Posts by National Football Post

Colts QB Brissett to play Sunday; WR Hilton out

Colts QB Brissett to play Sunday; WR Hilton out

Jacoby

Colts QB Brissett to play Sunday; WR Hilton out

Jacoby Brissett will be back at quarterback on Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Jacoby was full go the whole week,” coach Frank Reich told reporters on Friday. “He looked good, so he’ll be our starter.”

Brissett sprained his left knee in the Colts’ 26-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 3. He sat out last Sunday’s game, a four-point loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Reich said he couldn’t estimate how near the quarterback was to 100 percent recovered.

“He’s looked really good. I really don’t want to put a percentage on it. I know he’s good enough to play,” Reich said.

On the season, the 26-year-old Brissett has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,649 yards in eight starts. He’s thrown 14 touchdowns and been intercepted three times.

Reich also announced that No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton will miss the game with a calf injury. He last played on Oct. 27 in a win against Denver.

Hilton, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has 32 receptions for 360 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Ex-Browns WR Callaway loses appeal of 10-game ban

Reports: Ex-Browns WR Callaway loses appeal of 10-game ban

Reports: Ex-Browns WR Callaway loses appeal of 10-game ban

Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway must serve a 10-game suspension after losing his appeal, according to multiple reports published on Friday.

Callaway’s suspension was for his second violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, which he and his agent attributed to a tainted CBD product.

The Browns waived Callaway on Thursday, four days after he was benched, and shortly before NFL Network reported his suspension.

Callaway was a late scratch for the Browns’ 19-16 home victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday for what multiple outlets reported was a late arrival to the game.

Callaway, 22, was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, after the Browns traded up to get him. Most considered him a first-round talent, but legal issues and his dismissal from the team at Florida damaged his draft status.

In August 2018, four months after he was drafted, Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license, charges that were dropped in February.

Callaway played in all 16 games as a rookie and totaled 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games (11 starts as a rookie). But he was suspended four games under the substance-abuse policy — stemming from the 2018 citation — to start this season.

In four games (two starts) since the suspension, he had only eight catches for 89 yards.

–Field Level Media

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Browns’ Garrett suspended indefinitely, two others disciplined

Browns' Garrett suspended indefinitely, two others disciplined

Browns’ Garrett suspended indefinitely, two others disciplined

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended indefinitely without pay for his role in a melee in Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as the NFL reacted with swift and harsh penalties one day after the ugly incident.

The minimum six-game suspension for Garrett, which would include the playoffs if the Browns advance, is the largest ever handed out by the NFL.

Also suspended for their role in the fracas, notable for Garrett swinging a helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph, was Browns defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi (one game and a fine) and Steelers offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey (three games and a fine.)

The Browns and Steelers organizations also were fined $250,000 each.

The incident started after Rudolph dumped off a short pass. After getting knocked down, Rudolph appeared to grab at Garrett’s helmet before Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and, with Steelers’ offensive linemen attempting to intervene, hit the quarterback in the head with it.

“It was bush league,” Rudolph, who was uninjured, told reporters afterward. “Total coward move on his part. I get it. I mean it’s OK, though. I’ll take it. I’m not going to back down from any bully out there.”

Rudolph did not initially fall from the hit by the helmet, as he turned to officials with his hands raised, but Ogunjobi charged at him from behind and shoved him to the ground.

Meanwhile, Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro tackled Garrett, and Pouncey jumped on the pile, throwing several punches at Garrett before kicking at him once and throwing more punches.

After conferring with replay officials in New York, referee Clete Blakeman ejected Garrett, Ogunjobi and Pouncey. That made four ejections in the game, after Browns safety Damarious Randall was disqualified following a helmet-to-helmet hit that concussed Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson in the third quarter.

Before Garrett can be reinstated, he has to first meet with the commissioner’s office in New York. In addition to not being paid for the games he will miss, he was also fined an additional undisclosed amount.

In a statement, the NFL said that further discipline to players “will be forthcoming through the standard accountability process, including those players that left the bench to enter the fight area.”

The suspensions can be appealed within three business days.

The previous record suspension was five games in 2006 for the Tennessee Titans’ Albert Haynesworth after he stomped on the head of the Dallas Cowboys’ Andre Gurode and caused lacerations that required 30 stitches.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Browns S Burnett has torn Achilles

Report: Browns S Burnett has torn Achilles

Cleveland Browns

Report: Browns S Burnett has torn Achilles

Cleveland Browns safety Morgan Burnett likely has a torn Achilles, an injury that would knock out the veteran for the rest of the season, according to an NFL Network report.

Burnett came away with the injury in Thursday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers and will undergo an MRI to confirm the diagnosis on Friday.

If lost for the year, it would be a significant blow to a Browns defense that is also expected to be without defensive end Myles Garrett for an extended period of time. A suspension is expected after Garrett struck Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his own helmet in the closing moments of Thursday’s game.

Burnett, 30, in his first season with the Browns, has 41 tackles, two sacks and an interception in eight games this season. His interception came in Thursday’s 21-7 victory.

The defense had recently helped the team recover from a four-game losing streak by giving up 23 total points in consecutive victories over the Buffalo Bills and Steelers.

Over his 10-year career, Burnett has 788 tackles, 9.5 sacks and 10 interceptions in 121 games (112 starts). He played eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers after he was a third-round draft pick in 2010 and played last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

–Field Level Media

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Lions QB Stafford out for second consecutive week

Lions QB Stafford out for second consecutive week

Detroit

Lions QB Stafford out for second consecutive week

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will not play at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the second consecutive week he will be out of action because of a back injury, head coach Matt Patricia said Thursday.

ESPN reported last week that scans of Stafford’s back showed fractured bones. The injury also kept him out of last week’s 20-13 loss to the Chicago Bears, an absence that cost him his 136-game starting streak.

Stafford has not practiced this week as he works through his medical program.

Patricia has classified Stafford as week-to-week, with no word that his availability for the remainder of the season is in jeopardy.

“That’s not my thinking at the moment,” Stafford said last week about stepping aside for the remainder of the season. “My thinking is to try and be out there as soon as I possibly can to help us win.”

Stafford has passed for 2,499 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions this season as the team has gone 3-4-1 when he was on the field. The 31-year-old former No. 1 overall selection in the draft in 2009 has 41,025 passing yards over 11 seasons with 256 TDs and 134 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles RB Sproles (hip flexor) out for season

Eagles RB Sproles (hip flexor) out for season

Eagles RB Sproles (hip flexor) out for season

Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles is out for the rest of the season as he recovers from a torn right hip flexor the team announced on Friday.

Sproles, 36, originally suffered the injury in a 31-6 win over the New York Jets on Oct. 6.

He missed the next three games, but returned and had three offensive touches in a 22-14 win over the Chicago Bears on Nov. 3. Sproles didn’t report any problems after that game and returned to practice the following week, but reported the injury after Wednesday’s session.

Sproles finishes the season with 17 carries for 66 yards and six receptions for 24 yards in six games this season.

Playing in his 15th season, Sproles is now fifth all-time in career all-purpose yards with 19,696.

–Field Level Media

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Agent of Steelers QB Rudolph not ruling out legal options

Agent of Steelers QB Rudolph not ruling out legal options

Agent of Steelers QB Rudolph not ruling out legal options

The agent for Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph has not ruled out involving the legal process against Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett after the melee that ensued toward the end of Thursday night’s game at Cleveland.

Garrett came away with Rudolph’s helmet during a skirmish following a short pass by the quarterback. In a scrum that included Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro, Garrett proceeded to swing the headgear and hit Rudolph in the head.

Garrett was ejected in the closing moments of the game. The NFL is reviewing the incident for further punishment.

Rudolph’s agent did not rule out filing criminal charges, according to multiple reports.

“I am gathering all information and no options have been removed from the table,” agent Tim Younger said via text, according to ESPN.

Younger first took to Twitter late Thursday night to let his feelings be known about the incident.

“There are many risks an NFL QB assumes every snap taken on the field,” Younger wrote. “Being hit on your uncovered head by a helmet being swung by a 275-pound DE is not one of them. Tonight could have had a catastrophic ending. The matter will be reviewed thoroughly.”

Rudolph called the incident both “cowardly” and “bush league.” Garrett expressed regret for his actions.

“What I did was foolish, and I shouldn’t allow myself to slip like that,” Garrett said after Thursday’s game. “That’s out of character, but a situation like that where it’s an emotional game, and I allowed myself to fall into those emotions with what happened.”

The most serious punishment for an on-field incident in NFL history was a five-game suspension in 2006 for the Tennessee Titans’ Albert Haynesworth after he stomped on the head of the Dallas Cowboys’ Andre Gurode and caused lacerations that required 30 stitches. Gurode did not press criminal charges or file a criminal lawsuit.

–Field Level Media

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Browns’ win over Steelers ends with ugly brawl

Browns' win over Steelers ends with ugly brawl

Browns’ win over Steelers ends with ugly brawl

Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns, and the Cleveland defense beat down and beat up the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, resulting in a 21-7 win for the Browns.

The result was marred by a huge brawl with eight seconds left that resulted in the ejections of three players. Cleveland’s Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi, along with Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey, were booted.

Garrett could be facing a long suspension after he ripped quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off and then hit him in the head with it. Pouncey punched and kicked Garrett in response.

Mayfield completed 17 of 32 passes for 193 yards and added a touchdown run while playing his second straight turnover-free game after committing 13 giveaways in the first eight games.

Linebacker Joe Schobert starred for the Browns’ defense with 10 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. The last pick set up Mayfield’s game-sealing, 8-yard touchdown toss to Stephen Carlson with 5:25 left.

Pittsburgh (5-5) saw its four-game winning streak end as Rudolph endured a rough game. Rudolph hit on just 23 of 44 passes for 221 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions.

The Steelers lost leading rusher James Conner (shoulder) and top receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (concussion) in the first half. That was part of a physical, chippy game in which Cleveland (4-6) was penalized eight times for 121 yards.

Browns safety Damarious Randall was ejected in the third quarter for a helmet-to-helmet hit on rookie wideout Diontae Johnson. It was the first of four penalties on an 87-yard drive that Pittsburgh capped with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Rudolph to Jaylen Samuels at the 5:39 mark, cutting Cleveland’s lead to 14-7.

The Browns set an immediate tone by forcing a three-and-out to start the game, then going 65 yards on just five plays. Mayfield found Odell Beckham for 42 yards to the 1, then snuck the final yard for a 7-0 advantage before the game was four minutes old.

Cleveland upped the lead to 14-0 on Mayfield’s 1-yard scoring strike to Jarvis Landry with 9:55 left in the second quarter.

Nick Chubb rushed 27 times for 92 yards for Cleveland, becoming the first player to go over the 1,000-yard mark on the ground this year.

–Field Level Media

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Browns’ Garrett ejected for swinging helmet at Steelers QB

Browns' Garrett ejected for swinging helmet at Steelers QB

Browns’ Garrett ejected for swinging helmet at Steelers QB

Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett was one of three players ejected after a instigating an ugly brawl with the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers with eight seconds remaining in the Browns’ Thursday night win.

Scrapping with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph after a play, Garrett pulled Rudolph’s helmet off by the facemask and — while being restrained by Steelers offensive linemen David DeCastro and Matt Feiler — swung it deliberately and made contact with the top of Rudolph’s head.

Rudolph did not initially fall from the hit by the helmet, as he turned to officials with his hands raised, but Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi charged at him from behind and shoved him to the ground.

Meanwhile, DeCastro tackled Garrett, and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey jumped on the pile and threw several punches at Garrett before kicking at him once and throwing more punches.

After conferring with replay officials in New York, referee Clete Blakeman ejected Garrett, Ogunjobi and Pouncey. That made four ejections in the game, after Browns safety Damarious Randall was disqualified following a helmet-to-helmet hit that concussed Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson in the third quarter.

The late fracas began as Rudolph flipped a screen pass and was wrapped up by Garrett, who did not let go and slowly dragged Rudolph to the ground as the quarterback resisted. Once on the ground, Rudolph grabbed at Garrett’s facemask and helmet, and the two continued to scrap as DeCastro pulled Garrett off and Feiler tried to separate the two.

But Garrett grabbed Rudolph’s facemask, pulled the quarterback off the ground by the facemask and then yanked it once more to pull the helmet off. Rudolph got up and chased after Garrett, which is when the defensive end swung the helmet.

Rudolph, who was concussed and knocked unconscious by a helmet-to-helmet hit earlier this year, also took an inadvertent shot to the back of the head from Feiler, who was walking to confront Ogunjobi as Rudolph was getting up from Ogunjobi’s hit. Rudolph remained in the game to run one more play.

Cleveland coach Freddie Kitchens said postgame of Garrett, “He understands what he did. He understands what he did is totally unacceptable.”

DeCastro said, according to ESPN, “The (NFL) has to make a statement,” while Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward said of Rudolph, “The dude was defenseless.”

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield gave his perspective from the bench in a postgame interview with Fox.

“I didn’t see why it started, but it’s inexcusable,” he said. “I don’t care, rivalry or not, we can’t do that. … That’s just endangering the other team. That’s inexcusable. (Garrett) knows that.

“The reality of it, he’s going to get suspended, and that’s going to hurt our team. We don’t know how long, but that hurts our team.”

The Browns won 21-7, beating the Steelers for the first time since October 2014. They had lost seven of the previous eight meetings, with the teams playing to a tie in the 2018 season opener at Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ Smith-Schuster, Conner leave with injuries

Steelers' Smith-Schuster, Conner leave with injuries

Steelers’ Smith-Schuster, Conner leave with injuries

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Pro Bowlers JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner to first-half injuries on Thursday night against the Browns in Cleveland.

Both players were ruled out by the team. Conner aggravated his right shoulder injury, which kept him out of the last two games, on the final play of the first quarter.

Smith-Schuster sustained a concussion midway through the second quarter as he was sandwiched by a trio of Browns defenders, with safety Morgan Burnett’s facemask colliding with Smith-Schuster’s helmet. The hit, which came a step or so after Smith-Schuster caught the ball, was not penalized.

Burnett later left the game with what multiple media outlets reported was a possibly serious Achilles injury.

Conner had five carries for 10 yards and one reception for 6 yards, while Smith-Schuster made two grabs for 21 yards before departing. Both made their first career Pro Bowl appearances in 2018.

The Steelers also lost cornerback Artie Burns (knee), linebacker Ola Adeniyi (concussion) and rookie wideout Diontae Johnson (concussion) to injuries.

Johnson was hurt on a hit in the third quarter by Browns safety Damarious Randall that drew an ejection.

A throw down the sideline went through Johnson’s hands, and Randall arrived a beat late, with his helmet colliding squarely with Johnson’s helmet. Randall was given a 15-yard penalty on the field and then ejected upon review.

Johnson appeared to be in serious pain and then was helped off with significant assistance, with blood dripping from his right ear.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs regroup vs. Chargers in Mexico City

Chiefs regroup vs. Chargers in Mexico City

The return of the

Chiefs regroup vs. Chargers in Mexico City

The return of the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player coincided with a drop in performance among Kansas City Chiefs defenders.

In the two-plus games quarterback Patrick Mahomes missed with a dislocated kneecap, the Chiefs stopped the run effectively and did not give up a 100-yard performance. Their defense held its own.

When Mahomes returned last week, the defense contributed to a total team collapse. The unexpected letdown tightened the AFC West chase as Kansas City (6-4) meets a division rival, the Los Angeles Chargers (4-6), on Monday night at Mexico City.

“You can’t change what happened,” Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen said. “What you can do is focus on fixing and improving as we go down this last stretch.”

The closing run is tighter than most predicted. The Chiefs are tied in the loss column with the Oakland Raiders (5-4) atop the AFC West, and the Chargers can tighten things even more by beating Kansas City on a neutral field in prime time.

“We’re in a battle now,” Mahomes said.

The matchup is a second crack for Kansas City to play in Mexico City after field conditions last year at Estadio Azteca prompted a scheduled appearance against the Rams to be moved to Los Angeles.

“I was hopeful that we would have a chance to go to Mexico City,” said Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt, noting that the league assured his staff that the turf is much improved. “All of the international games are very important for the league, and they are also important for the Chiefs from a branding standpoint. I frankly did not expect that we would be (scheduled again for) Mexico City so fast.”

Kansas City is designated as the visitor, leaving the Chiefs with three home games, one each against division rivals, and road tests at New England and Chicago. The Chiefs’ strength of schedule currently ranks fifth.

Expect the Chargers to try to establish a balanced attack. Melvin Gordon, coming off a 108-yard performance in a loss to the Raiders, will try to exploit a Chiefs run defense that ranks 31st.

Kansas City allowed 188 yards last week to Derrick Henry, who led a Tennessee rally that capitalized on two botched field goals.

In preparation for the 7,200-foot altitude in Mexico City, the Chargers are practicing in Colorado Springs, Colo. (at 6,035 feet), which prompted some players to complain about the arrangements on Twitter.

“I’ve felt the effect, so I wanted my players to come and practice in it for a week,” said Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, referencing his playing days in Denver.

Defensive end Joey Bosa, with 12 tackles for loss, leads a Los Angeles defense that will attempt to keep Mahomes from spotting his electric receivers.

The Chargers face a battered Kansas City line that continues to hope for the return of left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, both of whom practiced in full on Thursday. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz has a tender knee but practiced on a limited basis.

Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah underwent surgery for a pectoral tear. Another defensive end, Alex Okafor, continues to be slowed by an ankle injury.

The Chargers are hopeful the extra day of preparation can help left tackle Russell Okung rebound from a groin strain suffered in last Sunday’s loss at Oakland, but he was absent at Thursday’s practice, along with right tackle Sam Tevi.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Ex-coaches will lead Kaepernick’s workout

NFL notebook: Ex-coaches will lead Kaepernick's workout

Colin

NFL notebook: Ex-coaches will lead Kaepernick’s workout

Colin Kaepernick’s open workout for all 32 teams in Atlanta on Saturday will be led by former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, with former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin also participating, the NFL announced in a statement Thursday.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling on the sideline during the national anthem to bring attention to social injustice, has not played since the 2016 season.

The NFL scheduled a workout for Kaepernick at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility. The league announced that 11 teams — Arizona, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tampa Bay and Washington — have confirmed they will attend in some capacity, with more expected to commit.

–The Cleveland Browns waived wide receiver Antonio Callaway, four days after he was benched, and shortly before NFL Network reported he is facing a 10-game suspension.

Callaway was a late scratch for the Browns’ 19-16 home victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday for what multiple outlets reported was a late arrival to the game. His replacement, Rashard Higgins, caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Not long after Callaway’s release Thursday, NFL Network reported the wideout is appealing a 10-game suspension for what would be his second violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

–Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher practiced in full for the first time since having sports hernia surgery following Week 2.

Fisher was initially given a four- to six-week timetable for a return. He returned for two limited practices leading up to Week 8 but then went back to missing practice until this week.

Fisher, 28, was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and had played in 87 consecutive games prior to leaving the Chiefs’ Week 2 win at Oakland after just four snaps.

–Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford did not practice for the second straight day, increasing doubt about his availability for the Lions’ Sunday game against the Dallas Cowboys. Stafford sat out last week with a back injury as Detroit fell to the Chicago Bears.

–Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not practice for the second straight day. Coach Doug Pederson told reporters on Wednesday that Jeffery was considered day-to-day with a calf injury ahead of the Eagles’ Sunday game against the New England Patriots.

–New England quarterback Tom Brady, 42, had initially said in recent years that he envisioned himself playing in the NFL until he’s 45. However, Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, thinks the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player can go until he is 46 or 47.

–Broncos cornerback Bryce Callahan is likely to land on injured reserve due to a foot injury, coach Vic Fangio said. After signing a three-year, $21 million with Denver in the offseason, Callahan has yet to appear in a game this season due to the foot issue.

–New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones is looking to trademark his “Danny Dimes” nickname, according to ESPN. Jones’ application reportedly covers everything from apparel and toys to video games, helmets, trading cards and bumper stickers.

–Architectural renderings revealed show a number of proposed changes for the New Orleans Superdome as part of a $450 million renovation, including the addition of standing-room only viewing areas.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first NFL team to establish a college scholarship program for female high school football players. A $250,000 commitment from the team’s foundation was announced and is open to all female seniors nationwide who participate in a formally sanctioned flag or tackle football program.

–Field Level Media

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Giants QB Jones seeks ‘Danny Dimes’ trademark

Giants QB Jones seeks 'Danny Dimes' trademark

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel

Giants QB Jones seeks ‘Danny Dimes’ trademark

New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones is looking to trademark his “Danny Dimes” nickname, ESPN said Thursday.

Jones’ agents at CAA said they filed the paperwork last month due to the demand for “Danny Dimes” merchandise and to protect Jones moving forward.

Two other trademark applications were recorded soon after Jones replaced Eli Manning as the starting quarterback in mid-September. One was filed by John Messina, believed to be the nickname’s creator.

Jones’ application covers everything from apparel and toys to video games, helmets, trading cards and bumper stickers, per ESPN.

Jones originally gave a lukewarm endorsement to the “Danny Dimes” moniker.

“Yeah, I’ve heard it a little bit more recently,” he told ESPN in September. “I don’t know. It’s all right, I guess. There could be worse nicknames.”

Jones, 22, was the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Duke. Through nine games (eight starts), he has completed 63.0 percent of his passes for 1,984 yards with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Jones and the Giants (2-8) have lost six straight entering this week’s bye. They return to action Nov. 24 at the Chicago Bears (4-5).

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs LT Fisher practices for first time since Week 2

Chiefs LT Fisher practices for first time since Week 2

Chiefs LT Fisher practices for first time since Week 2

Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher practiced in full on Thursday for the first time since having sports hernia surgery following Week 2.

Fisher was initially given a 4- to 6-week timetable for a return. He returned for two limited practices leading up to Week 8 but then went back to missing practice until this week.

Fisher, 28, was a Pro Bowler in 2018 and had played in 87 consecutive games prior to leaving Week 2’s win at Oakland after just four snaps.

In 16 starts in 2018, he allowed 4.5 sacks and committed five penalties. Replacement Cameron Erving — who has started the last eight games at left tackle — has allowed 4.5 sacks and committed four penalties this season.

The Chiefs’ offensive line could potentially be whole again for Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City.

In addition to Fisher, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) returned to a full practice after missing Weeks 9 and 10.

Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz (knee) was limited Thursday. He left Sunday’s game in Tennessee — halting a streak of 7,894 snaps, the longest active streak in the NFL at the time — but later returned to finish it.

The Chiefs lost backup Martinas Rankin, who has started five games as a fill-in this year, for the year due to a knee injury on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Chargers have less positive news regarding injuries up front. Left tackle Russell Okung, who exited Week 10’s loss in Oakland on Nov. 7 with a groin injury, sat out Thursday’s practice. Sam Tevi also sat out with a knee injury, which kept him out of Week 10.

Los Angeles allowed five sacks and 10 hits of quarterback Philip Rivers in the loss to the Raiders.

–Field Level Media

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Browns waive WR Callaway amid suspension report

Browns waive WR Callaway amid suspension report

The Cleveland

Browns waive WR Callaway amid suspension report

The Cleveland Browns waived wide receiver Antonio Callaway on Thursday, five days after he was benched, and shortly before NFL Network reported he is facing a 10-game suspension.

Callaway was a late scratch for the Browns’ 19-16 home victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, for what multiple outlets reported was a late arrival to the game. His replacement, Rashard Higgins, caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Not long after Callaway’s release Thursday, NFL Network reported the wideout is appealing a 10-game suspension for what would be his second violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Per the report, the pending suspension was “not the only reason” Callaway was waived, but “it is an important factor.” The report also said Callaway had an appeal hearing within the last week, with Callaway contending a “tainted CBD product” was involved.

Head coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters on a conference call Monday that Callaway’s benching would be only for one game. The coach added, “I don’t know if he got the message or not, but I’m not wavering.”

Callaway, 22, was a fourth-round pick in the draft last year, after the Browns traded up to get him. Most considered him a first-round talent, but legal issues and his dismissal from the team at Florida damaged his draft status.

In August of 2018, four months after he was drafted, Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license, charges that were dropped in February.

Callaway played in all 16 games as a rookie and totaled 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns in 16 games (11 starts as a rookie). But he was suspended four games under the substance-abuse policy — stemming from the 2018 citation — to start this season.

In four games (two starts) since the suspension, he had only eight catches for 89 yards.

The Browns replaced Callaway on the 53-man roster with offensive lineman Drew Forbes, who was activated from injured reserve after sitting out all season thus far with a knee injury.

Forbes, a sixth-round rookie out of Southeast Missouri State, worked at several different positions during the preseason after playing offensive tackle in college.

–Field Level Media

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Browns waive WR Callaway, activate OL Forbes

Browns waive WR Callaway, activate OL Forbes

The Cleveland

Browns waive WR Callaway, activate OL Forbes

The Cleveland Browns waived wide receiver Antonio Callaway on Thursday, five days after he was benched for what multiple outlets reported was a late arrival to a home game against the Buffalo Bills.

Callaway sat out the 19-16 victory on Sunday, and his replacement, Rashard Higgins, caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Freddie Kitchens told reporters on a conference call Monday that Callaway’s benching would be only for one game. The coach added, “I don’t know if he got the message or not, but I’m not wavering.”

Callaway, 22, was a fourth-round pick in the draft last year, after the Browns traded up to get him. Most considered him a first-round talent, but legal issues and his dismissal from the team at Florida damaged his draft status.

He totaled 43 catches for 586 yards and six touchdowns in 16 games (11 starts as a rookie) but had just eight catches for 89 yards in four games (two starts) this year, being limited by injuries.

The Browns replaced Callaway on the 53-man roster with offensive lineman Drew Forbes, who was activated from injured reserve after sitting out all season thus far with a knee injury.

Forbes, a sixth-round rookie out of Southeast Missouri State, worked at several different positions during the preseason after playing offensive tackle in college.

–Field Level Media

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Former coaches Jackson, Philbin to run Kaepernick workout

Former coaches Jackson, Philbin to run Kaepernick workout

Former coaches Jackson, Philbin to run Kaepernick workout

Colin Kaepernick’s open workout for all 32 teams in Atlanta on Saturday will be led by former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, with former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin also participating, the NFL announced in a statement Thursday.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling on the sideline during the national anthem to bring attention to social injustice, has not played since the 2016 season.

The NFL scheduled a workout for Kaepernick at the Atlanta Falcons’ practice facility. The league announced that 11 teams — Arizona, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tampa Bay, and Washington — have confirmed they will attend in some capacity, with more expected to commit.

NFL Network reported teams have until Saturday to submit names of who is attending. Multiple outlets have reported the league will not provide Kaepernick with a list of names of those attending, despite the belief the NFL had agreed to do so.

A video of the workout, along with an interview, will be prepared and sent to every head coach and general manager in the league.

NFL Network reports the receivers at the workout will be provided by the National Football Scouting Service, which is putting on the event and runs the NFL Scouting Combine each year. The receivers are expected to be mostly players who were on teams during the preseason.

Kaepernick, 32, has played six seasons in the NFL and participated in six postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, when the 49ers lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens. Kaepernick passed for 302 yards and one touchdown in that game.

The Nevada product, who was a second-round draft pick by the 49ers in 2011, has passed for 12,271 yards in his career with 72 TDs and 30 interceptions. He also rushed for 2,300 yards and 13 more TDs.

–Field Level Media

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Take 5: Pressure on Eagles in Super Bowl LII rematch

Take 5: Pressure on Eagles in Super Bowl LII rematch

Take 5: Pressure on Eagles in Super Bowl LII rematch

Sunday’s meeting between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles — the first since the Eagles triumphed in Super Bowl LII — should look quite different from the offensive bonanza two Februaries ago.

Those teams combined for 74 points, one punt and 1,151 yards, the latter a record for any game in NFL history.

Neither offense is clicking at the same level this season, and neither has as dangerous of a set of weapons, which is likely a bigger problem for the Eagles.

1. Patriots’ D must focus on Ertz, Sanders

Without DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia’s offense lacks speed and vertical weapons. Alshon Jeffery got free for a few big plays downfield in the Super Bowl, but that’s not much of his repertoire any longer.

The Patriots will be comfortable playing one-on-one man coverage against almost all of the Eagles’ targets. That will allow Bill Belichick to put additional attention on tight end Zach Ertz and, to a lesser degree, running back Miles Sanders.

Ertz is the team’s best weapon, but he’s not a gamebreaker or vertical threat. Belichick could assign a cornerback to him — J.C. Jackson is the typical choice — and will certainly bracket Ertz with a safety at times, including the majority of third downs and high-leverage situations.

Sanders has created most of the Eagles’ explosive plays without Jackson. Belichick likes to handle running backs with blitz/peel calls — the edge defender rushes unless the back releases to his side — and could also use a “bullseye” technique to disrupt Sanders’ routes. If he’s healthy, Patrick Chung would be a great man-to-man match for Sanders, but Belichick could also use Devin McCourty.

It’s hard to imagine the Eagles’ passing game thriving given the Patriots’ resources, so the run game will be critical. New England’s run defense has been exploited of late, and Philadelphia has leaned more heavily on Jordan Howard.

2. Texans run defense in the spotlight

By cumulative statistics, the Houston Texans’ run defense is terrific, ranking third in rushing allowed per game (84.1). But the unit is less impressive by efficiency (4.14 yards per carry allowed, 13th in the NFL), and is trending down, with a 4.45 average allowed in six quarters since J.J. Watt sustained a season-ending torn pec.

There’s no greater test for a run defense than the Baltimore Ravens’ offense, which leads the league by a wide margin in total rushing (197.2 to runner-up San Francisco’s 161.8) and average (5.51 to Cleveland’s 5.23). With Lamar Jackson’s legs, the Ravens stress defenses in all kinds of ways, usually from heavier sets.

The Ravens often feature two or three tight ends and/or fullback Patrick Ricard, drawing more base defenses and slower defenders on the field. Recall in last year’s playoffs, the Chargers stopped Jackson with six- and seven-DB packages that put more speed on the field to corral him. But it’s hard to play those packages against three-TE sets.

Likewise, Baltimore uses tight ends (and Ricard) to change the point of attack and gap assignments. On any given play, a tight end or fullback could be a lead blocker, a kick-out man on counter, a “slice” or “sift” blocker on split zone, a decoy on an arc release or actually running a route, all from various alignments via formation and motion. That’s a lot of movement for a defense to process, even before deciphering whether Jackson is giving or keeping the ball.

3. Pass rush will decide Chiefs-Chargers on MNF

The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers both have protection problems.

With left tackle Eric Fisher out, and others banged up across the line, life has been much tougher for Patrick Mahomes than in 2018. He’s mostly handled it fine, but he’ll now face the duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

The Chargers move both players around the formation, flipping sides or putting both on the same side with one — usually Ingram — over a guard. That’s a nightmare for most guards, especially backups or starters who have swapped sides due to injury, as the Chiefs have recently.

Meanwhile, the Chargers’ offensive tackle situation flat out cost them the Week 10 game in Oakland. After left tackle Russell Okung went down early — and with right tackle Sam Tevi already out — Los Angeles played Trent Scott (the Week 1-7 starter at LT) at right tackle and Trey Pipkins (a rookie from Sioux Falls) on Philip Rivers’ blind side. Scott was worse on the right side than he’d been on the left, and Pipkins was — as you’d expect — completely overmatched.

Making matters worse, the Chargers’ interior was the biggest concern entering the season, before Mike Pouncey’s injury. While Scott Quessenberry, a 2018 fifth-rounder, has been a pleasant surprise filling in at center, this group is marginal at best.

It will be interesting to see where the Chiefs play their best pass-rusher, Chris Jones. Normally an interior player, he’s spent significant time on the edge in recent weeks, and that could continue with end Emmanuel Ogbah out for the year. Jones moves very well for a 300-pounder and has the strength to collapse the pocket from anywhere.

4. Juicy matchup for Cowboys’ offense

The Dallas Cowboys have lost four of six games, averaging just 20 points in those defeats. But those results belie what is — on paper and on tape — one of the NFL’s best offenses.

Dak Prescott is playing comfortably the best football of his career, and his pass protection has been outstanding. Dallas has weapons at every position — including supplementary pieces in Michael Gallup and Blake Jarwin — and a sharp play designer in Kellen Moore. Despite inconsistent results on the scoreboard, Dallas ranks first in total offense (437.4), yards per play (6.65) and yards per attempt (8.42).

That should translate this week, as the Detroit Lions’ defense lacks threatening pass rushers and has not held up well enough in the man coverage that Matt Patricia prefers. With the group also declining in run defense (4.61 yards per carry allowed, 23rd), all signs point to a scoring explosion from the Cowboys.

5. Things look bleak for McVay, Rams’ offense

Conversely, the Los Angeles Rams’ offense is in dire straits, just in time for a rematch with the defense that undressed Sean McVay’s team on national television last December.

The Chicago Bears were the first to pair the 6-1 front with primarily Cover-4 against the Rams, who have since struggled to combat the approach against many other teams. Worse, L.A.’s running game has collapsed. The Steelers didn’t even need a 6-1 front to shut it down last week.

The biggest issue is not the 6-1/Cover-4 blueprint, but rather an offensive line in shambles. After all five O-linemen started all 32 games from 2017-18 — an exceedingly rare run of health — the Rams have lost left guard Joe Noteboom and Brian Allen for the season, and right tackle Rob Havenstein will miss time, too.

Noteboom and Allen — new starters replacing the departed Rodgers Saffold and John Sullivan — weren’t thriving to begin with and have now been replaced by inexperienced backups. Soon-to-be 38-year-old left tackle Andrew Whitworth is finally showing his age.

Chicago’s defense has regressed some — as expected — and remains without Akiem Hicks, but it’s still well suited to slow down L.A.

–By David DeChant (@DavidDeChant), Field Level Media

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Buccaneers launch scholarship for female players

Buccaneers launch scholarship for female players

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first NFL

Buccaneers launch scholarship for female players

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first NFL team to establish a college scholarship program for female high school football players.

A $250,000 commitment from the team’s foundation was announced Thursday and is open to all female seniors nationwide who participate in a formally sanctioned flag or tackle football program.

“In the state of Florida alone, we have 260 sanctioned girls flag football teams, yet there are no scholarship opportunities for those female athletes after high school that help reduce the burden of their college tuition,” said Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, a Buccaneers owner and president of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation and Glazer Family Foundation.

“We wanted to fill that void by creating a scholarship program that would reward young women for their academic success as well as encourage them to play football.”

Applicants must have plans to enroll in a full-time accredited four-year college or university and have earned a minimum 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) during their high school academic career. The inaugural round of awards will be distributed at the conclusion of the 2020 academic school year.

The scholarship program is the Buccaneers’ latest initiative to increase participation by girls and young women in football.

In 2018, the team partnered with the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation department to launch the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League. Last March, the Buccaneers hosted the nation’s largest girls flag football event with more than 40 teams and 1,000 girls participating.

–Field Level Media

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Superdome renovations to include standing-room-only area

Superdome renovations to include standing-room-only area

Architectural renderings revealed Thursday

Superdome renovations to include standing-room-only area

Architectural renderings revealed Thursday show a number of proposed changes for the New Orleans Superdome as part of a $450 million renovation, including the addition of standing-room only viewing areas.

The Superdome Commission has already approved the first phase of renovations, which will begin after the College Football Playoff Championship Game on Jan. 13, unless the building’s main tenant, the New Orleans Saints, plays host to the NFC Championship game on Jan 19.

Renovations will take place through the 2023-24 season, with the first wave expected to be in out-of-sight areas like the addition of a large kitchen and food-service area, as well as the construction of alternate building exits.

The new exits will be needed once the Superdome’s ramp system that gets fans to the various seating levels is removed and replaced by a new system later in renovations.

The eventual ticketed standing-room only section will be similar to ones used for home games of the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Other major additions will be three vertical atriums with escalators to take fans to various seating levels.

Also in the works are end-zone boxes to give fans a view from field level.

All renovations are scheduled to be completed by the time the Superdome hosts Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 4, 2024.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles WR Jeffery (calf) misses practice

Eagles WR Jeffery (calf) misses practice

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not practice

Eagles WR Jeffery (calf) misses practice

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery did not practice for the second straight day on Thursday.

Coach Doug Pederson told reporters on Wednesday that Jeffery was considered day-to-day with a calf injury for the Eagles (5-4), who host the New England Patriots (8-1) on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET).

Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside likely would draw in the lineup if Jeffery is unavailable to play against the Patriots.

Jeffery missed Philadelphia’s 27-24 loss to Detroit on Sept. 22 with a calf injury before returning to play in the next six games. He reportedly aggravated the injury in the Eagles’ 22-14 victory over Chicago on Nov. 3.

The 29-year-old has recorded 34 receptions for 353 yards and three touchdowns in eight games this season. Jeffery has 460 catches for 6,534 yards and 44 scores in 100 career games with the Bears (2012-16) and Eagles (2017-19).

–Field Level Media

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Rain washes out first round of Mayakoba Classic

Rain washes out first round of Mayakoba Classic

Rain washes out first round of Mayakoba Classic

Rain and thunderstorms washed out the opening round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic on Thursday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

With additional storms expected later in the day, officials elected to move the first round to Friday. The forecast Friday calls for similar conditions as Thursday.

Slugger White, the PGA vice president of rules and competition, said the amount of rain is an issue because El Camaleon Golf Club isn’t draining.

“The bottom line is we just don’t have a golf course that’s playable,” White said. “We’ve got situations out there where we could lose balls in areas that we have no virtual certainty where it was. There’s so many scenarios out there that just don’t fit making an effort.

“Nothing’s draining. Everything always drains to the mangroves here and there’s no place for it to go with that much rain.”

White said that while officials would like to complete the tournament on Sunday, “Monday’s always in the mix.”

The last time a round on the PGA Tour was suspended without any play was the final round of the 2018 BMW Championship.

The last Monday finish at the Mayakoba Golf Classic was in 2015, when Graeme McDowell defeated Russell Knox and Jason Bohn in a playoff.

Defending champion Matt Kuchar is seeking to successfully defend a title for the first time on the PGA Tour.

The Mayakoba Golf Classic is the penultimate PGA Tour event this year, with the final tournament next week is at Sea Island on the Georgia coast.

–Field Level Media

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Poulter, Watson, Kisner added to QBE Shootout field

Poulter, Watson, Kisner added to QBE Shootout field

Poulter, Watson, Kisner added to QBE Shootout field

The final 10 golfers were announced Thursday for the 24-player QBE Shootout, with Ian Poulter, Bubba Watson and Kevin Kisner heading the list.

The unofficial money event will take place Dec. 11-15 at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla. It will be the 12th edition of the event which is hosted by former PGA Tour star Greg Norman.

Since 2014, the QBE Shootout has been a three-day 54-hole event that includes 12 teams of two golfers each. The opening day will be a scramble format, followed by a modified alternate shot format on Day 2 and a final-round four-ball. Poulter won the event in 2010 with Dustin Johnson.

Others named to the event Thursday included Corey Conners, Ryan Palmer, Harold Varner III, Kevin Chappel, Charley Hoffman, Sean O’Hair and Rory Sabbatini.

The team of Brian Harman and Patton Kizzire will return to defend their 2018 title. Two other teams are returning: Billy Horschel with Brant Snedeker and Graeme McDowell with Poulter.

The remaining participants are Viktor Hovland, Charles Howell III, Jason Kokrak, J.T. Poston, Andrew Putnam, Chez Reavie, Lexi Thompson, Kevin Tway and Matthew Wolff.

–Field Level Media

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Lions QB Stafford (back) misses practice

Lions QB Stafford (back) misses practice

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford did

Lions QB Stafford (back) misses practice

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford did not practice for the second straight day on Thursday, increasing doubt about his availability for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Stafford sat out last Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Chicago Bears with a back injury.

Jeff Driskel likely will make his second straight start for the Lions (3-5-1) against the Cowboys (5-4) if Stafford is unavailable to practice Friday.

Driskel completed 27 of 46 passes for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Bears at Soldier Field.

Stafford had started every game under center for the Lions since the start of the 2011 season, a string of 136 consecutive starts. This year, he has passed for 2,499 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games.

–Field Level Media

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Guerrero: Brady thinks he can play until 46 or 47

Guerrero: Brady thinks he can play until 46 or 47

New England Patriots quarterback

Guerrero: Brady thinks he can play until 46 or 47

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady initially said that he envisioned himself playing in the NFL until he’s 45.

Brady’s personal trainer Alex Guerrero, however, thinks the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player can go even longer than that.

“It all comes to commitment, really,” Guerrero said Thursday on Boston-area radio station WEEI. “No one thought you could play at the elite level in your late 30s, early 40s. That is something we always felt we could do. I have really wanted to be there to help him accomplish that goal. I certainly do believe that 45 is a very realistic goal. We talk about it all the time.

“Every year he just adds another year. He goes in and he’s like, ‘Guys, I feel so good still. I think I am going to go ’til 45.’ I am like, ‘OK.’ Now he’s like, ‘Alex, I think I can go like 46 or 47.'”

Should the 42-year-old Brady follow suit on that claim, he’d be playing in the NFL through the 2023 or 2024 seasons.

Last month, Brady sang a different tune as he acknowledged publicly for the first time that he is uncertain about his future with the franchise as he enters the final year of his contract.

“One day I’ll wake up and feel like that will be enough. When that day comes, that day comes. I don’t know if it will be after this year. I don’t know if it will be five years from now,” Brady said on his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”

“But I don’t have to determine those things right now either. That’s kind of a good part where I’m at. So I think just taking advantage of the opportunity that I have this year and do the very best I can do. Those decisions come at the more appropriate times.”

Brady has completed 230 of 355 passes for 2,536 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions this season for the Patriots (8-1), who visit the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4) on Sunday.

— Field Level Media

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Vikings out to keep Cook on front burner vs. Broncos

Vikings out to keep Cook on front burner vs. Broncos

Vikings out to keep Cook on front burner vs. Broncos

Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings made the turn into the second half of the 2019 season in position to check off a lot of goals on their preseason to-do list.

At 7-3, the Vikings have the NFL’s leading rusher and are second in the NFC North with plenty of time to push the Green Bay Packers for the division crown behind a defense with as much bite as it has bark.

Cook leads the NFL in rushing with 991 yards — including six 100-yard games — and is second in the league with 10 rushing touchdowns behind Green Bay’s Aaron Jones (11) and Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey (11).

But head coach Mike Zimmer reminded players at the start of the Week 11 work week not to get high on the hog with the 3-6 Denver Broncos coming to town. While the Vikings beat Dallas 28-24 on the road last week, the Broncos got a win with newbie quarterback Brandon Allen and have a miniscule point differential of minus-21 in those six defeats.

“They’ve lost three games by two points (each). We’re going to have our hands full and are going to have to play really well on Sunday to win,” Zimmer said.

A core concern is getting ready for Allen, who is in the lineup due to a season-ending neck injury to Joe Flacco. Allen has a passer rating of 125.6, compiled entirely in his first career start Week 9 against the Cleveland Browns. The Broncos had a bye last week.

“It’s difficult because he hasn’t been there the entire time; you got a one-game summary of it,” Zimmer said. “Really, we have to prepare for the offense, and then we have to prepare for the players, and then with him being different, just trying to re-study everything that he’s done. But it is more difficult having that small of a sample size”

One pillar the Broncos know well thanks to assistant coach Gary Kubiak coming over from Denver and Zimmer’s experience coaching against him is head coach Vic Fangio. Like Zimmer, Fangio played the bridesmaid role in many a coaching search before finally landing his first head-coaching gig with the Broncos. An assistant and primarily defensive coordinator — also Zimmer’s calling card — for 19 seasons and most recently with Minnesota’s NFC North rival the Chicago Bears, Fangio is widely respected by the Vikings.

“I wish he didn’t now,” Zimmer said, joking of Fangio landing the Broncos’ job. “”He’s been a good defensive coordinator for a long, long time,” Zimmer said. “I’m not saying anything bad about anybody else, but a lot of these guys come in and then one year [later] they get a head coaching job and [other] guys never get an opportunity. I felt like Vic was a guy that earned that opportunity because of the body of work he had.”

The Broncos did not practice during the bye week but Fangio said Allen got extra work and spent time at the team facility prepping for Minnesota’s flexible and dominant defense. The Vikings didn’t allow a rushing first down to Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys in last week’s game. The test for Allen is much more difficult in his second career start.

Allen, 27, wants to maximize his opportunity and keep second-round rookie Drew Lock on the bench. Fangio said developing players is part of the plan down the stretch. Lock has only returned to practice Tuesday, and could be another week from being deemed ready to roll.

“Obviously I want to play well. I want to win,” Allen said.

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said the Vikings are not easy to prepare for thanks to two Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers complementing Cook and the grind-it-out ground game. Beyond that, a play-action game that includes a heavy dose of screen passes can baffle a defense.

“They’re one of the better screen teams we play,” Harris said. “They do way more zone (runs) than our offense. They do a good job of playing out the fakes, plays that look similar and playing out the screens.”

This is the 15th meeting all-time between the teams and first since 2015. Each team has seven wins in the series.

–Field Level Media

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Bears, Rams try to salvage season on Sunday night

Bears, Rams try to salvage season on Sunday night

Two teams left

Bears, Rams try to salvage season on Sunday night

Two teams left wondering how everything has gone wrong this season will clash Sunday night in Los Angeles, with both trying to revamp their offenses behind quarterbacks under some heavy scrutiny.

The Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams will meet in a night game for the second consecutive season, but under far different circumstances this time around.

Last season at Chicago, the Rams were the NFL’s hot team in early December with just one loss and an offense that churned out points in bunches before the Bears put on the defensive show of the NFL season in a 15-6 victory.

Less than a year later, the Rams no longer are mass-producing points and the Bears aren’t getting the same kind of play as a team, although it did all come together for Chicago last Sunday in a 20-13 victory over the Detroit Lions that ended a four-game losing streak.

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw three touchdowns against the Lions and at least quieted the criticism of his rough season for one week. Trubisky enters Week 11 ranked 26th in the NFL with 1,390 yards passing and 21st with a 63.6 completion percentage. His eight touchdown passes are tied for 28th.

“When you go through a stretch like we did, it’s tough,” said Trubisky, who reportedly had televisions turned off at the Bears’ practice facility the week before the Lions game to quiet criticism of the team. “… You appreciate (victories) a little bit more, just getting back to that good feeling of winning. We’ve got to just build off that and definitely not take it for granted.”

The Rams are the team now taking the heat after a sluggish offensive performance at Pittsburgh on Sunday led to a 17-12 defeat. The offense delivered just a field goal, with the defense scoring a touchdown and getting a safety. Cooper Kupp, the Rams’ leading receiver this season, did not have a reception.

That game looked similar to the Rams’ 20-7 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 13.

What the 49ers and Steelers defeats had in common was a relentless pass rush from the opposing defense that forced quick decisions from quarterback Jared Goff. The results? Goff had just 78 yards passing against the 49ers with two interceptions and had a fumble that was returned for a touchdown against Pittsburgh.

Those games looked awfully familiar to what the Bears did against Rams last year when Goff threw for 180 yards and four interceptions.

Personnel changes and injuries on the line have put the Rams’ chances of an offensive revival in jeopardy. Center Brian Allen joined tackle Joe Noteboom with season-ending knee injuries. Tackle Rob Havenstein (knee) will not play against the Bears.

There are issues at tight end as well with Tyler Higbee (knee) not practicing Wednesday and Gerald Everett (wrist) limited.

“When you don’t have guys with game experience … there’s a lot of things you have to go over and teach and almost kind of thinking back of all the things that come up when a guy gets in for the first time and goes through certain situations,” tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “You almost can’t possibly go through all of them. There’s going to be some growing pains there.”

Bears injuries included linebacker Danny Trevathan (elbow), linebacker Isaiah Irving (quadriceps) and tight end Trey Burton (calf) not practicing Wednesday. Running back David Montgomery (ankle) was limited.

–Field Level Media

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After upset loss, Saints begin vital stretch vs. Bucs

After upset loss, Saints begin vital stretch vs. Bucs

After upset loss, Saints begin vital stretch vs. Bucs

The New Orleans Saints came out of their bye week with an opportunity to take command of the NFC South.

They were all alone in first place with a 7-1 record and approaching four consecutive games against division opponents.

But their six-game winning streak came to an end with a 26-9 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

Now they go on the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“These are defining games obviously,” Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. “Because not only do you put yourself in a position to win one, but you put someone in your division in that position to lose one. Right? That is why we always say, in a lot of cases these are worth two (games). These are important games.”

New Orleans still holds a two-game lead over second-place Carolina, which it hosts next week in Week 12, and a four-game lead over the Buccaneers, whom it defeated last month. The Falcons, who host the Saints on Thanksgiving night, are five games back.

“Look at this division,” Brees said. “Throw the records out the door, OK. No matter who’s playing, where they are playing, these games always seem to be very close and can be very hard-fought.”

The Saints didn’t score a touchdown against the Falcons, had a season-low in rushing yards (52) and Brees was sacked six times by a defense that had seven sacks in its previous eight games.

“You turn the page,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Quickly, you turn the page to this opponent and it’s attention to detail from all of us. Coaches, making sure we put a plan in place and get ready to bounce back and play (a) good football game.

“I think we have got good leadership here. I think these guys understand the process. They understand the importance of the workweek relative to how you win in this league. They’ve been in big moments. They’ve experienced postseason play and they recognize the importance of winning in the regular season.

“You lean on your leadership and these guys will work on getting it corrected. Coaches as well. We’ve got to be better and then you focus on the next challenge.”

When these teams last met, Brees was in the midst of a five-game absence due to thumb surgery and Teddy Bridgewater led New Orleans to a 31-24 victory on Oct. 6.

“It’s the same offense,” Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said. “That’s the beauty of having a guy like Teddy. He can do it. I think he might be a little more mobile, but I don’t see them doing anything differently. They’re still feeding the same three or four guys.”

The Bucs defense will look different Sunday after releasing safety Vernon Hargreaves from the NFL’s lowest-rated passing defense and scoring defense.

Arians didn’t explain why the Bucs released Hargreaves, a former No. 1 draft choice and a key player on their defense, but he did say, “There’s two things you can control. You can control your attitude and your effort.”

Tampa Bay’s secondary already was short-handed because of injuries to cornerbacks Carlton Davis and M.J. Stewart.

–Field Level Media

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49ers look to fix mistakes, rebound vs. Cardinals

49ers look to fix mistakes, rebound vs. Cardinals

The San

49ers look to fix mistakes, rebound vs. Cardinals

The San Francisco 49ers will face a new challenge against a very recent challenger Sunday.

After suffering their first loss of the season to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football, the 49ers have a short week to prepare for this Sunday’s visit by the Arizona Cardinals, who were within a field goal of hanging that first loss on San Francisco on Halloween.

San Francisco has a lot to polish up after committing three turnovers, dropping a handful of passes, giving up five sacks and missing a potential game-winning field goal in overtime of the heartbreaking 27-24 loss to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.

The 49ers (8-1) could look at it as a minor blip, however. They will bring the best record, the stingiest defense and the greatest point differential in the NFC into the home game against the Cardinals (3-6-1), who are on their second three-game losing streak of the season.

“It was a little like a gut check,” 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner said.

Buckner scored one of the 49ers’ two touchdowns against Seattle on a rare off night by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 24-of-46 passes for 248 yards, although his stat line was greatly compromised by receiver drops in key situations.

“We just didn’t have the consistency,” coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Garoppolo will look to bounce back against the Cardinals after posting his best game of the season in a 28-25 victory in Arizona on Oct. 31, when he completed 28 of 37 passes for a season-high 317 yards and a career-high four touchdown passes.

The 49ers had 411 total yards and a nine-minute advantage in time of possession that night, and after squandering 11 points of a 28-14 lead, ran out the final 4:59 by converting three third-down runs. The Cardinals had won the previous eight in the series.

The Cardinals continue to struggle on defense. They have given up 412.5 yards per game (31st in the NFL), and failed to hold a 27-23 lead at Tampa Bay last week when the Buccaneers went 92 yards on six plays and two pass interference penalties for a 30-27 lead with 1:43 remaining.

Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who has thrown for 2,553 yards and 12 touchdowns, threw his first interception in 212 attempts to set up the Bucs’ go-ahead drive. His streak of 211 without a pick set an NFL rookie record.

The Cardinals found a weapon in wideout Christian Kirk, who had 138 yards receiving and three touchdowns, but the offense sputtered while converting only 1-of-10 third-down opportunities.

“I don’t think we’ve hit a plateau,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I think we have to do the little things better.

“Given ourselves a chance at the end of every game, but the margin of error is so small in this league that if you are having those penalties and having the missed opportunities … you are not going to win those games.”

San Francisco wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffered a rib injury in the first quarter of the Seattle game and was called “day-to-day” by Shanahan. George Kittle (ankle, knee) did not play against Seattle and, like Matt Breida (ankle), is doubtful. Offensive tackle Joe Staley will miss at least a couple of weeks with a broken finger.

Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson, who suffered a calf injury late against Tampa Bay and was not on the field for the Buccaneers’ winning drive, is questionable. Halfback Chase Edmonds (hamstring) remains out.

–Field Level Media

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Rising Raiders intend to keep Bengals winless

Rising Raiders intend to keep Bengals winless

Two teams that

Rising Raiders intend to keep Bengals winless

Two teams that have demonstrated the impact turnovers can have on a football season go head to head Sunday afternoon when the winless Cincinnati Bengals visit the playoff-contending Oakland Raiders.

The surprising Raiders (5-4), a four-win club a year ago, have used consecutive error-free games to vault into the thick of the AFC playoff chase and onto the heels of the Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) in the AFC West.

After a brutal early schedule in which they didn’t see their home field for a remarkable 48 straight days, the Raiders used a 2-0 turnover advantage to edge Detroit 31-24 and a 3-0 advantage to knock off the Los Angeles Chargers to open a three-game homestand.

Now Oakland, which has the fourth-fewest giveaways in the NFL with eight, goes up against a Bengals squad that has the fourth-most turnovers in the league (18) and the fourth-worst takeaway/giveaway ratio (minus-11).

Cincinnati (0-9) is coming off a game in which it dominated Baltimore in time of possession, keeping the ball for 36:11, and accumulated more first downs than its AFC North rival (21-20). But three turnovers helped produce one of the least competitive games of the NFL season, a 49-13 Ravens runaway.

No doubt, Raiders coach Jon Gruden, whose team had last weekend off after a Thursday date with the Chargers, caught a bit of the Bengals’ disaster at Baltimore while NFL channel-surfing. But he also saw what happened in New Orleans and Indianapolis, and he has used that as a warning for his guys this week.

“I just watched the (Atlanta) Falcons go to New Orleans and beat them — and beat them bad,” he told this week. “Miami goes on the road and beats Indianapolis; no one really expected that would happen …

“I know Cincinnati. I know those players. I know those coaches — two of them were on my staff last year. We’re going to get their best shot, and we better be ready to go or else.”

The Raiders know they can expect nothing less from Bengals star running back Joe Mixon, a former prep star from about 40 miles northeast of Oakland in Oakley, Calif.

The five-star recruit, who chose Oklahoma, will be making his first Oakland homecoming.

The Raiders are quite aware of his talents, however, as he ran through them for a career-high 129 yards on 27 carries in a 30-16 Bengals home win last December.

Mixon went for a season-best 114 yards last week in the loss to Baltimore, then shared the credit with his offensive line after the game.

“I’m definitely proud of how them boys fought out there,” he said. “We take pride in the run game, and (the offensive linemen) did their thing.”

So has Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, the leader of Oakland’s ball-protecting offense. He’s gone three consecutive games without an interception and has just four all season while firing 14 touchdown passes.

Sunday will mark nearly the 10th anniversary of the Raiders’ last win over the Bengals, a 20-17 decision in Oakland on Nov. 22, 2009.

Cincinnati has captured the past three meetings — and none has been close. The Bengals won 34-10 at home in 2012 and 33-13 at Oakland in 2015, leading into last year’s triumph in Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots stand in way of Eagles extending win streak

Patriots stand in way of Eagles extending win streak

The Philadelphia Eagles will be

Patriots stand in way of Eagles extending win streak

The Philadelphia Eagles will be searching for their third consecutive victory when they host the New England Patriots on Sunday.

After falling below .500 at 3-4 after an ugly loss at Dallas, the Eagles have responded with wins over the Buffalo Bills on the road and at home against the Chicago Bears. As a result, the Eagles have pulled into a tie for first place with the Cowboys in the NFC East.

The Eagles added wide receiver Jordan Matthews this week for his third stint with the franchise since deep threat DeSean Jackson was placed on injured reserve after undergoing abdominal surgery. The offense has been inconsistent, as evidenced by rolling up a 19-0 lead over the Bears before struggling the rest of the way in a 22-14 victory.

“Obviously he’s (Jackson) unique, so it isn’t going to be just one guy that does that,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said. “We have plenty of good players that are out there in the huddle with (quarterback) Carson (Wentz) and we have to find ways to create those explosive plays that you talk about, get guys open, and help them get open and then make the plays when the plays are there to be made.”

But outside of tight end Zach Ertz (46 receptions, tied for fourth in NFL among tight ends), Wentz has been unable to move the ball downfield with his wide receiving corps consisting mostly of Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery and Mack Hollins. Agholor and Jeffery have continued to drop passes throughout the first nine games.

Head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t believe it’s a huge problem.

“The ball is going to find the open guy,” he said matter-of-factly.

Pederson confirmed that left tackle Jason Peters had recent arthroscopic surgery on his knee, but was at practice on Wednesday.

For the first time this season, the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots will be entering a game following a loss, 37-20 on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.

Actually, that loss snapped a 13-game winning streak, which had included three playoff games during the team’s Super Bowl run a season ago.

Since 2002, the Patriots are 44-8 following a loss.

New England was uncharacteristically sloppy against the Ravens with two costly turnovers, including a rare interception by quarterback Tom Brady. But the Patriots still stayed close late in the game until two fourth-quarter touchdowns by Baltimore.

“Hopefully, it will be a great second half of the season,” said Brady, who has 14 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. “But it’s really up to us to earn it, the people that are in the locker room. We’ve got to show up to work every day with a great sense of determination, commitment to doing our best for each other and for the team. We’ll try to go get a win and it starts this week in Philly.”

The Patriots’ defense has 32 sacks this season (fourth in NFL), and putting pressure on Wentz will be paramount if New England is able to start a new winning streak with a road win in a difficult environment.

Conversely, the Patriots realize the importance of putting points up early and often.

“Anytime you play a defense like that, you know they’re not going to beat themselves,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “You know they’re not going to make a bunch of simple mistakes and give you easy yards and opportunities.”

–Field Level Media

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MVP candidates clash as Texans visit Ravens

MVP candidates clash as Texans visit Ravens

For all

MVP candidates clash as Texans visit Ravens

For all the razzle-dazzle that Baltimore Ravens second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson brings to the table, one factor that acolytes and critics alike tend to overlook is his ability to steward an efficient ship.

Jackson has passed and dashed his way near the top of the NFL Most Valuable Player leaderboard while helming an offense that leads the NFL in rushing (197.2 yards per game) and ranks ninth in passing efficiency (101.3 rating). The latter is aided by the former, and the Ravens’ ability to run the ball with impunity is derived from their consistency in scoring touchdowns on opening possessions.

Baltimore (7-2), set to host the Houston Texans (6-3) on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, has scored on eight of nine opening possessions this season, including six touchdowns. Establishing early advantages feeds into the Ravens’ ability to commit to their punishing rushing attack.

“(It is) really important,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We talk about starting sharp. We want to be on point. We want to be focused. It’s both sides of the ball. Obviously, anytime you can get the lead, that’s an advantage. We want to get the lead. We want to keep the lead and extend the lead, if we can. So, I really think our guys have done a good job of that.

“It kind of goes (back to) what I said before, with the guys and the preparation, being on point and coming out and being ready to play. That’s really important.”

The Texans, sixth in the NFL in yards per play (6.08), aim to strike a similar run-pass balance despite star quarterback Deshaun Watson at the controls. Central to the Texans’ efficiency is ball security, and Watson has an interception rate (1.7) that ranks 15th among 34 qualified signal-callers.

Watson continues to advance by executing the finer points of his job. In consecutive wins over the Raiders and Jaguars, Watson passed for 480 yards and five touchdowns while completing 73.1 percent of his attempts and without tossing an interception. An offensive line beset by injuries surrendered just four sacks over 67 passing attempts, enabling Watson to establish a rhythm.

Of course, finer details aren’t driving the MVP conversation for either Jackson or Watson. Both have amassed enough dynamic plays to bloat any highlight reel, and whoever performs best on Sunday could carve an advantage over the signal-caller stewarding the losing team.

“It’s cool, I guess,” Watson said of the MVP chatter. “The only thing I can really control is performing on the field, and then everything else is to the voters and whoever decides on that decision. I don’t get too much caught up in that. My ultimate goal is trying to win as many games as I can to get to that ultimate goal.

“That MVP stuff is going to take care of itself. If it’s deserving for me, then I’ll do it, but if not, then best to whoever wins that award.”

At this stage, Watson, like Jackson, is certainly deserving of consideration. Fans, NFL media and players recognize everything both Jackson and Watson offer as exceptional talents. The hype is real.

“He dope,” Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters said of Watson. “He’s an excellent quarterback. You’ve got to give him respect.”

Both teams made mid-week additions. The Ravens added veteran D-linemen Justin Ellis and Domata Peko to reinforce an injured group up front, while the Texans claimed former first-round cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers from Tampa Bay.

–Field Level Media

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Foles, Brissett to return as Jaguars battle Colts

Foles, Brissett to return as Jaguars battle Colts

Foles, Brissett to return as Jaguars battle Colts

Welcome back, Nick Foles. You too, Jacoby Brissett.

The return of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ and Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterbacks injects extra juice into Sunday’s AFC South battle at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Foles will make his first start since Week 1, when he sustained a broken clavicle while throwing a touchdown pass in the first quarter of a loss to Kansas City. Brissett is back after missing last week’s 16-12 home loss to Miami with a knee injury suffered during a 28-26 defeat Nov. 3 in Pittsburgh.

Without Foles, Jacksonville (4-5) at least managed to tread water. Rookie Gardner Minshew threw 13 touchdown passes and just four interceptions after Foles’ injury, establishing himself as a viable option for the long run, whether that’s in north Florida or somewhere else.

While the Jaguars are occupants of the division cellar, they still possess playoff hopes. And no one knows better than Foles the meaning of having a chance. After all, he did take Philadelphia on a surprise Super Bowl run after Carson Wentz’s season-ending injury two years ago, and helped rally the Eagles by going 5-1 down the stretch in 2018 and won a wild-card game last year at Chicago.

“To be back in a situation where we have an opportunity to make a run, that’s all we can ever ask. I’m grateful and happy to be back with those guys,” Foles said.

Besides getting its veteran starter back under center, Jacksonville has had a week off to get healthy after enduring a 26-3 beating from Houston on Nov. 3 in London. The addition of Foles gives a team with a powerful running back in Leonard Fournette, as well as developing young receivers, a veteran who knows about winning big games.

“More is on the line,” Foles said of playing in November and December. “Offenses and teams and cultures have been developed. Each year a team develops a culture. That’s the biggest challenge of stepping back in there and just playing football.”

By that standard, Brissett should have an easier time finding a rhythm. All he’s missed is a game and a half. But that was enough time for the Colts to fall behind Houston in the division race.

Last week’s defeat to Miami was one of the most puzzling results of the year in the NFL. Even with backup Brian Hoyer under center, Indianapolis (5-4) was a double-digit favorite. But Hoyer’s first start in two years was an unmitigated disaster, as he was just 18 of 39 for 204 yards with three crushing interceptions.

Brissett, who through eight games is completing a career-best 64.8 percent of his passes for 1,649 yards with a 14-3 touchdown-interception ratio, was a full participant at Wednesday’s practice. That’s a threshold that second-year coach Frank Reich said he would have to pass in order to play this week.

“I know his knee feels a lot better today than it did five days ago,” Reich said.

Not as certain is the status of wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, the team’s leading pass catcher with 32 receptions. Hilton (calf) has missed the last two games and wasn’t able to practice on Wednesday.

This is the teams’ first meeting of the year. They will play again in the season finale at Jacksonville.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers ready for visit from improved Falcons

Panthers ready for visit from improved Falcons

After what the

Panthers ready for visit from improved Falcons

After what the Carolina Panthers knew would be a challenging stretch, their return to NFC South competition is going to bring its own obstacles.

That’s because the Atlanta Falcons, who are fresh off a surprising result, are visiting for Sunday afternoon’s game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

“They’re coming off a big win,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “They’ve struggled this year. They’ve found their footing.”

That came when Atlanta went on the road and stunned NFC South leader New Orleans 26-9 last week.

The Panthers (5-4) hold second place in the division, and they need to make the most of a rash of games against division opponents, two each against Atlanta and New Orleans.

“We’ve got seven games left. In those seven games, we play our divisional rivals (four times),” Rivera said. “We have the opportunity to control our own destiny as we go forward.”

Now the Falcons (2-7) have a rare good vibe after snapping a six-game losing streak.

“It has been a while since we’ve had a lead,” coach Dan Quinn said. “For us, it was the best example of all three phases staying connected. … I was pleased to see the aggressiveness. I was pleased to see the toughness of the team.”

With Cam Newton deemed out for the rest of the season, the Panthers have been able to turn more decisively to Kyle Allen at quarterback. He has made eight career starts, including the last seven games this year.

“He’s young, let’s not forget,” Rivera said. “We’re going to go through some growing pains. He’s going to give us everything he can.”

Rivera said Allen generally has done good things, though there might have been situations last week at Green Bay where he tried to do too much in a 24-16 defeat.

There is a growing comfort level and familiarity with Allen taking snaps.

“The biggest thing is his decision-making has started to speed up,” Rivera said. “That’s a benefit to the offense.”

Quinn said it appears that Allen is capable of making all the throws and shows a willingness to put the ball in tough spots. Some of Allen’s receiving targets have emerged with more production, so the Falcons are cognizant of DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel.

“They’ve really added speed,” Quinn said. “These guys can make a ton of plays.”

The Falcons aren’t sure about the status of running back Devonta Freeman and tight end Austin Hooper because of injuries, with Quinn saying it would be a long shot for either to play. Brian Hill could fill in for Freeman.

“He has earned that respect and trust (of teammates),” Quinn said of Hill. “… If it goes to that, he’s definitely ready.”

Another option at running back could be Kenjon Barner — whose career includes two stints with the Panthers — though he has only two carries this season.

Atlanta will want to see what can be produced in the rushing attack because Carolina ranks 29th in the NFL by giving up 136.7 yards per game on the ground, and dead last with 5.17 yards per carry permitted. On the flip side, the Panthers have posted a league-high 36 sacks.

“Probably the biggest thing we’re looking for is that everyone is where they need to be,” Rivera said of stopping the running game.

The Panthers could have issues in the secondary, as their top three cornerbacks — James Bradberry (groin), Donte Jackson (hip) and Ross Cockrell (quad) — all sat out Wednesday’s practice.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan missed Wednesday’s practice as he continues to work to 100 percent after an ankle injury a few weeks ago, but he is expected to practice later in the week and play Sunday.

The Falcons have won the last three meetings and six out of seven against Carolina. This is Atlanta’s second game of five in a row against NFC South opponents.

–Field Level Media

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Texans claim former Bucs CB Hargreaves

Texans claim former Bucs CB Hargreaves

The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves

Texans claim former Bucs CB Hargreaves

The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers on Wednesday, the team announced.

The former first-round pick (11th overall in 2016) was waived by the Bucs on Tuesday, two days after he was benched for what head coach Bruce Arians deemed a lack of hustle on a long catch-and-run by the Arizona Cardinals.

Hagreaves, 24, led all Buccaneers cornerbacks in defensive snaps (582, 92.2 percent) this season before being let go. He had four pass breakups and one interception — returned for a touchdown — in nine games, all starts.

A Florida product in his fourth season, Hargreaves battled injuries the last two seasons, being limited to 10 total games (eight starts) from 2017-18. In 35 career games (33 starts), he has 19 pass breakups and two interceptions.

In the spring, the Buccaneers picked up Hargreaves’ fifth-year option on his rookie contract, which would be worth $9.954 million in 2020. That remains intact, although the money is guaranteed only for injury.

Houston released cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun to make room on the roster. The 26-year-old played in one game for the club and had a sack and forced fumble.

The Texans have been in flux at the cornerback position much of the season.

They released slot man Aaron Colvin in September after just one game in his second year of a four-year, $34 million contract. Starter Bradley Roby hasn’t played since Week 6 due to a hamstring injury, and the team traded a third-round pick to Oakland in October for Gareon Conley, who has started both games since arriving in Houston.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Gase’s job safe for 2020

NFL notebook: Gase's job safe for 2020

New York Jets CEO

NFL notebook: Gase’s job safe for 2020

New York Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is sticking with Adam Gase as head coach for the 2020 season.

Johnson said Wednesday he informed the team last week that the franchise had already decided to enter next season with Gase as its head coach. The Jets are 2-7 and in last place in the AFC East.

Gase was hired as head coach prior to the season after being fired by the Miami Dolphins.

–Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett will return from a knee injury to start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, barring a setback.

Brissett practiced in full Wednesday after being limited all three days last week and sitting out the Colts’ 16-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

–The Dolphins plan to have a representative in attendance for free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s workout this weekend, coach Brian Flores announced.

The Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons also will be represented, and the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys reportedly will have someone in attendance.

–San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that starting left tackle Joe Staley will miss at least a couple of weeks with a broken finger and that the likelihood of tight end George Kittle playing Sunday against Arizona seems slim.

In addition, running back Matt Breida will reportedly miss one to two weeks because of a sprained ankle.

–Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen sat out practice due to a hamstring injury that has hampered him for three weeks.

Thielen didn’t play Oct. 24 against the Washington Redskins and last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. In between, he started against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 3 but appeared in just seven plays and didn’t catch the lone ball that was thrown his way.

–Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett was scheduled to return to Seattle on Wednesday after spending two nights in a Bay Area hospital, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. Team owner Jody Allen provided a plane to fly Lockett back to Washington, Schefter said.

Lockett was taken to Stanford Medical Center on Monday night after a contusion on his shin swelled up, leading Seattle’s’ medical staff to fear he had sustained a more serious injury. He was injured during the Seahawks’ overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers.

–Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford did not practice as the Lions began preparing for a Sunday visit from the Dallas Cowboys. Stafford was held out of last weekend’s game in Chicago after tests on his ailing back revealed that his injury was more serious than previously thought.

–Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper is expected to be out “about a month” with an MCL sprain in his knee, NFL Network reported. Coach Dan Quinn told the media that Hooper is a “long shot” to play Sunday at Carolina.

–Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross was cleared to practice and designated to return from injured reserve. He has been sidelined with a shoulder injury he sustained Sept. 30.

–The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers. The former first-round pick (11th overall in 2016) was waived by the Buccaneers on Tuesday, two days after he was benched for what coach Bruce Arians deemed a lack of hustle.

–The New Orleans Saints will be without starting left guard Andrus Peat for six weeks after he had surgery on his broken arm, ESPN reported.

–Cleveland defensive end Olivier Vernon was ruled out of the Browns’ Thursday game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. Vernon, 29, is nursing a knee injury that also forced him to miss last week’s game.

–The Browns signed defensive end Bryan Cox, the son of the former three-time Pro Bowl selection by the same name. Linebacker Malik Jefferson was waived to make room on the roster.

–Field Level Media

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Colts’ Brissett expected to start vs. Jaguars

Colts' Brissett expected to start vs. Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett will return

Colts’ Brissett expected to start vs. Jaguars

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett will return from a knee injury to start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, barring a setback.

“Jacoby, we’re anticipating, will practice full today,” head coach Frank Reich told reporters before practice Wednesday. “And as long as he practices full today and gets through today the way we expect, then he’ll be starting in the game.”

Brissett indeed practiced in full after being limited all three days last week and sitting out the Colts’ 16-12 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Reich said he would follow up with the quarterback to make sure everything felt all right.

“We’ll check that box and say barring any setbacks the rest of the week he’ll be the starter,” Reich said. “I know his knee feels a lot better today than it did five days ago.”

Brissett, who was hurt in Week 9 at Pittsburgh, has 1,649 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and three interceptions in eight starts this year. Fill-in starter Brian Hoyer threw three interceptions in the loss to the Dolphins.

Meanwhile, Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton remained out of practice with a calf injury. He has not played since Week 8 against Denver.

Rookie receiver Parris Campbell (hand) also remains out, but veteran Devin Funchess (clavicle) returned to practice for the first time since landing on injured reserve following Week 1.

Funchess wore a no-contact jersey and has not been fully cleared yet, per Reich. The team has three weeks to either activate him to the 53-man roster or keep him on IR for the rest of the season.

The 25-year-old had three catches for 32 yards in the opener before getting hurt. He joined the Colts on a one-year, $13 million contract in free agency in March.

–Field Level Media

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49ers likely down 3 offensive starters this weekend

49ers likely down 3 offensive starters this weekend

49ers likely down 3 offensive starters this weekend

Suddenly, the losses just keep coming for the San Francisco 49ers.

Two days after his team suffered its first loss of the season to Seattle on Monday night, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on Wednesday told reporters that starting left tackle Joe Staley will miss at least a couple of weeks with a broken finger and that the likelihood of tight end George Kittle playing Sunday against Arizona seems slim.

In addition, running back Matt Breida will reportedly miss 1-2 weeks with a sprained ankle.

Staley broke his leg in Week 2 and missed the 49ers’ next six games. He returned to the field on Monday but fractured and dislocated a finger in the 27-24 overtime loss to the Seahawks. According to Shanahan, Staley underwent surgery on the finger and will “probably be out a couple weeks.”

After playing in all 16 games for five consecutive seasons from 2011-15, Staley has missed at least one game in three of the last four seasons — sitting out 10 games over that span.

As for Kittle, the knee and ankle injuries that kept him out of the Seattle game look like they will keep him off the field in Santa Clara, Calif., again this weekend. Kittle originally sustained the injuries on Halloween, against the Cardinals in Arizona.

The third-year tight end has 46 grabs for 541 yards and a pair of touchdowns this season, after setting a single-season NFL record for tight ends with 1,377 yards last season.

It was originally reported that Shanahan confirmed to Arizona media that Kittle would not play, but the 49ers later clarified Shanahan’s statement to indicate there is a plan in place should the tight end miss the game, but the 49ers are not yet ruling him out.

Breida sustained his injury Monday night. In nine games this season, Breida has 542 yards on 109 carries with a touchdown both rushing and receiving. Raheem Mostert will likely see more work in Breida’s absence.

–Field Level Media

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Surprising Dolphins set for rematch with Bills

Surprising Dolphins set for rematch with Bills

Sunday's matchup between the

Surprising Dolphins set for rematch with Bills

Sunday’s matchup between the Buffalo Bills (6-3) and the host Miami Dolphins (2-7) should be easy to decipher.

After all, the Bills beat the Dolphins 31-21 in Buffalo on Oct. 20, and they are favored by a touchdown to do it again on Sunday — while sitting four games better in the standings.

But it’s not quite that simple. While Dolphins management signaled a rebuilding season by selling off current assets for future draft picks, Miami’s players certainly have not given up.

That has been evident the past two weeks, as the Dolphins defeated the New York Jets 26-18 on Nov. 3 and the Indianapolis Colts 16-12 on the road this past Sunday.

“We are starting to come together,” first-year head coach Brian Flores said of Miami’s surprising two-game win streak after an 0-7 start. “Being able to overcome adversity is part of playing in the NFL, and we’re doing that at a higher level now.”

The Dolphins are also getting healthier, starting with standout safety Reshad Jones, who has missed four straight games due to cracked ribs. Jones was limited in practice this week but said he expects to play on Sunday.

Jones should provide a big boost to a secondary that has taken two big blows this year — the trade of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the season-ending knee injury sustained by cornerback Xavien Howard, a 2018 Pro Bowler who tied for the NFL lead with seven interceptions last season.

Miami’s revival has been led by graybeard quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who turns 37 on Nov. 24. He was Buffalo’s starter from 2009 to 2012, posting a 20-33 record during those years.

Fitzpatrick began this year as Miami’s starter and got benched in favor of Josh Rosen, only to regain his position. Since returning as Miami’s starter, Fitzpatrick has tossed six touchdowns with four interceptions and a 2-2 record.

Buffalo counters with a quarterback on the other side of the NFL age scale — 23-year-old Josh Allen, who was the Bills’ first-round pick (seventh overall) last year.

Allen is 11-9 in two years as Buffalo’s starter, completing 56.1 percent of his passes. He has thrown 20 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions, including 10 and seven, respectively, this season.

Allen has boosted his completion percentage from 52.8 as a rookie to 59.9 in his second season, but the offense hasn’t been clicking on all cylinders.

The Bills rank 25th in the NFL in scoring average (19.3), and, despite Allen’s strong arm, he has failed to complete a pass that traveled at least 30 yards in the air.

“If I could pinpoint the problem, I would probably be hitting (deep passes),” Allen said. “I don’t know if I’m super anxious about underthrowing the ball and risking an interception. The ball comes out, it feels good, and it carries a bit further than I think. It’s something I will continue to try to improve.”

Sunday’s game will be a homecoming for a couple of Bills starters who played for the University of Miami: running back Frank Gore and right guard Jon Feliciano. Gore and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips are former Dolphins, and rookie running back Devin Singletary played at nearby Florida Atlantic University.

–Field Level Media

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Jets, Redskins meet, looking for elusive win

Jets, Redskins meet, looking for elusive win

The Washington Redskins and New York

Jets, Redskins meet, looking for elusive win

The Washington Redskins and New York Jets are going nowhere fast. But at least they both have some idea as to who will be leading them for the foreseeable future.

A pair of teams angling for a top-10 draft pick will meet Sunday afternoon, when the Redskins host the Jets in a nonconference matchup.

The Jets snapped a three-game losing streak last Sunday with a 34-27 win over the New York Giants in the quadrennial battle between the Big Apple area’s football teams. The Redskins were off last week following their third straight defeat, a 24-9 loss to the Bills in Buffalo on Nov. 3.

The win over their co-MetLife Stadium tenants improved the Jets to 2-7 and eased the heat up a bit on embattled first-year head coach Adam Gase. The club’s slow start “earned” Gase comparisons to the standard for poor Jets coaches, Rich Kotite, who went 4-28 in his two years with the team in 1995-96.

On Wednesday, Jets CEO Christopher Johnson made it clear he will not make a coaching change, either during this season or afterward.

“I want to assure you there will be no changes in coaches here,” Johnson told reporters. “Adam has the trust of this team. He has the trust of (quarterback) Sam (Darnold). He has (general manager) Joe (Douglas’) trust. He has my trust. He’s a good man, he’s a good coach.”

Even before Johnson’s comments, the Redskins (1-8) were far more likely of the two teams to be looking for a new coach. Jay Gruden was fired following an 0-5 start, and interim head coach Bill Callahan, who is occupying the top position for the first time since 2003, is not expected to be a serious candidate for the full-time position.

But Callahan answered one burning question in the nation’s capital Monday, when he said rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins will remain the team’s starter for the remainder of the season.

“I’m really excited,” Haskins said Wednesday. “I’ve worked really hard to get to this point.”

Haskins made his first start against the Bills in place of Case Keenum, who was sidelined with a concussion. His task Sunday will be the same as it was in Buffalo: To somehow get the Redskins into the end zone.

The Redskins haven’t scored a touchdown in their last three games, the longest drought in the franchise’s 88-year history. Rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin has Washington’s most recent touchdown, a 33-yard catch from Keenum in the second quarter of a 17-16 win over the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 13.

After a 9-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 20, the Redskins were limited to three Dustin Hopkins field goals in each of the losses to the Minnesota Vikings and Bills.

The Jets may be limited on offense, as well, Sunday. Running back Le’Veon Bell, who has been battling rib and knee ailments, did not practice Wednesday due to an illness and wide receiver Robby Anderson, the top deep threat for Darnold, was limited due to back and shoulder injuries. Linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin) did not practice and is expected to miss his eighth game of the season.

Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring) and running back Chris Thompson (toe) were both sidelined Wednesday. Thompson will likely miss his fourth straight game.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings’ Thielen (hamstring) misses practice

Vikings' Thielen (hamstring) misses practice

Vikings’ Thielen (hamstring) misses practice

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen sat out practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury that has hampered him for three weeks.

Thielen didn’t play Oct. 24 against the Washington Redskins and last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. In between, he started against the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 3 but appeared in just seven plays and didn’t catch the lone ball that was thrown his way.

The Vikings are preparing for a home game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, and then Minnesota will have its bye the following week. Even so, coach Mike Zimmer said he isn’t giving consideration to resting any of his injured players this week with the intention of getting them an extended break.

“When guys are healthy, they play,” Zimmer told reporters.

Thielen, 29, has 27 catches for 391 yards and six touchdowns this year. He was selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past two years, topping 1,200 receiving yards both seasons.

Vikings guard Josh Kline (concussion), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) and nose tackle Linval Joseph (knee) also were non-participants in practice Wednesday. Safety Andrew Sendejo (groin), cornerback Trae Waynes (ankle), and center Brett Jones (knee) were limited practice participants.

–Field Level Media

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Stafford remains uncertain as Cowboys visit Lions

Stafford remains uncertain as Cowboys visit Lions

The Dallas Cowboys have become

Stafford remains uncertain as Cowboys visit Lions

The Dallas Cowboys have become increasingly reliant on the right arm of Dak Prescott, and for good reason.

Prescott is completing his throws at a career-high 68.3-percent rate. He’s averaging 308.6 yards per game and has already thrown for 18 touchdowns, five shy of his career best for a season.

The Detroit Lions also have an accomplished quarterback having a career season in Matthew Stafford, but his status looks shaky at best as the Lions prepare to host the Cowboys on Sunday. Stafford’s streak of 136 consecutive starts ended when he sat out a 20-13 loss at Chicago last weekend due to broken bones in his back.

Stafford did not practice on Wednesday, and it’s unclear if he will do so later in the week.

The Cowboys (5-4) also lost on Sunday, falling to Minnesota 28-24 despite a big game from Prescott, who passed for 397 yards and three touchdowns. It was his second consecutive three-touchdown performance.

Prescott has completed 40 passes that have gone for 20 or more yards.

“He’s playing with conviction and confidence,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “We’re calling some of those things, trying to give those guys an opportunity to win down the field. Protection has been really good, allowing those routes to develop down the field and for Dak to see them. All of that contributes to it, and those big plays matter.”

Lions coach Matt Patricia has noticed on film that Prescott has also become a smarter quarterback.

“He’s doing a great job at the line of scrimmage,” Patricia said. “He’s changing plays, he’s making audibles, he’s making adjustments based on what he’s seeing from the defense. His post-snap read of a coverage is a lot better. He’s doing a really good job of deciphering some of those looks he’s getting and really taking advantage of the skill players he has out there.”

Top target Amari Cooper sliced through the Minnesota secondary for 11 catches, 147 yards and a touchdown. But the Cowboys didn’t have good balance, as Ezekiel Elliott was held to 47 yards on 20 carries, snapping a streak of three straight 100-yard games. Elliott, who received a record contract extension just prior to the season opener, is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has scored six touchdowns.

Detroit’s offense can be dynamic when its top players are healthy, but that’s not the case. Not only is Stafford injured, but top running back Kerryon Johnson is on injured reserve with a knee injury. Ty Johnson sustained a concussion against the Bears, which leaves the Lions with the combination of Paul Perkins and J.D. McKissic in the backfield.

Jeff Driskel started in place of Stafford in Chicago and passed for 269 yards and a 47-yard touchdown to Kenny Golladay. He was also intercepted once, sacked twice and scrambled for 37 yards.

“I was really pleased with Jeff and the way he played in the game,” Patricia said.

Golladay has made the most of his 38 receptions, averaging 18.3 yards per catch while scoring eight touchdowns.

“He makes a lot of plays down the field,” Garrett said. “He’s big, he’s athletic, he’s talented, and he’s very good at going up and getting the football.”

The Lions (3-5-1) have lost five of their last six games, with all but one decided by seven points or fewer.

“These games have all been really competitive, really tough mentally and physically,” Patricia said. “Our guys are doing a great job of grinding all the way through that. There are a lot of situations where we’ve seen teams in the past that just mentally can’t do that every single week. Each game is coming down to maybe one or two plays.”

For the Cowboys, the offensive line is banged up. Three starters missed Wednesday’s practice — guards Zack Martin (back, ankle, elbow) and Connor Williams (knee) and right tackle La’el Collins (knee, back). Williams underwent minor knee surgery and won’t play Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Texans claim former Bucs CB Hargreaves

Reports: Texans claim former Bucs CB Hargreaves

The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon

Reports: Texans claim former Bucs CB Hargreaves

The Houston Texans claimed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves off waivers on Wednesday, the team announced.

The former first-round pick (11th overall in 2016) was waived by the Bucs on Tuesday, two days after he was benched for what head coach Bruce Arians deemed a lack of hustle on a long catch-and-run by the Arizona Cardinals.

Hagreaves, 24, led all Buccaneers cornerbacks in defensive snaps (582, 92.2 percent) this season before being let go. He had four pass breakups and one interception — returned for a touchdown — in nine games, all starts.

A Florida product in his fourth season, Hargreaves battled injuries the last two seasons, being limited to 10 total games (eight starts) from 2017-18. In 35 career games (33 starts), he has 19 pass breakups and two interceptions.

In the spring, the Buccaneers picked up Hargreaves’ fifth-year option on his rookie contract, which would be worth $9.954 million in 2020. That remains intact, although the money is guaranteed only for injury.

Houston released cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun to make room on the roster. The 26-year-old played in one game for the club and had a sack and forced fumble.

The Texans have been in flux at the cornerback position much of the season.

They released slot man Aaron Colvin in September after just one game in his second year of a four-year, $34 million contract. Starter Bradley Roby hasn’t played since Week 6 due to a hamstring injury, and the team traded a third-round pick to Oakland in October for Gareon Conley, who has started both games since arriving in Houston.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints LG Peat out 6 weeks

Report: Saints LG Peat out 6 weeks

Report: Saints LG Peat out 6 weeks

The New Orleans Saints will be without starting left guard Andrus Peat for six weeks after he had surgery Wednesday on his broken arm, ESPN reported.

Peat left Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons shortly before halftime, holding his right arm at his side. He was replaced by Will Clapp, who — along with the rest of the Saints’ offensive line — struggled to protect Drew Brees.

The Falcons racked up six sacks after entering with just seven all season. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett had 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits.

Peat, 26, had started all nine games this season entering Sunday, allowing two sacks and committing three penalties, per Stats Perform.

He missed three regular-season games last year and then broke his fibula in the postseason. Nonetheless, he was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2018. Now in his fifth year after being drafted 13th overall in 2015, Peat has yet to play all 16 games in a season.

Clapp has two starts this season, but only as a sixth offensive lineman. He has played 161 snaps overall, allowing 1.5 sacks and committing two penalties.

The Saints have started the same five offensive linemen for all nine games this season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Falcons TE Hooper out a month

Report: Falcons TE Hooper out a month

Report: Falcons TE Hooper out a month

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper is expected to be out “about a month” with an MCL sprain in his knee, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Asked about the report, head coach Dan Quinn told the media that belief was “not from our building,” but he did say Hooper is a “long shot” to play Sunday at Carolina.

Hooper was hurt late in Sunday’s win at New Orleans, after catching four passes for 17 yards and a touchdown. It was his fourth straight game with a score, giving him six on the season and tying him for the league lead among tight ends with Houston’s Darren Fells.

Hooper, 25, is also tied with Kansas City’s Travis Kelce for the most receptions (56) among tight ends. His yardage total (608) ranks second, behind only Kelce.

A third-round pick out of Stanford in 2016, Hooper is in the final year of his rookie contract and drew some buzz as a possible trade target before the October deadline.

In his fourth season, he has 195 catches for 2,065 yards and 16 touchdowns in 55 games (26 starts).

Quinn also said running back Devonta Freeman is a longshot to play on Sunday. NFL Network reported on Monday that Freeman will miss two weeks with a foot sprain.

–Field Level Media

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Lions QB Stafford (back) not practicing

Lions QB Stafford (back) not practicing

Detroit quarterback

Lions QB Stafford (back) not practicing

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford did not practice on Wednesday as the Lions began preparing for Sunday’s visit from the Dallas Cowboys.

Stafford was held out of last weekend’s game in Chicago after tests on his ailing back revealed that his injury was more serious than previously thought.

Stafford attended Wednesday’s practice, which was held indoors due to heavy snowfall in the area. He “lightly tossed a few footballs” but was not in shells when practice began, according to mlive.com. He was officially listed as a non-participant, with hip and back ailments, on the team’s injury report.

Jeff Driskel worked with the first-team offense Wednesday and would likely make his second straight start if Stafford is unavailable.

Driskel completed 27 of 46 passes for 269 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field.

Stafford, 31, said on Monday he’s not considering being shut down for the rest of 2019 and felt he made the best decision he could on his status for last week.

“I think I made the right decision,” he said. “… My thinking is to try and be out there as soon as I possibly can to help us win.”

Stafford had started every game under center for the Lions since the start of the 2011 season, a string of 136 consecutive starts. This year, he has passed for 2,499 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins, others to attend Kaepernick workout

Dolphins, others to attend Kaepernick workout

Dolphins, others to attend Kaepernick workout

The Miami Dolphins plan to have a representative in attendance for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s workout this weekend, coach Brian Flores announced Wednesday.

Flores told reporters that the team still is finalizing who will attend Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta on Saturday, however.

The first-year head coach also stopped short of saying whether the 32-year-old Kaepernick would have a place on the Dolphins’ roster.

“I don’t have a crystal ball. It’s hard for me to say,” Flores said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“We like our quarterback situation right now. We’re going to do our due diligence. I would say anytime we could add a good player, we try to do that. We want to do that. But there’s a lot of moving parts to that.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36, has thrown for 1,364 yards with eight touchdowns and as many interceptions in eight games this season for the Dolphins (2-7), who host the Bills (6-3) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET).

Second-year quarterback Josh Rosen, who was acquired from Arizona in the offseason, has thrown for just 567 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions in six appearances with Miami.

As for other teams’ interest in Kaepernick, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said during his Wednesday press conference that he was not certain if the team will be represented at Kaepernick’s workout.

“I’m not really in tuned to that situation very much,” Garrett said. “We have personnel people who evaluate all guys who have an opportunity to hopefully help our team.”

ESPN’s Ed Werder, however, cited a source as reporting that the Cowboys intend to send one representative to the workout.

Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia said Wednesday that his team would have someone on hand, while Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said the same for Kaepernick’s workout, which is being held at the Falcons’ facility.

The Washington Redskins also will be represented, a team spokesman said, while Mike Klis of KUSA reported that the Denver Broncos will have a scout at the workout.

Teams were informed by the league on Tuesday that Kaepernick will do on-field work and be available for an interview, and all 32 teams are invited. Video of both also will be made available to clubs.

In six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick appeared in 69 games and completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 12,271 yards with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He added 13 rushing touchdowns.

Kaepernick, who last played in the NFL in 2016, began kneeling during the national anthem before games that season as a protest of racial injustice. He opted out of his contract the following offseason to become a free agent but went unsigned.

He settled a collusion grievance against the NFL in February, with the payout reported to be worth less than $10 million.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Seahawks’ Lockett leaves hospital, returns to Seattle

Report: Seahawks' Lockett leaves hospital, returns to Seattle

Seahawks

Report: Seahawks’ Lockett leaves hospital, returns to Seattle

Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett was scheduled to return to Seattle on Wednesday after spending two nights in a Bay Area hospital, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Team owner Jody Allen provided a plane to fly Lockett back to Washington, Schefter said.

Lockett was taken to Stanford Medical Center on Monday night after a contusion on his shin swelled up, leading Seattle’s’ medical staff to fear he had sustained a more serious injury. He was injured during the Seahawks’ overtime win against the San Francisco 49ers.

It is unclear when the injury occurred. Lockett received the kickoff in the final seconds of the game and took a knee. He did not play in overtime and was carted off the field during the extra period.

He is expected to take part in the Seahawks’ next game on Nov. 24 at Philadelphia. The Seahawks (8-2) have a bye this weekend.

Coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that Lockett would spend a second night in the hospital for “precautionary reasons.”.

“He’s better than he was (Monday night), and our people think that he’s going to be fine to play next week.”

Lockett, 27, was Seattle’s third-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft. He has emerged as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver and has 62 receptions for 793 yards and six touchdowns. In his career, he’s played in 73 games (49 starts). He has 256 receptions for 3,574 yards and 25 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

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Browns DE Vernon ruled out vs. Steelers

Browns DE Vernon ruled out vs. Steelers

Cleveland Browns

Browns DE Vernon ruled out vs. Steelers

Cleveland Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon was ruled out of Thursday’s game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.

Vernon, 29, is nursing a knee injury that also forced him to miss Cleveland’s 19-16 victory Sunday over the Buffalo Bills.

He has registered 23 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble in eight contests for the Browns (3-6).

Safety Eric Murray will miss his third consecutive game after undergoing knee surgery.

Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (knee) and offensive tackle Kendall Lamm were listed as questionable after both players were elevated from limited to full practice participation on Wednesday.

As for the Steelers (5-4), fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee), running back Benny Snell (knee) and wide receiver Ryan Switzer (back) have been ruled out for Thursday’s game.

Cornerback Joe Haden (illness) is considered questionable to face his former team.

Running back James Conner wasn’t listed on the status report after missing the last two games with a right shoulder injury. He sustained that injury in the waning moments of a 27-14 victory against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 28.

Without Conner in the lineup, the Steelers averaged a season-worst 1.6 yards per carry on 27 attempts in a 17-12 win against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

Conner, 24, has 97 carries for 380 yards and four touchdowns in seven games this season, one year removed from reaching the Pro Bowl with 973 yards and 12 scores.

–Field Level Media

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A year later, Kuchar says he learned from caddie controversy

A year later, Kuchar says he learned from caddie controversy

A year later, Kuchar says he learned from caddie controversy

Matt Kuchar returned to Mexico this week as the defending champion of the Mayakoba Golf Classic, still defending — and explaining how he made amends for — his actions in the 2018 tournament.

As a reminder, Kuchar’s win at the Mayakoba was his first in almost four years. But he was roundly criticized when he paid local caddie David “El Tucan” Ortiz just $5,000. Tour caddies typically get 10 percent of the winner’s share of the purse, which in this case was nearly $1.3 million.

Kuchar later sent Ortiz an additional $45,000 and made donations to local charities. The golfer’s regular caddie, John Wood, was unable to make the trip to Mexico.

In the pre-tournament news conference in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on Tuesday, Kuchar addressed the situation.

“I know what happened post tournament with David is something I’m not proud of, made some headlines that certainly I’m definitely not proud of, but I’ve done my best to make amends, to make things right with David, to do things right by the community,” Kuchar said, per Golf.com. “…I’ve tried to use this opportunity to learn from mistakes, to grow, to try to learn and be better.”

He and Ortiz have made up, Kuchar said.

“I’m proud of being able to make the amends like I have with David and the community, and certainly very excited to get this week started and off to hopefully a good start here,” he said.

One of the worst parts, he said, was the impact it had on his family — especially his grandmother.

“That was a tough thing on me and my family, but it was really tough when I heard from my grandmother and she’s reading headlines about her grandson,” he said. “I think I’ve always tried to make her proud. I’ve got kids of my own, you try to set a good example. I’m disappointed in myself. It’s a moment I’m not proud of.”

Kuchar, 41, is ranked No. 22 in the world. He begins his title defense at the Mayakoba on Thursday at 7:50 a.m. ET, paired with Tony Finau and Mexico’s favorite son, Abraham Ancer.

–Field Level Media

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