on stopping the Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

“We don’t really care about him running,” linebacker Zach Brown said. “Him running is not really our concern.”

Their concern is Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys’ top running back who’s coming off 106 yards and a score against Jacksonville. After seeing Cam Newton with Carolina, the Redskins are prepared for Prescott, but after ranking last in the league in run defense last season — including allowing 351 yards in two games against Dallas — the Redskins know it all starts with containing Elliott.

“Definitely with their O-line, their running game is something that definitely jumps off on film,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “You don’t want to start thinking about Cam Newton or thinking about Dak Prescott so much that you’re letting Zeke and (Panthers running back Christian) McCaffrey run free because those are the guys who really can hurt you.”

Amid plenty of inconsistency , Washington has not allowed an opponent to rush for more than 104 yards in a game so far this year. Newton was the Panthers’ leading rusher when they had just 81 yards on the ground.

“One of our things is trying to make a team one-dimensional because we know if you put it in the air, you eventually might make a mistake,” Brown said. “The run is just something we’ve got to make sure we stop. If a team can run the ball on you, they can kind of control the game. So we’ve got to make sure they’re not running that ball on us.”

The big difference for the Redskins this season is the addition of first-round pick Daron Payne and the return of a healthy Jonathan Allen on the defensive line. The Alabama products plus young defensive linemen Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle finally give Washington the muscle up front to handle prolific running attacks.

“Having Jon Allen back, Ioannidis fully healthy, Ryan (Kerrigan) — all these guys are physical up front, closing gaps,” Foster said. “Guys are going to bust runs or guys are going to make plays, but it’s about limiting those plays and making them earn it.”

The Cowboys’ diverse run schemes present what Redskins coach Jay Gruden called a big challenge for Payne, Allen and the young defensive linemen. But those guys think they’re plenty prepared to handle the dual-threat ground game of Elliott and Prescott.

“Just hit them in the mouth, get the O-line going backwards, win the line of scrimmage,” Settle said Wednesday. “They got to block us. We don’t have to worry about them. They got to stop us from accomplishing what we want to accomplish. I feel like the more focused we are, the more dominant we play.”

No one is calling the Redskins’ defense dominant quite yet, but the organization zeroed in on Payne with the concept of him being a difference-maker against the run and the pass. Elliott running all over them contributed to the decision to take Payne 13th overall.

“When you have a weakness, you’ve got to address it,” Gruden said. “Daron Payne was, we thought, the best run-stopper — him and Vita Vea — in the draft and we were lucky to get him. Obviously we paid it huge consideration for adding a player of that caliber.”

Payne has been every bit of what coaches expected, but he can’t stop Elliott by himself. Safety D.J. Swearinger said defenders are thinking, “We’ve got to find ways to stop 21” and let the rest of Dallas’ offense beat them.

That’s what Gruden wants to hear, putting the emphasis on gang-tackling a running back who doesn’t go down easily.

“These one-on-one tackles against Zeke are easier said than done,” Gruden said. “Great backs can make the unblocked player miss or run through them for another 5 or 6 yards, and that’s what he’s done in his career. … There’s always going to be a free guy coming, and that guy has got to make his presence felt and make that tackle or at least hold him up for when other guys can get off blocks and make the tackle.”

NOTES: WR Jamison Crowder (ankle), RB Adrian Peterson (shoulder/ankle/knee), WR Paul Richardson (shoulder/knee), LG Shawn Lauvao (calf), RG Brandon Scherff (knee), CB Danny Johnson (broken right forearm) and S Troy Apke (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday. Gruden said Crowder is the most iffy to play against Dallas. … The Redskins plan to hold a moment of silence for longtime reporter Rich Tandler, who died unexpectedly Tuesday at age 63. A team spokesman says a plaque will be placed at Tandler’s seat in the press box at FedEx Field, which will remain empty.

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Chargers release season-ticket prices for new LA Stadium

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have announced that season-ticket prices for non-premium seats in the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park will range from $50 to $150 per game.

The Chargers said in a release Wednesday that more than 26,000 seats would range from $50 to $90 each. A

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have announced that season-ticket prices for non-premium seats in the new LA Stadium at Hollywood Park will range from $50 to $150 per game.

The Chargers said in a release Wednesday that more than 26,000 seats would range from $50 to $90 each. A stadium map on the team website shows $50 seats are in the upper deck in the corners. There are also seats ranging from $60 to $80 in the upper deck with the highest-priced tickets located at the middle of the field. Stadium seat licenses for seats in the upper deck are $100 per seat.

Seat licenses increase the lower the seats are in the stadium. Seat licenses for $125 and $150 seats in the 300 level are $3,000 per seat. There are $100 seats located in the lower bowl in the end zones, which also have $3,000 seat licenses.

The Rams announced in September that season tickets for reserved seats would range from $60 to $125 per game with seat licenses from $1,000 to $5,000.

Chargers President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos said in a statement that he believes the prices are affordable for a family of four to be able to buy season tickets.

The new stadium in Inglewood will have a capacity of 70,240 with 260 suites and 13,000 premium seats when it opens for the 2020 season.

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Vikings DT Richardson ‘all business’ against old team Jets

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Sheldon Richardson's NFL career began smoothly with the New York Jets, until off-the-field trouble and locker-room conflict precipitated his eventual departure.

Guided by some important gains in maturity, Richardson has found a niche two stops later in Minnesota. This weekend, when the Vikings visit the Jets, he'll have his

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Sheldon Richardson’s NFL career began smoothly with the New York Jets, until off-the-field trouble and locker-room conflict precipitated his eventual departure.

Guided by some important gains in maturity, Richardson has found a niche two stops later in Minnesota. This weekend, when the Vikings visit the Jets, he’ll have his first opportunity to vent any bad feelings with a winning performance against his old team for trading him.

As outspoken as Richardson has been at times, this was not a subject he was willing to touch when reporters asked him about his return to MetLife Stadium to face the Jets on Sunday afternoon.

“Another game. I never put myself above the team,” Richardson said. “Whatever personal vendetta I have is between me.”

As for the deal that sent him to Seattle for the final year of his rookie contract, right before the 2017 regular season?

“It’s a business,” said Richardson, who played one season for the Seahawks, became a free agent and signed a one-year deal with the Vikings .

Richardson played up to his first-round draft pick status by winning The Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2013. Then he had a career-high eight sacks and was picked for the Pro Bowl in 2014, the last season under coach Rex Ryan before Todd Bowles took over.

Richardson served a four-game suspension in 2015, though, for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He also was suspended for the 2016 season opener for an arrest in his home state of Missouri for driving at high speeds and resisting arrest.

Then there was his conflict with wide receiver Brandon Marshall and the public criticisms he expressed that contributed to some bad team chemistry.

“I did some things for me to get out of there for them to trade me,” Richardson said, “and other than that I put it on myself, nobody else.”

Richardson continued his candid reflection before practice on Wednesday, acknowledging the character development he has undergone.

“It was kind of self-inflicted wounds,” he said. “It’s just now me overcoming my personal battles in life. They got me out of there, and that changed everything around there. That’s pretty much it. I pretty much grew from everywhere. Every point, every phase of my life, I grew from it.”

Richardson had only one sack last year for the Seahawks, his first season in a primarily 4-3 scheme after playing in a 3-4 system with the Jets that saw him playing some at outside linebacker. With the Vikings, Richardson has settled in nicely at the three-technique position next to Linval Joseph.

He has only one sack, but less-tangible contributions in pass pressure and run disruption are more important to making coach Mike Zimmer’s system work. Richardson is tied for eighth in the NFL with 10 quarterback hits, and there’s no coincidence that defensive end Danielle Hunter is thriving off his presence inside taking on frequent double-teams.

“I’ve been really impressed with Sheldon. Not just his play, but the way he’s come in here and tried to learn the techniques we’re trying to teach him,” Zimmer said. “His professionalism, how he handles himself in the meetings, he’s been really good with everything.”

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49ers offense making strides under CJ Beathard

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — C.J. Beathard went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for nearly 60 minutes before the San Francisco 49ers fell just short at the end of another tough loss.

Despite playing with a backup quarterback with starter Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined for the season, the 49ers offense has shown signs of

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — C.J. Beathard went toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for nearly 60 minutes before the San Francisco 49ers fell just short at the end of another tough loss.

Despite playing with a backup quarterback with starter Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined for the season, the 49ers offense has shown signs of being productive of late even if it hasn’t led to wins.

The 49ers (1-5) have gained 400 yards in back-to-back games under Beathard but are still seeking their second win in the past two seasons without Garoppolo starting thanks in part to eight turnovers and a few other crucial mistakes in those games.

“I thought C.J. did some real good things. C.J., he was one of the reasons that I thought we had a chance to win that game,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He made some big plays throughout the game, kept the chains moving a number of times for us. There’s a couple of plays at the end that I know he’d like to have back where he had a couple of opportunities that he missed. But, he also had a few opportunities early in the game that he made, which was one of the reasons we were in the position that we were. By no means was it perfect, but I was happy with how he played.”

Beathard has completed 64 percent of his passes for 892 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions in three games since Garoppolo got injured. Those are all big improvements over his performance in five starts last year before Garoppolo took over.

His best play might have come in the first three-plus quarters in Green Bay in a performance the Niners hope they can build on this week when they host the Los Angeles Rams (6-0).

The Niners scored on six of their first eight drives against the Packers, with just one punt and one fumble by Kyle Juszczyk being the only unproductive offensive possessions.

But the offense faltered late and was unable to close the game out. The Niners went three-and-out on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Rodgers to lead a game-tying touchdown drive.

San Francisco still had a chance to win it, taking over at its own 47 with 1:49 to go in a tie game. Beathard completed a 7-yard pass to George Kittle on first down but then had a pass batted down at the line on second down before taking a deep strike against the blitz on third down.

The pass was intercepted by Kevin King, setting the stage for Rodgers to lead the game-winning drive. Shanahan said that wasn’t the option he wanted on the play, although Beathard said Tuesday that he didn’t know if he had a better choice.

“Obviously it didn’t work so it’s tough,” he said. “Say you hit it, it’s a good play. But, when you don’t, it’s not. And it was not a good play.”

Marquise Goodwin’s speed provided a major boost to the offense earlier in the game. He hurt his hamstring while playing just 15 snaps in the opener before missing the second game. He played Week 3 against Kansas City before getting hurt again the following week.

He finally was fully healthy against the Packers and delivered four catches for 126 yards, including touchdowns of 67 and 30 yards in the first half. Perhaps even more importantly, his sprinter’s speed forces defenses to provide help in coverage, opening up holes in the running game and opportunities for other receivers.

“When you have somebody who can take the top shelf off the coverage, that backs people up, it opens up everything,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “It opens up your intermediate throws on the three-level game. It opens some of your quicker-hitting play-actions. It loosens things up for the run game and most important it gives you a dynamic playmaker who can create explosives.”

The running game fared well against the Packers, gaining 174 yards on 30 carries. Raheem Mostert made the most of his most extensive playing time in four years as a pro, gaining 87 yards on 12 carries.

But San Francisco was unable to generate a first down on the ground when the game was on the line.

“I left a lot of yards out on the field, especially with my speed,” Mostert said. “I feel I could have got to the edge a little faster. I watched the film and I was really hard on myself. Even though I had some good runs, I had some real busts, too.”

NOTES: S Marcell Harris had his window to resume practice opened. He has been on IR all season as he recovers from a hamstring injury. He is eligible to return to play Nov. 1 against Oakland. … The Niners signed DL Ryan Delaire and TE Cole Wick to the practice squad.

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WRs Enunwa, Pryor, Anderson top Jets’ lengthy injury list

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor and Robby Anderson top a lengthy list of banged-up players on the New York Jets' first injury report of the week.

There are 18 players listed Wednesday, meaning one-third of the entire 53-man roster.

Quarterback Sam Darnold is on there, with his

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Wide receivers Quincy Enunwa, Terrelle Pryor and Robby Anderson top a lengthy list of banged-up players on the New York Jets’ first injury report of the week.

There are 18 players listed Wednesday, meaning one-third of the entire 53-man roster.

Quarterback Sam Darnold is on there, with his right elbow listed, but he was a full participant at practice and says he’s completely fine.

Meanwhile, Enunwa (ankle) and safety Marcus Maye (broken thumb) have already been ruled out for the Jets’ game Sunday against Minnesota.

Anderson (hamstring) and Pryor (groin) didn’t practice, and the Jets could look to add a receiver this week.

Also sitting out Wednesday’s practice: cornerbacks Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) and Buster Skrine (concussion), running back Isaiah Crowell (foot), defensive lineman Leonard Williams (back) and linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot).

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Titans address protection issues after giving up 11 sacks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans face a sense of urgency to correct the problems they have protecting their quarterback.

Giving up a franchise-record 11 sacks — one off the NFL record for a game — is a beacon to defenses looking to hit quarterback Marcus Mariota.

"The blueprint's out there," Mariota said Wednesday.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans face a sense of urgency to correct the problems they have protecting their quarterback.

Giving up a franchise-record 11 sacks — one off the NFL record for a game — is a beacon to defenses looking to hit quarterback Marcus Mariota.

“The blueprint’s out there,” Mariota said Wednesday. “It’s how are we going to be able to manage that and correct that so that lack of execution doesn’t happen again.”

This franchise had never given up more than nine sacks in a game — and the last time that had happened was Oct. 31, 1971, against Cincinnati as the then-Houston Oilers. Eight different Ravens ripped through and around the Titans’ offensive line to sack Mariota in last week’s 21-0 shutout .

Now they’re preparing to face the Chargers (4-2) who piled up five sacks of their own last week in beating Cleveland, and center Ben Jones said the Titans have to hold up no matter how many defenders are coming after the quarterback.

“If they are bringing more guys or beating us late or right off the bat, we have to be on the right guys and have to hold up longer,” Jones said after the loss. “We put ourselves in bad situations. We were in third-and-long in a lot of situations. The routes take longer, everything takes longer, so we have got to be better and not put ourselves in those situations.”

Making the sack-filled performance so surprising is that the Titans had allowed only nine sacks through the first five games combined. This also was their third straight game the Titans had all five of their starters back on the offensive line, though two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan was knocked out of the loss in Buffalo with an injured right foot.

Lewan called the 11 sacks frustrating after the game.

“We’ll do the best job we can to go and fix that,” Lewan said.

Several of the sacks came with Mariota running, trying to extend plays while looking for a receiver. Coach Mike Vrabel said that will be part of the discussions with the quarterback on the fine line of when Mariota can extend a play or the time to throw the ball away to avoid contact.

“Then also, he has the ability to do some of those things and pick up some of those yards with his feet,” Vrabel said.

Mariota beat Jacksonville mostly with his legs on Sept. 23, then used his arm throwing for 344 yards to down Philadelphia in overtime on Sept. 30. He also ran for 46 yards against the Eagles.

But the Titans quarterback has just two touchdown passes with four interceptions, a similar deficit to last season when he had more interceptions (15) than TD passes (13) while being sacked 27 times in 15 games. Mariota ranks 31st in yards passing (793) in the NFL, and 31 more quarterbacks have more TD passes than he does.

Vrabel said the key is everyone doing more, from coaching to the Titans practicing and executing better. Tight end Jonnu Smith said the Titans have complete confidence in Mariota.

“Man, outsiders looking inside, they can’t really tell the true story you know what I mean …?” Smith said. “Marcus is a great player, and it has nothing to do with him. We’re a team and especially on our side of the ball it’s an offense and it takes all 11.”

Notes: LG Quinton Spain (right shoulder), LB Derrick Morgan (shoulder) and LB Will Compton (hamstring) did not practice. S Kenny Vaccaro (right elbow) returned to practice but was limited. LB Wesley Woodyard (shoulder) was limited, but DL Bennie Logan (elbow) practiced fully.

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Brocktober continues: Dolphins QB Tannehill ruled out Sunday

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — With Ryan Tannehill ruled out of Sunday's game against Detroit, Brock Osweiler will get another start at quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins' super sub is optimistic he can deliver a successful encore to the most prolific game of his career last week.

But then Osweiler is always optimistic, even when he's

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — With Ryan Tannehill ruled out of Sunday’s game against Detroit, Brock Osweiler will get another start at quarterback, and the Miami Dolphins’ super sub is optimistic he can deliver a successful encore to the most prolific game of his career last week.

But then Osweiler is always optimistic, even when he’s playing lousy.

“My confidence,” he said, “will never waver.”

A journeyman already at age 27, Osweiler will start his second game in a row for the Dolphins (4-2). They announced Wednesday that Tannehill will not play against the Lions because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Tannehill also missed an overtime win against the Chicago Bears last Sunday, and Osweiler stepped in to throw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns.

Thanks to that performance, Brocktober now comes with a hashtag on Twitter.

“It’s fun,” Osweiler said. “Keep using it.”

Brocktober is likely to continue for the rest of the month, at least. It’s doubtful Tannehill would return next week, when the Dolphins have little preparation time before a Thursday night game at Houston on Oct. 25.

“I know what Brock brings to the table,” coach Adam Gase said. “I know what his strengths are and what he likes to do. I’m real comfortable with where we’re at right now.”

Tannehill was on the field in shoulder pads during practice Wednesday, but didn’t throw because rest for the shoulder has been prescribed. Gase said Tannehill is still expected to return at some point this season.

“It’s really day to day,” Gase said. “Every week hopefully we’ll see progress.”

Tannehill’s injury has given Osweiler a chance to start for Gase for the first time. They were together for four seasons in Denver, where Gase was an assistant and Osweiler was on the bench behind Peyton Manning.

Osweiler washed out as a starter in Houston in 2016, and went 0-4 as a starter when he returned to Denver in 2017. He then signed with Miami because of the chance to reunite with Gase — and perhaps run his offense.

“It’s something I’ve been wanting for a lot of years,” Osweiler said. “I heard a lot of play calls come in through that earpiece that weren’t coming in for me. To go out last week and be the guy finally pulling the trigger, it was a very special day.”

Led by Osweiler, the Dolphins netted 541 yards against the Bears, their highest total in 30 years. Among those applauding the performance was Manning, who happened to be at the game.

“We talked before the game in the locker room,” Osweiler said. “We talked after the game as well, and Monday morning. Payton and I spent four years together in Denver. We really built a tremendous relationship. I think we have a ton of respect for each other.”

Osweiler said the primary lesson he learned from Manning was how to prepare. As a result, Osweiler was ready last week, even though he took first snaps during practice.

This week he’ll get all the reps with the first team, and he’ll have input on the game plan. Otherwise, he said, this week will be no different.

He’s confident.

“I’ve been through some ups and downs and I’ve learned so much,” he said. “I’ve always believed in who I was. None of this has taken me by surprise, but it’s special because in this league, you never know how many opportunities you’re going to get.”

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Bengals’ defense tries to pick itself up vs Chiefs’ offense

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball 46 times and got hit only once. When the Bengals' defense went with an all-out blitz in the closing seconds to try to get a hand on him, Big Ben threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown to win the game.

The Bengals' defense

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball 46 times and got hit only once. When the Bengals’ defense went with an all-out blitz in the closing seconds to try to get a hand on him, Big Ben threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown to win the game.

The Bengals’ defense had one of its worst performances against its biggest nemesis, a big reason why Pittsburgh was able to pull out a 28-21 win . Up next is an even better offense, this time in a daunting place on the road.

Oh, and they’ll play the Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) on a Sunday night, a prime time slot in which they have rated horribly for years. The Bengals have dropped their past eight games on Sunday night, when they’re 3-15 overall.

“Any time you want to be one of the great ones on the defense or you want your defense to have a statement-type game, you have to do it against the best offenses in the league,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “And right now, they’re putting up those points like they’re one of the best offenses in the league. So you’ve got to go out there and put it on ’em.”

The Bengals (4-2) barely even got close to Roethlisberger in their most disappointing showing of the season. They allowed him to complete 32 passes for 369 yards without being sacked. James Conner ran for 111 yards. The Steelers piled up 481 yards overall.

Compounding the bad day: Several players got hurt, forcing the Bengals to rely on backups on the final series. Brown was able to get off the line unchallenged to make the decisive catch on a quick slant and then run untouched to the end zone.

Their defense is depleted by injuries heading to Kansas City (5-1), which also is coming off a last-minute loss, 43-40 at New England . Linebacker Nick Vigil is out indefinitely with a knee injury, safety Shawn Williams is in concussion protocol, and cornerback Darqueze Dennard is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Four other defensive players were limited in practice Wednesday because of injuries, although they’re likely to play on Sunday.

“It makes it harder, yeah, but we’ve got 1a and 1b,” Dunlap said.

The game matches two of the NFL’s worst defenses. The Bengals rank 29th overall in yards allowed, and the Chiefs are last .

On offense, Kansas City ranks fifth behind Patrick Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 18 touchdown passes and is fifth with a 112.2 passer rating. His 23 completions of at least 25 yards are the most in the league as well.

The Bengals know they can’t have another game with little pass rush from the line.

“We’re going to keep trying to dial it up,” defensive end Jordan Willis said. “That probably could be the main reason why we didn’t win the game — not keeping the quarterback in the pocket. Skip to this week. Mahomes, when gets out of the pocket, that’s when he’s most dangerous. So if we don’t keep him in the pocket, it could be a similar situation.”

DALTON SORE: Andy Dalton was listed with a sore back on the injury report, but he practiced fully. Receiver John Ross also had a full practice after missing Sunday’s game with a sore groin.

PRICE OUT OF BOOT: Rookie center Billy Price has been cleared to begin rehabilitation on his right foot, which has a partially torn ligament. He had to wear a protective boot for four weeks while it healed. There’s no timetable for when he could return.

STILL NO GIO: Running back Giovani Bernard is still being held out of practice because of knee and toe injuries. He’s been sidelined the past two games.

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Jags bring back training camp practices amid losing streak

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are back in training camp mode after consecutive lopsided losses.

Coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday they will spend the week trying "to correct a lot of bad football that we have been playing."

The Jaguars (3-3) have been outscored 70-21 in road losses to Kansas City and Dallas

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are back in training camp mode after consecutive lopsided losses.

Coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday they will spend the week trying “to correct a lot of bad football that we have been playing.”

The Jaguars (3-3) have been outscored 70-21 in road losses to Kansas City and Dallas , failing to score in the first half of both games and allowing a combined 802 yards and 49 first downs.

Marrone deflected questions about AFC South rival Houston (3-3), which plays in Jacksonville on Sunday, and said he’s more focused on football fundamentals.

“It doesn’t matter who the hell you are playing,” Marrone said. “You have to get your ship right. You have to get your stuff in house right.”

Jacksonville looked lost on both sides of the ball against the Chiefs and Cowboys.

The usually stout defense got gouged on the ground and picked apart by big plays. The offense was even worse, with Blake Bortles turning the ball over six times and getting sacked eight times. The injury-riddled offensive line was the main issue again. Receivers also failed to create separation and get open, and running back Leonard Fournette missed his fourth game with a strained right hamstring.

The Jaguars are now down their top two left tackles, their top two tight ends, two of their top three running backs and their No. 1 receiver. Those injuries have forced the team to sign three guys off practice squads and five off the street.

“We can’t use that as an excuse,” Marrone said. “We have to go out there and find things that they can do well and we have to do that in a short period of time to be able to go out there and perform well enough or execute well enough to do it.”

Marrone shouldered much of the blame for his team’s most recent performances and insisted things would change against the Texans, who won six in a row in the series until getting swept in 2017.

The message that flashed on television screens around the facility read “humility is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” A more rare sight: at least six assistant coaches roamed the locker room during lunchtime to mingle with player.

The biggest difference came on the practice field.

“There was no other choice but to work hard today,” linebacker Myles Jack said. “They got the most out of us. It was like a camp practice. Camp is basically about fundamentals, Day 1 teaching, so I think that was the common mindset: let’s reset, let’s go back to square one.”

Not everyone thought significant changes were needed.

Linebacker Telvin Smith stood firm on his belief that everything is fine on the field and inside the locker room.

“This whole week is tough because a lot of people see us right now and they see you lose two games and then they go crazy,” he said. “And that’s understandable. It’s what y’all are supposed to do, but don’t place that on me. We good.

“We’re 3-3. To me, that’s still good in the league. It’s not like we’re 0-6 or 1-5 or something. We battled. We came out the second quarter (of the season) and didn’t start off right, didn’t get the job done. But I think we’re going to be fine.”

Nothing about Jacksonville’s direction will truly be known until Sunday afternoon, after three camp-like practices in sweltering, 90-degree heat.

Marrone’s team meeting Wednesday highlighted all the possible directions and included anecdotes from his past at the college level and in the three previous NFL stops.

“Is it something that we need to hear?” safety Tashaun Gipson said. “I think that was already understood. I would hope that we have the guys in here to understand that coach didn’t need to come in there and say that because we should have enough mature guys in this locker room to understand that we’ve got to get this thing right. …

“You can do whatever you need to do on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, but if you come out on Sunday and play like we did the last two weeks, specifically defensively, it doesn’t matter what we do on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday, it doesn’t matter what Coach Marrone says, we’ve got to go out there and play the game.”

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Broncos, Cardinals in Thursday matchup of struggling teams

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals can't run the football. The Denver Broncos can't stop the run.

So maybe the ground game will be the deciding factor when these two struggling teams meet on Thursday night.

"I'll tell you this - and I'm a firm believer in this - stopping the run and running

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals can’t run the football. The Denver Broncos can’t stop the run.

So maybe the ground game will be the deciding factor when these two struggling teams meet on Thursday night.

“I’ll tell you this – and I’m a firm believer in this – stopping the run and running the football allows a team to control the game depending on who is doing that the best,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said.

Arizona (1-5) ranks dead last in the NFL in total offense and in rushing, averaging 64 yards per game on the ground. Denver (2-4) is last in rushing defense, allowing a whopping 161.3 yards per game.

“We need to do a much better job up front as far as blocking, executing our assignments,” Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, then referring to running back David Johnson: “We need to move him around a little bit more. Try to find ways to get him out into space, different things right here to try to open it up some.”

Denver has allowed 593 yards rushing in its last two games. Two of the opposing running backs, the New York Jets’ Isaiah Crowell and the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley, topped 200 yards rushing, something that’s never happened against the same team in NFL history.

“We’ve had really two bad weeks, and it’s really with our nickel defense,” Joseph said. “We have to fix that and obviously play in more fronts and fix it that way.”

The Cardinals aren’t good against the run, either. They rank 31st in the NFL, just ahead of Denver, giving up 151.2 yards per game. That could clear the way for the Broncos’ rookie running back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, who have a combined four touchdowns and average 5.19 yards per carry.

But Denver has relied more on the passing of Case Keenum than in the running game in recent weeks.

The Cardinals will be without safety Tre Boston, who leads the team with three interceptions. He didn’t practice this week with shoulder and rib injuries.

The Broncos have lost four straight, the latest a close home loss to the undefeated Rams. Arizona has beaten Denver only once in the 10-game history of the series.

Here are some things to consider when the Broncos face the Cardinals:

BEAT-UP LINES

Both teams are beaten up on the offensive line.

The Broncos lost their best lineman, left guard Ronald Leary, to a torn Achilles tendon against the Rams.

“You guys already know how good he is and what he brings to this team, and everyone in this locker room knows how important he is to our organization,” tackle Garett Bolles said. “Having someone like that go down is a tough situation and puts us in a tight spot.”

Denver right tackle Jared Veldheer — a former Cardinal — will miss the game with a knee injury.

Arizona left guard Mike Iupati is sidelined with a back injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s loss at Minnesota. Right guard Justin Pugh has his injured right hand in a cast-like wrap and plans to try to play Thursday.

MIFFED MILLER

Von Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos would whoop the Cardinals. “I wouldn’t say it’s a must win,” Miller said. “We’re going to kick their (behind), though. Make sure you put that up there. We’re going to kick their (behind).”

Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb had 4½ sacks between them last week, but Miller insisted they hadn’t unlocked some sort of pass rush puzzle.

“No, we just got on the board,” Miller said. “And if we’re playing our best, I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that can block me and Bradley. … Especially not the Cardinals. They’re going to get our best on Thursday. They got to come with their best.”

UP-TEMPO

The Cardinals’ offense, under rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, showed some signs of life with an up-tempo game late against the Vikings. Expect to see more of it against Denver.

“It was very effective for us. It’s something that we’ve got to definitely consider,” Wilks said. “It’s part of his comfort zone, based off college and the things he did back there. We’ve got to do everything we can right now to get this offense going in the right direction.”

ELWAY’S CRITICISM

Broncos general manager John Elway reprised his “soft” criticism he also used last year when discussing Denver’s run defense this week.

Elway suggested the Broncos must realize that “we’re fighting for our lives” Thursday night.

Asked if he interpreted that as fighting for his job, Joseph said, “Absolutely. And that’s every coach in this league every week. If you don’t feel that way, you’re missing something. If we were 5-1, I would feel that way. That doesn’t motivate me. I’m already motivated to win games and to fix our football team.”

MCCOY’S HEAT

For the second year in a row, Mike McCoy is feeling heat as an offensive coordinator.

McCoy was fired by Joseph after 10 games with the Broncos last season. Now he’s facing severe criticism as offensive coordinator of the Cardinals.

“We’re preparing like any other week,” McCoy said. “Our objective every week is to go out and win the next game that you’re playing. That’s our focus.”

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AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.

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Houston’s Hal returns to practice after fight with cancer

HOUSTON (AP) — Safety Andre Hal, who is in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, resumed practicing with the Houston Texans on Wednesday, giving the team 21 days to take him off the non-football illness list and add him to the active roster.

Hal was diagnosed with the disease in May and

HOUSTON (AP) — Safety Andre Hal, who is in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, resumed practicing with the Houston Texans on Wednesday, giving the team 21 days to take him off the non-football illness list and add him to the active roster.

Hal was diagnosed with the disease in May and immediately began treatment. He received the news of his remission on Sept. 18.

Coach Bill O’Brien says the players were thrilled with the news when he told them on Wednesday morning. He discussed the work Hal did to stay in shape while he was fighting the disease.

O’Brien says: “He worked very hard. Did a very good job of staying (engaged), was in all the meetings, let alone the weight room work and field work. He really stayed on top of the X’s and O’s.”

Hal is eager to get back on the field after a difficult few months.

He says: “It’s been a long wait for me. I always kept working out and kept my faith that I was going to play this year.”

Hal is 26 and in his fifth year with the Texans. He was drafted by Houston in 2014 out of Vanderbilt. He started all 16 games last season and had three interceptions.

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Chiefs’ Mahomes-to-Hill connection setting NFL ablaze

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill have already developed such a strong rapport six games into their partnership that the Chiefs' quarterback has delivered passes to him just about every way possible.

Right-handed. Left-handed. When Mahomes wasn't even trying.

The right-handed touchdown tosses have earned plenty of attention, mostly because they

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill have already developed such a strong rapport six games into their partnership that the Chiefs’ quarterback has delivered passes to him just about every way possible.

Right-handed. Left-handed. When Mahomes wasn’t even trying.

The right-handed touchdown tosses have earned plenty of attention, mostly because they tend to go for 50 or 60 yards. The left-handed completion, an improvisation under duress, was perhaps the biggest highlight to come from the Chiefs’ come-from-behind win at Denver a few weeks ago.

Then there was last Sunday night in New England, when Mahomes rolled to his left and appeared to be trying to find Kareem Hunt, only for Hill to swoop in and snare another touchdown reception.

That one? Well, Mahomes wasn’t going to admit who his target actually was.

“A magician never reveals his tricks,” he said, “so I’ll just leave it at that.”

There’s been plenty of magic between Mahomes and Hill, though. Their rare skillsets have made them one of the most potent pass-catch combos in the NFL — Mahomes with the arm strength to send passes into the tightest of windows or heave them deep, and Hill with the hands to catch them and the world-class speed to beat just about any cornerback down the seam.

Just ask Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore for his assessment of them.

“He’s a great quarterback. He made some big throws,” he said after the Patriots rallied for a 43-40 victory. “He got it to everybody on the field and he’s a great quarterback.”

As for Hill, Gilmore said, “I’ve never seen anyone that fast. Fastest guy I’ve ever covered.”

Fellow defensive back Duron Harmon saw that elite speed when Hill caught a pass over the middle, angled toward the sideline and raced 75 yards for a touchdown. The scoring strike came with 3:03 left to play and pulled Kansas City into a 40-all tie with New England.

“He’s by far the fastest person I’ve ever come in contact with,” Harmon said. “If he gets anybody in that position, more than likely he’s going to be gone. I still have to find a way to do something, to try to get him down, force him to the sideline. I’ve got to dive my defense a chance.”

Good luck with that.

Hill leads the NFL with nine receptions of at least 25 yards this season, and when you combine his dangerous return talents, he has 16 plays of at least 50 yards since joining the league in 2016.

Those numbers are a big reason why Mahomes is averaging 8.8 yards per attempt, third-best behind the rollercoaster Ryan Fitzpatrick of Tampa Bay and Rams quarterback Jared Goff. Mahomes also has an NFL-leading 23 completions of at least 25 yards and the top touchdown percentage in the league.

“He’s definitely to me the most explosive person in the league,” Mahomes said, “and the way he’s developed as a receiver the last few years, he’s going for that top spot. I know there’s a lot of great receivers in the league but I’m glad I have Tyreek.”

Hill is equally glad to have Mahomes under center, claiming he’s the first quarterback to have the arm strength to overthrow him downfield. And while that’s happened a couple of times this season, they nevertheless have connected for at least 50 yards receiving in every game.

That includes a seven-catch, 169-yard performance in a season-opening win over the Chargers, and a seven-catch, 142-yard performance with three TDs in last week’s loss to the Patriots.

“I don’t even know what to say about him. Pat just does a great job looking down the field and trusting us,” Hill said. “Pat’s trust lets me go out there and make a play.”

The banged-up Bengals get the next chance to slow down Mahomes and Hill when they visit Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday night. And considering Cincinnati is allowing nearly 300 yards passing per game, and has the fourth-worst defense overall, they could be due for another big day.

“They do a great job of making you defend the field, and you get misdirection, motion, shifts, all the things they do make you responsible, and they do them with great athleticism and speed,” Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis said. “We have a big challenge ahead of us.”

Notes: Safety Eric Berry (heel) and C Mitch Morse (concussion) were sidelined in practice Wednesday. … Reid said new OL Jeff Allen will start off in a backup role. He started for most of four seasons in Kansas City before joining the Texans, who cut him last summer. Allen returned this week as the Chiefs tried to add some depth up front. … FS Daniel Sorensen (broken leg) is eligible to come off injured reserve soon, though Reid said there is no timetable yet. “He’s making great progress,” Reid said. “He’s close. We’ll just see how he does here the next week.”

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Broncos-Cardinals Preview Capsule

DENVER (2-4) at ARIZONA (1-5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m., ET, Fox/NFL Network

OPENING LINE — Broncos by 2½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Denver 1-4-1, Arizona 4-2

SERIES RECORD — Broncos lead 8-1-1

LAST MEETING — Broncos beat Cardinals 41-20, Oct. 5, 2014

LAST WEEK — Broncos lost to Rams 23-20; Cardinals lost to Vikings

DENVER (2-4) at ARIZONA (1-5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m., ET, Fox/NFL Network

OPENING LINE — Broncos by 2½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Denver 1-4-1, Arizona 4-2

SERIES RECORD — Broncos lead 8-1-1

LAST MEETING — Broncos beat Cardinals 41-20, Oct. 5, 2014

LAST WEEK — Broncos lost to Rams 23-20; Cardinals lost to Vikings 27-17

AP PRO32 RANKING — Broncos No. 26, Cardinals No. 31

BRONCOS OFFENSE — OVERALL (12), RUSH (10), PASS (16)

BRONCOS DEFENSE — OVERALL (27), RUSH (32), PASS (11)

CARDINALS OFFENSE — OVERALL (32), RUSH (32), PASS (31)

CARDINALS DEFENSE — OVERALL (24), RUSH (31), PASS (12)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Match-up features teams with the two worst run defenses in NFL through six games. … Denver’s Von Miller and Arizona’s Chandler Jones have combined 158½ career sacks (Miller 89, Jones 69½). … Broncos have allowed 593 yards rushing past two games (270 vs. Rams, 323 vs. Jets) , most since AFL-NFL merger in 1970. … Broncos allowed 200-yard rushers in each of last two games, first in NFL history. … Denver is 3-1-1 in regular-season games at Arizona. … Broncos CB Chris Harris Jr., makes 100th career regular-season start. … Denver has lost four straight, leaving coach Vance Joseph with 7-15 record. … Broncos lost LG Ronald Leary, probably best offensive lineman, for season with torn Achilles tendon last Sunday. … Arizona has been outscored 42-0 in third quarters. … WR Larry Fitzgerald has yet to catch TD pass this season. Fitzgerald has caught pass in 217 consecutive games, second-longest streak in NFL history. … Arizona is league-worst 14 of 64 on third-down conversions and was 0 for 10 Sunday vs. Vikings. … Opponents have run 435 plays to Arizona’s 302. … Cardinals’ offense has nine TDs in six games, five by David Johnson. Johnson is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. … Cardinals averaging league-worst 64 yards per game on ground. … Arizona’s Andy Lee is averaging 48 yards per punt, fifth best in NFL. He has four games with 50-plus yard average, tied for most in league. … Cardinals’ Christian Kirk has 25 receptions, most among NFL rookies WRs. … Arizona’s Zeke Turner, undrafted rookie, leads league with eight special teams tackles. … Cardinals S Tre Boston has three interceptions in last four games. … Fantasy tip: Maybe Denver defense’s problems finally break Johnson through to big game.

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Ravens WR Willie Snead makes impression as man in the middle

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Willie Snead has a knack for weaving through a row of linebackers in the middle of the field before making a clutch catch for the Baltimore Ravens.

Such was the case last Sunday against Tennessee, when Snead squeezed between two defenders for a 24-yard gain on a third-and-17 from the

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Willie Snead has a knack for weaving through a row of linebackers in the middle of the field before making a clutch catch for the Baltimore Ravens.

Such was the case last Sunday against Tennessee, when Snead squeezed between two defenders for a 24-yard gain on a third-and-17 from the Baltimore 15.

“He’s on the ground, he makes the catch, he’s getting pushed back to the ground, stepped all over, and he just gets up and gives the first-down signal right there in the guy’s face,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s the kind of competitor he is. He’s all ball, all the time.”

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome rarely chases restricted free agents, but he made an exception with Snead this past offseason after it became apparent that the receiver’s three-year run in New Orleans was done. One of Drew Brees’ favorite targets in 2015 and 2016, Snead began last season with a three-game suspension for violating the NFL personal conduct policy. He then fought a hamstring injury and finished with just eight catches for 92 yards and no touchdowns.

Armed with a two-year, $10.4 million contract, Snead was delighted to arrive in Baltimore last April.

“Last year just left a really bitter taste in my mouth, the organization and how everything was handled,” Snead said Tuesday. “To be a part of this organization was just a breath of fresh air. I wanted to go somewhere where I’m wanted.”

It couldn’t have worked out better for Snead — and the Ravens.

“To see that you were right, to see all that come together and him play so well, being exactly what you thought you were going to get, is very rewarding,” Harbaugh said.

Snead was one of three free agent receivers signed by Newsome in an effort to enhance a passing game that sputtered in 2017. Snead is the possession receiver, Michael Crabtree provides an outside threat and John Brown is the speedster.

Snead and Crabtree are tied for the team lead with 30 catches. Brown has 21 receptions for a team-high 424 yards and three touchdowns.

“I don’t have the physical ability like John Brown to run by you, and I’m not big and strong like Michael Crabtree,” Snead observed, “so I have to work harder than everybody else just to stand out.”

That’s how it’s always been for Snead, who finally finds himself in a place where his talent is acknowledged and appreciated.

“This is a guy that’s been doubted his whole career — high school, college and the NFL,” Harbaugh said. “So I’m fine if they keep doubting him.”

After starring as a quarterback at Muskegon Heights in Michigan, Snead played three years as a receiver at Ball State before going undrafted in 2014. He finally made it to the NFL the following year.

“Coming out of college, (people said) I left too early, I wasn’t ready to play in the NFL,” Snead recalled. “And in the NFL, it was, ‘Is he fast enough to separate? Can he make those plays in clutch situations?’ I’ve always been doubted.”

Not anymore.

“I’ll tell you one thing, Willie comes Sunday ready to play,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve been around.”

This Sunday, the Ravens (4-2) host the Saints (4-1). Snead insists this wasn’t one of those games that he circled on the calendar.

“This is another team. I have to approach it that way just to stay focused,” Snead said.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton has seen enough of Snead this season to know he’s a threat with the ball, and without it.

“He has a tremendous amount of grit. You see him making plays on third down,” Payton said. “He’s an outstanding blocker. He’ll come across in motion, he’ll get to the point of attack in the run game, but he’ll also find the holes in the zone and man-to-man coverages.”

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Snead has no problem mixing it up with anyone, large or small, at any spot on the field.

“He can go inside or outside, but man, he makes some — scouts call them blood area — catches,” Harbaugh said. “In the middle, that’s where he thrives.”

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Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack day to day with ankle injury

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is day to day because of an ankle injury, coach Matt Nagy said on Wednesday.

Mack was hurt early in last week's overtime loss at Miami and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in each

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears star pass rusher Khalil Mack is day to day because of an ankle injury, coach Matt Nagy said on Wednesday.

Mack was hurt early in last week’s overtime loss at Miami and his 2018 streak of at least one sack and one forced fumble in each game ended. Playing without the two-time All-Pro would be a huge blow, particularly with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots visiting on Sunday.

“We’re just going to continue to keep an eye on it and make sure whatever we do, we’re more cautious than anything,” Nagy said. “I believe in that and I think it’s important to go that route.”

Mack has not missed a game since Oakland drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2014. Chicago acquired him from the Raiders just before the start of the season, after he held out the entire offseason and preseason trying to secure a long-term deal rather than play under the final season of his rookie contract. He and the Bears then agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million.

The trade for Mack has energized a franchise with four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North. Despite the loss at Miami, the Bears (3-2) remain in sole possession of the division lead for the first time since late in the 2013 season. But the defense wasn’t the same against the Dolphins with Mack at less than 100 percent.

The pass rush never got to Miami quarterback Brock Osweiler, and the Bears’ league-best run defense was trampled by 35-year-old running back Frank Gore for 101 of Miami’s 161 yards rushing.

Missed tackles on Albert Wilson contributed to two shorter passes going for long touchdowns to cap off a rough game in the heat for the Bears.

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Dolphins QB Tannehill ruled out Sunday against Lions

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Tannehill also missed Sunday's overtime win against the Chicago Bears. Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns as Tannehill's replacement and will start

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions because of an injury to his throwing shoulder.

Tannehill also missed Sunday’s overtime win against the Chicago Bears. Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards and three touchdowns as Tannehill’s replacement and will start against Detroit.

Tannehill was on the field in shoulder pads during practice Wednesday but didn’t throw.

Coach Adam Gase said Tannehill’s status remains day to day. The coach said he doesn’t know whether Tannehill will be able to play Oct. 25 at Houston, but said Tannehill is still expected to return at some point this season.

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Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail

The post Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail appeared first on SportsHandle.

Legal sports betting may be coming to the District of Columbia (District), a development made clear at a public hearing on Wednesday by Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2),

The post Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail appeared first on SportsHandle.

Legal sports betting may be coming to the District of Columbia (District), a development made clear at a public hearing on Wednesday by Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2), Chairman of the D.C. Council’s Finance & Revenue Committee.

The hearing occurred roughly one month after Evans and five colleagues submitted the sports betting bill — B22-0944, the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018.

“It’s my view that over the course of the next several years, sports betting will be legal across the country,” Evans said in opening remarks, adding that he wants the District to move soon toward passage to avoid falling behind Maryland and other neighbors, as it did with tradition casino gambling. Right now, Evans said, Maryland properties such as the MGM National Harbor are attracting large amounts of patrons from D.C. and tax dollars that could benefit the District.

DC Council Leaders Pushing For Bill Sports Betting, So Bets Can Be Taken Early in 2019; Some Details Still Need Ironing


By way of background, the law as-is calls for:

  • The regulating body to be the D.C.’s Office of Lottery and Gaming, which currently oversees the city’s lottery;
  • Sports betting would be taxed at 10 percent of gross revenue;
  • The city would charge a $50,000 licensing fee;
  • Athletes, coaches and game officials would be prohibited from placing sports bets; and
  • Tax revenue would be split equally between early childhood education programs and the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. If those programs are fully funded, any surplus dollars would go into the city’s general fund.
  • All types of wagering would be permitted: single-game wagers, parlays, teasers, in-game wagering, pools, exchange wagering, propositions and so forth.

Key issues that arose during this hearing:

  • Who should be allowed to get licensed to operate a sportsbook? Both DraftKings and FanDuel officials had the opportunity to address this, and emphasized that more competition, from the likes of both established companies, would mean more revenue for the district, more competition, meaning better products and consumer protections as the better operators would rise to the top;
  • There was frequent reference to New Jersey’s emerging market: Mobile sports betting revenue has already exceeded brick-and-mortar sportsbook wagers;
  • The DFS-turned-sportsbook operators are concerned that running sports betting solely through the D.C. Lottery, which would outsource operations to a company like IGT or Scientific Games, would not foster competition, and thus encourage a stagnant market that ultimately might depress revenues. Also, fewer options for consumers. They pointed to Delaware as an example, which has a contract with Scientific Games, which has contracted William Hill for risk-management.
  • The D.C. Lottery representative, Beth Bresnahan, offered a counterargument here, saying that the Lottery is well-equipped to handle sports wagering.
  • The Lottery is also looking to launch first with mobile/online offerings, then transition to retail offerings — a clear contrast with every other state to legalize sports wagering so far.  D.C. is also in a unique position to do this: there are no commercial or tribal casinos in D.C., nor any pari-mutuel options.
  • One witness noted that in West Virginia, the state Lottery is tasked with regulatory oversight of sports wagering licensees: all five state casinos are licensed (or in the process) and to our knowledge, the lottery itself is not yet offering sports betting-style games.
  • Bresnahan noted that there’s about 1 million people in the District that could join the legal market.  She said that in terms of putting together a responsible gaming monitoring and capturing dollars for to DC, the Lottery is in best position to do that.

As usual, the National Basketball Association objected to the absence of certain provisions in this law, and enumerated the provisions desired by the NBA as well as fellow pro leagues Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour.

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Don’t expect NFL to institute a national anthem policy soon

NEW YORK (AP) — Don't expect the NFL to institute a national anthem policy this season, if at all.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized on Wednesday the work teams and players are doing in the community and didn't say whether the league and the NFLPA are moving closer toward any agreement on the contentious issue.

NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t expect the NFL to institute a national anthem policy this season, if at all.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized on Wednesday the work teams and players are doing in the community and didn’t say whether the league and the NFLPA are moving closer toward any agreement on the contentious issue.

“The focus of the players’ association, the NFL and all of our clubs and our players is to focus on the efforts our players have continually brought (forth) as their issues in their communities and how can we make our communities better,” Goodell said after the fall meetings concluded.

“They’re incredibly passionate about that. They have brought these issues greater awareness and they are working in their communities to try to make their communities better and they are working on the issues, on criminal justice reform. I’ve been on listen-and-learn tours with our players. Owners have been on listen-and-learn tours. Our players are obviously out there and you see a tremendous amount of work being done.”

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones indicated a policy isn’t forthcoming.

“I think right now we are going forward just as we entered the season,” Jones said.

He added: “One of the owners stood up and said: ‘We have really gotten in a place that’s positive and not that we weren’t, but we benefited from this.’ And, I agree, in relationships and sorting through where we want to go, and I’m so impressed with the social programs that the clubs and the players have engaged in.”

In May, the NFL passed a rule that forbids players from sitting or taking a knee if they are on the field or sidelines during “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but allowed them to stay in the locker room if they wish. The league left it up to teams on how to punish players. The union challenged the rule in a grievance.

The league halted the policy in July.

The NFL and a coalition of players have been working in tandem to support player initiatives for a variety of social issues. Last month, coalition members including Malcolm Jenkins, Benjamin Watson, Demario Davis and Chris Long conducted work in the areas of bail reform and criminalization of poverty. Seattle’s Doug Baldwin attended bail hearings and met with grass-roots organizations and the public defender’s office regarding the need to end cash bail in King County on Sept. 25.

Coalition members have focused on voting this month as well as voter restoration rights, plus their ongoing work on bail reform.

“The focus has been on listening, learning, understanding what the players want to accomplish in their community, the impact they want to have and supporting them,” Goodell said. “Our clubs have done that at historic levels and we’ve gone over that the last couple of days. I’m proud of what our clubs are doing. I’m proud of what our players are doing. We’re all working together to try to address those issues, and from my standpoint that always helps make relationships more productive when there’s respect and understanding and agreement to work together to try to make things better.

“When you have people working together and listening to one another and that level of respect, I think everyone feels better and I think that’s important, but the key thing is there’s a lot of work to be done.”

In 2016, then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting police brutality, social injustice and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem, and the demonstration spread to other players and teams.

Critics led by President Donald Trump called the players unpatriotic and Trump even said NFL owners should fire any player who refused to stand during the anthem. Many players countered that their actions were being misconstrued and that they are seeking social change rather than protesting the anthem itself.

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Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Leonard Fournette did not practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday, a signal that he might not play Sunday for the third straight week.

Fournette has missed four of the last five games with a hamstring injury. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Leonard Fournette did not practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday, a signal that he might not play Sunday for the third straight week.

Fournette has missed four of the last five games with a hamstring injury. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Fournette will try to practice Thursday, and the Jaguars then will be closer to knowing whether the running back will be available Sunday against the Houston Texans.

The Jaguars (3-3) lost their past two games and could use a healthy Fournette, who last season as a rookie gained 1,040 rushing yards along with 320 receiving yards and contributed 10 touchdowns.

But this season, Fournette injured his hamstring in Week 1 against the New York Giants. He sat out until Week 4 against the New York Jets, when he injured it again. On the season, he has just 20 carries for 71 yards and no touchdowns.

Fournette’s replacement, T.J. Yeldon, also missed practice Wednesday with foot and ankle problems.

Veteran Jamaal Charles, signed last week, and David Williams are the other running backs on the Jacksonville roster.

–Field Level Media

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Bills name journeyman Anderson starting QB

Bills name journeyman Anderson starting QB

Newly signed quarterback Derek Anderson will start Sunday for the Buffalo Bills, coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday.

"It's the right decision for our football team right now," McDermott said.

Rookie starter Josh Allen is out indefinitely with an elbow injury, and

Bills name journeyman Anderson starting QB

Newly signed quarterback Derek Anderson will start Sunday for the Buffalo Bills, coach Sean McDermott announced Wednesday.

“It’s the right decision for our football team right now,” McDermott said.

Rookie starter Josh Allen is out indefinitely with an elbow injury, and McDermott chose not to turn to interception-prone Nathan Peterman, who started the season at quarterback but quickly was benched in favor of Allen.

The Bills meet Indianapolis on Sunday.

Anderson, 35, is in his 13th season in the NFL and spent four seasons in Cleveland, one in Arizona and seven with Carolina. He last started a game Dec. 4, 2016, and played just one series. He was replaced by Cam Newton, who had been benched to start the game for disciplinary reasons. He hasn’t been the No. 1 quarterback of a team since 2010 with the Cardinals.

As Newton’s backup in 2017, he was 2-for-8 for 17 yards.

But with Allen out, this was the only move for the Bills.

Peterson has thrown nine interceptions in just 79 career attempts, including two in relief of Allen on Sunday. That’s an interception rate of 11.4 percent.

–Field Level Media

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Goodell: NFL prospers from listening, learning

Goodell: NFL prospers from listening, learning

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is focusing on listening and learning, which has resulted in increased quality on and off the field.

"When you have people working together, listening to one another and that level of respect, I think everyone feels better," Goodell

Goodell: NFL prospers from listening, learning

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the NFL is focusing on listening and learning, which has resulted in increased quality on and off the field.

“When you have people working together, listening to one another and that level of respect, I think everyone feels better,” Goodell said as the NFL fall owners meetings wrapped on Wednesday.

Goodell said overall quality and competitiveness are up across the league with a margin of victory on pace to be the third- or fourth-closest in NFL history.

While some are concerned with growing protection of quarterbacks, Goodell said the focus on player safety is coming through in every game.

“People are focusing on football and the great play of the quarterbacks. The safety of the game is better. The quality of the game is better,” Goodell said.

Goodell said he is proud of the collective work the league and union have done on social justice issues.

“The focus has been on the efforts the players have brought in their communities and they are working on the issues to make their communities better. That’s where our focus is,” he said.

Goodell was upbeat discussing offensive numbers and officiating, which he said are at some of the highest levels ever.

Players are healthy, as are viewer ratings, which Goodell chose to focus his attention on Wednesday.

In other news:

–Owners did not discuss the future of the Seattle Seahawks following the unexpected death of team owner Paul Allen. Speculation from the Los Angeles Times indicated a cross-ownership policy ended by the NFL could be designed to open the door for former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer, who owns the Los Angeles Clippers, to purchase the Seahawks and potentially move the NBA franchise to the city.

“We didn’t have any discussion of it. We think it’s inappropriate at this time to be having those discussion,” Goodell said. “The Seahawks, Paul Allen made plans, and there will be a time for those discussions.”

A succession plan was not made public. Allen never married and has no children. He has one sister.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the league as a whole expects the Seahawks to stay in Seattle.

“I can’t imagine the Seahawks not in Seattle. That hasn’t even been a thought. As a matter of fact, he was instrumental in establishing that certainty. It would really be a little unjust — the thing he did the most for in Seattle was to stabilize that franchise. We are really going to miss him. He had such influence in the league. I was certainly influenced by my interaction with him. … When we get someone of his stature to join ownership in the NFL, I just completely throw a party.”

–The Raiders are in limbo for 2019, Goodell said, saying he has not yet heard how negotiations with the city of Oakland are progressing for the Raiders to play one more season at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

“We know they are in the midst of negotiation,” Goodell said, adding he received an update on progress on the stadium construction project in Las Vegas, where the Raiders are expected to relocate in 2020.

–Field Level Media

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AP sources: NFL looking into Tannehill injury

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the situation say the NFL is looking into how the Miami Dolphins reported quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder problem on injury reports last week.

The people confirmed the NFL's interest in the matter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league wasn't commenting.

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Two people with knowledge of the situation say the NFL is looking into how the Miami Dolphins reported quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder problem on injury reports last week.

The people confirmed the NFL’s interest in the matter to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the league wasn’t commenting.

It’s common for the league to look into such situations involving a prominent player. The league is expected to contact the Dolphins to understand the details and make sure the injury report policy was followed.

Tannehill sat out Sunday’s overtime win against the Chicago Bears, and replacement Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards.

Coach Adam Gase has said the condition in Tannehill’s throwing shoulder worsened as last week progressed. Osweiler took “maybe a few reps” in Thursday’s practice, Gase said, but the injury report said Tannehill participated fully in the workout.

The Dolphins listed Tannehill as questionable Friday, and the decision not to play him was made hours before kickoff.

The Miami Herald first reported the NFL will look into the matter.

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.

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Spiraling Broncos head to Arizona on Thursday night

Things are spiraling in Denver. At least the Broncos won't have to worry about the cold and the snow when they journey to Arizona for a Thursday night game.

The Broncos have dropped four straight after opening with two wins. Their defense is dead last against the run and 27th overall.

With the

Things are spiraling in Denver. At least the Broncos won’t have to worry about the cold and the snow when they journey to Arizona for a Thursday night game.

The Broncos have dropped four straight after opening with two wins. Their defense is dead last against the run and 27th overall.

With the Cardinals going with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, the temptation will be to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible in this prime-time, uh, thriller.

“Oh yeah, anytime you’re losing, everybody’s fighting for their lives and fighting for their job every week at every position, it doesn’t matter,” says veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr.

“You just want to continue to ball, continue to do your job. There’s always finger-pointing and you don’t want to have that. We don’t want to have that at all. We want to just stay together and keep working.

“We know everybody’s fighting for their lives. That’s the NFL, though. If you don’t have that in your mind every week, that you’ve got to go out here and play great, and if you don’t your job can be on the line, then you haven’t woken up to the NFL.”

Arizona (1-5) wasn’t awake for much of the early season and was the last team to win a game. Surprisingly for such a record, the Cardinals have 11 takeaways. Not surprisingly, they have 10 giveaways.

No. 26 Denver is a 2½-point choice at No. 31 Arizona.

UPSET SPECIAL: CARDINALS, 19-16

KNOCKOUT POOL: The Texans made us sweat — what else do you do in Houston nowadays? But they came through. Now we look to the CHARGERS to do the same.

No. 29 New York Giants (plus 5 1-2) at No. 23 Atlanta, Monday night.

Falcons can score, Giants can’t.

BEST BET: FALCONS, 33-16

No. 2 New England (minus 3 1-2) at No. 13 (tie) Chicago

Notice how Patriots’ opponents always seem to be injury-ravaged?

PATRIOTS, 24-20

No. 4 New Orleans (plus 2 1-2) at No. 6 Baltimore

Big-time offense faces big-time defense in classic matchup.

SAINTS, 23-18

No. 8 Cincinnati (plus 6) at No. 3 Kansas City

Both sides come off late-game losses that are potentially damaging for long term.

CHIEFS, 33-31

No. 12 Carolina (plus 4 1-2) at No. 10 Philadelphia

Did Eagles turn around things in win over Giants on Oct. 11?

EAGLES, 30-27

No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 6½) vs. No. 20 Tennessee at London

Should be a better match at Wembley than last week’s rout.

CHARGERS, 23-14

No. 1 Los Angeles Rams (minus 10) at No. 28 San Francisco

Someone will stop the Rams’ run to 16-0. Won’t be Niners.

RAMS, 36-15

No. 19 Dallas (plus 1 1-2) at No. 16 Washington

Schizophrenic NFC East members; Redskins pretty good at home.

REDSKINS, 19-16

No. 24 Cleveland (plus 3) at No. 25 Tampa Bay

Two more unidentifiable teams.

BUCCANEERS, 24-23

No. 7 Minnesota (minus 3) at No. 21 New York Jets

Third game of Jets’ homestand, first tough opponent.

VIKINGS, 32-27

No. 27 Buffalo (plus 7 1-2) at No. 30 Indianapolis

Andrew Luck tips scales to Indy in matchup of very flawed clubs.

COLTS, 23-9

No. 18 Houston (plus 4 1-2) at No. 17 Jacksonville

Texans have won three straight with grit. Jags struggling in every way. But …

JAGUARS, 20-19

No. 22 Detroit (OFF) at No. 13 (tie) Miami

Rested Lions are better no matter who QBs Dolphins.

LIONS, 27-17

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2018 RECORD:

Last Week: Against spread (7-8). Straight up (1-5)

Season Totals: Against spread (40-48-3). Straight up: (58-33-2)

Best Bet: 2-4 against spread, 5-1 straight up

Upset special: 4-2 against spread, 3-2-1 straight up

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NFL officiating not a hot topic in formal owners meetings

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL officiating was not a hot topic in the formal owners meetings that ended Wednesday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that there was "talk on several occasions in the context of what the competition committee is looking to propose and implement." But there were no formal discussions on the floor during the

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL officiating was not a hot topic in the formal owners meetings that ended Wednesday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell noted that there was “talk on several occasions in the context of what the competition committee is looking to propose and implement.” But there were no formal discussions on the floor during the two-day meetings.

Officiating has been a super-tense issue this season, in part because of several rules changes or points of emphasis, particularly regarding roughing the passer and helmet use in tackling.

The meetings were far from as frenetic as a year ago, when the NFL was dealing with widespread player demonstrations during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice. Goodell and many owners spoke in glowing terms about the product on the field, stressing the record-setting offenses and close games through six weeks.

Goodell also boasted about NFL games being one of the “few contents that are growing” in TV audiences. Ratings are up this year.

He also explained that the removal of a rule barring cross-ownership of sports franchises in different markets could be a boost to the league.

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Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill not throwing at start of practice

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on the field in shoulder pads but not throwing at the start of the team's first practice this week.

Tannehill is nursing a sore throwing shoulder and missed Sunday's win over the Chicago Bears. Coach Adam Gase has said Tannehill's status is day

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is on the field in shoulder pads but not throwing at the start of the team’s first practice this week.

Tannehill is nursing a sore throwing shoulder and missed Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears. Coach Adam Gase has said Tannehill’s status is day to day.

Brock Osweiler threw for a career-high 380 yards as Tannehill’s replacement. Miami plays the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Defensive end Cameron Wake returned to practice Wednesday after missing the past two games with a knee injury.

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Derek Anderson to start at QB in place of Allen for Bills

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A week after being lured out of semiretirement, veteran quarterback Derek Anderson is going from mentoring Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen, to taking over the starting job for the injured player.

Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A week after being lured out of semiretirement, veteran quarterback Derek Anderson is going from mentoring Buffalo Bills rookie Josh Allen, to taking over the starting job for the injured player.

Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis (1-5) on Sunday.

McDermott ruled out Allen because of a sprained elbow on his throwing arm. He said there’s no plan at this point for the quarterback to have surgery.

McDermott also said a second medical opinion on the injury confirmed the initial diagnosis after the first-round pick was hurt in the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston last week.

The injury leaves the Bills (2-4) turning to the 35-year-old Anderson preparing to make his first start in nearly two seasons. Anderson attempted just eight passes in three appearances as a backup in Carolina last year. He has a 20-27 record as a starter over a 12-year NFL career.

“He brings experience, leadership, presence to the table and he’s worked hard the last week and a half here to get himself up to speed,” McDermott said.

McDermott’s only other option was turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman, who lost the starting job to Allen after a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore. The second-year player already has thrown four interceptions this season and 10 in seven games, including the playoffs.

Peterman’s inexperience and struggles led to the Bills signing Anderson last week. Anderson was essentially out of football after completing his seventh season as Cam Newton’s primary backup.

Though Anderson is new to Buffalo, the Bills are familiar with him.

McDermott was previously Carolina’s defensive coordinator, while general manager Brandon Beane previously worked in the Panthers’ front office.

Bills first-year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll held the same role in Cleveland in 2009, when Anderson went 3-4 in replacing Brady Quinn as the Browns starter.

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FANTASY PLAYS: Stick with expensive RBs in daily this week

This is one week to stick with the top running backs in daily fantasy football.

While there are a few high-end receivers in play, the way to approach this Week 7 slate is to go for the players with the absurdly high floors due to their talent and respective matchups.

These are the top backs

This is one week to stick with the top running backs in daily fantasy football.

While there are a few high-end receivers in play, the way to approach this Week 7 slate is to go for the players with the absurdly high floors due to their talent and respective matchups.

These are the top backs to target and the cheap complements who make them work on daily rosters:

EXPENSIVE RBS

TODD GURLEY II, Rams ($9,800 on DraftKings, $10,200 on FanDuel): According to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers defense grades 31st in terms of their tackling ability, and yet they have only yielded 4.0 yards per carry (YPC) as a unit. Since Week 2, backs have either scored twice against the 49ers or eclipsed 100 rushing yards with a touchdown.

Ty Montgomery found the end zone against them on Monday night in a game where Aaron Jones also had a TD overturned. It’s a small sample but the inability to tackle is noteworthy against a back who has played the highest percentage of his respective team’s snaps of any besides Pittsburgh’s James Conner.

The price may be steep, but Gurley has reached 25 DraftKings points in every game this season. Expect more of the same this week from the best player in fantasy.

SAQUON BARKLEY, Giants ($8,900 on DraftKings, $8,200 on FanDuel): Three backs are tied for the league lead in targets (51) and Saquon Barkley is among them. To be fair, Alvin Kamara just had his bye week and is still tied for the lead, so his pace is a notch above every other back.

Either way, receiving backs have had a field day against the Falcons this season, as RBs have twice caught 14-plus passes against them. That’s only happened six times in NFL history by a player at the position. Those two backs_Kamara and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey_both get about a quarter of their team’s targets. Barkley’s target share sits at 22.2 percent. The Falcons have allowed opposing backs to catch seven more passes against them than any other squad.

Additionally, the Falcons have also been burned for the fourth most rushing TDs by RBs (six) and rank 31st in rushing defense according to Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) metric.

CHEAPER COMPLEMENTS

TEVIN COLEMAN, Falcons ($5,100 on DraftKings, $6,300 on FanDuel): Both DFS sites offer a flex spot, making it possible to roster three RBs on the same team. With Devonta Freeman on injured reserve, Coleman is worth a look despite Ito Smith stealing some of the goal line work. Coleman has carried the ball 71 times this season and has garnered 51.8 percent of the rushing share for the Falcons.

On the other hand, Smith has only carried the ball 32 times but has received 14 carries in the red zone compared to seven for Coleman. Even with the team being committed to giving Smith a majority of the red zone work, Coleman plays on one of the best possible teams for fantasy production because the offense is excellent and the defense is porous. Coleman is more active in the passing game and he has received double-digit carries in three of the last four games (the exception being the game Devonta Freeman returned before exiting with another injury).

The Falcons are always playing in shootouts and host the Giants this week. FanDuel is a little more reliant on TDs than DraftKings, while DraftKings rewards backs for 100-plus yards, so he is probably a safer play on DraftKings. Regardless, he is simply too cheap for being the lead back on this fantasy-friendly squad.

ROBBY ANDERSON, Jets ($4,500 on DraftKings, $5,400 on FanDuel): The injury to Quincy Enunwa is going to open up some additional targets, as the receiver had been Sam Darnold’s favorite target prior to a high-ankle injury. That 24.4 percent target share will be spread around the remaining pass-catchers.

Jermaine Kearse was the main beneficiary against the Colts (10 targets) but the Vikings have been susceptible to long passing plays all year and Anderson is the deep threat. Thus far, the Vikings have allowed the fourth most 20-plus yard passing plays (26) and the most 40-plus yard passing plays (seven). Two weeks ago, Anderson caught two 35-plus yard scores in the same game, giving him 20 20-plus yard receptions since the beginning of 2017 (and five 40-plus yard receptions).

Anderson is typically an all-or-nothing option but now is likely to have more volume headed his way.

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Bills name veteran QB Anderson to start in place of Allen

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills are turning to newly signed veteran quarterback Derek Anderson to fill in for injured rookie starter Josh Allen.

Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis this weekend.

McDermott ruled Allen out with a

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills are turning to newly signed veteran quarterback Derek Anderson to fill in for injured rookie starter Josh Allen.

Coach Sean McDermott made the announcement Wednesday, when Buffalo returned to practice to prepare for its game at Indianapolis this weekend.

McDermott ruled Allen out with a sprained elbow on his throwing arm. He says there’s no plan at this point for the quarterback to have surgery.

The 35-year-old Anderson goes from being lured out of semiretirement last week to serve as Allen’s mentor to preparing to make his first start in nearly two seasons. Anderson attempted just eight passes in three appearances as a backup in Carolina last year. He has a 20-27 record as a starter over a 12-year NFL career.

Allen was hurt during the third quarter of a 20-13 loss at Houston last weekend.

McDermott’s only other option was turnover-prone backup Nathan Peterman, who lost the starting job to Allen after a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore. The second-year player already has thrown four interceptions this season and 10 in seven games, including the playoffs.

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