49ers hang on to beat Lions 30-27

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo threw two touchdown passes, Matt Breida ran for 138 yards and San Francisco’s longest TD run in four seasons , and the 49ers bounced back from a season-opening loss by beating the Detroit Lions 30-27 on Sunday.

Garoppolo nearly made a costly mistake when he threw a late interception to Tracy Walker that was returned to the San Francisco 7. But Quandre Diggs was called for a defensive holding away from the play to give the 49ers (1-1) a first down.

Garoppolo played turnover-free ball a week after throwing three interceptions in a 24-16 loss at Minnesota that led to his first defeat as a starter following seven straight wins.

He threw a 4-yard TD pass to Kendrick Bourne in the second quarter and an 11-yarder to Garrett Celek in the third to hand Matt Patricia, his old friend from their New England days, a second straight loss to begin his tenure as coach of the Lions (0-2). Garoppolo finished 18 for 26 for 206 yards, but was sacked six times.

Breida did much of the rest by gaining 159 yards from scrimmage and breaking the game open with a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that was the longest for San Francisco since Colin Kaepernick scored on a 90-yard run against the Chargers on Dec. 20, 2014.

Matthew Stafford was much sharper than he was last week for the Lions when he threw four interceptions. He went 34 for 53 for 347 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions but it wasn’t enough.

He threw TD passes in the fourth quarter to Marvin Jones Jr. and Michael Roberts but was unable to lead another scoring drive after taking over at the 16 with 1:08 to play. He threw an incomplete pass to Theo Riddick on fourth-and-2 from his 39 with 14 seconds left, ending the comeback attempt.

EJECTION

Detroit running back LeGarrette Blount was ejected in the third quarter. Blount took exception to Elijah Lee pushing Stafford as he stepped out of bounds. Blount was standing on the sideline right in front of the play and went on the field and pushed Lee. Blount was assessed a personal foul and ejected.

THIRD-QUARTER WOES

The Lions once again struggled coming out of halftime. Detroit was outscored 31-7 in the third quarter in a loss to the Jets last week and then 14-3 by the 49ers in this game.

RECORD-SETTING

The 49ers had three drives stall after getting inside the red zone in part because Detroit sacked Garoppolo three times on plays that started inside the 20. That led to three field goals for Robbie Gould, giving him 29 straight makes, two more than Phil Dawson’s franchise record set in 2013.

GOOD RETURNS

Rookie D.J. Reed started the second half with a long kickoff return that initially appeared to go for a touchdown. But he was called for a facemask penalty while giving a stiff arm and was only credited with a 90-yard return, the longest for the Niners since Kyle Williams had a 94-yarder in 2012. San Francisco still managed to get a TD with a 26-yard drive capped by Garoppolo’s pass to Celek.

INJURIES

Lions CB Darius Slay left the game with a concussion in the third quarter.

ANTHEM

Injured 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin raised his fist during the national anthem. No other player had a visible protest.

UP NEXT

Lions: Host New England on Sunday night.

49ers: Visit Kansas City on Sunday.

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Chargers list Bosa as questionable for Sunday vs. Broncos

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and tight end Antonio Gates are listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

Coach Anthony Lynn said Friday that Bosa remains a game-time decision but that he looked good in team and individual drills after missing two months due to a bone

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and tight end Antonio Gates are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Coach Anthony Lynn said Friday that Bosa remains a game-time decision but that he looked good in team and individual drills after missing two months due to a bone bruise to his left foot. Bosa has been listed as limited on the practice report this week.

Gates did not practice Wednesday or Thursday due to a knee injury but was a limited participant Friday.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen (finger/hip) is expected to play after being listed as limited the past two days. Mike Williams was a full participant Friday after being limited on Thursday.

Cornerback Trevor Williams (knee) is out for Sunday’s game.

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FANTASY PLAYS: Key fantasy questions for NFL Week 11

A look at some key fantasy football questions going into Week 11:

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?

Giants QB Eli Manning has a juicy Week 11 matchup against the Buccaneers, who have given up multiple TDs to QBs in seven of nine games. Other Giants

A look at some key fantasy football questions going into Week 11:

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR PLAYERS HAVE THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?

Giants QB Eli Manning has a juicy Week 11 matchup against the Buccaneers, who have given up multiple TDs to QBs in seven of nine games. Other Giants you should consider starting this week include wideout Sterling Shepard and tight end Evan Engram. The Bucs can’t stop WRs and TEs, and have yielded the second-most fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) to both positions.

You can stick a fork in the Raiders. They’re done and should be targeted in fantasy football every week. The Cardinals, their Week 11 opponent, have a rookie and veteran that have the potential of having a big game against them.

Christian Kirk is averaging just under seven targets per game over the past four weeks. Despite his quiet Week 10 against the Chiefs, he had averaged just over 65 receiving yards in his previous four games. He’s an excellent route runner with good hands and should be considered a trade target in dynasty leagues.

Larry Fitzgerald slumped badly earlier this season but he’s averaging just under 10 targets over the past four weeks and has 23 receptions and two TDs during that time frame.

The Raiders have surrendered multiple TDs to the WR position in seven straight games. Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones has a good matchup against the silver and black. Tight ends have caught 18 passes and scored four TDs against Oakland over the past three weeks.

Ravens RB Alex Collins could be a sneaky play against the Bengals, who’ve given up 13 total TDs to RBs this season. QB Joe Flacco’s Week 11 status is not known (hip) and if either Lamar Jackson or Robert Griffin III start in his place, the Ravens might lean on their running game a bit more.

ANY GOOD BUY LOW OPTIONS TO FOCUS ON AS TRADE DEADLINES APPROACH?

Corey Davis, WR, Titans: The Titans averaged just over 15 points per game for the first seven weeks of their season. They’ve averaged 31 points over the past two weeks and Davis has averaged 10 targets and 90.5 receiving yards during that time. Davis is fourth with eight targets inside the 10 this season. With the Titans offense finally showing some life, look for Davis to continue to have some upside.

Sony Michel, RB, Patriots: For many fantasy owners the bloom may be off the rose when it comes to Michel, but the Patriots have shown that when he’s healthy they’re going to give him the ball. He averaged just over 22 carries, 4.72 yards per carry and scored four TDs from Week 4 to Week 6. Fantasy football playoffs take place from Week 14 to Week 16 in most leagues and he faces the Dolphins in Week 14 and the Bills in Week 16. Both have been very friendly to the run.

ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TRADE TARGETS BASED ON REST OF SEASON SCHEDULES?

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: Newton has scored the eighth-most fantasy points among QBs this season and has future matchups against the Buccaneers, Browns, Saints and Falcons. The Browns are 17th in FPPG allowed to QBs, but the other three teams are in the top 4 in points allowed to the position.

Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos: Sanders has scored the 11th most fantasy points among WRs. With the Broncos trade of Demaryius Thomas to the Texans, Sanders will continue to be heavily targeted in the passing game. He still has favorable matchups against the 49ers, who’ve yielded 14 TDs to WRs and the Browns, who’ve allowed the seventh most FPPG to WRs this season. In Week 16, which is usually championship week in fantasy football, Sanders will have a very favorable matchup against the Raiders. In addition, Phillip Lindsay, RB for the Broncos, should also take advantage of Denver’s soft schedule down the stretch and should also be considered a trade target.

WITH COOPER KUPP OUT FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON IS THERE A RAMS WR THAT COULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIS ABSENCE?

His target share is tough to predict, but look for Josh Reynolds, who has big-play potential, to play some of his reps out of the slot, where he’ll absorb some of Kupp’s targets. In his last game with Kupp on the sidelines he caught three passes for 42 yards, but two of those catches were for TDs.

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Falcons’ Deion Jones out, Matt Bryant active for Dallas

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones is still not ready to play and will be inactive Sunday against Dallas.

Kicker Matt Bryant had a good week of practice and will be on Atlanta's game-day roster after missing the last three games with a sore right hamstring.

Coach Dan Quinn

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons middle linebacker Deion Jones is still not ready to play and will be inactive Sunday against Dallas.

Kicker Matt Bryant had a good week of practice and will be on Atlanta’s game-day roster after missing the last three games with a sore right hamstring.

Coach Dan Quinn ruled Jones out after Friday’s practice but hopes he will be ready when Atlanta plays Thursday at New Orleans. Jones returned to the active roster this week after spending two months on injured reserve with a broken right foot.

“He’s certainly close,” Quinn said. “We were able to give him more reps as the week went on. He’s been working in the pass game for a while. This week he got really involved in the run game and taking guys on and the power that goes with it.”

The Falcons (4-5) will face the Cowboys (4-5) with a defense that ranks third worst in yards allowed and fourth worst in scoring. Strong safety Keanu Neal’s season ended in the opener, and free safety Ricardo Allen was lost for the season two weeks later.

Bryant, the franchise career scoring leader, was a full participant in practice for the second straight day. Quinn said the Falcons have no immediate plans to cut Giorgio Tavecchio, who is 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts with a pair of 50-yarders. Tavecchio will not be active Sunday but will stay on the roster in case the 43-year-old Bryant has a setback.

Friday’s injury report listed receivers Calvin Ridley (elbow) and Mohamed Sanu (hip), linebackers De’Vondre Campbell (calf), Foyesade Oluokun (elbow) and Bruce Carter (knee) and safety Damontae Kazee (shoulder) as full participants. Defensive end Derrick Shelby was limited with a sore groin.

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Jamon Brown is giving a big lift to Giants’ offensive line

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — A reclamation project off the waiver wire is galvanizing the New York Giants' beleaguered offensive line.

Just two weeks ago, Jamon Brown thought he was without a job. He was released by the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 31 after spending the better part of four years with

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — A reclamation project off the waiver wire is galvanizing the New York Giants’ beleaguered offensive line.

Just two weeks ago, Jamon Brown thought he was without a job. He was released by the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 31 after spending the better part of four years with the team. Brown, a guard for the Rams who started all 16 games and a playoff game in 2017, was on the waiver wire.

“That was definitely disappointing,” Brown said. “I didn’t see it coming.”

Brown had signed a $2.5 million, four-year contract with the Rams after being selected in the third round by the team out of Louisville in 2015. He earned a starting spot as a right guard with the Rams in 2017 after missing most of his rookie season with a fractured right leg.

In July, however, Brown was suspended for the first two games of the 2018 season after violating the NFL’s policy for substance abuse. He would not comment on what banned substance he used.

When the season began, Brown was replaced by Austin Blythe as the starter at right guard for the Rams and he never regained his spot.

“It was all very disappointing, the way it went down,” Brown said. “I never got the opportunity to make things right.”

As part of a numbers crunch, after the Rams acquired defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brown was released.

At the same time, the Giants’ offensive line was in turmoil. The problems began when former first-round pick Ereck Flowers was released after a move to right tackle from left tackle didn’t pan out.

One free-agent signing, tackle Nate Solder, hasn’t lived up to the four-year, $62 million contract he signed in the offseason. Center Jon Halapio broke his right ankle and lower leg in the second week of the season. Free agent Patrick Omameh didn’t perform well and was released.

Amid the upheaval, the Giants took a chance on Brown, a 6-foot, 340-pounder.

“We knew that he was a starter on a team that won 11 games last year,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s a big man, a really big man. We liked what we saw in Jamon.”

When the claim on Brown became official, the Giants were on their bye week. So Brown flew to New Jersey and met with Shurmur and team officials. He worked out for a couple of days, then headed back to Los Angeles to clean out his apartment.

“I got a lot of frequent flier miles,” Brown said.

The Giants resumed practice last week and Brown was learning the offense. He practiced as if he were going to play.

Sure enough, on Saturday before the game with the San Francisco 49ers, Omameh was let go. Brown slid in as the starter in the game in California. That meant Brown flew back and forth across the country four times in two weeks.

“It’s really crazy how that all turned out,” Brown said. “I’m still learning the Giants’ way. I’m learning everything I can. This is definitely a great opportunity for me.”

Brown was part of the line that gave Eli Manning time to throw, allowed only one sack provided room for sensational rookie Saquon Barkley to run. More important, the Giants won 27-23 on Monday night for their second win in nine games.

“I thought he did a good job,” Shurmur said of Brown. “I thought he did some of the things that we thought he could do. I think that’s a settling force for the quarterback when he’s pretty certain that the interior of the pocket’s going to be firm.”

Brown will start at right guard when the Giants host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. He tweaked his ankle during Friday’s practice, but the team did not list him on the injury report.

“I’m going to bring energy,” Brown said. “I think I can be reliable because I’ve been doing this awhile. I’ve experienced my times of success.”

NOTES: The Giants listed no injuries after Friday’s practice. Brown (ankle), LB Alec Ogletree (ribs), CB Antonio Hamilton (hip), FB Eli Penny (back) and S Curtis Riley (shoulder) all practiced fully, so the team is 100 percent healthy for a second straight week. … Another reclamation project, WR Corey Coleman, whom the Giants picked up after he was waived by three teams this season, will more than likely remain the main kickoff return specialist. Coleman had three returns for 92 yards, including a 51-yarder, against the Niners.

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Broncos lose guard Max Garcia to knee injury

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Left guard Max Garcia showed up at the Denver Broncos' headquarters Friday with a sore left knee, something that initially seemed like a minor annoyance for a team preparing for two big offensive line changes already.

With right guard Connor McGovern preparing for his first NFL start at center

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Left guard Max Garcia showed up at the Denver Broncos’ headquarters Friday with a sore left knee, something that initially seemed like a minor annoyance for a team preparing for two big offensive line changes already.

With right guard Connor McGovern preparing for his first NFL start at center and Elijah Wilkinson set to make his first pro start at right guard, Garcia went for an MRI.

The result was devastating: a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Garcia is the third starting offensive lineman the Broncos have lost this season, joining guard Ronald Leary (Achilles) and center Matt Paradis, who had surgery on his broken right leg earlier this week.

“It’s been a tough year for us O-linemen,” left tackle Garett Bolles said. “It’s a shame to see three guys that are really close to me go down, but at the same time I know that we have guys behind them that have stepped up to the plate and are going to smack a home run.”

Garcia’s injury further staggered a team that’s trying to salvage a season featuring four one-score losses, including to the league’s two 9-1 teams the Rams and Chiefs, by a combined seven points.

“It was really weird, I watched (Thursday’s) practice from the last play back to the first play and he didn’t miss a down,” coach Vance Joseph said. “So, the play he was injured on, I saw it, it was kind of a slip. It was no big deal. He finished up practice.”

Joseph said Billy Turner, who started four games at right tackle when Jared Veldheer was out with a knee injury, will start at left guard Sunday when the Broncos (3-6) visit the Los Angeles Chargers (7-2).

This will mark the Broncos’ sixth different lineup on the O-line this season, but Joseph said it won’t affect the game plan.

“I thought leaving camp that we had the best line that we’ve had around here in a while as far as depth and as far as guys who can play” multiple positions, Joseph said. “It happens. It’s football. We’ve got Billy Turner playing the left guard with Eli playing the right guard along with Mac playing the center, so I’m comfortable. Let’s go play.”

He said recently signed seven-year veteran center Gino Gradkowski will be active Sunday along with rookie swing guard Sam Jones.

“Ain’t too many guys left ,” he said.

Through every combination the Broncos have run the ball with success as rookies Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have rushed for 900 yards and seven touchdowns with veteran Devontae Booker adding 144 yards, a touchdown and a team-high 5.8-yard average.

What they’ve had trouble doing is protecting quarterback Case Keenum, who has 11 touchdowns and 11 turnovers and has been sacked two dozen times.

Still, offensive coordinator Billy Musgrave has been reluctant to reduce his use of three-receiver sets that put more pressure on the thinning O-line.

The turnstile hasn’t helped Bolles, a 2017 first-rounder, refine his raw game after playing just one season of major college football.

“It’s been hard having different lineups. I’ve had five different lineups, so it’s been frustrating,” Bolles said. “But it doesn’t matter who’s next to me, they’re going to make me better, I’m going to make them better and you’ve just got to roll with the punches and work out the kinks.”

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Jags turn to former Giants starting OT Flowers vs Steelers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are down to their fourth left tackle, starting a player they signed off the streets against Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Coach Doug Marrone says former New York Giants first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers will start in place of Josh Walker, who missed practice all week because of

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are down to their fourth left tackle, starting a player they signed off the streets against Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Coach Doug Marrone says former New York Giants first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers will start in place of Josh Walker, who missed practice all week because of a foot/ankle injury. Walker was listed as doubtful on the injury report Friday. Flowers and Walker alternated series last week at Indianapolis.

Walker was filling in for Josh Wells, who started four games after Cam Robinson tore a knee ligament in Week 2.

The Jaguars (3-6) also could be without another starting offensive lineman. Right guard A.J. Cann (hamstring) is listed as questionable. Nose tackle Marcell Dareus (triceps) also is questionable. Dareus has started all nine games.

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AP source: Broncos lose guard Max Garcia to knee injury

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver Broncos left guard Max Garcia is out for the season because of a torn knee ligament, a person with knowledge of the injury said.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because coach Vance Joseph was at practice and wouldn't be addressing the

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Denver Broncos left guard Max Garcia is out for the season because of a torn knee ligament, a person with knowledge of the injury said.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because coach Vance Joseph was at practice and wouldn’t be addressing the media until later. An MRI Friday revealed a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament.

Garcia apparently was injured during Thursday’s practice, although he finished the workout and wasn’t listed on the team’s injury report.

The Broncos (3-6) travel to Los Angeles on Sunday to face the Chargers (7-2). Denver already was down two starters on the offensive line after losing left guard Ronald Leary (Achilles) last month and center Matt Paradis (broken ankle) in the last game.

Now, Billy Turner will move over to left guard, between scuffling left tackle Garett Bolles, who leads the league in holding calls for the second straight season, and Connor McGovern, who will make his first start at center Sunday.

Second-year pro Elijah Wilksinson is also making his first NFL start, at right guard next to right tackle Jared Veldheer, who missed a month with a knee injury before returning to action in Denver’s last game, against Houston on Nov. 4.

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Eagles DT Jernigan could return vs. Saints

Eagles DT Jernigan could return vs. Saints

Eagles DT Jernigan could return vs. Saints

Philadelphia defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan could play for the first time this season on Sunday when the Eagles take on the New Orleans Saints.

“Still optimistic, we’ve got to get through today and tomorrow obviously with him and see where he’s at,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said before Friday’s practice. “It’s just a matter of day-by-day and getting through the practice and seeing where he’s at.”

Jernigan returned to practice last week for the first time since having surgery in April to repair a herniated disc in his back.

The Eagles must decide by Nov. 26 whether to activate Jernigan from the non-football injury list and add him to the 53-man roster. If they do not, he will not be allowed to play this season.

Jernigan, 26, tallied 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks and started 15 games in his first season in Philadelphia in 2017. He added two tackles during the postseason for the Super Bowl LII champions.

He spent the previous three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, who selected the Florida State product in the second round in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Pederson also said tight end Richard Rogers, who was also recently returned from injured reserve, is in the same boat as Jernigan.

Adding either or both would require the Eagles to make room on the roster. Cornerback Ronald Darby, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury recently, would be an obvious candidate.

Pederson was more confident in the return of right tackle Lane Johnson, who sat out last week with an MCL sprain, and cornerback Sidney Jones, who has missed three games with a hamstring injury.

“He’s a lot closer, he’s had a really good week of practice, feels a lot better health-wise,” Pederson said regarding Johnson’s status. “I would expect him to (play), yes.”

–Field Level Media

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When things go sour in the NFL, QBs often are changed

When things go sour, an NFL team's fan base often points to two people: the guy calling plays on the sideline, and the man behind center trying to execute them.

As we get deeper into the 2018 schedule, the futures of some coaches could be tied to how their quarterbacks have struggled —

When things go sour, an NFL team’s fan base often points to two people: the guy calling plays on the sideline, and the man behind center trying to execute them.

As we get deeper into the 2018 schedule, the futures of some coaches could be tied to how their quarterbacks have struggled — or outright flopped.

Doug Marrone and Blake Bortles in Jacksonville? Perhaps.

Vance Joseph and Case Keenum in Denver? Possibly.

John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco? Could be.

Then again, each of those coaches could keep their jobs and have new QBs in 2019. And we know Jon Gruden isn’t going anywhere in Oakland, though Derek Carr might head elsewhere.

Nor is Pat Shurmur, despite a discouraging first year in the Jersey Meadowlands, likely to leave the Big Apple. But the status of a 37-year-old Eli Manning is in more doubt.

It would be a surprise to see Adam Gase out in Miami. Considering how much he has been out of the lineup in his seven-year career, it would not be a stunner to see Ryan Tannehill depart the Dolphins.

Let’s take a look:

NEW YORK

Manning is not a washed-up has-been. His arm remains strong, his knowledge of the game is irreplaceable, and he has three enviable options in Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram.

What he doesn’t have is anyone who can block with any regularity. Manning is about as mobile as Shurmur, maybe less so, and when he doesn’t get the necessary time to set himself, he’s not likely to find a comfortable place to throw.

Yes, it’s time for the Giants to look for a replacement, but not necessarily someone to take over next year. How about finally improving perhaps the worst offensive line in the league and seeing what Manning can do behind it?

Otherwise, Carr could wind up an option as Gruden keeps wheeling and dealing.

DENVER

Keenum has another year to go on the deal he parlayed his best career season (in Minnesota) to get with QB-desperate Denver. Cutting him will cost a $10 million cap hit, so unless John Elway can work a trade for that prohibitive contract, Keenum figures to be back with the Broncos.

The cupboard is bare behind him, especially after Chad Kelly got himself arrested and then released. Plus, Keenum once again has had to learn a new offense, and he’s had some knee issues.

Elway could be enticed to add a veteran who has won a Super Bowl, as he did with Peyton Manning (did someone say Flacco?), but only if he can deal Keenum.

BALTIMORE

Flacco, who’s had a better (but not great) season than in recent years, is bothered by a hip injury. And his eventual replacement, Lamar Jackson, was chosen in the first round of April’s draft.

The massive contract Flacco earned after winning the 2012 championship as Super Bowl MVP was extended in 2016 and he is signed through 2021. But the Ravens can open up $10.5 million in salary cap space by releasing Flacco, 33, after the season, with a potential savings of $18.5 million if they designate him as cut after June 1, which would damage his value elsewhere.

He won’t command the same kind of money on the open market, but he will command attention for his strong arm, solid leadership, willingness to play hurt, and, well, a pedigree that rarely reaches free agency with a few good years left.

Gase in Miami certainly would like a QB who can get on the field regularly.

MIAMI

Brock Osweiler is the 19th starter since Dan Marino ended his Hall of Fame career. None has been a star, though Chad Pennington could have been had his shoulder not been so brittle.

Gase would seem to be tied to Tannehill, who has played in five games this year, none last season, because of injuries. When healthy, Tannehill helped get the Dolphins to the playoffs as a wild card in 2016, Gase’s first year in Miami. Then he was hurt for the postseason.

Gase has been something of a QB guru in other stops, so a young guy who can stay in the lineup might be appealing. Or maybe a 20-something needing a change of scenery such as Jameis Winston or Bortles.

TAMPA BAY

Perhaps the most puzzling case of all because Winston, the top pick in the 2015 draft, should be a slam dunk as the future. He isn’t.

Winston is due $20.9 million next season, the final year of his rookie deal. That’s way more than he is worth, and though the Bucs picked up his fifth-year option, they could release him in ’19 and not owe him anything; 2019 is guaranteed only in case of injury, which is why some speculate Winston may not play again this year.

He comes with lots of talent, but still lacks maturity. He has had off-field issues and was suspended for the first three games this season.

Do the Bucs want to start over at the position, knowing Winston’s potential remains sky high?

JACKSONVILLE

Convinced after coming oh-so-close to making the Super Bowl that Bortles could be their franchise guy, the Jaguars signed him to a three-year, $54 million contract that includes a $16 million salary in 2019. So there would be $16.5 million in dead money if he is cut.

And, like Keenum, the numbers for a trade likely are prohibitive.

But folks in Jacksonville believe, despite the current 3-6 mark, that the Jags are built to win soon. Maybe not with the struggling Bortles, however.

This history team boss Tom Coughlin has with Manning adds some intrigue, but a move for a veteran to replace Bortles might target someone younger and more mobile.

OAKLAND

Gruden has publicly backed Carr, but it’s difficult to gauge if that support is strong or even real. Given his maneuvers to redo the Raiders, it appears with Gruden no one is safe.

Gruden would love to find a Rich Gannon clone, maybe a Flacco or even a Nick Foles. And cutting Carr would create only $7.5 million in dead money, hardly prohibitive.

Then again, Gruden has three first-round selections in the 2019 draft. Using one on a quarterback makes a lot of sense.

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AP Pro Football Writers Josh Dubow and Arnie Stapleton, and Sports Writers Tom Canavan, Steven Wine, Mark Long, Fred Goodall and David Ginsburg contributed.

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How ‘Bout Them Cowboys? New book examines America’s Team

Gary Myers has covered Jerry Jones longer than any pro football writer, so it seemed logical and natural to write a book about the owner of the most valuable franchise in the world.

"How 'Bout Them Cowboys?" (Grand Central Publishing) is an in-depth look at America's Team, still the most popular in the

Gary Myers has covered Jerry Jones longer than any pro football writer, so it seemed logical and natural to write a book about the owner of the most valuable franchise in the world.

“How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” (Grand Central Publishing) is an in-depth look at America’s Team, still the most popular in the NFL even though it hasn’t reached a Super Bowl in 23 years and isn’t likely to this season.

Myers was with the Dallas Morning News when Jones bought the team in 1989 and cleaned house. Now a radio host at WFAN in New York, Myers remembers it well — and tells it entertainingly and informatively in his book.

“I was taken aback when he got weepy —real tears — when he started talking about how he put himself at risk financially to buy the Cowboys in 1989,” Myers says. “He said he asked his doctor why recalling that period of his life made him so emotional and was told it was a traumatic experience for him. Even so, seeing this multi-billionaire in tears caught me by surprise, to say the least.”

There’s a lot in Myers’ book that could catch readers by surprise. Such as:

—Jones admits he’s still bitter about the circumstances that led to his divorce with Jimmy Johnson, who coached the Cowboys to the 1992 and ’93 NFL titles. And Myers reveals “Troy Aikman has still not forgiven Johnson for leaving him. A few years ago, they were having a beer together, when Aikman said to Johnson, ‘We could have been Brady and Belichick.'”

—The Hall of Fame party Jones threw for himself in Canton, Ohio in 2017 cost $8 million and included a two-hour concert by Justin Timberlake. One of the invited guests was Roger Goodell.

“I have a picture in my book of Jones having a drink with Goodell and Jon Bon Jovi at the party,” Myers says. “Five days later, Goodell called Jones to tell him he was suspending Ezekiel Elliott for six games. Jones is convinced Goodell showed up at the party knowing he was going to suspend Elliott (who was also at the party), but did not want to ruin Jones’ weekend. Instead, he ruined his season.”

Jones has said Goodell previously told him he would not suspend Elliott and to this day he feels betrayed. Goodell has emphatically said he did not tell Jones that.

There are dozens more such intriguing and often-unrevealed stories in “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” Myers had five hours of one-on-one interviews with Jones and, he jokes, actually got in at least seven questions.

ALABAMA REUNION

Julio Jones, Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley cover most of a decade’s worth of leading receivers at Alabama. They’ll be on the field as players together for the first time when Cooper and the Dallas Cowboys visit the Atlanta Falcons and the veteran/rookie duo of Jones and Ridley.

Jones is a two-time All-Pro, Cooper made the Pro Bowl his first two seasons, and Ridley leads all rookies with 500 yards receiving. Oh, and they each won a national championship at Alabama. In fact, Ridley won two.

“A lot to like about them,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Certainly they were trained very well at Alabama, probably really good players going there, developed to become great players coming out of there. And they’ve definitely shown that at this level.”

Cooper wasn’t supposed to make this Alabama connection when the season started: Oakland wasn’t on Atlanta’s schedule. But the Cowboys traded next year’s first-round draft pick for him in hopes of having a new No. 1 receiver after letting Dez Bryant go in a cost-cutting move during the offseason.

“I’m cool with both of those guys,” Cooper said. “None of us played together, so none of us have been on the field together. So that’ll be really cool to go out there and be on the same field.”

CAM’S WINE

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said if wasn’t an NFL quarterback he’d want to be a sommelier. Newton has recently developed a love for wine— and cigars — although he said his recognition of most wines is “terrible.”

“I picked up a hobby that I really enjoy,” said Newton. “I think I’m on sauvignon blanc right now, really light wine, and a good mild smoke.”

Rudy Patino, who works as a food service provider for the Panthers, is a resident wine expert and Newton said he’s learned some things from him about the hobby.

“I feel like if I had a gift of a hidden talent, outside of playing an instrument, I would want to be a sommelier,” Newton said. “Those senses that you have. … For those who don’t know it, it’s being able to distinctively tell what type of wine it is, where it’s from and everything about wine by just the taste, the look and pretty much the feel of the wine. It’s just pretty cool to come across a person on a day-to-day basis that knows what they’re talking about. It’s just like playing football. It’s an ongoing thing that you have to constantly keep taking your nose and taste buds through.”

Newton said he if was to create his own wine he would call it “Boogie Down.”

“As in boogie down your esophagus,” Newton said with a smile.

BRITISH TRAINING

USA Football will lead the training of more than 1,000 football coaches across Britain in 2019. USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the sport’s national governing body, will drive education for British American Football Coaches Association members, spanning school-based to adult programs.

British coaches will receive USA Football in-person training and online course work. More than 10,000 U.S. school districts and youth programs combined enrolled in USA Football-developed coach education this season, including nine of the country’s 10 largest school districts.

“Our sport’s community is truly a global family,” said BAFCA President Wayne Hill of Birmingham, England. “We love the game as much as Americans do, and teaming up with USA Football is a historic point for the sport here. Much like in the States, what’s taught and played today is not your father’s gridiron — it’s done a lot smarter, but is just as much fun. This partnership enables us to deliver a smarter, safer game for our athletes through coach education.”

Organized football is played on six continents spanning approximately 70 countries, a figure that has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

GREEN EAGLES IN BIG EASY

The Philadelphia Eagles will be wearing their home green jerseys at New Orleans on Sunday. What’s that all about?

A bet.

In March, coaches Doug Pederson of the Super Bowl champion Eagles and Sean Payton of the Saints made the wager, which was revealed during the summer for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. Pederson has a much better golf game than Payton and finished 32nd at the tournament, while Payton was 77th. Pederson had offered strokes or points in the Modified Stableford scoring format, but Payton turned them down.

Payton made a $5,000 donation to Autism Challenge in Philadelphia as part of the bet.

“Well, it is our home jersey. It is our home color,” Pederson says. “And so we are excited to wear that. We’ve done it a lot this year on the road, wearing our home greens on the road. So you know it’s something that our guys enjoy.”

When Pederson made that bet, did Payton say the Saints would go with their color rush, or a white jersey?

“He didn’t say one way or the other,” Pederson adds. “I would imagine it would be the whites, but he did not say.”

___

AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Schuyler Dixon and Rob Maaddi, and Sports Writers Brett Martel and Steve Reed contributed.

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Ravens hope to take what Bengals’ defense keeps giving

Ravens hope to take what Bengals' defense keeps giving

The Cincinnati

Ravens hope to take what Bengals’ defense keeps giving

The Cincinnati Bengals are playing historically bad pass defense.

The Baltimore Ravens aren’t sure which one of their quarterbacks will try to take advantage of that when they host their AFC North rivals Sunday.

The Bengals rank last in the NFL in passing yards allowed and have yielded more than 500 total yards in each of their last three games, which had never been done before in the Super Bowl era.

They have allowed 158 points over the last four games, including a 51-14 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints last week.

That led Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis to fire defensive coordinator Teryl Austin this week and take over the defensive play calling himself.

Baltimore’s quarterback situation has been shaken up by injuries.

The Ravens rank ninth in the NFL in passing offense, but starting quarterback Joe Flacco might not be available because of a hip injury. Making matters cloudier is that rookie No. 1 draft choice Lamar Jackson, next in line behind Flacco, joined him on the sideline at practice Thursday because of illness.

That left just Robert Griffin III as a healthy quarterback. Griffin, who was out of the NFL last season, hasn’t started a game since 2016 when he was with the Cleveland Browns.

Ravens head coach Jim Harbaugh said Flacco could play Sunday even if he doesn’t practice, as long as he’s healthy enough by game time.

“He’s got experience. He’s a smart guy. He knows how to prepare,” Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t play really well without any practice.”

Both teams are in desperate need of a win. Baltimore (4-5) is coming off a bye, and Cincinnati (5-4) has lost three of four.

The Bengals won the first meeting, 34-23, in Cincinnati in the second week of the season.

In that game, Flacco completed 32-of-55 passes for a season-high 376 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked four times and lost a fumble.

Jackson has seen limited action as a change of pace to Flacco’s traditional pocket passing. The rookie has completed 7 of 12 passes for 87 yards and one touchdown, and he has rushed for 139 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries.

In the first meeting, Jackson played six snaps – three at quarterback and three at wide receiver. He rushed two times for 6 yards.

“We know when Joe’s in there he’s going to stand in that pocket and try to do deep passes down the field and checkdowns,” Bengals linebacker Preston Brown told Cincinnati.com.

“That’s all you’ve really got to worry about: deep passes, checkdowns and crossing routes. But with Lamar in, you never know what you’re going to get,” Brown said.

Lewis said he has more on his mind than who winds up playing quarterback for the Ravens.

“Lamar is going to be a good, young player in the NFL,” Lewis told Cincinnati.com. “We spent a lot of time with Lamar (before the draft), but right now it’s about us, and that’s important.”

The Bengals have injury issues of their own. Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green, who had three touchdown catches in the first meeting, could miss his second consecutive game because of a toe injury. Running back Joe Mixon (knee) was limited in practice Thursday.

–Field Level Media

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Bears, Vikings to battle for NFC North control

Bears, Vikings to battle for NFC North control

Bears, Vikings to battle for NFC North control

Six years have passed since the Chicago Bears enjoyed first place this late in the season.

Now, Chicago (6-3) wants to stay there. But a tough test awaits Sunday night against the visiting Minnesota Vikings (5-3-1), who are looking to win their second straight NFC North title with a strong second half.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is busy as he plans for an opposing offense led by first-year Bears coach Matt Nagy.

“There’s no way you can practice every one of their plays — they’ve got 800 of them for every game,” Zimmer said in comments published by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nagy replied with a tongue-in-cheek denial.

“It’s more like 750,” he joked, according to the Sun-Times.

The matchup pits strength against strength: Chicago’s offense against Minnesota’s defense.

Chicago ranks No. 5 in the NFL with 29.9 points per game thanks in large part to a significant improvement by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky in his second season.

Trubisky is the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after completing 23 of 30 passes for a career-high 355 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 34-22 win over Detroit.

Meanwhile, Minnesota’s defense ranks No. 5 in the NFL in fewest yards allowed. The Vikings have 20 sacks in their last five games, and defensive end Danielle Hunter is second in the league with 11 1/2 sacks this season.

“Danielle is a great athlete,” Zimmer told reporters this week. “Great length, strong, physical, but he’s improved on just being reactive. He just lets it rip now, and that’s what makes him good.”

Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson takes pride in his team’s tenacity on defense.

“TV-wise, it’s probably boring,” Richardson said in comments posted on the Vikings’ website. “Guys don’t want to sit there and watch an 8-7 game, but those games (are) fun for us.”

The opposite matchup also will be intriguing as the Vikings’ offense takes on the Bears’ defense.

Minnesota ranks 12th in the league with 374.3 total yards per game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has steered the offense with 2,685 passing yards (seventh in the NFL) and a passer rating of 102.2 (ninth in the NFL). His top target, Adam Thielen, needs only 53 receiving yards to crack the 1,000-yard barrier on the season.

The Bears also have star power on defense in the form of pass-rushing linebacker Khalil Mack. He is coming off his second multi-sack performance of the season and has excelled in seven games this season with seven sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown.

Chicago is 4-1 at home. Minnesota is 2-1-1 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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Justin Tucker repeats as AP’s best kicker

Justin Tucker stunned everyone with a miss.

The Baltimore Ravens' two-time All-Pro kicker is so good that nobody could believe it when he sliced a game-tying extra point wide right in a 24-23 loss to the Saints last month.

It was Tucker's first career miss after nailing 222 straight.

Despite the shank, Tucker

Justin Tucker stunned everyone with a miss.

The Baltimore Ravens’ two-time All-Pro kicker is so good that nobody could believe it when he sliced a game-tying extra point wide right in a 24-23 loss to the Saints last month.

It was Tucker’s first career miss after nailing 222 straight.

Despite the shank, Tucker was voted the top player in the league at his position for the second straight year by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press.

“With the best numbers in NFL history despite kicking in the Northeast and outdoors, is there any question Tucker tops this list?” said New York-based writer Barry Wilner.

Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history at 90.1 percent, received 92 points in a 10-points-to-one-point system with six of 10 first-place votes.

The next three were the same as last year’s rankings. New England’s Stephen Gostkowski, Greg Zuerlein of the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis’ Adam Vinatieri finished in that order.

Gostkowski received 79 points, including one first-place vote, and appeared on every ballot along with Tucker and Vinatieri.

“Gostkowski is consistent, clutch and deadly accurate,” said New York-based Dennis Waszak Jr. “He replaced Adam Vinatieri in 2006 and the Patriots’ kicking game never missed a beat.”

Zuerlein, who received 63 points, has a powerful leg and is 26 of 45 (57.7 percent) from beyond 50 yards in his career, though the Rams don’t need to call him much any longer because they find the end zone quite often.

“‘Greg the Leg’ can deliver from long range with the best of them,” San Francisco-based Josh Dubow said.

Vinatieri set a pair of NFL records this season, surpassing Hall of Famer Morten Anderson for most points and most field goals. The GOAT turns 46 on Dec. 28 and is in his 13th season with Indianapolis after 10 years in New England, where he helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls by making game-winning kicks in the final seconds in two of the wins.

Vinatieri received 55 points and a first-place vote from Simmi Buttar.

“Doesn’t matter how old he is. He’s got the most points ever in NFL history. Case closed,” said Buttar, who is based in New York.

Wil Lutz finished fifth, one point behind Vinatieri. He is 19 of 20 on field goals for the Saints. Lutz got a pair of first-place votes.

“He’s come through when called upon for a field goal, and he’s limiting opponents in the return game by consistently sending kicks into the end zone,” Nashville-based Teresa Walker said.

Carolina’s Graham Gano was sixth with 39 points. Kansas City’s Harrison Butker was seventh with 35 points. Jason Myers of the New York Jets was eighth with 25 points. Buffalo’s Stephen Hauschka came in ninth with 22 points. San Francisco’s Robbie Gould edged Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell for 10th. Boswell is second behind Tucker on the all-time accuracy list at 87.7 percent.

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The rankings:

1. Justin Tucker, Ravens

2. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

3. Greg Zuerlein, Rams

4. Adam Vinatieri, Colts

5. Wil Lutz, Saints

6. Graham Gano, Panthers

7. Harrison Butker, Chiefs

8. Jason Myers, Jets

9. Stephen Hauschka, Bills

10. Robbie Gould, 49ers

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After huge 1st half, Packers go silent in loss to Seahawks

SEATTLE (AP) — Aaron Rodgers did what he liked for the first 30 minutes. He threw a pair of touchdowns, including a 54-yarder on the run to an unknown tight end for his first NFL catch. His passer rating was nearly perfect. Green Bay looked like it could score on every drive.

And

SEATTLE (AP) — Aaron Rodgers did what he liked for the first 30 minutes. He threw a pair of touchdowns, including a 54-yarder on the run to an unknown tight end for his first NFL catch. His passer rating was nearly perfect. Green Bay looked like it could score on every drive.

And then it almost completely stopped. Rodgers was unable to solve Seattle in the second half, and was left to watch Russell Wilson lead another late touchdown drive and send the Packers back home with a loss.

“It’s tough losing on the road. It’s tough losing by one possession,” Rodgers said. “Obviously I’m frustrated, and not just by the last throw, but some other stuff that we could have done better out there. I still believe we have a lot to play for.”

Green Bay’s road woes continued in a 27-24 loss to the Seahawks on Thursday night. The Packers (4-5-1) had leads of 14-3 and 21-17, only to see Wilson throw a 15-yard TD pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 remaining to give Seattle the lead for good.

The Packers still had a chance to get out of Seattle with its first win here since 2008, yet their final possession lasted all of three plays. And it was the last pass by Rodgers that seemed to baffle everyone.

Facing third-and-2 at its own 33, Rodgers called a quick pass to the flat for Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Except the pass never got there. It hopped in front of the intended receiver, and instead of going for it on fourth down, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy opted to punt with more than 4 minutes remaining and the Packers still having one timeout.

The decision backfired. Green Bay never saw the ball again, instead forced to watch Wilson kneel three times to run out the clock.

Rodgers said the pass for Valdes-Scantling “stuck” in his hand and guessed he could make that throw 100 times and that wouldn’t happen again.

“We beat ourselves in the second half,” Rodgers said. “We kind of moved the ball at will in the first half.”

Green Bay’s problems went well beyond that one bad throw by Rodgers and the decision to punt. Rodgers was sacked five times, four of those in the second half. Twice in the third quarter Green Bay was forced to punt after drives stalled at midfield. The Packers were 3 of 11 on third downs, 2 of 7 in the second half. A week after Aaron Jones rushed for a career-high 145 yards, the Packers had just 48 yards rushing and Jones finished with 40.

Green Bay is 0-5 on the road this season and has lost seven straight road games dating to last year.

“I think it kind of went the way we thought it would go. When you’re playing in this environment, particularly when you’re on the road up here. There’s a high tendency for big-momentum plays, big swings, and I think that definitely held true,” McCarthy said. “They made more big plays than we did. … We’ve got to finish games better, especially in the fourth quarter, and especially on the road.”

Rodgers finished with 332 yards passing and his TD throw to Robert Tonyan in the first quarter, and his 57-yard strike to Davante Adams in the fourth quarter showed again the greatness of his arm. But Rodgers had 214 yards at halftime and Seattle was able to pressure Rodgers enough in the second half to disrupt Green Bay’s passing attack.

Injuries certainly didn’t help either. Green Bay was already down four starters before the first snaps with cornerback Kevin King, safety Kentrell Brice, linebacker Nick Perry and wide receiver Randall Cobb all out due to injuries. They lost two more in the first half when Bashaud Breeland — starting for King — aggravated a groin injury and Jimmy Graham injured his thumb. Graham had a 13-yard reception on Green Bay’s first offensive play in his return to Seattle, but that was his only catch.

Mike Daniels suffered a foot injury early in the second half and backup safety Raven Greene suffered an ankle injury. Neither returned. If there’s an upside to the loss, it’s Green Bay getting extra rest before facing Minnesota in a must-win game next week.

“We have a number of opportunities where our record would be very different right now, unfortunately, that’s the way it’s played out,” Clay Matthews said. “We’ve set ourselves up for a pretty good second half, we just have to get back to work. We have no other option. On to Minnesota after a couple days rest.”

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Potential classic on Monday night in Chiefs-Rams, now in LA

What some are calling the NFL's Game of the Year already has made huge headlines by being moved out of Mexico City because of poor playing conditions. Chiefs-Rams is back in Los Angeles, in prime time and, if it lives up to its billing, could be a wild, high-scoring affair.

Regardless of who

What some are calling the NFL’s Game of the Year already has made huge headlines by being moved out of Mexico City because of poor playing conditions. Chiefs-Rams is back in Los Angeles, in prime time and, if it lives up to its billing, could be a wild, high-scoring affair.

Regardless of who wins, both clubs figure to be in the Super Bowl mix. And because of the extracurriculars associated with Monday night’s meeting, perhaps it won’t be a fair measurement which is the superior team.

Who cares?

For a mid-November match, fans can’t ask for much better than a pair of 9-1 teams with powerhouse offenses and stars galore — leading MVP contenders Todd Gurley of Los Angeles and Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City for starters — going at it as the only show in town. No matter which town.

It’s the first meeting in NFL history this late in a season between two teams averaging 33 points per game.

“He’s made some plays that you sit back and you can’t help but just say, ‘Wow, what a great play,'” Rams coach Sean McVay says of Mahomes, who leads the NFL in yards passing (3,150). Rams QB Jared Goff is second (3,134).

Mahomes set a Chiefs record with an NFL-best 31st TD pass of the season last week. Len Dawson had held that KC record since 1964.

Gurley paces the NFL in scoring (108 points), yards rushing (988), carries (198), yards from scrimmage (1,390) and touchdowns (17). He has scored a touchdown in 13 consecutive games, extending his own franchise record.

“He is a heck of a player. A great player,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid says when asked how to slow Gurley. “You have to be disciplined. They’re a disciplined offense, so you have to be disciplined from a defensive standpoint. Then practice that way and then you go play.”

OK, guys, go play. Let America watch what could be a classic.

The weekend began Thursday night with Seattle’s 27-24 home victory over Green Bay. Russell Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left was the difference. Seattle (5-5) snapped a two-game losing streak. Green Bay dropped to 4-5-1.

Off this week are New England (7-3), the New York Jets (3-7), Miami (5-5), Cleveland (3-6-1), San Francisco (2-8) and Buffalo (3-7).

MINNESOTA (5-3-1) at CHICAGO (6-3)

We soon will find out if the Bears are for real. They are on top of the NFC North, now face the defending division winners, then in a ridiculously short turnaround from Sunday night, they play the early Thanksgiving Day game at Detroit. They also have the Rams and Packers on the road in December.

Two of the NFL’s stingiest and most physical defenses should be main factors Sunday.

Minnesota has allowed an average of only 252.5 yards over last four games, winning three. It did so missing some starters. Safety Harrison Smith likes seeing the Bears: Smith has four interceptions and six passes defended in 10 career games vs. Chicago.

Chicago dropped 10 in a row against the NFC North before beating Detroit last Sunday. It leads the NFL with 16 interceptions, and ranks second with 24 takeaways.

HOUSTON (6-3) at WASHINGTON (6-3)

Two also-rans of 2017 now leading their divisions.

The Texans have won six in a row and come off a bye. Key personnel such as DE J.J. Watt and QB Deshaun Watson were injured last year and are now playing at peak efficiency.

If Watson gets time to throw — Houston has surrendered 30 sacks — DeAndre Hopkins will be the biggest challenge to cover. He has four games with 10-plus catches, 100-plus yards and a touchdown through the air. That’s most in the league since the start of 2017, and Hopkins has five TD catches over the past four games. .

Washington has showed some balance on offense, but the defense has been a major factor in its strong year. It has forced a turnover in 13 consecutive games, the NFL’s longest active streak.

TENNESSEE (5-4) at INDIANAPOLIS (4-5)

Suddenly, there’s a race in the AFC South, and the Colts could get even more involved with a fourth consecutive victory. But the Titans, coming off their best game by far in an upset of the Patriots, have won six straight within the division.

Of course, Andrew Luck was not in the lineup for any of those; Luck is 9-0 in starts against Tennessee.

“I’m aware of it,” Luck says. “But what’s happened has happened, and good, bad or ugly, it doesn’t really matter.”

The Titans have the league’s No. 1 scoring defense, allowing 16.8 points a game, and have yielded a league-low 16 touchdowns.

PHILADELPHIA (4-5) at NEW ORLEANS (8-1)

New Orleans looks like the NFL’s top team right now, and the Eagles don’t resemble their title-winning squad of last season.

Injuries are damaging Philly’s defense at a really bad time. A banged-up secondary takes on Drew Brees and his assortment of helpers. The Saints have scored at least 40 points in five games this season, the third team in NFL history to score 40 in five of the first nine. Brees is completing 77.1 percent of his passes, has thrown for 21 TDs with one interception, and has a 123.8 passer rating.

Michael Thomas is tied for the NFL lead with 78 catches, ranks second with 950 yards, while Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram form a formidable and versatile backfield.

PITTSBURGH (6-2-1) at JACKSONVILLE (3-6)

The Steelers will be wise to look forward and not back at their last encounter with the Jaguars. Jacksonville beat Pittsburgh twice last season, including a 45-42 playoff shocker at Heinz Field.

Thinking revenge would be foolish because the Steelers are on a roll. Well, so are the Jags: Pittsburgh has won five in a row, Jacksonville has dropped that many consecutively.

Steelers running back James Conner has not allowed the team to regret the contract impasse that has led to Le’Veon Bell sitting out the season. Conner is the eighth player in team history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns, leads the AFC in rushing, and is expected to play after being placed in concussion protocol following last week’s win over Carolina.

CINCINNATI (5-4) at BALTIMORE (4-5)

Cincinnati brings an historically leaky defense to Baltimore, which might be without regular quarterback Joe Flacco (hip). That would mean either first-round pick Lamar Jackson or veteran Robert Griffin III will try to further expose that Bengals unit.

The Bengals have won eight of the last 10 in the series, but they fired first-year defensive coordinator Teryl Austin after a 51-14 loss to the Saints, the second-most points allowed in franchise history. They became the first team in the Super Bowl era to give up 500 yards in three straight games and are on pace to give up an NFL-record 7,273 yards.

Head coach Marvin Lewis takes over defensive coordinator duties, too.

DALLAS (4-5) at ATLANTA (4-5)

The Falcons appeared ready to take a role in the playoff race with three successive wins. Then, they put forth a stinker at Cleveland.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys seemed headed toward irrelevance before they went into Philadelphia and outplayed the Super Bowl champions.

Dallas will want to run with Zeke Elliott, who’s second in the NFL in rushing behind Gurley after gaining 151 yards against the Eagles. Atlanta will want to throw: Matt Ryan has seven games with a QB rating over 100 and six games with more than 300 yards passing, while Julio Jones became the fastest player in NFL history with more than 10,000 yards receiving.

CAROLINA (6-3) at DETROIT (3-6)

Both teams would like to forget last week’s poor performances.

Carolina leads this infrequent series 6-2 and remains in good position in the wild-card race with a victory. Detroit needs an immediate turnaround to get into contention.

If this is close, expect Cam Newton and Co. to win. Since 2013, the Panthers are 26-14 in games decided by seven points or fewer. They have won five straight games decided by three or fewer.

Newton has thrown at least two TD passes in eight straight games, the longest streak in franchise history.

DENVER (3-6) at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (7-2)

While the Rams grab the headlines in LA, the Chargers keep grabbing victories. They could get help in the AFC West if their neighbors knock off KC, too.

The Chargers are a league-best 13-3 since Week 9 of last season. Their six-game winning streak marks the 11th time since the merger they had a streak of six or more. Philip Rivers has thrown for two or more TDs in nine straight games. Only five quarterbacks in league history have a string of 10 or more games.

TAMPA BAY (3-6) at NEW YORK GIANTS (2-7)

Saturday’s Notre Dame-Syracuse matchup in the New York area figures to be more fun than this, although the Bucs usually pile up the yards in passing offense and the Giants come off a stirring Eli Manning-led comeback win.

Tampa has lost three in row and six of seven, while New York broke a five-game slide on Monday night. Bucs wideouts Mike Evans (13 catches for 217 yards and a TD in two games) and DeSean Jackson (five touchdowns in the last six games) have feasted on the Giants’ defense.

OAKLAND (1-8) at ARIZONA (2-7)

The lowest-ranked teams in the AP Pro32 face off with the Cardinals coming off a solid effort at Kansas City. The Raiders? They seem to have fallen into the Black Hole, outscored 54-9 in the last two games.

Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald needs eight receptions to surpass Jerry Rice for the most catches for one team.

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Packers-Seahawks Stats

Green Bay 14 7 0 3—24
Seattle 3 14 0 10—27
First Quarter

GB_A.Jones 8 run (Crosby kick), 13:46.

Sea_FG Janikowski 39, 6:00.

GB_Tonyan 54 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 3:10.

Second Quarter

Sea_Baldwin 6 pass from Wilson (Janikowski kick), 8:03.

Green Bay 14 7 0 3—24
Seattle 3 14 0 10—27
First Quarter

GB_A.Jones 8 run (Crosby kick), 13:46.

Sea_FG Janikowski 39, 6:00.

GB_Tonyan 54 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 3:10.

Second Quarter

Sea_Baldwin 6 pass from Wilson (Janikowski kick), 8:03.

Sea_C.Carson 1 run (Janikowski kick), 3:22.

GB_A.Jones 24 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), :44.

Fourth Quarter

Sea_FG Janikowski 43, 12:14.

GB_FG Crosby 36, 8:23.

Sea_E.Dickson 15 pass from Wilson (Janikowski kick), 5:08.

A_69,007.

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GB Sea
First downs 14 23
Total Net Yards 359 378
Rushes-yards 13-48 35-173
Passing 311 205
Punt Returns 3-31 0-0
Kickoff Returns 1-20 2-47
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 21-30-0 21-31-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 5-21 3-20
Punts 6-47.3 4-52.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 5-80 6-30
Time of Possession 25:42 34:18

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INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Green Bay, A.Jones 11-40, J.Williams 1-5, Rodgers 1-3. Seattle, C.Carson 17-83, Penny 8-46, M.Davis 4-26, Wilson 5-17, Lockett 1-1.

PASSING_Green Bay, Rodgers 21-30-0-332. Seattle, Wilson 21-31-0-225.

RECEIVING_Green Bay, D.Adams 10-166, A.Jones 5-63, Kendricks 2-12, Tonyan 1-54, St. Brown 1-16, Graham 1-13, Valdes-Scantling 1-8. Seattle, Baldwin 7-52, Lockett 5-71, D.Moore 4-57, M.Davis 2-24, Vannett 1-17, E.Dickson 1-15, Wilson 1-(minus 11).

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Green Bay, Crosby 47.

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Wilson caps Seattle’s rally past Green Bay for 27-24 win

SEATTLE (AP) — After a shaky beginning, Russell Wilson got hot in the fourth quarter and kept the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of the NFC playoff race.

Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left was the difference in the Seahawks' 27-24 victory over

SEATTLE (AP) — After a shaky beginning, Russell Wilson got hot in the fourth quarter and kept the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of the NFC playoff race.

Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left was the difference in the Seahawks’ 27-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

In a key matchup in the battle for the two NFC wild-card spots, Seattle (5-5) snapped a two-game losing streak by overcoming an early 14-3 deficit. Wilson was shaky at times early game, but was outstanding in the fourth quarter, capping the winning drive by recognizing a blitz and hitting Dickson quickly for his second TD pass of the night. Seattle still has not lost three straight games since the middle of the 2011 season.

Aaron Rodgers had a huge first half for Green Bay (4-5-1) and threw for 332 yards, but the Packers had just one scoring drive in the second half, helped by a 57-yard strike from Rodgers to Davante Adams. Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, but never got the ball back after Green Bay punted with 4:20 left.

Seattle ran out the clock thanks to a pair of runs from Mike Davis.

Chris Carson rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown, overcoming the mistake of fumbling on the first play of the game and setting up Green Bay’s opening score. Tyler Lockett had two key receptions late in the fourth quarter and Doug Baldwin had his first TD catch of the season for Seattle.

Rodgers was 21-of-30 passing with 10 of those going to Adams for 166 yards receiving. Backup tight end Robert Tonyan had the first catch of his career go for a 54-yard touchdown to give Green Bay an early 14-3 lead. The Packers led 21-17 at halftime after Jones caught a 24-yard TD pass from Rodgers in the final minute of the half, but Green Bay’s offense was stymied in the second half.

The Packers gained just 114 yards in the second half, half coming on the one throw from Rodgers to Adams. That pass set up Mason Crosby’s 36-yard field goal with 8:23 left, but Wilson had one more answer.

Wilson hit Lockett on consecutive plays for 18 yards — to convert a third-down — and 34 yards to the Green Bay 16. Two plays later, facing another third-and-long, Wilson recognized the blitz and hit Dickson quickly over the middle to put Seattle in front.

That proved to be enough. On Green Bay’s next drive, Rodgers short-hopped a pass on third-and-2. Rather than going for it on fourth-down, Mike McCarthy opted to punt despite having just one time out. Seattle never gave the ball back.

INJURIES

Green Bay was down four starters with CB Kevin King, S Kentrell Brice, LB Nick Perry and WR Randall Cobb all out due to injuries. They lost two more in the first half when Bashaud Breeland — starting for King — aggravated a groin injury and Jimmy Graham injured his thumb. Graham had a 13-yard reception on Green Bay’s first offensive play in his return to Seattle, but that was his only catch.

Mike Daniels suffered a foot injury early in the second half and backup safety Raven Greene suffered an ankle injury. Neither returned.

UP NEXT

Packers: At Minnesota on Nov. 25.

Seahawks: At Carolina on Nov. 25.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Giants seek rare win streak as Bucs visit

Giants seek rare win streak as Bucs visit

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Giants seek rare win streak as Bucs visit

There’s plenty of string to be played out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants, and they’ll use up another week of it Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Tampa Bay is 3-6, losers of six of the past seven. New York is 2-7, and it needed a fourth-quarter comeback to earn its second win Monday night at San Francisco. Both teams are a lot closer to being on the clock for next spring’s NFL draft than they are of being in any kind of playoff race.

However, even bad teams still have things for which to play. In the Buccaneers’ case, it’s another week of trying to save the job of embattled coach Dirk Koetter. For the Giants, it’s a chance to win consecutive games for the first time this year.

“The thing is, we got to keep getting better, and I think we have gotten better,” New York left tackle Nate Solder said. “This has got to be another (positive) week. We can’t stay stagnant, we can’t get worse. We got to keep continuing to improve.”

The Sunday contest has the potential of being a high-scoring game. Coming off a three-TD game Monday night, Giants quarterback Eli Manning gets an opportunity to pick on a Tampa Bay pass defense that has been a blinking green light all year. What’s more, the Buccaneers might not have their best linebacker, Lavonte David.

A knee injury kept David off the practice field both Wednesday and Thursday.

Tampa Bay has an explosive offense with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to the likes of Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and emerging tight end O.J. Howard. However, the Buccaneers have been plagued by a failure to convert in the red zone and a league-worst minus-19 turnover ratio.

In a 16-3 home loss to the Washington Redskins last week, Tampa Bay accomplished the wondrous feat of gaining 501 yards yet managing just a field goal. Fitzpatrick completed 29 of 41 passes for 406 yards but mixed in two interceptions and a lost fumble.

“Turnovers are killing us right now,” Koetter said. “We’re last in the league with 13 in the last four games. Thirteen turnovers and no takeaways. That’s by far the No. 1 thing that’s hurting our team. We’ve talked about it many times.”

The game marks the return of Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the Meadowlands. Pierre-Paul notched 58 1/2 sacks in eight years for New York before being traded to Tampa Bay in March.

He sent a message Thursday to Manning: “I’m coming, Eli. … The new rules, you’ve got to lay him down, so I’ll lay him down if I get there. … I know one thing, if (Manning) is hot, he’s on, he’s going to continue to be hot. We’ve got to get after them early.”

–Field Level Media

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Rams, Chiefs set to light up scoreboard in L.A.

Rams, Chiefs set to light up scoreboard in L.A.

Rams, Chiefs set to light up scoreboard in L.A.

The biggest storyline going into one of the biggest NFL clashes to date this season is that the game will actually be played in the United States.

Concerns over field conditions prompted league office to pull the matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs (sporting matching 9-1 records) out of Mexico City. The Rams now get a Monday night home game in what promises to be an offensive showcase.

“We were excited about the opportunity to play in Mexico City,” Rams coach Sean McVay said, “but I think it’s a great demonstration of the league’s consideration for our players.”

Defensive prowess will be measured in punts forced in a game featuring quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff, who rank 1-2 in the NFL in passing yards, and running backs Kareem Hunt (the reigning NFL rushing champion) and Todd Gurley (the current leader in rushing yards).

“You want to compete against these teams because they are going to be the teams that are there at the end of the season,” Mahomes said.

The competition has seemed alarmingly easy for Mahomes to solve thus far. The Chiefs’ only defeat came in a last-second loss at New England. Their first-year starting quarterback leads the NFL in passing yards (3,150) and touchdowns (31) while showing off improvisational skills that accentuate dangerous targets such as tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

“Opponents are going to present something that you have to work on and get answered there pretty quick during a game and make your adjustments,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That normally goes on for a couple years (with a young quarterback). He has done a nice job of working through it.”

The 34.5 passes the Chiefs attempt on average could spell trouble for Mahomes if the Rams’ defense generates pressure against a battered Kansas City offensive front. One counter against Rams standout Aaron Donald and his teammates along the Los Angeles defensive front could be to get Hunt rolling since the Rams are allowing 5.2 yards per carry.

Gurley is averaging 98.8 yards rushing with 17 total touchdowns and will look to do plenty of running for the Rams, who practiced in Colorado Springs while expecting to play in the Mexico City altitude.

Goff has thrown for 3,134 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The matchup could also factor into Most Valuable Player voting, as well — though more than month remains in the regular season and both teams still face strong challenges in their pursuits to become top playoff seeds in their respective conferences.

Adding to the intrigue is the presence of Rams cornerback Marcus Peters, who played in Kansas City the three previous seasons and was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and first-team All-Pro in 2016.

“You don’t ignore the fact that this is his former team,” McVay said of Peters, whom the Rams acquired via a trade in the offseason, “and that naturally comes with some other feelings just based on the history and relationships that you have.”

Mahomes was listed with a foot injury on the Chiefs injury report but fully participated in practice. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (ribs) should play.

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL suffered last week against Seattle. Another receiver, Josh Reynolds (knee) is expected to play.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Steelers actually secured Bell’s belongings

NFL notebook: Steelers actually secured Bell's belongings

NFL notebook: Steelers actually secured Bell’s belongings

Unable to lock up Le’Veon Bell to a new contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers are making sure they at least lock up his belongings. Even if it is a day too late.

A day after video surfaced showing Steelers players purportedly raiding their former teammate’s locker, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Thursday that most of Bell’s items were actually “packed up and placed in the back of team headquarters, with former teammates scoring a few pairs of cleats and not much more during Wednesday’s raid.”

Bell did not sign his $14.5 million tender before Tuesday’s deadline and will sit out the remainder of the season. On Wednesday, teammates reportedly removed Bell’s nameplate from his locker and treated themselves to numerous items in his locker, including cleats, CDs, shirts and a suit.

But center and team captain Maurkice Pouncey told Fowler that Bell’s items will likely be shipped directly to Bell, which is customary when a player is no longer with a team.

–Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins returned to practice and there’s a “pretty good chance” he will play against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night, coach Andy Reid said.

Watkins, who played with the Rams last season, missed last Sunday’s win against the Arizona Cardinals with a foot injury.

Watkins has 39 receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns this season, including 100-yard games against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 and the Denver Broncos in Week 8.

Linebacker Anthony Hitchens (ribs) also returned to practice. Center Mitch Morse (concussion) did not participate.

–Former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Tim Green, later a broadcaster for Fox Sports, was diagnosed with ALS.

“While the football field is far away, I find myself in a formidable struggle,” Green wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. “For the past five years I’ve been coping with some neurological problems in my hands. At first the doctors thought the damage I’d done to my elbows in football was the culprit, so they operated to release the nerves, but the issue persisted and my voice began to weaken as well. That’s the only reason I’ve had to stop visiting schools to talk with kids. Finally, I was diagnosed with ALS.”

Green started 71 games in the NFL and retired in 1993. He worked for Fox and on Good Morning America, penned a book, “The Dark Side of the Game: My Life in the NFL,” and earned his law degree. Green was a two-time All-American at Syracuse and the 17th overall draft pick in 1986.

–The Indianapolis Colts signed former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins to their practice squad.

Collins, 25, has served multiple league suspensions since the Falcons drafted him in the second round out of LSU in 2015. Atlanta released him last November and he was suspended for the first 10 games in 2018. Collins has played in 24 games (eight starts) and registered 43 tackles and two interceptions.

In a corresponding move, the Colts released quarterback Phillip Walker from the practice squad.

–Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome before the start of the season, said he has regained feeling in his hands for the first time in months.

“It’s starting to come back in my hands a little bit here, which is good,” the four-time Pro Bowl player told the Dallas Morning News. “Now it’s more just numbness, no tingling, and it’s more in the tips.”

Frederick, 27, said he still has no sensation in his feet, but he remains optimistic about a full recovery. He has been with the Cowboys since they drafted him in the first round out of Wisconsin in 2013. He started all 80 regular season games and three playoff games in his first five seasons.

–Field Level Media

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