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History on the line: Porous Bengals try to stop Saints

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Steelers piled up 481 yards against Cincinnati's historically bad defense.

The Chiefs and the Buccaneers each went well over 500 yards the next two weeks, putting the Bengals on the cusp of NFL history.

No defense has allowed three straight 500-yard games. In order to avoid the ignominy, the Bengals (5-3)

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Steelers piled up 481 yards against Cincinnati’s historically bad defense.

The Chiefs and the Buccaneers each went well over 500 yards the next two weeks, putting the Bengals on the cusp of NFL history.

No defense has allowed three straight 500-yard games. In order to avoid the ignominy, the Bengals (5-3) are going to have to stop an offense that’s been lighting it up.

Hello, Drew Brees.

The Saints (7-1) have won seven straight and are coming off a 45-35 win that sent the Rams to their first loss. New Orleans piled up 487 yards behind Brees, who leads the NFL in completion rate (76.3 percent) and passer rating (120.6). He’s been sacked a league-low nine times.

If the Bengals fail to get a hand on him, it could be history .

“They go as Brees goes,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “We’ve got to find a way to slow down that future Hall of Famer.”

The biggest challenge for the Saints will be keeping the momentum in their only road game during a four-week span. They return home to play the Eagles and Falcons the next two weeks.

Although the Bengals have given up the most yards in the NFL, the defense has scored four touchdowns on interception and fumble returns, playing a big factor in three of their wins.

The Saints can’t afford to get off to a bad start that gives the Bengals the advantage. Also, it would help if the Saints tidied up their defense a bit.

While the Bengals are historically bad — on pace to give up more than 7,000 yards — the Saints are also struggling on defense. They rank 25th overall, including second-worst in pass defense. They’ve been among the worst at stopping opponents inside the 20-yard line. The Rams overcame an 18-point halftime deficit and tied it 35-35 in the fourth quarter.

New Orleans would like fewer shootouts in the second half of the season.

“There’s a ton of things we have to improve on and we need to improve on, or it’s going to hurt us later,” coach Sean Payton said.

Some things to watch Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium:

THE NEW GUY

New Orleans signed former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant on Wednesday . It’s unclear what role — if any — he’ll play this week as he tries to learn the offense. Deep threat Ted Ginn Jr. is hurt, and the Saints hope Bryant can add another dimension to the offense once he gets acclimated.

“I look forward to building a rapport with him,” Brees said. “I look forward to getting him involved in this offense and just become a complement to all the guys that we already have.”

THOMAS’ TIME

While Bryant’s arrival gets attention, Michael Thomas remains the Saints’ biggest threat. He set a franchise record last week with 211 yards receiving, including his 72-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. With half the season still remaining, Thomas has 70 catches for 880 yards and five TDs.

BIGGEST BLEMISH

The Saints’ most glaring problems on defense have come near the goal line. New Orleans’ opponents have scored touchdowns on 20 of 28 drives (71.4 percent). That ranks 28th out of 32 teams in defensive red zone efficiency.

“You can’t find any team having success later in the season with the numbers that we currently have,” Payton said. “We’ve got to find a way to improve that.”

The Bengals lead the league in scoring touchdowns once they get inside the 20-yard line, reaching the end zone on 20 of their 26 such possessions. They’ve scored touchdowns on eight of their past nine trips inside the 20.

“We’ve had some really good schemes,” Andy Dalton said. “At the end of the day, our guys have made the plays.”

OH THAT HISTORY

No NFL team has given up three straight 500-yard games. The 1963 Jets gave up three 500-yard games within a four-game span — 510 to the Chargers, 505 to the Raiders, 317 to the Broncos and 528 to the Chargers again. In its past three games, Cincinnati has allowed 481 to the Steelers, 551 to the Chiefs and 576 to the Buccaneers.

“We’re underachieving right now,” Dunlap said. “We’re playing well enough to win some games, which is why we’re 5-3. If we work on the negatives, we can be that elite defense and that elite team.”

MISSING GREEN

A.J. Green caught a 13-yard touchdown pass with 7 seconds left for a win in Atlanta. He had two catches that moved the Bengals into range for their winning field goal against Tampa Bay before they headed into their bye last week. He also hurt a toe on his right foot on the final catch and is sidelined indefinitely, costing Cincinnati its most dependable receiver.

“It is a huge impact,” Payton said. “He is someone that commands a ton of coverage respect.”

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AP Sports Writers Brett Martel in Metairie, Louisiana, and Joe Reedy in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Texans shake off terrible start with 6-game winning streak

HOUSTON (AP) — Ask Jadeveon Clowney how the Houston Texans turned around their season by winning six straight games after an 0-3 start and the hulking defensive end breaks into song.

"Started from the bottom now we're here," he bellows. "Started from the bottom now the whole team here."

While the 2013 Drake tune is

HOUSTON (AP) — Ask Jadeveon Clowney how the Houston Texans turned around their season by winning six straight games after an 0-3 start and the hulking defensive end breaks into song.

“Started from the bottom now we’re here,” he bellows. “Started from the bottom now the whole team here.”

While the 2013 Drake tune is a little old to be the team’s anthem, the sentiment of the song couldn’t be more fitting for these Texans.

They occupied the basement of the AFC South after opening the season with losses to New England, Tennessee and the New York Giants by a combined 13 points. After falling into such a big hole early, the Texans were written off by many as headed to a lost season.

Everyone insists that such a defeatist sentiment never took hold within the team, with the struggles galvanizing them to get on track and prove the doubters wrong.

“Don’t quit. Everyone keeps fighting. Everyone keeps believing,” quarterback Deshaun Watson said. “Everyone keeps fighting to the very, very end. That is what we do. Regardless of the situation or the adversity, we are always going to keep fighting. That is how we feel.”

Houston is the second team in NFL history to win six in a row after opening 0-3, the first since the Giants in 1970. The winning streak has the Texans in first place in their division and in good position to compete for their third AFC South title in the last four seasons.

A big reason for Houston’s turnaround has been the play of Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt. Both have started each game this year after having their 2017 seasons cut short by major injuries. Watson tore a knee ligament in practice after appearing in seven games in 2017. Watt played just eight games in the previous two years because of back surgeries and a broken leg.

Watt is tied for third in the NFL with nine sacks and his four forced fumbles are tied for most in the league.

“I know he probably doesn’t want to talk about it too much, but I’ve never seen anything like it,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “To come back from what he’s been able to come back from, some really serious injuries, and to be able to play at the level that he’s playing at, it just says all you need to know about him and how much he cares about the team and how much he wants to help this organization win.”

Watson, the 12th overall pick in last year’s draft, has thrown for 2,389 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions despite being slowed by lung and rib injuries. O’Brien said his diligence in coming to the facility every day after his injury last season to study film and talk to coaches has helped Watson take a step forward this year.

“He’s grown a lot,” O’Brien said. “He’s just an awesome guy to work with. He cares about studying, he cares about putting time in to prepare for each game. I think he’s learned a lot about NFL defenses. He’s had a lot thrown at him defensively this year, whether it’s third-down defenses, red-area defenses. He’s improved every week.”

Watson has been helped by the stellar play of receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who is No. 3 in the NFL with 894 yards receiving and whose seven touchdowns are tied for second. The Texans hope that new addition Demaryius Thomas, acquired in a trade with Denver last Tuesday, will make more of an impact after the break with some time to learn the offense.

Hopkins, who has five touchdowns in the last four games, said despite this strong stretch the Texans are approaching things the same way they did when they were desperate for a victory.

“We’ve got the same mentality, and that’s win,” he said. “That’s why we go to practice and that’s why we wake up every day. It’s the same mentality we had when we were 0-3. Nothing’s changed.”

They know that if they let up, their season will end prematurely, just as it did when they went 4-12 in 2017.

O’Brien let out a slight chuckle when asked if 0-3 feels like forever ago.

“It’s not a really long time ago,” he said. “I think our players understand that, and I think the difference between 0-3 and where we are now is not a big difference. We’re just making some more plays, we’re coaching some things better. I think our guys have to — and they do — understand that every week is going to be difficult.”

First up is a trip to Washington on Nov. 18 before a Monday night matchup with Tennessee on Nov. 26 in the first of three straight home games when a win would be key in moving closer to taking their division.

“It’s just important to note that we haven’t been blowing anybody out,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said. “I don’t think we are a complacent group of guys. We’ve been in some fist fights, some real close ballgames, so it’s not like everything is cookie cutter and everything is going all good for us.”

“We still have things we can improve on and work on, so I think that’s what’s going to keep us pushing forward.”

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Linebackers are paying price for NFL’s video-game numbers

DENVER (AP) — With the NFL's volcanic offenses, can't-hit-them-too-hard rules and bewildered officials, linebackers today aren't the snarling 250-pound thumpers who used to just give running backs fits.

"Now we have to cover well, too," Denver's Brandon Marshall said. "We still have to tackle well. So, you can't be real light and only playing pass

DENVER (AP) — With the NFL’s volcanic offenses, can’t-hit-them-too-hard rules and bewildered officials, linebackers today aren’t the snarling 250-pound thumpers who used to just give running backs fits.

“Now we have to cover well, too,” Denver’s Brandon Marshall said. “We still have to tackle well. So, you can’t be real light and only playing pass or too heavy and only playing run. You’ve got to be able to do all of it, man.”

Which means finding a sweet spot on the scale so they can run like a gazelle and still hit like a truck.

Today’s inside linebackers not only need to have the stamina to go sideline to sideline, but they also require:

—sufficient strength to shed 320-pound linemen;

—enough vigor to cover towering tight ends;

—ample speed to keep up with receivers no longer timid about going over the middle;

—enough recognition and quickness to keep up with shifty running backs and ever-more-mobile quarterbacks.

It’s also handy to have a thick skin, knowing linebackers will bear the brunt of fans’ frustrations as offenses pick apart apparently defenseless units at a record-setting pace.

Sounds impossible.

“It almost is,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “It almost is.”

“It’s definitely very difficult,” Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said. “You have tight ends that provide mismatches, you’ve got running backs that are great receivers. You’re asked to be in a lot of positions. But that’s what we get paid to do. So, we’ve got figure out a way to do it and do it well.”

As do the officials, whom Joseph said are allowing illegal blocks with the run-pass option rage that has seeped from the college game and is prominently featured in places such as Kansas City, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Take the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs in Week 8.

Linemen aren’t allowed to block more than a yard from the line of scrimmage on a pass play. But the Chiefs’ guards and center got a few yards downfield several times, causing Denver’s linebackers to instinctively commit to the run — only to see quarterback Patrick Mahomes pull the ball back from running back Kareem Hunt’s belly and zip it to wide-open tight end Travis Kelce.

“It’s the league we’re in,” Joseph said. “Those guys blocking up front don’t know the ball is being thrown. They’re blocking zone, so absolutely it’s an issue. We have to fix this issue in this league, unless it’s going to be college football.

“It’s tough for the linebackers to play both, and you see it on tape. Todd Davis is having hell trying to fit his gap and chase the guy in the flat. When you see Kelce in the flat over there with no one around him, (Davis is) playing his run gap because the guard and center are four and five yards down the field.”

Joseph added, “That’s an issue. It’s a leaguewide issue and it’s a Chiefs issue. Everyone is running these plays, so we have to figure out a way to officiate this better to help the game.”

Marshall isn’t so sure the league’s competition committee will do anything about it, though, saying more points equals more eyeballs.

“They’re not going to change it,” he said.

So it’s the linebackers who are changing.

Davis, the Broncos’ leading tackler, said he’s dropped his weight to 233 and “I do a lot more training with DBs and corners. I add that on to what I already did in the weight room and running and conditioning. But now I have to be ready for everything in the pass game, as well.”

The linebackers who are modifying their bodies and games are embracing the challenge.

“It’s the NFL,” Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. “There’s great players at every position.”

Including linebacker.

“I love it,” Davis said. “It’s on us to play well and it’s on us to set the tempo and be great for our team. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Marshall said linebackers ultimately benefit from the ever-increasing challenges brought on by the RPO trend, faster rushers, bigger tight ends and plucky receivers.

“It’s made me a better player,” Marshall said. “It’s also made me more valuable.”

“I think that’s why teams put a premium on athletic ‘backers,” Marshall said. “Because we have to be out there to cover the Kelces and the Gronks and the Dion Lewises and the James Whites of the world. And then we’ve got to be able to tackle (Todd) Gurley. That’s just how it is.”

Defenses are employing more defensive backs, as many as seven, to combat the RPO trend.

“I think schematically we have to adjust as far as personnel and put faster athletes, better athletes at cover linebacker positions to nullify some of this stuff,” Joseph said. “Because right now it’s almost impossible physically.”

Joseph thinks he has an antidote in Su’a Cravens, and the 6-foot-1, 220-pound safety from USC who’s used as a dime linebacker certainly agrees.

“The way the rules are, they handicap defenses. We’re basically on the field to get in the way, we’re not supposed to stop the offense,” Cravens said. “Defense is already hard enough. They’re making it harder.

“So, with guys like me, I think it’s an opportunity for us to showcase what we can do because they’re making it hard for traditional linebackers who are heavy-handed, heavy-footed. They’re ready to be physical at the line of scrimmage and they can’t do that anymore.”

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AP Pro Football Writers Teresa M. Walker and Dave Campbell contributed

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Chiefs using screen plays in creative new ways on offense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes had been shredding the Patriots defense all night with his incredible arm strength and downfield precision in a back-and-forth shootout last month when it looked as if the Chiefs quarterback might be finally corralled by a well-timed blitz.

With a deft flip of his wrist, Mahomes instead tossed

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes had been shredding the Patriots defense all night with his incredible arm strength and downfield precision in a back-and-forth shootout last month when it looked as if the Chiefs quarterback might be finally corralled by a well-timed blitz.

With a deft flip of his wrist, Mahomes instead tossed a soft screen pass to Kareem Hunt out of the backfield, and he raced up the field as the Patriots were forced to chase him.

The timing was perfect. The execution was spot-on.

It was just one of dozens of examples through the first nine games this season of coach Andy Reid using the screen pass to impressive effect.

Whether it’s Hunt out of the backfield, Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins on a bubble screen or even tight end Travis Kelce catching a short pass behind the defense, the Chiefs may use their myriad variations of the screen better than any other team.

“You are really just taking a blocking scheme and moving it out into space,” Reid explained. “Our backs are good with it, quarterback gives them an opportunity and the big guys get out and run.”

The intricate timing plays are fun for just about everybody.

Mahomes likes them because the throws are fairly easy and often lead to big gains. Hunt and fellow running back Spencer Ware like them because they can use their talent in space. And even the offensive linemen like them because they often get to plow through smaller defensive backs, rather than tangle with big defensive tackles as they would do on a traditional running play.

Oh, and the Chiefs’ fans like them for obvious reasons.

Screen passes are hardly new in the NFL, and indeed, they have been part of Reid’s basic West Coast offense since he was learning the scheme from its originator, Bill Walsh.

But with so many playmakers at his disposal, and a quarterback who is finally capable of executing the variety of plays, Reid has taken the old-school notion of screen passes to another level.

They might incorporate elements of the run-pass option, a relatively new development that has swept through the NFL.

Or they might call for guys to line up in unique spots, such as running backs split wide or a wide receiver in the backfield. Or they might call for exotic blocking schemes.

“It’s a timing thing. We have to be in sync with our offensive line,” Ware said. “Our releases are a big part of it — how we escape. The downfield ball with Tyreek, Sammy, Travis and Mahomes throwing it opens it up for us. Then when you have Kareem running how he’s running, they come up and play the run and it’s like, ‘No, it’s not a run, it’s a pass. You’d better get back.’ That gives us some cushion.”

Such screen plays often look simple, but are in fact quite difficult to execute.

Mahomes has to read the defense correctly in the seconds before a snap. The designated target needs to be on the same page. And as Hunt explained, “there’s just a lot of timing involved.”

“Yeah,” Mahomes added, “but with how well Coach Reid explains it, everything goes off each other. I think we had a screen and it went off a shovel pass to Kareem the week before, things like that, where we build on top of each other every single week. We are never set in our ways.”

That’s another reason the Chiefs’ screen passes are so difficult to defend: They may run a play to one target one week, giving the next opponent film to review, then run the play to a different target out of the exact same formation the following week.

Good luck trying to stop that.

“Asking these guys to go against faster players, for your offensive linemen to go against these defensive backs and block them in space, that’s tough to do,” Reid said.

“We’re fortunate our backs do a nice job of this. They help set up the defense so you can run fast. There’s nothing worse than watching a screen, you get out there and the offensive linemen are out there trying to dance a little bit.

“A back can take care of you with that,” Reid concluded. “As long as you know where he’s at, he’s going to kind of force the issue downhill, good things can happen.”

Notes: Strong safety Eric Berry (heel), OL Cam Erving (illness), LB Anthony Hitchens (ribs), WR Sammy Watkins (foot) and C Mitch Morse (concussion) remained out of practice Thursday. … Special teams coach Dave Toub dismissed a couple of recent missed PATs, saying Thursday that “nobody is harder on himself” than PK Harrison Butker. Toub said snaps have been part of the problem, “and again, it’s a 33-yard field goal. It’s not a chip-shot like it used to be.”

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Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 10

Key takeaways from week 9:

  • Saints replace the Chiefs, joining the Rams and Patriots as the top three spots
  • 49ers have the lowest odds at 2000/1
  • Biggest jump: Atlanta Falcons (+31.8%)
  • Biggest drop: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills (-100%)
  • No change: Chiefs, Texans, Colts, Dolphins, Cardinals, Giants (0%)

Key takeaways from week 9:

  • Saints replace the Chiefs, joining the Rams and Patriots as the top three spots
  • 49ers have the lowest odds at 2000/1
  • Biggest jump: Atlanta Falcons (+31.8%)
  • Biggest drop: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills (-100%)
  • No change: Chiefs, Texans, Colts, Dolphins, Cardinals, Giants (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds


Martin is a data analyst that has been applauded for his ability to make the complex simple. He grew up on a farm in northern Vermont and spent his summers helping his mom lead llama treks at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

Martin graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Mathematics. After graduation he left Vermont to work for an educational nonprofit called City Year for two years, and followed that up by attending the data science immersive program at Galvanize in Denver. He is an avid Green Bay Packer fan, and spends his free time playing football and soccer.

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‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 10 Breakdown: Bengals Host Red-Hot Saints, Pros On Underdog Titans (+6.5) vs. Patriots

The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 10 Breakdown: Bengals Host Red-Hot Saints, Pros On Underdog Titans (+6.5) vs. Patriots appeared first on SportsHandle.

On The Pro Football Handle, brought to you by PropSwap.com, Las Vegas-based sports talk voice Matt Perrault and veteran bookmaker Robert Walker of USBookmaking dive into select NFL games, line

The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 10 Breakdown: Bengals Host Red-Hot Saints, Pros On Underdog Titans (+6.5) vs. Patriots appeared first on SportsHandle.

On The Pro Football Handle, brought to you by PropSwap.com, Las Vegas-based sports talk voice Matt Perrault and veteran bookmaker Robert Walker of USBookmaking dive into select NFL games, line movements and bookmaker liabilities, plus greater sports betting topics and stories that may have nothing to do with football. Walker has seen it all behind the counter and Perrault the same from behind the microphone, so they’ll have you prepared for anything.

Somehow, it’s already NFL Week 10. There are some funky lines this week including three double digit games. Will the public continue their red hot October into November? Keep an eye on the dogs this week, they are consistently hitting (69-60-3 ATS on the season), although popular favorites have been covering recently. Listen for some key teaser opportunities and the contrarian pick of the week.

Spotify fans go here to listen. Download the PropSwap app for iOS systems here and Android here. Time codes for the episode follow below.


1:10 — The public is red hot: a recap of the season so far.

12:47 —  PropSwap.com, Future Focus — Are the L.A. Chargers and Carolina Panthers getting the respect they deserve?

15:16 — Carolina Panthers +3.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers — Carolina is a team to be reckoned with and the public is paying attention.

21:00 —  Buffalo Bills +6.5 (or +7) at N.Y. Jets — Without their young QBs playing, the only reason to watch this game is if you bet on it.

23:35 — Atlanta Falcons -4 at Cleveland Browns-– The Browns are home dogs? Tempting, but can you trust them?

26:04 — New Orleans Saints -5 at Cincinnati Bengals — Contrarian play of the week!

29:25 — Washington Redskins +2.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — FitzMagic money is pouring in, but which version will we see this week?

31:30 — New England Patriots -6.5 at Tennessee Titans — Pros are on the dog. Great teaser opportunity.

34:09 — Arizona Cardinals +16.5 at Kansas City Chiefs — If you have to play KC, play the first half.

36:00 — L.A. Chargers -10 at Oakland Raiders –– Robert is done with the Raiders but Matt will tease it.

39:06 — Seattle Seahawks +9.5  at L.A. Rams — Seattle is the livest dog you’ve ever seen.

41:31 — Miami Dolphins +9.5 at Green Bay Packers — This game is Dolphins vs. Aaron Rodgers. And the public loves Aaron Rodgers.

42:49 — Detroit Lions +6.5 at Chicago Bears — Has media spin superficially inflated the Lions?

44:22– Dallas Cowboys +7 at Philadelphia Eagles — Without Sean Lee the Cowboys suffer on defense.

45:34 — NY Giants +3 at San Francisco 49ers  — San Fran is terrible but shouldn’t be favored over anybody… even the Giants.


Have a profitable Week 10, folks. Thanks for listening and see you back next week, tell a friend, sign up for our newsletter and also check out the Cover City Podcast, featuring sports bettor Eric Rosenthal.

Follow Perrault on Twitter @sportstalkmatt and Walker @robertusfsports.

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The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 10 Breakdown: Bengals Host Red-Hot Saints, Pros On Underdog Titans (+6.5) vs. Patriots appeared first on SportsHandle.

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NHL Executive Suggests New Gambling Revenue Could Actually Keep Ticket Prices Down

The NHL’s 180° on the virtues of sports betting is causing whiplash among people who for two decades saw NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shout about the dangers of legal sports betting and its potential to ruin sports. 

Following a flurry of recent NHL announcements including deals with MGM Resorts International to

The NHL’s 180° on the virtues of sports betting is causing whiplash among people who for two decades saw NHL commissioner Gary Bettman shout about the dangers of legal sports betting and its potential to ruin sports. 

Following a flurry of recent NHL announcements including deals with MGM Resorts International to become an official sports betting partner, and a partnership with FanDuel to become the “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and an official sports betting partner of the NHL” —  Los Angeles Kings president Luc Robitaille on Wednesday said that gambling revenue derived from such deals and other channels could actually lower ticket prices or at least prevent them from rising at the same rate.

Robitaille made the remarks during an appearance on ESPN’s On Ice podcast with Greg Wyshanski and Emily Kaplan on Wednesday, saying in part: “I’m not going to guarantee it’s going to bring down ticket prices, but it might hold the raise a little bit. If a team plans on raising ticket prices by 8 percent, they might only raise them by 5 or 4 percent. If there’s a lot more money at the table, it makes everybody’s life easier.”

We’ll put the likelihood of a reduction of prices and/or slowing of their incremental increases at 25-1. Let’s now explore the reason for that line a bit deeper.

 

Read more NHL Executive Suggests New Gambling Revenue Could Actually Keep Ticket Prices Down on SportsHandle.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 10 Picks

Welcome to Week 10 of the NFL season as we have been on a roll with this column lately. Luck never seems to last long in the sports betting world, but we will ride this wave as long as we can. Since we went 3-0 on point spreads/underdog game picks last week, we're

Welcome to Week 10 of the NFL season as we have been on a roll with this column lately. Luck never seems to last long in the sports betting world, but we will ride this wave as long as we can. Since we went 3-0 on point spreads/underdog game picks last week, we’re going back to that well heavily today. We’re going to have four point spread picks with one over/under kicker. There are some interesting lines out there this week, so let’s get to it.

Panthers +4 at Steelers (-115)

Both these teams are red hot and this should be one of the best games of the week. For once, we get a really good Thursday Night game. On a short week, both teams are going to be tired and it might be a little sloppier than we’ve seen from Carolina and Pittsburgh the last several weeks. The nod probably goes to Pittsburgh, because they’re at home, but when it’s two really good teams, you have to take the side getting four points.

We’ll be hoping for a Steelers three-point win or even the Panthers to pull this one out on the road and keep their hot play going. Either of those will win us some money, so we won’t be picky. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.61.

Redskins +135 over Buccaneers

One week after picking against the Redskins when they were home favorites, we’re turning the tables and picking them to win straight up as road dogs this week. Washington was embarrassed by Atlanta in D.C. a week ago and to keep pace with the Eagles, this is a game they have to win. Jameis and Tampa have looked terrible as of late and there’s no reason to think that ends this week.

Look for Washington to get back on track and rather than betting on them +3 with a -115 payout, just go for it and bet them straight up to win at +135 payout. It’s much better value and you have to like their chances of winning outright. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.75.

Cardinals +17 at Chiefs (-110)

No matter how one-sided the match up, I just can’t bring myself to believe that an NFL team can’t cover a three-score spread. We had this same feeling when we bet the Bills +17 against the Vikings earlier in the season. Somehow, the Bills won that game outright, the biggest upset statistically in a few decades. That ain’t happening with the Cardinals, but Arizona’s defense is nothing to scoff at.

While Kansas City has been blowing most teams out of the water, this feels a lot more like a 10-point game, because the Cardinals are going to try and control the clock and keep the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands. If a team can’t cover a 17-point spread, we deserve to lose the bet anyway, so let’s roll with it. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Seahawks +10 at Rams (-110)

Both these teams lost last week and Seattle is now on the brink of falling out of playoff contention. With L.A. losing home field throughout the playoffs for the time being based on their loss to the Saints, each of these teams is going to be playing desperate. Expect the Rams to win this game, but it should be much closer than the spread indicates.

Certainly, Seattle plays much better at home (where they pushed a +3 spread against the Rams earlier this season), but they’ve shown they can hang offensively when they need to. With two opponents so familiar with each other, it’s hard to bet against the team getting 10 points. Betting with the team getting points seems to be the theme this week, but that’s just how the spreads have played out. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Saints-Bengals OVER 54 (-115)

This very well could be an overreaction on my part to the Saints and Rams shattering my under pick last week (it was 60, the teams combined for 80). However, this really does seem like a solid bet. With A.J. Green out, the Bengals offense will be less dynamic, but as long as they get Joe Mixon in space, that will open up passing lanes for Andy Dalton to hit Tyler Boyd and others.

New Orleans should certainly be seen as the favorite in this game and we will be in good shape if they open up an early lead, because that will force Cincinnati to play catch up. That’s what happened to the Rams last week and we saw the end result there. Here’s to righting that wrong and taking the over this week instead of the under when it comes to the Saints. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.40.

As we do every week, let’s calculate our dream scenario where we go 5-for-5. We’ve been on a hot streak, so never say never. In that case, a $20 parlay would make us $598.95. We’ll keep dreaming of that, but I’m sure you’d all be fine going 3-for-5 every week as we’ve been doing all season long. Happy betting and we will check in after this weekend’s games.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out

The post Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out appeared first on SportsHandle.

Besides the 36 gubernatorial races decided on Tuesday, the Nov. 6 elections will have an impact on the future of sports betting in some states. Several key lawmakers in states actively considering

The post Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out appeared first on SportsHandle.

Besides the 36 gubernatorial races decided on Tuesday, the Nov. 6 elections will have an impact on the future of sports betting in some states. Several key lawmakers in states actively considering legalizing sports betting lost their seats or were term-limited out, while others retained their posts and may see their influence elevate.

In Indiana, two key legislators, Ben Smaltz, whose Public Policy Committee held an intensive hearing on sports betting last month, hasn’t filed legislation, but could be a key drive. So could Ron Alting, Smaltz’s Senate counterpart. Both held off Democratic challengers to retain their seats.

In Kentucky, Adam Koenig, who retained his seat with 55 percent of the vote, hasn’t filed a bill yet, but hosted a comprehensive hearinghttps://sportshandle.com/ky-lawmakers-closing-in-on-sports-betting-bill-to-pass-in-19-hone-in-on-final-key-issues/ in October and appears to have taken the point on sports betting in the Bluegrass State. And in Massachusetts, chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Joe Wagner, who ran unopposed, is carrying the torch.

 

 
 

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Saints sign ex-Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Dez Bryant has found a new team, agreeing to join the already prolific offense of the surging New Orleans Saints.

The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, who has been looking for an NFL home since becoming a free agent in April, will now have a chance to catch passes from one

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Dez Bryant has found a new team, agreeing to join the already prolific offense of the surging New Orleans Saints.

The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, who has been looking for an NFL home since becoming a free agent in April, will now have a chance to catch passes from one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history in New Orleans’ Drew Brees.

“There is certainly a skillset that he has that is going to be beneficial. So I look forward to getting to work with him. I look forward to building a rapport with him. I look forward to getting him involved in this offense and just become a complement to all the guys that we already have,” Brees said. “He’ll be a great addition.”

The 30-year-old Bryant and the Saints agreed to contract terms on Wednesday, and it remains unclear to what extent Bryant will play when New Orleans visits Cincinnati on Sunday.

Bryant spent his first eight years in the NFL with Dallas and last season caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns, including a 50-yard scoring play, for the Cowboys.

However, his professional reputation has been marred at times by public confrontations with coaches and teammates during games and practices.

Veteran Saints tight end Ben Watson said players in New Orleans’ locker room must guard against pre-judging Bryant based on superficial observations from old television clips without knowing all the facts or how Bryant has evolved personally since.

“I don’t know Dez. I wasn’t in the locker room with him in Dallas. I don’t know all the dynamics,” Watson said. “I also don’t know what’s transpired with him personally since that situation. So the great thing about a locker room, I think, is we take guys in and we say, ‘Hey, what are you like now?'”

Seeking salary cap relief, the Cowboys released Bryant after last season with two years remaining on the receiver’s five-year, $70 million contract.

Last season was Bryant’s best since he caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and 16 TDs in 2014, which at the time was his third consecutive season with at least 1,200 yards receiving. He signed his last Cowboys contract right after that, but has not approached that level of production since — a central reason Dallas released him in April.

“What matters is, what are we going to do for the next eight games?” said Watson, who played for the Patriots when running back Corey Dillon arrived with a reputation as a malcontent from Cincinnati in 2004 and helped New England win a Super Bowl.

Watson was still with the Patriots in 2007 when they added another perceived malcontent in receiver Randy Moss, who caught 23 of Tom Brady’s NFL-record 50 TD passes that season.

“People change over time and there are certain factors you just don’t know about. So we just move forward,” Watson said. “If somebody’s new, you have a clean slate and you embrace that person because now they’re your teammate.”

Bryant was among several receivers to work out for the Saints on Tuesday. He’d previously met with Cleveland and Baltimore.

New Orleans (7-1), which has won seven straight and leads the NFC South, didn’t necessarily need another receiver.

Led by the record-setting Brees, the Saints rank seventh on offense overall, averaging 402.2 yards per game, and seventh in passing, averaging 289.9 yards. At the same time, New Orleans is without deep threat Ted Ginn Jr., who is currently on injured reserve and won’t be eligible to return until the final few weeks of the season, if he’s ready by then.

The Saints also have yet to receive consistent production from Cameron Meredith, a former Chicago receiving leader who was acquired in free agency, but who also is trying to come back from major knee surgery that wiped out his 2017 season.

Bryant’s return to the NFL with the Saints means he could play against his former club in a few weeks. The Saints play at Dallas on Nov. 29.

“They’re getting a great receiver. He goes up and attacks the ball better than I’ve seen anyone,” Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot said. “He’s definitely a special player and I’m glad he got picked up and I’m glad something worked out for him.”

Added Cowboys coach Jason Garrett: “I’m happy he has an opportunity to go play and finish the right way, it will be a great environment for him to go out and make an impact.”

New Orleans also has two games remaining against division rival Carolina (6-2).

“The nice thing is we don’t play them until December, so we will get an opportunity to see what they are doing with him,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said shortly after hearing about Bryant’s agreement with the Saints. “He’s a good player. He’s a guy that has shown he can go up and get the football.”

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AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas and Steve Reed in Charlotte, North Carolina, contributed.

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Titans’ Butler struggling, now a target in pass defense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler knows why he has struggled so much that opposing quarterbacks keep picking on him.

"Just got to be more detailed and more disciplined on those little things," Butler said Wednesday. "I threw that last eight weeks behind me, and I got a whole 'nother eight weeks to

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler knows why he has struggled so much that opposing quarterbacks keep picking on him.

“Just got to be more detailed and more disciplined on those little things,” Butler said Wednesday. “I threw that last eight weeks behind me, and I got a whole ‘nother eight weeks to try to make up for it.”

Butler has to do something.

The Titans have allowed the fewest touchdowns in the NFL with 14. Yet, Butler has been the weak link: He has allowed the most touchdown passes (seven) and most yards receiving (618) of any cornerback in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. The Dallas Cowboys scored both of their TDs at Butler’s expense Monday night in Tennessee’s 28-14 victory.

Butler is the cornerback that New England benched during the Super Bowl last February when the Patriots lost to Philadelphia. He then signed a five-year deal worth more than $60 million with $30 million guaranteed with the Titans in March.

He started the first five games this season. Over the past three, the Titans have started Adoree Jackson alongside Logan Ryan with Butler as the third cornerback.

With Butler on the field, Dak Prescott hit Amari Cooper for a 4-yard touchdown pass with his receiver creating space from Butler by running right before cutting back toward the left pylon. Butler appeared to look back at Prescott and left Allen Hurns wide open for a 23-yard TD pass.

Butler plays aggressively, which he said is hard to balance at times.

“Just got to work my way around it and just make plays and play football and do what I’ve been doing my whole career,” Butler said. “Just got to hold up.”

His next challenge comes Sunday against his former team when Tom Brady and the Patriots (7-2) visit the Titans (4-4). The Titans have been coaching Butler on his issues, and coach Mike Vrabel said Butler needs to have his eyes on the receiver in man coverage and not Brady.

“Malcolm knows that, and we’ve talked about that, and we continue to practice it, we continue to coach it and we try to show it to him,” Vrabel said. “When he does that, it’s pretty good, it’s competitive. He challenges the receivers. When you look back at the quarterback, your man has a tendency to go in another direction.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick still has not said why he benched Butler wouldn’t discuss the cornerback specifically on Wednesday when asked what Butler is doing differently. Instead, the coach talked about the Titans’ defense, which leads the NFL in fewest points allowed per game.

“That’s our challenge as an offense is we’re playing 11 guys, we’re playing their coaching staff and the schemes they put up against us,” Belichick said. “And, right now, they’re playing better defense than anybody in the league. So, we’ll see how we do. I don’t know. It will be tough, I know that

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman said Butler is a cornerback who’s strong at playing the ball in the air. Edelman also has a lot of respect for a man he called a “heart player,” whose progress from being undrafted out of South Alabama to now is proof of the cornerback’s hard work.

“He’s gotten beat a couple of times, but that goes with the nature of his game,” Edelman said. “He’s a real aggressive player that competes, plays the ball well through your hands. He’s long, (strong) upper body. He’s got that ability to make up speed with the ball in the air while looking back. A lot of corners can’t do that. I got a lot of respect for Malcolm.”

Notes: The Titans held a walk-through practice Wednesday. RT Jack Conklin (concussion protocol) did not practice along with WR Taywan Taylor, whose left foot was in a walking boot in the locker room; LB Daren Bates (illness); and S Dane Cruikshank (knee). LB Derrick Morgan (shoulder) and WR Tajae Sharpe (right ankle) were limited.

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AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this report from Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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Tyrell Williams emerges as deep threat for Chargers

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have proven during the first half of the season that they have plenty of weapons on offense. One who has emerged is Tyrell Williams, who has become a deep threat during the past month.

Going into Sunday's game at Oakland, the fourth-year wide receiver has four

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have proven during the first half of the season that they have plenty of weapons on offense. One who has emerged is Tyrell Williams, who has become a deep threat during the past month.

Going into Sunday’s game at Oakland, the fourth-year wide receiver has four touchdowns and is averaging 28.8 yards per catch over the past three games.

“He’s become a complete receiver. His receiving skills, he’s just taken them to another level,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.

With Keenan Allen still drawing double teams, Williams continues to benefit from single coverage. Five of his receptions during the past three games have gone for 20 yards or more, including a 75-yarder against Tennessee on Oct. 21. He is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (five), second in yardage (451) and third in receptions (22) during the first half of the season.

“I think it’s really just been seeing what the defense does, when to take shots, being able to get over the top and trusting my ability to go up and get the ball or run past the defense,” said Williams, whose 20.5 yards per reception average is third in the league.

Philip Rivers also hasn’t been afraid to go to Williams on consecutive plays if the matchup is favorable. Williams caught both passes on a two-play, 89-yard drive midway through the second quarter of the Oct. 14 game at Cleveland, including a 45-yard touchdown where he got leverage over cornerback Damarious Randall.

While Williams has made his biggest impact on downfield plays, he has also shown his improvement in other areas. Late in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game at Seattle, Williams made a diving grab on a back shoulder fade for a 14-yard touchdown while being covered by Tre Flowers.

Williams said catching back shoulder passes and route running were two things that he placed added emphasis on improving this past offseason.

“My first few years, I was always just looking to get the ball down the field. I wasn’t really prepared for back-shoulders,” he said. “It was kind of a timing thing and getting used to that, but now I’ve kind of figured out how to be running fast but still be prepared for that back-shoulder stuff.”

Los Angeles (6-2) has won five straight for the first time since 2014 and will face a Raiders defense that is 24th against the pass. Williams had three receptions for 66 yards in the first meeting on Oct. 14, which the Chargers won 26-10. One of the catches was for 48 yards.

“Hopefully that stays the same and they don’t switch it up. It’s nice to get single coverage and Keenan still being able to go for 100 like he did, to be firing on all cylinders,” he said.

Notes: Defensive end Joey Bosa did not do any team drills, meaning he’s unlikely to play in his first game of the season this week. … Lynn has left open the possibility that LB Kyzir White could return later in the season. White was placed on injured reserve Saturday due to a knee injury.

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Bills’ McCoy not talking as production keeps dropping

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The more LeSean McCoy's production drops, the less the Buffalo Bills running back wants to talk about it.

"Don't worry about me, I'll be all right," McCoy said following practice Wednesday before excusing himself by saying he had to go lift weights. "I ain't ducking you, honest. I'm trying to

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The more LeSean McCoy’s production drops, the less the Buffalo Bills running back wants to talk about it.

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be all right,” McCoy said following practice Wednesday before excusing himself by saying he had to go lift weights. “I ain’t ducking you, honest. I’m trying to get myself together.”

And off he went. McCoy returned to the locker room briefly about 45 minutes later, before exiting yet again upon seeing a large group of reporters gathered at his stall.

Whatever frustrations McCoy has while enduring the worst start to a season in his 10-year career, or concerns he might have about an offense not producing at an alarmingly anemic rate, he’d prefer to keep to himself as Buffalo (2-7) prepares to play at the New York Jets (3-6) on Sunday.

McCoy hasn’t formally addressed the media since acknowledging he’s never been through as bad of a stretch as this in his life, following a 25-6 loss to New England on Oct. 29. After gaining 12 yards on his first carry against the Patriots, McCoy combined for just 1 more yard on his final 11 attempts of the game.

“I’ve had bad games, but this, the flow of the season and everything, is bad,” he said.

Things got worse Sunday, when McCoy managed 10 yards on 10 carries in a 41-9 loss to Chicago.

“He’s’ too talented for that,” fullback Patrick DiMarco said. “He’s a guy that can change a game and take over a game. He knows that. We know that. Upstairs they know that. We’ve got to get him going.”

One issue is he’s part of a patchwork offense that’s scored just 96 points, topped 300 yards net offense twice and has no continuity at quarterback . McCoy’s also had off-field distractions amid allegations of abusing his son — which he’s denied — stemming from a lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend.

And age could be catching up to McCoy, who turned 30 in July.

Coach Sean McDermott doesn’t buy it and blames McCoy’s struggles on the entire offense.

“There’s been some opportunities to hit some holes that weren’t hit, and there’s been some opportunities where the seam was there, and we didn’t get the movement we needed,” McDermott said. “It’s been really a combination, but we’ve got to give him more opportunities to make more big plays for us.”

A year after topping 1,100 yards rushing for the sixth time, the NFL’s 2013 rushing leader is barely on pace to break 500.

He’s managed 267 yards rushing and has yet to score in essentially seven games this season. McCoy missed one game due to a rib injury, and was limited to playing two snaps before sustaining a concussion in a 37-5 loss at Indianapolis three weeks ago.

McCoy hasn’t scored since having a touchdown rushing and receiving in a 24-17 win over Miami on Dec. 17. And he hasn’t topped 100 yards since finishing with 156 on a snow-covered field in a 13-7 overtime win against Indianapolis on Dec. 10.

The recent swoon in production spans the NFL trading deadline on Oct. 30, and amid speculation McCoy might have been dealt because he has one year left on his contract, or that he was open to leaving a rebuilding team in order to play for a contender.

General manager Brandon Beane dismissed the narratives by saying McCoy’s silence stems from mere frustration.

“I can tell you, LeSean is very happy here. He’s frustrated just like I am, just like a lot of guys on our offense,” Beane told The Associated Press. “He’s a winner. He’s a competitor. And he’s not happy with our whole offense. He thinks he can do better.”

And Beane has such confidence in McCoy, he sees no reason why the running back won’t be back next season.

“We don’t see a guy who’s a declining player. We see a guy who’s still playing well, and he’s one of the better players at his position in the league,” Beane said. “He is working hard. He’s trying to be the best he can. And he’s going to continue to do that. And if he wasn’t, then we probably would’ve moved on.”

NOTES: McDermott wasn’t prepared to identify which quarterback will start against the Jets. Rookie Josh Allen, who has missed three games with a sprained right throwing elbow, practiced on a limited basis, while Derek Anderson remains in the concussion protocol. … Buffalo shuffled its practice squad by signing WR Cam Phillips and CB Xavier Coleman and releasing WR Hunter Sharp. … On Tuesday, the Bills cut starting CB Phillip Gaines and promoted CB Levi Wallace from the practice squad.

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NFL’s running renaissance highlighted by Gurley’s MVP look

Ezekiel Elliott likes to give Todd Gurley credit for the NFL's running renaissance because the Los Angeles Rams star ended an unprecedented two-year drought of backs taken in the first round of the draft.

With MVP-type numbers on a team looking like a Super Bowl contender, Gurley is the best example why it's a good

Ezekiel Elliott likes to give Todd Gurley credit for the NFL’s running renaissance because the Los Angeles Rams star ended an unprecedented two-year drought of backs taken in the first round of the draft.

With MVP-type numbers on a team looking like a Super Bowl contender, Gurley is the best example why it’s a good time to be a running back not many years after the position seemed undervalued in what is still considered a passing league.

“Definitely it’s starting to re-emerge,” said Elliott, who was the NFL rushing leader as a rookie in 2016 with the Dallas Cowboys. “He was the first one in that draft and then as the years went on, more backs started to get picked and they’ve all been doing well. I wouldn’t take all the credit, but I think it’s just a new age of backs.”

And an age of young backs. Gurley went 10th overall to the Rams when they were in St. Louis, followed five picks later by Melvin Gordon to the Chargers when they were still in San Diego. Now both backs are in LA.

Elliott was the first of two straight rookies to win the rushing title, followed by Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt last season. Among the top 10 rushers this season, eight are 25 or younger.

That’s still not getting to New York Giants rookie Saquon Barkley , the No. 2 overall pick and highest back taken since Reggie Bush went second in 2006.

“I guess I kind of did start the first-round thing again,” Gurley said. “But those guys are great players. They put themselves in great positions to be where they are at today, and you see why they are having success in the NFL.”

Elliott got a top-four thing going when the Cowboys drafted the Ohio State star fourth overall in 2016. Now there have been three straight years with a back taken at least that high: Leonard Fournette fourth out of LSU the year in 2017, then Barkley from Penn State this year.

The other top 10 running back over the past three drafts also illustrates one reason runners could be in vogue: their ability as pass catchers. Carolina took Christian McCaffrey eighth overall out of Stanford last year, even with the perception he might be a third-down back.

Now McCaffrey has a respectable 111 carries for the playoff-contending Panthers while ranking fourth among running backs with 49 catches.

“A lot of times teams that had a feature back, he was considered the first- and second-down guy, and then they put in a little scatback to be the third-down receiver,” said Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane, who had a hand in drafting McCaffrey while with Carolina. “Well, now, you’re getting these guys that can do it all.”

Hunt and Barkley have made it back-to-back seasons for rookies to start their careers with six or more straight games of at least 100 scrimmage yards. Barkley’s run ended there, but now he’s at seven of his first eight games despite another miserable season for the Giants (1-7).

Hunt started his career with seven straight last year — the first rookie to do that since Kevin Jones for Detroit in 2004.

Not that multipurpose lead backs are a new thing.

“I don’t think anyone’s ever matched how Marshall Faulk produced in the passing game, and that seems like 8 million years ago,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of a back who was the 2000 NFL MVP in the middle of three straight years with at least 1,300 yards rushing and 800 receiving.

Oh, and Faulk was the second overall pick in 1994.

“I just think of these guys have been doing this stuff in this league for years,” Linehan said. “I think people probably targeted them because they’re the best with the ball in their hands.”

Gurley is well on his way to his first rushing title with 868 yards; leads the NFL with 16 touchdowns, including 12 rushing; and has a chance Sunday against Seattle to become just the fourth player with at least one TD in each of the first 10 games. The others are all Hall of Famers.

The former Georgia standout has a 162-yard lead over James Conner, the replacement for Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh when Bell decided to stay away from the Steelers rather than play under the franchise tag.

Conner’s emergence also shows the depth of the 2017 class — even with Fournette missing all but two games with a hamstring injury after rushing for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie for a team that reached the AFC championship game.

The second-year group has two of the NFL’s top three rushers in Conner and Hunt, who have almost 1,400 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns between them, while Hunt has another six receiving TDs.

The versatility of 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara helps quarterback Drew Brees in one of the NFL’s best offenses in New Orleans. Dalvin Cook (Minnesota) and Joe Mixon (Cincinnati) are expected to play leading roles in their respective run games.

And forget for a moment about the draft. Another second-year player, Matt Breida in San Francisco, is ninth in the NFL with 531 yards rushing after going undrafted. Denver rookie Phillip Lindsay is sixth at 591 after not getting selected.

“A lot of times there’s a lot of backs in the draft,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “You might be able to get one that’s close in the second round, but you won’t get that left tackle who’s a star in the second round or that defensive lineman or that outside ‘backer or that corner.”

There’s a different kind of renaissance with the Redskins: an “old” guy leading the way. Adrian Peterson, the 33-year-old three-time league rushing champ, has helped Washington to the NFC East lead by ranking fifth with 604 yards.

“I don’t think that position’s ever been devalued,” Gruden said. “I think you look at what Zeke’s done and you look at some of the other young running backs, Le’Veon Bell, and what type of impact they can have on your football team.

“We’re learning that right now firsthand with Adrian Peterson. Even though we didn’t draft him, obviously, but the impact these backs can have on your football as far as running game, controlling the clock and then the play-actions. It’s big time.”

It’s been big at draft time recently as well.

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AP Sports Writer John Wawrow contributed.

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Safety Jones says he and Dolphins are ‘on the same page’

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Reshad Jones is expressing no regrets and offering no explanation.

The Miami Dolphins safety mysteriously took himself out of last week's win over the New York Jets and watched the second half from the sideline. In the aftermath, coach Adam Gase said communication problems between defensive coordinator Matt Burke and players

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Reshad Jones is expressing no regrets and offering no explanation.

The Miami Dolphins safety mysteriously took himself out of last week’s win over the New York Jets and watched the second half from the sideline. In the aftermath, coach Adam Gase said communication problems between defensive coordinator Matt Burke and players needed to be addressed.

On Wednesday, Jones declined to say why he was a spectator for much of the game, but he may have been unhappy with the Dolphins’ plan to rotate safeties against the Jets. He came out after only 10 snaps.

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Floundering Jaguars take ‘must-win’ approach against Colts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars used their bye week to ponder the team's precarious position.

Mired in a four-game losing streak and being 0-2 in the AFC South, they came to this conclusion: They must win at division rival Indianapolis (3-5) on Sunday.

It's essentially a playoff atmosphere for Jacksonville (3-5) in early

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars used their bye week to ponder the team’s precarious position.

Mired in a four-game losing streak and being 0-2 in the AFC South, they came to this conclusion: They must win at division rival Indianapolis (3-5) on Sunday.

It’s essentially a playoff atmosphere for Jacksonville (3-5) in early November.

“This is a thousand percent a must-win,” linebacker Myles Jack said Wednesday. “No. 1, it’s a conference game that we’ve got to win. And then we’re on a four-game losing streak, so we can’t lose another game.”

NFL teams are usually reluctant to put too much emphasis on any one game, especially in the middle of the season. But for the Jaguars, who openly talked about having Super Bowl aspirations , they understand another loss or two likely would end their dwindling playoff hopes.

“We put ourselves in this situation,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “We created this small margin for error by not winning football games. We’ve put ourselves here. We know we still got a chance and we’ve got to play really well for the whole second half of the season to go where we want to go.”

The Jags are counting on running back Leonard Fournette’s return making a significant difference.

Fournette missed six of the last seven games with a strained right hamstring. He practiced in full for the first time in more than a month Monday and did the same Wednesday.

Jacksonville built its offense around Fournette and hasn’t been nearly as physical or effective without him. The team signed Jamaal Charles for a week and then traded for Carlos Hyde in hopes of filling the void, but neither move paid dividends.

Coach Doug Marrone said he lost faith in his offensive line in London, specifically in short-yardage situations, but has since stopped short of proclaiming Fournette the team’s savior.

Players, though, believe Fournette’s return could be a turning point.

“I know everybody’s fired up to have him back in the lineup,” Bortles said. “I know I’m excited to watch him run. I know guys are excited to block for him and kind of see him go. We got so used to him doing his thing last year and watching that and do everything off of that. Not having him has made us change some of the things we do, but to be able to have him back and healthy and ready to go is exciting.”

Marrone evaluated coaches, players and schemes during the bye week, but decided not to make any wholesale changes. He tweaked the schedule significantly, mostly so guys wouldn’t feel like things were the same after the break.

“It’s just kind of like the atmosphere is a little tighter,” Jack said. “Obviously, everybody is — I wouldn’t say desperate — but we just need (a victory). It’s a must-win week. As the weeks go on, it just gets worse and worse. Hopefully this is the week we change it.”

With the sense of urgency on the rise, the Jaguars have started to unravel.

There was a locker room scuffle last month following a loss to Houston, a players-only meeting the next day and then a run-in with London police over an unsettled nightclub tab.

They have eight games left to save the season. It starts with a “must-win game” against the Colts, who have won two in a row.

“I don’t think you can look at it as a whole eight games — ‘we’ve got to win eight games in a row or six out of the eight,'” Bortles said. “Obviously, playing Indy is a division game, and that’s an important one.

“It’s kind of like Doug talked about all week and all last week: you’ve got to win one to get it rolling. It’s all anyone’s really focused on right now.”

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Browns lose defensive starters Kirksey, Gaines to injuries

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The losses are piling up for the Browns — in the standings, and on the sideline.

On Wednesday, two defensive starters were added to the stack.

Cleveland placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, ending their seasons with seven games remaining and putting further strain

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The losses are piling up for the Browns — in the standings, and on the sideline.

On Wednesday, two defensive starters were added to the stack.

Cleveland placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, ending their seasons with seven games remaining and putting further strain on a unit lacking quality depth and experience.

“Those two guys, they really set a precedent for what we wanted to do as a team, as a defense,” said cornerback T.J. Carrie. “And, of course, they’ll still be here sparingly in and out throughout the week, but it’s a lot different when they were on the field fighting with you, blood, sweat and tears with you, through the trenches.

“We’re going to definitely miss that. Those are two players that we can’t replace.”

One of the team’s captains, Kirksey injured his left hamstring in the second quarter Sunday as the Browns (2-6-1) lost their fourth straight game, 37-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gaines sustained his second concussion in three weeks when he took a knee to the helmet while trying to make a tackle in the first quarter.

The loss of Kirksey is especially damaging because he’s one of the team’s leaders. The fifth-year pro has played on the weak side and in the middle this season, making 43 tackles and two interceptions.

“Kirko is kind of the heart and soul of the defense, heart and soul of the team in the locker room, on the field, just how he goes about his business,” said linebacker Joe Schobert, a 2017 Pro Bowler who returned to practice after missing three games with a hamstring injury. “It’s the next-man-up mentality, but there’s things that you’re going to miss.”

Schobert’s return will help ease the loss of Kirksey, and the Browns are expected to have defensive back Damarious Randall for Sunday’s game against Atlanta after he missed last week’s game with a groin injury.

Linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle) and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward (hip) were limited in practice, but interim coach Gregg Williams expects both back on the field Thursday.

Randall, who has played cornerback and free safety, felt he was healthy enough to play last week, but Williams kept him out so he would have the versatile defensive back for multiple games. Randall’s absence became magnified when Ward and Gaines went down on the Chiefs’ opening drive, forcing Williams to adjust his game plan against the NFL’s most electrifying offense and play seldom-used reserves Denzel Rice and Tavierre Thomas.

“It’s very hard,” Carrie said of losing two key players. “It changes the game plan. It changes a lot of things because you can only give practice reps to so many guys, and so you get guys that come in and they’re athletes, but it’s hard when you don’t know the schematics of the little details that we put in for that game.”

And, as luck would have it, the banged-up Browns will have to deal with a talented Atlanta team that has overcome its own injury issues and reeled off three straight wins.

Schobert’s return is vital to Cleveland’s defense as he’s the one responsible for calling out Williams’ pre-snap schemes and getting his teammates organized — an on-field coach.

After missing three weeks, getting back on the field will be a welcomed change for Schobert, who had played every defensive snap since the start of the 2017 season until he got hurt on Oct. 21 at Tampa Bay.

“It is just different. It is weird,” Schobert said of being inactive. “Especially with a hamstring. You just walk around on the sideline feeling good and watching people on the field thinking you can be out there — wishing you could be out there. You just have to kind of suck it up and take it into your own role however you can help a team in that aspect.

“That is what I was doing. Just kind of jumped right into more of a coaching aspect, trying to keep myself involved that way. I think it helped.”

NOTES: Rookie LT Desmond Harrison was limited in practice after missing last week’s game with an undisclosed illness. Greg Robinson stepped in and played well in his first start for Cleveland. Williams hasn’t decided who he’ll play against the Falcons. “What we will do is every day is an interview and both of them are taking reps,” he said. “By the end of the week, we will make what is best and it is good — the fact that you have depth. Guys can compete and get ready to roll.” … The Browns signed DB Juston Burris to the active roster off the Jets’ practice squad. A fourth-round pick in 2016, he appeared in 34 games for New York.

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With weak offense, Gruden’s Redskins can’t mount comebacks

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Coach Jay Gruden's Washington Redskins have established a pattern: When they get a lead, they win; when they trail, they lose.

The Redskins (5-3) are the only one of the NFL's 32 teams that both has managed to avoid a single loss after holding a lead AND also has failed to

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Coach Jay Gruden’s Washington Redskins have established a pattern: When they get a lead, they win; when they trail, they lose.

The Redskins (5-3) are the only one of the NFL’s 32 teams that both has managed to avoid a single loss after holding a lead AND also has failed to come back to win a game after trailing.

The first is good, of course. The latter could prove to be truly problematic as the season progresses if the offense overseen by Gruden and carried out by quarterback Alex Smith continues to be as ineffective as it’s been.

“I don’t think we’re probably even aware” of Washington’s inability to erase a deficit this season, Smith said Wednesday, then added: “Certainly we’ve been in a lot of games that have been back-and-forth.”

That last assertion is not accurate. Not at all.

During each of the Redskins’ eight games this season, whichever team scored first not only won — it never fell behind. Not even once.

In last week’s 38-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Washington was down 14-0 early, cut that to 14-7, then never got closer.

“It’s just a mindset really: You’re never out of it until the final gun. We’ve just got to keep playing. I don’t think guys played less hard because we got down. We just didn’t make enough plays to come back,” Gruden said. “That’s something we need to figure out: a way to put our players in position to, A, get the ball back when were on defense and, B, get the ball in the end zone at a decent rate on offense.”

Heading into the NFC East leaders’ game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) on Sunday, the Redskins are putting up a mere 20 points and 343.9 yards per game, which both rank 25th. No team below them in either of those two categories has a record above .500.

The Bucs, in contrast, rank No. 7 in points at 28.6, and No. 2 in yards at 446.8.

It’s the defense that’s been Tampa Bay’s downfall while losing five of its past six games — worst in the league in points, allowing an average of 34.4, and third-worst in passing yardage, at 307.1.

An inability to mount a comeback is typically the mark of a bad club.

Currently, the only teams other than Washington without an erase-a-deficit victory this season are the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars, who are both 3-5.

Over the previous four complete seasons, the only two teams to go an entire campaign without even one such win were the 2017 Cleveland Browns of 0-16 infamy and the 2017 New York Giants, who were 3-13.

During Gruden’s 4½ years in charge of Washington, it owns 15 victories in games in which it trailed, which is just the 27th-best total in the NFL. The teams with fewer? The Browns (9), Jaguars (10), Giants (13), Chicago Bears (13) and Indianapolis Colts (14).

“You can probably count on one hand how many comeback wins we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Gruden said, exaggerating a bit. “That’s something that we have got to do a better job of.”

Notes: At the portion of Wednesday’s practice open to the media, two of the three offensive linemen signed off the street Monday lined up with the starting unit, with Jon Cooper at left guard and Austin Howard at right tackle. Morgan Moses, the regular RT, worked by himself on a separate field, wearing a big brace on the right knee he injured against Atlanta, although he could be ready to play instead of Howard by Sunday. … The other linemen were Ty Nsekhe at LT, Chase Roullier at C, Tony Bergstrom at RG.

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Chiefs becoming must-watch show with Mahomes under center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There are times that Dolphins coach Adam Gase hears about a cool play that happened somewhere else in the NFL, or something unique that a rival might be doing, and he makes a note to himself to check it out once his day-to-day work is complete.

Then there are times

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — There are times that Dolphins coach Adam Gase hears about a cool play that happened somewhere else in the NFL, or something unique that a rival might be doing, and he makes a note to himself to check it out once his day-to-day work is complete.

Then there are times he flips on the TV for pure entertainment.

“Sometimes,” Gase said, “when you watch Kansas City, you sit back and watch because it just seems like they’re out there playing 7-on-7. It’s impressive to watch.”

Patrick Mahomes and Co. has certainly captured the attention of the league.

The Chiefs lead the NFL in scoring at more than 36 points per game. They have its reigning rushing champion in Kareem Hunt, the league’s fastest wide receiver in Tyreek Hill, the most versatile tight end in Travis Kelce and plenty of depth behind all of them.

Then there’s Mahomes, who can break Andrew Luck’s single-season NFL record with his ninth straight 300-yard passing game Sunday against Arizona. The first-year starter has thrown 29 touchdown passes, two shy of Len Dawson’s 54-year-old franchise record, and he leads the league in most meaningful statistical categories: yards, TD passes, touchdown-to-interception ratio.

“He’s a baller, like I’ve been saying,” said Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson, who spent last season with the Chiefs. “He thinks he can make every throw. He has a great group of guys around him to do good things with the football. I’m not surprised at all.”

Wilson has reason to watch Kansas City, considering he has so many friends still on the roster. But it still speaks volumes that in the midst of his own preparation he finds time to tune in.

Then again, it’s hard for his coach to complain when Gase is doing the same thing.

Alex Smith also has plenty of friends on the Chiefs, including Mahomes, who stepped into his job when Kansas City traded him to the Redskins last offseason. The veteran Smith helped to mentor the Texas Tech standout when he was a wide-eyed rookie, and he takes pride in the young quarterback’s success.

When the Chiefs rallied in the fourth quarter for a Monday night win at Denver earlier in the season, and Mahomes took on a starring role in primetime, Smith was watching from his home near Washington, D.C.

“I mean, record-setting start for them, for him, for the offense — lighting the world on fire right now,” Smith said. “Fun to watch, obviously a ton of friends on that team, including Pat, and to see what they are doing is crazy. They are on fire right now.”

That game against Denver was the most-watched Monday night game that didn’t involve the Cowboys since Week 16 of the 2016 season. When the Chiefs played the Patriots on Sunday night a few weeks ago, it earned a 12.3 rating and 21.1 million viewers for NBC, an increase of 31 percent from last year.

In the Kansas City market, about half the TVs are tuned into the Chiefs whenever they are playing.

“It’s been a lot of fun, frankly, for me and I think everybody who is a Chiefs fan to see all the interest in the Chiefs,” team owner Clark Hunt said.

“That’s a credit to the success we’ve had. That interest is not only here locally but it’s really nationally. It seems like everybody who went to Texas Tech is all of a sudden now a Chiefs fan, which is great.

“You mentioned the TV ratings — the ratings were among the highest in a number of years for that Patriots game on Sunday night. Our local ratings are also higher than they’ve been in many, many years,” Hunt added. “Our local ratings are always very good, but clearly Andy (Reid), Patrick and the offense and the victories that we’re getting has taken that to a higher level.”

The Chiefs will get plenty of more exposure this season, too.

After facing the lowly Cardinals on Sunday, the Chiefs head to Mexico City to face the high-flying Los Angeles Rams on Monday night. They also have a Thursday night showdown with the surging Los Angeles Chargers and a Sunday night trip to Seattle two days before Christmas.

Regardless of whether anyone tunes in, Mahomes plans to keep the party going.

“Just being able to learn every day from Coach Reid, be able to get out here with all these guys, we literally have fun every single day,” he said. “We love coming to work and getting to just play this game that we’ve loved since we were little kids and winning a lot of games.”

Notes: Safety Eric Berry (heel), LB Anthony Hitchens (ribs), C Mitch Morse (concussion), WR Sammy Watkins (foot) and OL Cam Erving (illness) did not practice Wednesday. … FS Daniel Sorensen could make his season debut Sunday. He was activated from IR this week after breaking his leg in training camp.

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AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich and Steven Wine contributed to this report.

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Miami’s Tannehill to miss Packers game with shoulder injury

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Green Bay because of a throwing shoulder injury, and replacement Brock Osweiler will make his fifth consecutive start.

The Dolphins have a bye next week, which means Tannehill won't be back until Week 12 at the

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Green Bay because of a throwing shoulder injury, and replacement Brock Osweiler will make his fifth consecutive start.

The Dolphins have a bye next week, which means Tannehill won’t be back until Week 12 at the earliest. Coach Adam Gase said the goal is for Tannehill to return for the Indianapolis game Nov. 25.

Miami is 5-4 overall, and 2-2 with Osweiler starting.

Tannehill is throwing but hasn’t participated fully in practice in more than a month. The Packers game will be the 25th he has missed out of the past 30 because of injuries.

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Jets’ Darnold has injured foot, could miss game vs. Bills

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has a boot on his right foot and is not practicing, leaving his status for the team's game Sunday against Buffalo in doubt.

Darnold was injured during the Jets' 13-6 loss at Miami last Sunday but finished the game. He said Monday that

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has a boot on his right foot and is not practicing, leaving his status for the team’s game Sunday against Buffalo in doubt.

Darnold was injured during the Jets’ 13-6 loss at Miami last Sunday but finished the game. He said Monday that he felt fine other than some bumps and bruises.

Coach Todd Bowles is scheduled to meet with the media after practice later Wednesday.

If Darnold is unable to start, 39-year-old backup Josh McCown would take his place. McCown was the starter last season but hasn’t taken a snap this year.

Darnold has struggled during the Jets’ three-game losing streak, and he leads the NFL with 14 interceptions.

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Panthers and Steelers test their mettle in prime time

Two teams headed for January football, the Panthers and Steelers, get to test their mettle on Thursday night. It should be a good one in prime time.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin, who's 1-1 in Super Bowls, isn't admitting any postseason thoughts are in the minds of his players or himself. But he has to like

Two teams headed for January football, the Panthers and Steelers, get to test their mettle on Thursday night. It should be a good one in prime time.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin, who’s 1-1 in Super Bowls, isn’t admitting any postseason thoughts are in the minds of his players or himself. But he has to like how the Steelers have performed in four straight victories.

“I’m not trying to look for specific areas, I just try to challenge these guys to get better every day,” Tomlin says.

“That’s what we’re focused on. I think that if we do that daily that will give us a chance to produce consistent performances that are on the rise. Not only in the second quarter (of the season) but as we continue through this journey.”

That journey has Carolina (6-2), ranked fifth in the AP Pro32, at No. 7 Pittsburgh. The Steelers (5-2-1) are a 5½-point favorite in the week’s best matchup.

The Panthers have won three straight and five of six. They are particularly strong running the ball, though Pittsburgh is stingy in that area on defense.

Carolina trails New Orleans by one game in the NFC South and leads the wild-card chase. Pittsburgh has a half-game lead in the AFC North over Cincinnati.

This could come down to the final play, which would be a treat to begin Week 10.

STEELERS, 33-31

KNOCKOUT POOL: Pro Picks is on a roll, and the Bears kept it going. This time, we’ll buy into underachieving (or under skilled perhaps) GREEN BAY.

No. 20 Dallas (plus 6 1-2) at No. 11 Philadelphia

Yes, it’s a bitter-rivalry game. But Eagles come off a bye, Cowboys off a poor showing.

BEST BET: EAGLES, 27-16

No. 1 New Orleans (minus 4 1-2) at No. 12 Cincinnati

With Eagles up next, Saints could stumble here. They won’t.

SAINTS, 31-23

No. 13 Seattle (plus 10) at No. 4 Los Angeles Rams

That’s a lot of points for a game that many Seahawks fans will attend.

RAMS, 30-23

No. 29 Arizona (plus 16 1-2) at No. 2 (tie) Kansas City

Pro Picks rarely is afraid to lay so many points. So …

CHIEFS 40, CARDINALS 22

No. 22 Detroit (plus 6 1-2) at No. 10 Chicago

First of two meetings in less than three weeks.

BEARS, 22-14

No. 15 Washington (plus 3) at No. 25 Tampa Bay

Redskins’ record could plummet with all those O-line injuries.

BUCCANEERS, 33-31

No. 2 (tie) New England (minus 6 1-2) at No. 17 Tennessee

Brady has Patriots in their usual fine November form.

PATRIOTS, 31-19

No. 14 Atlanta (minus 4) at No. 27 Cleveland

Are the injury-ravaged Falcons in midst of a turnaround?

FALCONS, 26-20

No. 6 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 10) at No. 32 Oakland

We ask once again: Have Raiders given up?

CHARGERS, 33-16

No. 19 Miami (plus 10) at No. 16 Green Bay

Dolphins have better record, Packers have much better team.

PACKERS, 34-20

No. 21 Jacksonville (plus 3) at No. 23 Indianapolis

Could there be a worse matchup this weekend? Well, see below.

JAGUARS, 21-20

No. 31 Buffalo (plus 7) at No. 26 New York Jets

Could there be a worse matchup? Well, see Monday night.

JETS, 8-5

No. 30 New York Giants (plus 3 1-2) at No. 28 San Francisco, Monday night

The worst matchup. And in prime time.

UPSET SPECIAL: GIANTS, 19-13

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2018 RECORD:

Last Week: Against spread (9-4). Straight up (9-4)

Season Totals: Against spread (65-62-4). Straight up: (90-42-2)

Best Bet: 3-6 against spread, 7-2 straight up

Upset special: 6-3 against spread, 5-3-1 straight up

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FANTASY PLAYS: Finding low-owned players in daily leagues

The Rams and Saints again showed the value of stacking lineups in daily fantasy football contests as they erupted Sunday for 80 total points and more than 280 fantasy points in point-per-reception leagues.

Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp all cracked the 20-point threshold and a few savvy

The Rams and Saints again showed the value of stacking lineups in daily fantasy football contests as they erupted Sunday for 80 total points and more than 280 fantasy points in point-per-reception leagues.

Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, Jared Goff, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp all cracked the 20-point threshold and a few savvy owners were able to fit in combinations of these players into their lineups.

With a high anticipated game total a lot of the ownership went to Todd Gurley (26 percent owned) and Goff (17 percent owned) leaving much lower ownership on Brees (6 percent owned) in daily tournaments. With a back and forth game, it ended up being Brees stacked with Thomas and Kamara vaulting DFS players up the leaderboards.

Game stacking is important but equally important is trying to find ways to identify low ownership in games with high expected totals, allowing you to separate yourself from the field. Brees out-produced Goff at the same price and lower ownership, which provided the separation necessary to win. This week, there are a few spots where high potential upside can be found at reduced ownership or pricing.

CHIEFS-CARDINALS

Kansas City has the highest implied team total on the slate with 33 points expected at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Chiefs are averaging 36.3 points per game on the season and rank within the top 5 in the NFL in both total offense and passing yards per game. Patrick Mahomes has carried only modest ownership (10 percent) in DFS contests and has been producing the most lately when paired with RB Kareem Hunt and TE Travis Kelce, who now has double digit fantasy points in every game since Week 1.

With so much emphasis in the fantasy community on recent results, fantasy owners are likely to overlook Tyreek Hill, who was just 5 percent owned in DFS contests last week compared to 30 percent ownership on Hunt and 17 percent on Kelce. DailyRoto’s DFS ownership projections expect that to continue and it leaves Hill as a contrarian tournament target who has double digit fantasy performances in eight of nine weeks this season and two 40-plus point games. Pairing up Mahomes with Hill offers high upside and lower ownership this week.

SAINTS-BENGALS

New Orleans also has a high team total this week and Brees, Thomas and Kamara will be popular plays after going off in the last game. While their projections will be strong again this week, DailyRoto projections suggest that pivoting to RB Mark Ingram can save salary and be a contrarian tournament target. Ingram’s $6,800 FanDuel price and $4,500 DraftKings price are among the lowest they have been over the last four seasons.

Since his return in Week 5, Ingram has still played on roughly 50 percent of the Saints offensive snaps, receiving an average of 12.5 carries and 2.5 targets per game. This role is comparable to his role down the stretch in the 2017 offense that saw Ingram put up 15-plus fantasy points in five separate games from Week 10 through the end of the regular season.

The biggest concern for Ingram isn’t Kamara but perhaps Taysom Hill’s role in the red zone, where he has seen nine opportunities and can eat into some of Ingram’s goal line work. Despite this, Ingram projects as a solid RB value this week and one that should be low owned. In additional to providing leverage against popular Saints players, Ingram also is the same price as RB Dion Lewis, who DailyRoto projects as one of the highest owned players on the slate.

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AP source: Saints sign ex-Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says free-agent Dez Bryant and the Saints have agreed on contract terms that will add the former Dallas Cowboys star to one of the NFL's top offenses in New Orleans.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the roster

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says free-agent Dez Bryant and the Saints have agreed on contract terms that will add the former Dallas Cowboys star to one of the NFL’s top offenses in New Orleans.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the roster move has not been announced.

The 30-year-old Bryant spent his first eight years in the NFL with Dallas and last season caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns, including a 50-yard scoring play, for the Cowboys.

However, his professional reputation has been marred at times by public confrontations with coaches and teammates during games and practices.

Seeking salary cap relief, the Cowboys released Bryant after last season with two years remaining on the receiver’s five-year, $70 million contract.

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Surging Newton, Panthers face red-hot Steelers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Cam Newton spent a portion of the summer studying Ben Roethlisberger and working out alongside Antonio Brown, something the Carolina Panthers quarterback did out of a mix of curiosity and respect.

Newton found himself enamored of Roethlisberger's footwork — "The play is never over for Big Ben" — and Brown's relentlessness.

"He's

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Cam Newton spent a portion of the summer studying Ben Roethlisberger and working out alongside Antonio Brown, something the Carolina Panthers quarterback did out of a mix of curiosity and respect.

Newton found himself enamored of Roethlisberger’s footwork — “The play is never over for Big Ben” — and Brown’s relentlessness.

“He’s literally like a nocturnal beast,” Newton said of Brown. “I thought I was bad. … We had late workouts. I’m talking like 10 p.m-.ish. It was like our second or third one of the day. Whenever he feels the urge to work, he works and I respect it.”

Newton will get an up-close look at Roethlisberger, Brown and the rest of the Steelers (5-2-1) when the Panthers (6-2) make a rare trip to Pittsburgh. Maybe it’s the workouts with Brown. Maybe it’s the rapport he’s developed with offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Maybe it’s the emergence of running back Christian McCaffrey. Whatever it is, Newton is in the midst of his finest season since winning league MVP in 2015.

Maybe that’s why Roethlisberger just laughed when asked if there’s any wisdom he might pass along to Newton.

“I do not need to give him advice,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s Superman.”

A Man of Steel who could be a handful for a resilient Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers were a hot mess during the first month of the season but have figured out things during their four-game winning streak. Pittsburgh is allowing just 275.5 yards per game over the last month. That’s from a combination of the rapid cohesion of a revamped secondary and spending less time on the field thanks to an offense starting to hog the ball behind second-year running back James Conner.

Still, the Panthers present their own unique challenge. Carolina might be the NFL’s closest approximation to a throwback. The Panthers have run for at least 121 yards in seven of eight games, with Newton serving as the catalyst. At 29 he’s on pace for a career high in rushing attempts, a mixture of Turner’s creative play calling and Newton’s pragmatic approach to when he tucks the ball and takes off. While he’s still happy to deliver a shot now and then, he’s more likely to slide before getting hit.

Pittsburgh, fourth in the league in sacks, is determined to make sure Newton doesn’t get loose.

“There’s no way he can duck 10 bullets,” Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward said. “If everybody is shooting their shot, someone is bound to hit. That’s got to be group effort. … It’s a heck of a test.”

Some things to watch for as Pittsburgh looks to extend its hot streak while Carolina searches for the franchise’s first win in the Steel City:

LE’VEON WHO?

Wayward Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is nearing the end of his months-long standoff with the club. He has until Nov. 13 to report and sign his one-year franchise tender if he wants to make sure he accrues the service time necessary to hit the open market next spring. After some initial angst, Bell’s teammates have moved on. Conner is thriving in Bell’s absence. He’s second in the league in total yards and is the first player in team history to have 10 total touchdowns through eight games.

“James Conner has been rolling and bulldozing people,” Brown said.

GIMME THAT

Carolina is winning the turnover battle. The Panthers have been even or positive in turnovers in seven of eight games and are 6-1 in those games. They are 5-0 when winning the turnover battle outright.

Carolina is fourth in the league in turnover differential with a plus-8, sixth in points off turnovers (51), seventh in total takeaways (15), and tied for fourth in interceptions (11) behind speedy rookie cornerback Donte Jackson, who has four picks.

Since 2015, Carolina leads the NFL with 102 takeaways and is second with 62 interceptions.

FEISTY FEILER

Pittsburgh right tackle Matt Feiler will likely make his third straight start in place of injured Marcus Gilbert. An undrafted free agent, Feiler is thriving while opening up holes for Conner and helping keep Roethlisberger clean. Roethlisberger has been sacked twice during Pittsburgh’s winning streak. Feiler’s success isn’t exactly unprecedented. Three members of Pittsburgh’s current starting offensive line — Feiler, left guard Ramon Foster and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva — all went undrafted.

“It’s how we’re built,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “It’s what we expect, and (Feiler) is just the latest example of a guy that is meeting that expectation like we talked about. He’s capable, so it’s understandable to expect those types of performances from him.”

STOPPING ADDISON

Future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers may have more name power, but Mario Addison has been the more productive defensive end for Carolina. Addison leads the team with 7 ½ sacks, including a sack trifecta last week against Tampa Bay.

Over the past 38 games, Addison has 28 sacks.

“I’m a pretty strong guy,” said the 6-foor-3, 260-pound Addison. “People underestimate me because I look kind of small, but I pack a punch. By the time they miss and my hands get on the inside of them, I’m running them back and they’re like ‘Dang, this guy’s stronger than I thought.'”

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AP Sports Writer Steve Reed contributed to this report.

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NFL Week 10: In ‘Lookahead Lines,’ Steelers Drop From 6.5 to 4, Falcons Gettin’ Respect

Every week, Sports Handle will look at NFL lines, specifically “lookahead lines” o see how they’re moving and why. Lookahead lines are those posted one week prior to a game or even before the season has begun, as CG Technology does.

By comparing changes between current lines and the numbers hung days earlier, we can

Every week, Sports Handle will look at NFL lines, specifically “lookahead lines” o see how they’re moving and why. Lookahead lines are those posted one week prior to a game or even before the season has begun, as CG Technology does.

By comparing changes between current lines and the numbers hung days earlier, we can get a sense of where recency bias or overreactions are seeping in.

We’ll highlight the significant shifts, look for value and suggest when it’s a good idea to get behind or stay away from certain teams. Here’s a look at the NFL Week 10 line moves and what it means to bettors. (Note: odds indicated based on current numbers at several Las Vegas sportsbooks.)

NFL Week 9 Lines, Before And After: Some Value on Steelers at Home, Big Shift in Falcons and Browns, Also Looking at Lions and Redskins

nfl week 10 betting panthers bucs


Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4)

The Panthers haven’t gotten a lot of respect from oddsmakers this year. Just two weeks ago they were a home underdog to the Ravens and the line against the Steelers was 6.5 when the SuperBook released its early numbers last week.

The number stayed at 6.5 when the SuperBook and many other shops put out their opening numbers for Week 10 but the Panthers were quickly bet down to +4 within 24 hours. As of Tuesday, that’s where the line was at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Panthers are on a three-game winning streak with wins over the Eagles, Ravens and Buccaneers. Carolina is also 3-0 ATS in those games, two of them at home. The Panthers haven’t fared as well on the road this season, going 1-2 both SU and ATS.

The Steelers are also rolling with four consecutive wins both SU and ATS. After losing their first two games at home outright to the Chiefs and Ravens, the Steelers have won their last two over the Browns and Falcons by over two touchdowns.

The money came in on the Panthers but so far this year, Carolina hasn’t been the same team away from home. With the Steelers hitting their stride, there’s some value laying the short number at home, especially if the line continues to drop.

Read the remainder of NFL Week 10: In ‘Lookahead Lines,’ Steelers Drop From 6.5 to 4, Falcons Gettin’ Respect on SportsHandle.

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Browns place starters Kirksey, Gaines on injured reserve

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns lost two defensive starters after placing linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve.

One of the team's captains, Kirksey hurt his hamstring in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gaines was also hurt, sustaining his second concussion in

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns lost two defensive starters after placing linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve.

One of the team’s captains, Kirksey hurt his hamstring in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gaines was also hurt, sustaining his second concussion in three weeks.

The losses will make things even tougher on a Cleveland defense already stretched thin. Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, rookie cornerback Denzel Ward hurt his hip against the Chiefs and cornerback Terrance Mitchell broke his arm earlier this season.

Kirksey made 43 tackles and two interceptions in seven starts.

Gaines, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent in March, moved into the starting lineup after Mitchell went down. He made one interception.

The Browns signed defensive back Juston Burris to the active roster off the New York Jets’ practice squad.

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Daily Fantasy Sports Coming to (Most Of) Louisiana After Voters Approve Ballot Measure

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are coming to the Bayou State after residents in most of the state’s 64 parishes voted in favor of a ballot initiative to allow residents of those parishes to play in online DFS contests.

According to the Times-Picayune, 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted in favor of legalizing online DFS

Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are coming to the Bayou State after residents in most of the state’s 64 parishes voted in favor of a ballot initiative to allow residents of those parishes to play in online DFS contests.

According to the Times-Picayune, 47 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes voted in favor of legalizing online DFS contests, with most of those against it located in north Louisiana, while most parishes in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Lafayette areas voted in favor. DFS will be available only to those within the parishes that voted in favor — not statewide.

Because the Louisiana state constitution prohibits gambling, the legislation sponsored by state representative Kirk Talbot’s (R-River Ridge), which triggered the ballot initiative read, “participation in any fantasy sports contest … shall not be considered gambling.”  

 

Read more Daily Fantasy Sports Coming to (Most Of) Louisiana After Voters Approve Ballot Measure on SportsHandle.

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NFL Week 10: Over and Under Best Bets

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

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

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

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams

Total: 51.5

In their last meeting, the Seahawks and Rams combined for 64 points. Seattle has since scored 55 points in two road games, while Los Angeles is coming off a 45-35 loss to the New Orleans Saints. 

These teams should push the 60-point plateau when they meet Sunday in L.A.

Sure, both teams still have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is hungry and should pounce on a still-vulnerable defense when backed into somewhat of a corner in Week 10. Meanwhile, the Rams have scored at least 29 points in eight of their nine games this season. 

Seattle is beatable on the ground. The Rams have Todd Gurley. L.A. is struggling in pass defense. Seattle has Wilson. It’s simply a bad matchup for those riding the under. 

Predicted score: Rams 33, Seahawks 30

Under of the week: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders

Total: 50.5

The Raiders have allowed 76 points to the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers in the last two weeks, which might explain why this total is above 50. But I’d expect somewhat of a correction with Oakland hosting a more familiar opponent Sunday. 

The Chargers managed “just” 26 points in a home victory over the Raiders earlier this season. They may be a little more tired for this road matchup after a big Week 10 victory in Seattle, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they scored 26 or fewer again here. 

But even if that doesn’t happen, is there any reason to think the Raiders can suddenly score points? They’ve been held to 10 or fewer in three of their last four games, and this Los Angeles defense is a lot stronger than the Colts D on which they scored 28 a couple weeks ago. 

This might not even hit 40, let alone 50. 

Predicted score: Chargers 26, Raiders 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 2-0
2018 season: 12-6

Brad Gagnon has covered the NFL since 2007 and is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America, despite the fact he actually lives in Canada. The Toronto-based sports journalist’s work can also be seen at Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Awful Announcing and The Guardian. He can be found on Twitter @brad_gagnon

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Arkansas Legalizes Sports Betting Via Ballot Referendum, First Casino Licenses Issued

Arkansas voters on Tuesday legalized sports betting on the only mid-term election ballot initiative in the country dealing with sports betting. Issue 4, a ballot measure that amends the state constitution to allow sports betting, has passed.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, with 99 percent of votes counted, 54.1 percent of over

Arkansas voters on Tuesday legalized sports betting on the only mid-term election ballot initiative in the country dealing with sports betting. Issue 4, a ballot measure that amends the state constitution to allow sports betting, has passed.

As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, with 99 percent of votes counted, 54.1 percent of over 860,000 voters had checked “yes” and 45.9 percent “no” to authorizing casinos in four counties that may include sports wagering among their offerings to patrons.

Arkansas became the second state in its region to legalize sports betting after Mississippi did so last summer. None of its other border states offer legal sports betting, though Oklahoma, Missouri and Louisiana all have commercial or tribal casinos. Arkansas is the seventh state outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting behind Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

 
 

Read more Arkansas Legalizes Sports Betting Via Ballot Referendum, First Casino Licenses Issued on SportsHandle.

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Jerry Jones: Cowboys ‘not in anything’ without improved play

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Even if the Dallas Cowboys were better than 3-5, Jerry Jones says he would have plenty of cause for concern based on what he saw in a damaging loss to Tennessee.

And the normally upbeat owner and general manager doesn't care to discuss the NFC East standings, even though the Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Even if the Dallas Cowboys were better than 3-5, Jerry Jones says he would have plenty of cause for concern based on what he saw in a damaging loss to Tennessee.

And the normally upbeat owner and general manager doesn’t care to discuss the NFC East standings, even though the Cowboys can pull even with defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia by getting their first road win of the season at the Eagles on Sunday.

“We’re not in anything if we don’t play better,” Jones said after a 28-14 loss to the Titans that looked like it could be a blowout win for Dallas midway through the first quarter. “What I recognize is not so much the three wins and five losses but the way we lost this game and the way we played in the game.

“We’ve got to play better. Our record could be better than it is right now, and we’d still be in trouble.”

The Cowboys traded for a new No. 1 receiver in Amari Cooper and fired offensive line coach Paul Alexander during a surprisingly busy open week. The changes looked good early, with Cooper scoring the first Dallas touchdown and star running back Ezekiel Elliott having 75 yards from scrimmage in the first quarter.

Everything changed with Dak Prescott’s throw to Cooper in double coverage in the end zone with a 7-0 lead. Kevin Byard intercepted, Tennessee drove 80 yards in 15 plays for the tie and the Titans never trailed again.

Now the Cowboys are looking at a second straight year of missing the playoffs since the remarkable rookie seasons for Prescott and Elliott, who powered Dallas to an NFC-best 13 wins before a divisional round loss to Green Bay.

Since a franchise-record 11-game winning streak for an 11-1 record two years ago, the Cowboys are 14-15, including the loss to the Packers.

Jones was peppered with questions about Garrett’s job security after the loss to the Titans, at one point flatly saying he wouldn’t fire him during the season. Anything less than a 6-2 finish would leave Garrett with three winning seasons, and two playoff appearances, in eight full seasons.

“I don’t know how to articulate my patience or lack thereof, and I’m not trying to be smart,” Jones said. “I just don’t have an assessment of my patience right now.”

Prescott committed his first two turnovers at home this season in Dallas’ first loss at AT&T Stadium. The interception was the game-changer. A fumble while trying to churn for yardage on a sack at his 40-yard line set up Tennessee’s go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.

While it’s realistic to expect Prescott and Cooper to need time to work together and an offensive line to adjust to an in-season coaching change, the Cowboys are running out of it.

“As coach Garrett said, we’ve got a decision to make,” said Prescott, who threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns. “We’ve got to buckle down, lock arms and be together more than ever. Not let anything break us apart.”

Garrett revealed a possible crack Tuesday. A few weeks after strongly backing Scott Linehan when asked if he still had faith in his offensive coordinator, Garrett had a different tone when asked if he envisioned a scenario where he took over play-calling.

“Right now, Scott Linehan is going to call the plays on offense,” Garrett, who called plays early in his tenure as head coach, said after the Cowboys had just 109 yards total offense in a scoreless second half against the Titans.

If the Cowboys lose to the Eagles, not much else will matter, other than the question of Garrett’s future beyond this season. Jones declined several chances to address that issue.

“I think we realize we have eight games to go, we’ve got a long way to go in this season,” Jones said. “We want to play better than we played tonight, so I certainly think each individual and coach and front office person is going to have to do better, including me.”

NOTES: Garrett said rookie LG Connor Williams came out of the Titans game with a knee injury that could require arthroscopic surgery. Any possible line shuffling would appear to be confined to Williams’ spot and center, where Joe Looney has filled in all season with four-time Pro Bowler Travis Frederick battling a nerve disorder. The likely candidate to join the group is backup center Adam Redmond, who has done some work in practice at guard in practice. … Garrett indicated LB Sean Lee will have another extended absence after re-injuring a hamstring. Lee missed three games earlier this year with the same injury.

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Roethlisberger skips practice, but expects to face Panthers

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat out practice on Tuesday to give his broken left index finger a rest but he is expected to play on Thursday night when Carolina visits Heinz Field.

Roethlisberger said the finger was "fine" after he threw the ball 47 times in last Sunday's victory over Baltimore.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat out practice on Tuesday to give his broken left index finger a rest but he is expected to play on Thursday night when Carolina visits Heinz Field.

Roethlisberger said the finger was “fine” after he threw the ball 47 times in last Sunday’s victory over Baltimore.

He did leave the game briefly in the third quarter after getting the wind knocked out of him, but he returned after missing just one snap.

The 36-year-old is on pace to top 5,000 yards passing for the first time in his career. He came close in 2014 when he tied Drew Brees for the league lead with 4,952. Roethlisberger said reaching the 5,000-yard plateau “is still a pretty big deal” but he is keeping his focus on the team.

The Steelers (5-2-1) have ripped off four straight wins to climb into first in the AFC North. The short week means they won’t have much time to prepare for the surging Panthers (6-2), which might not be a bad thing. Roethlisberger expects to rely a little more heavily on the no-huddle offense, a setup in which he thrives.

“We’ve been doing it for a while,” Roethlisberger said. “We know it. We know it pretty well. We did it really well in Baltimore, really well, and just being able to pick up the pace and the tempo.”

The Steelers often turn to the no-huddle in an effort to snap them out of a funk early in games, but Roethlisberger isn’t using it as a method of trying to get the ball downfield.

While he’s on track to set a career high in yards, his production has dipped a bit during Pittsburgh’s winning streak. He’s gone over 300 yards just once in Pittsburgh’s past five games after going over 330 yards in each of the first three weeks.

An improved defense has helped. Roethlisberger lit up scoreboards early because the Steelers were trying to keep up with opponents who had little trouble getting to the end zone.

That’s not happening much anymore. Now that Roethlisberger isn’t tasked with trying to play catch up, the Steelers have taken a more balanced approach.

Second-year running back James Conner is second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage and Roethlisberger is content to keep throwing the ball underneath to move the chains and keep Pittsburgh’s defense off the field. And just like that, Pittsburgh’s sluggish 1-2-1 start has become a distant memory.

“There was no panic in this room early in the season,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why we got a good chuckle out of (the media) panicking and the outside world panicking, but for us it was just a matter of playing the next week.”

NOTES: Right tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) did not practice and is unlikely to play, meaning Matt Feiler will make his third straight start. … NT Daniel McCullers (ankle) also did not practice. … WR Antonio Brown (coach’s decision) and WR Ryan Switzer (ankle) were limited. … WR James Washington (knee) was a full participant.

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Titans now face Patriots on short week after snapping skid

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee's three-game skid is over, and the Titans are back to .500 after a big road victory.

But before they can catch their breath, the Titans have a short week before they host the surging New England Patriots in what will be Tennessee's lone home game in November.

Coach Mike Vrabel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s three-game skid is over, and the Titans are back to .500 after a big road victory.

But before they can catch their breath, the Titans have a short week before they host the surging New England Patriots in what will be Tennessee’s lone home game in November.

Coach Mike Vrabel understands the challenge — and opportunity — the Titans have going against his old coach, Bill Belichick.

“We’ve just gotten ourselves to the surface where there’s a little bit of air, a little bit of water,” Vrabel said Tuesday. “You’re kind of taking a little bit of both in and you can’t survive there for long. But you can survive there for a few minutes. And so we got to make the next decision to see if we can get our heads completely above water.”

The Titans (4-4) still trail the Houston Texans (6-3) inside the AFC South, but their 28-14 victory in Dallas on Monday night put Tennessee into the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC for now. The Titans shook off a horrific start with two fumbles by Marcus Mariota on their first two drives to turn score a season-high in points after managing just 31 points all of October.

Vrabel credited the Titans with shaking off that start. Tennessee turned two turnovers into 14 points, came up with five sacks and held Ezekiel Elliott to just 61 yards rushing.

Offensively, the young Titans showed serious signs of progress in offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur’s scheme.

They converted 11 of 14 attempts on third down for a 78.6 percent rate that was the best in the NFL this season and tied for the league’s highest in the past three years. The Titans tied up the game at 7-7 with the franchise’s longest drive since Dec. 9, 2012, using up 8 minutes, 55 seconds.

Tennessee scored touchdowns on four of five trips inside the Dallas 20 against a Cowboys defense that came in as the NFL’s second stingiest in the red zone. Mariota also completed passes to nine different receivers and had a season-high 119.9 passer rating throwing for 240 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for 32 more yards and another score.

“I hope it’s that guys are understanding where they fit, what they need to do to get open and understand when they get open, Marcus is going to try to get them the ball,” Vrabel said of the Titans’ offense.

Left tackle Taylor Lewan, who spoke about the Titans deserving respect after a 3-1 start, said he is just relieved to win a game and get back to .500.

“I’ll definitely keep my (expletive) mouth shut from now on about that kind of stuff,” Lewan said. “Daddy learned his lesson.”

Cornerback Logan Ryan said the Titans knew they were in a must-win situation in Dallas and that one win in the NFL can turn things around.

“It was a huge win,” Ryan said after the game. “Now we know we’ve got a tough test next week, and we will be ready.”

The Titans host the Patriots (7-2) on Sunday before heading back on the road to Indianapolis and Houston. The Patriots routed Tennessee 35-14 in an AFC divisional game last January. Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk fired Mike Mularkey after that game and chose Vrabel to take this franchise further.

“We have to just get our players as ready as we can for the game,” Vrabel said.

Notes: Vrabel made it clear he didn’t like safety Kevin Byard celebrating his interception by running to the star at midfield and posing like Terrell Owens 18 years ago. The coach said he plans to talk again with the safety and the Titans on Wednesday, and Vrabel said he wants them to celebrate with each other.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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Mullens announces he’s 49ers’ starting QB

 

 

Nick Mullens will start for the San Francisco 49ers when they host the New York Giants on Monday night.

 

That's according to Mullens, who announced the news himself to reporters Tuesday after practice. He said coach Kyle Shanahan told him he was the starter, and Mullens took the reps with the first

 

 

Nick Mullens will start for the San Francisco 49ers when they host the New York Giants on Monday night.

 

That’s according to Mullens, who announced the news himself to reporters Tuesday after practice. He said coach Kyle Shanahan told him he was the starter, and Mullens took the reps with the first team.

 

Mullens made his NFL debut last Thursday and led the 49ers (2-7) to a 34-3 win over the Oakland Raiders. He completed 16 of 22 passes for 262 with three touchdowns, and he didn’t turn the ball over.

 

The 23-year-old product of Southern Miss started last week when C.J. Beathard — himself a substitute for starter Jimmy Garoppolo, who is out for the season — couldn’t grip the ball because of an injury to his throwing hand.

 

Beathard, taken by the 49ers in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, was 0-5 as a starter this season and is 1-9 for his career.

 

–Field Level Media

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Saints on top of latest Pro32 poll; KC, Pats tied for 2nd

NEW YORK (AP) — Who Dat on top of the latest AP Pro32 rankings?

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints knocked off the Los Angeles Rams 45-35 on Sunday, handing them their first loss of the season.

The Saints jumped three spots to No. 1 in the latest AP Pro32 poll .

NEW YORK (AP) — Who Dat on top of the latest AP Pro32 rankings?

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints knocked off the Los Angeles Rams 45-35 on Sunday, handing them their first loss of the season.

The Saints jumped three spots to No. 1 in the latest AP Pro32 poll . They received seven of 12 first-place votes and 377 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

“Beat the Rams big time,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the surging New England Patriots are tied for No. 2. The Patriots, who have won six in a row, got two first-place votes and the Chiefs received the remaining three, giving both teams 364 points.

“Andy Reid has been a terrific coach for so many years, but Patrick Mahomes’ brilliance allows Reid’s true play-calling talents shine through like never before,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said of the Chiefs.

The Rams fell from the top spot to No. 4. They will look to get back to their winning ways when they host NFC West rival Seattle on Sunday.

“Although they couldn’t stop Drew Brees when it counted, the Rams are still in very good shape to secure an NFC playoff bye,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.

The Carolina Panthers and the LA Chargers followed at No. 5 and No. 6. The teams flipped spots from the previous poll.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who open Week 10 when they host the Panthers on Thursday night, remained at No. 7.

The Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans each moved up a spot to No. 8 and No. 9 as they enter their bye weeks. The Texans have won six in a row after a 0-3 start.

And the Chicago Bears climbed five spots to round out the top 10 after their 41-9 rout of the woeful Buffalo Bills.

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Developing young QBs in NFL a tricky balancing act

NEW YORK (AP) — Start them right away? Ease 'em in? Have them sit a whole season?

When it comes to developing young quarterbacks in the NFL, it all depends on who you talk to.

Some teams think it's best to throw rookie QBs into the fire to learn on the job. Others prefer to

NEW YORK (AP) — Start them right away? Ease ’em in? Have them sit a whole season?

When it comes to developing young quarterbacks in the NFL, it all depends on who you talk to.

Some teams think it’s best to throw rookie QBs into the fire to learn on the job. Others prefer to gradually work them into the offense. Some say it’s more beneficial to have them grab a cap and clipboard and take it all in from the sideline.

“I think every position is the same,” Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said. “If someone can’t handle it mentally, then you don’t want to put them on the field, because naturally they’ll play slower and be thinking instead of reacting.”

Sam Darnold clearly passed that test for New York, and the No. 3 overall pick in April was under center to start the season.

“If a player shows the athletic ability, the talent and has the mental capacity to handle a gameplan and go into a game and be successful,” Bates said, “then he’s ready to play.”

That doesn’t mean things have necessarily gone smoothly for the former USC star.

Darnold’s 14 interceptions lead the league and have contributed to the Jets’ 3-6 start. So have his 55.0 percent completion rate and 68.3 quarterback rating, which also rank among the worst in the league.

Still, some point to these early struggles as crucial building blocks for the future.

“I’m going to continue to learn,” Darnold said Sunday after a 13-6 loss at Miami in which he threw four INTs. “There’s always lessons to be learned.”

Of the 32 quarterbacks currently listed as starters for their teams, 12 were under center in Week 1 of their first season.

On the flipside, some veteran superstar QBs waited a while before they got their chances.

Aaron Rodgers was stuck behind Brett Favre in Green Bay before finally starting in his fourth season. Philip Rivers didn’t start with the Chargers until his third year, when Drew Brees went to New Orleans. Even Brees didn’t get his first NFL start until his second season.

Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Alex Smith weren’t Day 1 starters, either.

“In an ideal world, it gets to be like Drew, who had a chance to watch a little, or Tom Brady and Aaron,” said former quarterback Rich Gannon, the 2002 NFL MVP and now an analyst for CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Patrick Mahomes sat behind Smith in Kansas City until Week 17 as a rookie last year, and now is a leading MVP candidate as one of the NFL’s top gunslinger s with a league-leading 29 TD passes for the 8-1 Chiefs.

“We knew that Patrick was very talented, but any time that an NFL team goes with a young quarterback, usually it’s a very challenging endeavor,” Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said. “Sometimes it takes time, several years, but as we’ve seen, Andy (Reid) had Patrick ready to go Week 1.”

Gannon thinks the Chiefs provide the perfect blueprint.

“Mahomes had a chance to watch a master of his domain for a year,” he said. “Alex Smith knew that system inside and out, has great huddle command and leadership skills. Maybe he doesn’t throw it like Mahomes does, but this is a guy who was willing to share and help him for that year, and we’re seeing the fruits of it now.

“That’s the best situation you can have.”

Again, that depends on who you ask.

In the past three drafts, 11 quarterbacks were taken in the first round — including Darnold, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, Buffalo’s Josh Allen, Arizona’s Josh Rosen and Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson this year.

Jackson is the only one to not yet start at least one game. Baltimore has Joe Flacco leading the huddle, but Jackson has still been used in the offense and is the Ravens’ second-leading rusher.

The Browns wanted to have Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick this year, sit and learn behind Tyrod Taylor. But like most plans in Cleveland, it backfired.

Taylor got hurt in Week 3 and Mayfield was thrust into the lineup, helping the Browns rally to beat the Jets in a nationally televised game and end a 19-game winless streak. Mayfield has shown poise and promise, but lacks playmakers and is dealing with a coaching change after Hue Jackson was fired.

In Buffalo, the Bills weren’t anticipating Allen starting in the second week. They were taking what coach Sean McDermott called a “calculated” approach. But after AJ McCarron was traded before the season opener and Nathan Peterman bombed in Week 1, McDermott was left with no choice but to turn to Allen.

The rookie has been dealing with a sprained right elbow , and is uncertain to play Sunday against the Jets.

“When you draft a quarterback like we did, there’s a part of it where you have to say, ‘Hey, he’s going to play either A, B, or C — early, middle, or late or next year.'” McDermott said. “You have to be OK with all of that.”

The initial plan in Arizona was to have Rosen learn behind Sam Bradford. All that changed when the veteran was ineffective and benched in favor of the No. 10 overall pick.

Rosen took his lumps with some turnover-filled performances. Then, Mike McCoy was fired as the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator and Bradford was later cut — leaving the job to Rosen.

“His demeanor allows him to have success,” new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said. “Quarterbacking in this league is hard and when things go bad, this kid tends to be fine.”

But, some say too many adverse situations could end up having long-term deleterious effects on a young player.

“When you put them in before they’re ready, they also get hurt: Josh Allen, Josh Rosen,” Gannon said. “The speed of the game is way too fast for them. … Or they have a bad experience, like what wound up happening with (the Jets’) Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, or going back to Ryan Leaf (with the Chargers). They play right away before they are physically or mentally ready or maturity-level ready. They get benched and booed and maybe run out of town, the coach gets fired, and then the next thing, they’re on their third or fourth team. They think he will be a savior and he’s not ready to play.

“How is that being responsible from a coach and ownership standpoint? It’s doing a tremendous disservice.”

Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston and Tennessee’ Marcus Mariota started right away after being the top two picks in 2015, but the jury’s still out on both.

For those who preach patience, 25 of the 32 current QBs started a game at some point in their rookie season. And, several held on to the job from there.

Quarterbacks such as the Rams’ Jared Goff (No. 1 in 2016) and the Bears’ Mitchell Trubisky (No. 2 in 2017) started and struggled as rookies, but benefited from changes in coaching staffs and philosophies and took leaps in their second seasons.

So, who’s right?

Well, all of the above.

“There’s certainly valuable experience when you stand and watch,” McDermott said. “But we all know there’s no substitute for the experience when you’re actually behind the wheel. There’s a lot of value to that.”

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and AP Sports Writers Bob Baum, David Ginsburg, Dave Skretta, John Wawrow and Tom Withers contributed.

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Report: Former Vikings DT Floyd suing Dr. James Andrews

 

 

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd plans to file suit against Dr. James Andrews over what the 27-year-old claims was a knee surgery gone wrong.

 

Floyd, according to multiple reports, will file the $180 million lawsuit in Florida on Tuesday against Dr. Andrews, the Andrews Institute for Orthopedic Surgery and others,

 

 

Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd plans to file suit against Dr. James Andrews over what the 27-year-old claims was a knee surgery gone wrong.

 

Floyd, according to multiple reports, will file the $180 million lawsuit in Florida on Tuesday against Dr. Andrews, the Andrews Institute for Orthopedic Surgery and others, claiming a 2016 routine arthroscopic procedure turned into a career-ending operation.

 

Floyd’s attorney, Brad Sohn, said the suit will outline the failure of those being named in the court documents, including Andrews, his anesthesiologist, two surgery assistants and the hospital where the operation took place.

 

Sohn said Floyd was expecting a scope of his knee in 2016 with a recovery time of no more than one month.

 

Once on the operating table, doctors determined Floyd needed microfracture knee surgery, Sohn described in interviews with multiple outlets.

 

When surgical assistants administered a pain blocker, muscle tissue and nerves around the knee were paralyzed, Floyd claims.

 

Sohn told ESPN.com the $180 million figure is based on projected career earnings.

 

Floyd, the 23rd overall pick in 2013, was placed on the Non-Football Injury List by the Minnesota Vikings. By rule, teams are not required to pay the full salary — $6.757 million in Floyd’s case — for players on NFI.

 

Floyd has field a grievance against the NFL Players Association, but not the Vikings.

 

–Field Level Media

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FANTASY PLAYS: Immediate and future pickups for Week 10

The Vikings, Broncos, Texans and Ravens being off in Week 10 means there are plenty of bye week players to replace in lineups.

You'll be without the likes of Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins, Phillip Lindsay, Emmanuel Sanders, DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson this week. Work the waiver wire aggressively and with a forward-looking focus.

RUNNING

The Vikings, Broncos, Texans and Ravens being off in Week 10 means there are plenty of bye week players to replace in lineups.

You’ll be without the likes of Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins, Phillip Lindsay, Emmanuel Sanders, DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson this week. Work the waiver wire aggressively and with a forward-looking focus.

RUNNING BACKS

DUKE JOHNSON JR., Browns (49.6 percent owned): He was cut in some very competitive leagues recently, but a coaching overhaul in Cleveland has led to Johnson quickly regaining fantasy relevance. Johnson caught nine passes for 78 yards on Sunday, and with the Browns lacking a quality second wideout he should remain in the flow going forward. Make him a top waiver priority or be willing to spend handsomely if your league uses a free agent acquisition budget. If you need RB help in a point-per-reception format, don’t hesitate to spend 50 to 60 percent of your budget.

MIKE DAVIS, Seahawks (18.5): He totaled 107 yards from scrimmage and caught seven passes on Sunday as Chris Carson could not make it out of the early stages of the game. Carson is already looking iffy this week with hip and groin problems and he has been a consistent injury concern. Davis is clearly preferred by the Seattle coaching staff over Rashaad Penny and faces the league’s worst run defense (the Rams) in Week 10.

JOSH ADAMS (3.0): We advised picking him up last week but he was only added in 2.5 percent of leagues. Many owners passed on him because Adams was on a bye week. Don’t overlook players who have byes, when you can get the jump on passive league mates. Adams may start for the Eagles coming off the bye.

WIDE RECEIVERS

MARQUES VALDES-SCANTLING (20.8): Not enough owners paid attention to injury news late last week, which indicated Geronimo Allison would likely be out with a groin injury, boosting Valdes-Scantling’s outlook again. Now Allison may be done for the season and Randall Cobb is oft-injured and only had 24 receiving yards last week. The rookie has either reached 100 yards or scored in his last four games and has quickly risen to fantasy WR3 status.

ADAM HUMPHRIES, Buccaneers (2.8): In the past, he had flashed some potential to be a decent fantasy player, then totally defied expectations in Week 9 with eight catches for 82 yards and two TD receptions. He used to be more of a Jameis Winston favorite, but Ryan Fitzpatrick can use him as a reliable option from the slot.

JOHN ROSS, Bengals (8.1): Ross has started to practice as he anticipates a potential return from a groin injury, and with A.J. Green possibly missing two games or more with a toe problem, Ross becomes a viable waiver target because of increased opportunity. Tyler Boyd may get extra defensive attention during Green’s absence, and Ross will likely be more targeted more frequently. His big-play promise is no secret to seasoned fantasy players.

TIGHT ENDS

C.J. UZOMAH, Bengals (18.2): He has disappointed since becoming the clear No. 1 at his position in Cincinnati because of injuries, but Uzomah also still has some lingering appeal because of the Green injury. Andy Dalton will always consider his tight ends when inside the 10-yard line, and Uzomah has some TD potential while Green is out.

JEFF HEUERMAN, Broncos (7.9): Here’s a guy on a bye that you need to add now if TE is a desperation need. Heuerman immediately stepped into the Demaryius Thomas void left by the WR’s departure, catching 10 passes for 83 yards and a TD in a career performance. While his statistical ceiling may not be as high as those numbers indicate going forward, you have to take a waiver chance on the improved production possibly lasting more than one game.

QUARTERBACK

LAMAR JACKSON, Ravens (1.5): This is a forward-looking waiver move where you possibly can get ahead of the rest of the league, as Baltimore is on a bye. Joe Flacco has four TD passes in his past five games and 398 passing yards with one TD and two interceptions in his last two outings. There could be a QB change coming in Baltimore soon. Jackson looked like an erratic passer in the preseason, but his rushing and playmaking skills point to some tantalizing fantasy possibilities if he gets inserted into the Ravens guiding role.

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For more waiver and Week 10 advice, visit RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com

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Week 11 Schedule Changes

PRESS RELEASE

WEEK 11 (NOVEMBER 18) SCHEDULE CHANGES:
 
VIKINGS-BEARS MOVES TO 8:20 PM ET ON NBC,
 
EAGLES-SAINTS TO 4:25 PM ET (FOX) & STEELERS-JAGUARS TO 1 PM ET (CBS)

PRESS RELEASE

WEEK 11 (NOVEMBER 18) SCHEDULE CHANGES:
 
VIKINGS-BEARS MOVES TO 8:20 PM ET ON NBC,
 
EAGLES-SAINTS TO 4:25 PM ET (FOX) & STEELERS-JAGUARS TO 1 PM ET (CBS)
 
The NFL announced today the following schedule changes for Week 11 on Sunday, November 18.
The Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears game will move from 1 PM ET on FOX to 8:20 PM ET on NBC.
The Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints game moves from 1 PM ET on FOX to 4:25 PM ET on FOX.
The Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars game originally scheduled at 8:20 PM ET on NBC will move to CBS at 1 PM ET.
The following is the final Week 11 NFL schedule (all times ET):
 
Thursday, November 15
Green Bay at Seattle
8:20 PM
FOX/NFLN/Amazon
 
Sunday, November 18
Dallas at Atlanta
1:00 PM
FOX
Cincinnati at Baltimore
1:00 PM
CBS
Carolina at Detroit ­
1:00 PM
FOX
Tennessee at Indianapolis
1:00 PM
CBS
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville
1:00 PM
CBS
Tampa Bay at New York Giants
1:00 PM
FOX
Houston at Washington
1:00 PM
CBS
Oakland at Arizona
4:05 PM
CBS
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers
4:05 PM
CBS
Philadelphia at New Orleans
4:25 PM
FOX
Minnesota at Chicago
8:20 PM
NBC
 
 
 
Monday, November 19
Kansas City at Los Angeles Rams (Mexico City)
8:15 PM
ESPN

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

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Breaking Down The NHL’s Partnership With FanDuel

The wall separating the major U.S. sports leagues and sports wagering world continues to crumble with the announcement of two new deals involving Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and sportsbook operator FanDuel.

FanDuel in its newly minted partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) has additionally refocused attention on what was its core

The wall separating the major U.S. sports leagues and sports wagering world continues to crumble with the announcement of two new deals involving Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and sportsbook operator FanDuel.

FanDuel in its newly minted partnership with the National Hockey League (NHL) has additionally refocused attention on what was its core business as it continues its efforts to establish itself in emerging Nevada-style sports betting marketplaces.  

On Monday, the number two DFS company announced a multi-year partnership with the NHL, making FanDuel the “exclusive official daily fantasy partner and an official sports betting partner of the NHL.” The new deal also allows FanDuel customers to gain access to what it calls “special prizing,” such as VIP experiences to NHL major events including its All-Star Game and Winter Classic outdoor hockey game.

Read more Breaking Down The NHL’s Partnership With FanDuel on SportsHandle.

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NFL Week 9 Stat Recap Table: QB, RB and WR

Six straight wins for the Houston Texans. New Orleans ruins the the Rams perfect season. Tom Brady and the Patriots prove to be too much for Aaron Rodgers.

Notable Performances

  • Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees all tossed for 300+ yards and 3+ touchdowns
  • Michael Thomas made 12 receptions for 211

Six straight wins for the Houston Texans. New Orleans ruins the the Rams perfect season. Tom Brady and the Patriots prove to be too much for Aaron Rodgers.

Notable Performances

  • Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees all tossed for 300+ yards and 3+ touchdowns
  • Michael Thomas made 12 receptions for 211 yards and 1 touchdown
  • Travis Kelce, Adam Humphries, and OJ Howard all caught for 2 touchdowns
  • Melvin Gordon and James Conner both rush for 100+ yards
  • 5 Players with 2 rushing touchdowns


Martin is a data analyst that has been applauded for his ability to make the complex simple. He grew up on a farm in northern Vermont and spent his summers helping his mom lead llama treks at Smugglers’ Notch Resort.

Martin graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Mathematics. After graduation he left Vermont to work for an educational nonprofit called City Year for two years, and followed that up by attending the data science immersive program at Galvanize in Denver. He is an avid Green Bay Packer fan, and spends his free time playing football and soccer.

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Ballin’ on a Budget Week 9 Results

Maybe I should stick to straight game picks and ditch the over/unders. We went 3-2 again this week, getting all three game picks right, including two road underdogs. However, we went 0-2 on over/unders and neither of them were particularly close. Luckily, the payouts on those road dog picks are higher, so we

Maybe I should stick to straight game picks and ditch the over/unders. We went 3-2 again this week, getting all three game picks right, including two road underdogs. However, we went 0-2 on over/unders and neither of them were particularly close. Luckily, the payouts on those road dog picks are higher, so we continue to build our stash. Certainly, 3-2 every week ain’t bad, but we’re still waiting for that big payout on a 5-0 week.

LOSS: Dolphins-Jets OVER 45 points (-110): Dolphins 13, Jets 6.

As soon as I read on Sunday morning about these teams being worried about field conditions in Miami, I knew we were in trouble. Poor field conditions never make scoring easier. Sam Darnold threw four interceptions, stopping multiple Jets drives in their tracks. A Dolphins defense that just allowed 42 points to the Texans magically showed up and balled out.

Field goals killed us as they always do with overs, but even if those field goals turned into touchdowns, we would likely still be doomed. There’s no way around it, this one wasn’t even close and that was due to a combination of factors. The win: $0.

LOSS: Saints-Rams UNDER 60 points (-110): Saints 45, Rams 35.

Ouch. Let’s just acknowledge that 60 points is an insane over/under number in NFL betting and the Saints and Rams still shattered it. Despite each team having a high-powered offense, I thought the solid rush defenses for each would limit scoring. Instead, what I said I feared in last week’s column came true: this game became a shootout.

L.A. was down big early and stormed back to tie it before New Orleans scored the last 10 points of the game to seal the win. This was one of, if not the best game of the year so far, it’s just a shame it had to come at our expense. The win: $0.

WIN: Steelers -3 vs. Ravens (-120): Steelers 23, Ravens 16.

Even without Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh is starting to hit its stride. Despite it being a one-score game in the end, the Steelers really controlled this game from the start. The defense is showing signs of life and this is not a team you want to mess with right now. Meanwhile, the Ravens are in a free fall, now losers of three straight games.

We knew getting a line that was under a field goal gave us a chance to win and Pittsburgh went one step further and covered for us. It was just the first of many solid picks we had on point spread and money line this week. The win: $5.50.

WIN: Falcons over Redskins (+110): Falcons 38, Redskins 14.

I was very high on Atlanta going into this match up, but even I did not foresee this flat-out domination by the Falcons. They bullied Washington from the opening kick and did whatever they wanted on offense. We picked this “upset” based on the Falcons having far more talent. That doesn’t always equal a win, but it sure did today.

When the lines came out at the beginning of the week, this one immediately stuck out as one to put some money down on. I’m glad we were wise enough to do it and reap the benefits. Total win: $10.50.

WIN: Texans over Broncos (+120): Texans 19, Broncos 17.

Just barely, Houston was able to hold off Denver for its fifth straight win and it won us some money in the process. The Texans are really starting to roll with the defense and offense seemingly each making strides each week. What should be scary to opposing teams is the fact this Texans team can win different styles of games: low-scoring affairs and shootouts.

Sunday afternoon was the former and Houston showed enough grit to pull it out in a very tough road environment. The Texans are starting to emerge as the clear best team in the AFC South and if they win a couple more, they might emerge as one of the best teams in the entire AFC. I wouldn’t bet against the Steelers, Patriots, or Chiefs right now, but we’re not talking about season-long bets here. All we’re talking about is our piggy bank continuing to grow week by week. Total win: $11.

PIGGY BANK: $201.88 (12.2% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.5% (25-17-3)

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

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DraftKings Campaigning To Bring Legal Sports Betting to Massachusetts

It appears that DraftKings believes its home state will be among the next to legalize sports betting, or wants to make sure that’s the case.

According to the Boston Herald, the Boston-based company has already kicked off a Boston-centric social-media campaign and will further pump up its public relations and lobbying efforts. Massachusetts

It appears that DraftKings believes its home state will be among the next to legalize sports betting, or wants to make sure that’s the case.

According to the Boston Herald, the Boston-based company has already kicked off a Boston-centric social-media campaign and will further pump up its public relations and lobbying efforts. Massachusetts lawmakers briefly entertained sports betting legislation this year, and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission commissioned a white paper to study sports betting in the Bay State, but no legislation was passed in 2018.

DraftKings currently operates an online sportsbook for New Jersey residents, and is leveraging the success of New Jersey bettors to get the attention of Massachusetts residents. Among the social media offerings is one that showcases a New Jersey bettor who won $325,000 when the Red Sox won their fourth World Series in 15 years late last month. According to the Herald, the social media campaign is tied to the the World Series and some New England Patriots’ games.

 

Read more DraftKings Campaigning To Bring Legal Sports Betting to Massachusetts on SportsHandle.

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Seahawks sit at .500 after step back from winning formula

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks figured out just how easy it is to get off track.

After successfully resetting its roster and figuring out a style and method for winning in the first half of the season, Seattle took a major step backward in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Seahawks

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks figured out just how easy it is to get off track.

After successfully resetting its roster and figuring out a style and method for winning in the first half of the season, Seattle took a major step backward in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Seahawks had built a winning formula on running the ball, avoiding mistakes on offense and stopping the run on defense. Now, Seattle has to prove it can beat a quality opponent when the script doesn’t play out perfectly.

“We’ve found ourselves in most of the games we didn’t win right there at the end, so close to getting it done,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I’m hoping the second half of the season will allow us to finish those games and get the wins that we want and turn this season into a really positive year for us.”

The 25-17 loss to the Chargers revealed how quickly the Seahawks can lose the style of play that led them to win four of the previous five games. They sit at 4-4, facing a challenging three-game stretch that starts this week with the Los Angeles Rams.

“I’ve never looked at this like it’s a rebuilding year. (GM) John (Schneider) and I didn’t look at this like that. We saw the opportunities to fill the spots and we thought we could keep moving and going,” Carroll said. “There’s always going to be some growing time and we saw that the first two weeks of the season. As far as expectations, our expectations are higher and that’s why we’re disappointed that we’re not in better shape than we are right now.”

Seattle still had a chance to force overtime against the Chargers until Russell Wilson’s pass for David Moore at the back of the end zone was tipped slightly and fell incomplete on the final play.

The Seahawks issues started long before that pass hit the turf.

Seattle did not stop the run, giving up 7.3 yards per carry to the Chargers and letting Melvin Gordon run for 113 yards and a touchdown.

It did not avoid offensive mistakes. Wilson was sacked four times, with several of those his fault for not getting the ball out or trusting the protection. He also made a critical turnover, throwing an interception that was returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Desmond King in the fourth quarter.

And Seattle’s own run game was spotty. The Seahawks finished with 154 yards rushing, but starter Chris Carson didn’t play the final 2 ½ quarters due to a lingering hip injury. After scoring a touchdown on their opening possession, the Seahawks got just three points out of the next nine drives.

The end result was too much reliance on Wilson for a fourth-quarter rally. While Wilson nearly pulled it off, the Seahawks fell to 5-6 at home over the past two seasons and have lost the last five games when Wilson has attempted 30 or more passes dating to last season.

Carroll was uncertain the status of Carson or strong safety Bradley McDougald for Sunday’s game against the NFC West-leading Rams. Carroll said Carson’s hip was a lingering problem coming out of last week’s victory over Detroit, and a light week of practice wasn’t enough for Carson to handle the load early against the Chargers. Carson had just eight carries, leaving Mike Davis as the primary back. Davis had 15 carries for 62 yards.

McDougald didn’t play in the second half with a knee injury that Carroll said was “pretty sore” on Monday. McDougald will likely be a very limited participant in practice this week, but Carroll said he was pleased with the performance of backup Delano Hill stepping in for McDougald, who has been one of Seattle’s top defensive players this season.

NOTES: Carroll said G D.J. Fluker (calf) appeared to be OK. Fluker didn’t play late in the game due to the injury and was replaced by C Joey Hunt playing out of position. … Carroll declined to comment on any speculation about a reunion with DE/LB Bruce Irvin, who was released by Oakland. Irvin spent his first four seasons in Seattle and the Seahawks could use a boost in the pass rush. “I’d prefer not to comment on that right now if you don’t mind. Let’s wait and see what happens,” Carroll said.

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

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Resurgent Falcons back in playoff race with 3 straight wins

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Dan Quinn says losing six starters to injured reserve never forced him to lose faith in the Atlanta Falcons, even before three straight wins revived the team's playoff hopes.

The Falcons (4-4) have recovered from a 1-4 start despite losing both starting safeties, both first-team offensive guards, running back

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Dan Quinn says losing six starters to injured reserve never forced him to lose faith in the Atlanta Falcons, even before three straight wins revived the team’s playoff hopes.

The Falcons (4-4) have recovered from a 1-4 start despite losing both starting safeties, both first-team offensive guards, running back Devonta Freeman and linebacker Deion Jones.

Sunday’s 38-14 win at NFC East-leading Washington showed the Falcons, who play at Cleveland this week, are back as a playoff contender.

Even after running back Devonta Freeman and right guard Brandon Fusco were the most recent starters to land on IR, Quinn continued to say the Falcons were a team on the rise who had not peaked.

“All along I’ve had real belief in what this ’18 team can be,” Quinn said Monday. “Although it started under some difficult circumstances, I like the way they’ve supported each other. I like the toughness they’ve shown and I feel like we’re starting to play like we’re capable of playing.”

The Falcons iced the win over the Redskins by holding the ball for 10 minutes in the fourth quarter, when Washington didn’t score. Quinn said the “ability to finish” was a highlight of the game.

With Ben Garland starting for Fusco and Wes Schweitzer continuing in his fill-in starting role for injured left guard Andy Levitre, the new-look offensive line played one of its best games.

The Falcons converted 10 of 13 third-down plays and scored touchdowns on two of three red-zone possessions. Matt Ryan threw for 350 yards with four touchdowns and one interception — only his third of the season and his first since a Week 2 win over Carolina.

Ryan said the Falcons have improved since losing four of their first five games.

“I think halfway through we were a better football team than we were at the start, and we have to keep it trending in that direction,” Ryan said after Sunday’s game.

Ryan has enjoyed a return to his 2016 form, when he was named the NFL MVP. Led by Ryan, the Falcons have scored touchdowns on 17 of their last 21 red-zone possessions since their opening loss at Philadelphia.

“I think red zone efficiency has been really good for us,” Ryan said. “We didn’t do a good job of that in the opener, but since then we’ve done a pretty good job of that. … When you’re scoring touchdowns and taking care of the ball, that’s a good recipe for success.”

Quinn said seeing Julio Jones finally score his first touchdown of the season “was probably the coolest part of the day” in the win over Washington.

Jones’ teammates rushed down the sideline to celebrate with him following his 35-yard touchdown pass from Ryan.

“It was a great experience having the team come out there,” Jones said.

Quinn said Jones “is the most selfless leader probably that any of us have been around.”

“They were so excited for him because of all the work he does behind the scenes that people don’t know about,” Quinn said. “… They know what he stands for as a teammate.”

Atlanta’s daunting injury outlook could be improving.

The Falcons already have had defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who had a sack on Sunday, return after missing two games with an ankle injury.

Jones is eligible to come off IR when the Falcons play Dallas on Nov. 18, though there has been no word on when he’ll be cleared from his foot injury. It’s not known if Freeman will be able to return from his groin injury when eligible in December.

Placekicker Matt Bryant has missed two games with a hamstring injury. More will be known on Wednesday about his chances to return against the Browns.

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

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Fournette back at practice, but Jags unsure if he will play

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette practiced for the first time in more than a month Monday, working with the first-team offense and looking like he might be fully healthy for the first time since the season opener.

But coach Doug Marrone stopped short of proclaiming Fournette back or

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette practiced for the first time in more than a month Monday, working with the first-team offense and looking like he might be fully healthy for the first time since the season opener.

But coach Doug Marrone stopped short of proclaiming Fournette back or ready to return Sunday at Indianapolis.

“I don’t know if he is going to play,” Marrone said.

Fournette has missed six games, including all four during the team’s four-game losing streak, because of a strained right hamstring. The Jaguars (3-5) reacted to Fournette’s prolonged absence by signing free agent Jamaal Charles and then trading for Carlos Hyde.

Fournette has 20 carries for 71 yards this season and has missed nine games in two years because of injuries and suspension, creating doubts about the fourth overall selection in the 2017 NFL draft.

Jacksonville built its offensive scheme around Fournette and needs him back to potentially take pressure off inconsistent quarterback Blake Bortles.

Marrone, though, won’t know about Fournette’s availability until later in the week.

“How things happen during the week is really what answers a lot of those questions,” he said. “Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you are worried about this guy. Is he going to be able to play? Is he going to play the full amount? Did we get the other guys ready enough? What plays does he feel comfortable with? What plays do other people feel comfortable with?

“You go back and forth because, at the end of the day, your job is to try and put the team in the best situation to win. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done a good job of that. But sometimes I haven’t.”

Marrone said Bortles injured his non-throwing shoulder against Philadelphia in London, but took “his normal throws” Monday following the team’s bye week.

“It’s early in the week and we will just see how it goes,” Marrone said.

The Jaguars signed a third quarterback, Landry Jones, as an insurance policy in case Bortles’ injury becomes more significant.

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

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Bills QB Allen resumes practice 3 weeks after elbow injury

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Rookie quarterback Josh Allen has resumed practicing for the first time since spraining his right throwing elbow, though Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott says it's too early to determine whether he can play against the New York Jets this weekend.

McDermott says Allen began testing his arm Friday,

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Rookie quarterback Josh Allen has resumed practicing for the first time since spraining his right throwing elbow, though Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott says it’s too early to determine whether he can play against the New York Jets this weekend.

McDermott says Allen began testing his arm Friday, and threw about 100 passes during a workout Monday, which translates into an average workload during a normal practice.

In saying he won’t rule out Allen from playing Sunday, McDermott was cautious in adding “I’m going to take it day to day at this point.”

The coach is also taking into account the option of providing Allen additional time to heal with Buffalo (2-7) entering its bye week after playing at New York.

Allen has been out since being hurt during a 20-13 loss at Houston on Oct. 14, which began the Bills’ four-game skid.

The quarterback position has been in flux since and contributed to a sputtering offense which has scored 20 points in its past three games.

Derek Anderson turned the ball over six times in two starts before sustaining a concussion in a 25-6 loss to New England last week. Nathan Peterman threw three interceptions in a 41-9 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

Anderson remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

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

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3 Skins starters out for season: Scherff, Lauvao, Richardson

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Redskins lost more than a quarter of their starting offense in one fell swoop Monday, with receiver Paul Richardson and guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao all going on injured reserve because they need season-ending surgery.

Coach Jay Gruden said that Richardson has been playing through a shoulder

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Redskins lost more than a quarter of their starting offense in one fell swoop Monday, with receiver Paul Richardson and guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao all going on injured reserve because they need season-ending surgery.

Coach Jay Gruden said that Richardson has been playing through a shoulder injury that is now too much to bear, while Pro Bowl right guard Scherff tore a pectoral muscle and left guard Lauvao tore the ACL in his left knee in Washington’s 38-14 loss to the visiting Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

That setback ended a three-game winning streak for the NFC East-leading Redskins (5-3), who brought in several offensive linemen for tryouts Monday and signed tackle Austin Howard and guards Jonathan Cooper and Luke Bowanko.

Before the signings were announced, Gruden said he expected for at least one new player off the street to start next weekend at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5).

“We just have to make sure we stick with the plan. Keep it fairly simple but not too simple,” said Gruden, whose team has been at its most successful when Adrian Peterson runs the ball effectively but he had only 17 yards on nine carries against Atlanta. “Still going to challenge our guys to do some great things and hopefully the guys that we sign can fit right in and play.”

As it is, Washington already was facing injury issues along its line: Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams missed the game against Atlanta after having surgery on his dislocated right thumb and could be out another two or three weeks.

Plus, Morgan Moses’ status is considered day to day, Gruden said, after the starting right tackle hurt the MCL ligament in his right knee against Atlanta but returned to the game after limping off the field in the first half.

“This is something you don’t want to go through. But it is pro football, and you have to go through it,” Gruden said. “Fortunately we have a very good line coach in Coach (Bill) Callahan.”

Things got so bad against Atlanta that the one healthy starting lineman, center Chase Roullier, ran over to the sideline while Scherff was being tended to on the field to check in with Callahan about who should play where.

“Just to figure out where he wanted guys to go,” Roullier said. “Maybe they want me at guard. Maybe they want me at center.”

It turned out that he stayed at center, but otherwise, the shuffling went like this: Tony Bergstrom, who entered the game at left guard when Lauvao got hurt on the game’s third play, shifted to right guard in place of Scherff; Ty Nsekhe, the backup who started at left tackle in place of Williams, moved to left guard; and rookie third-round draft picks Geron Christian made his NFL debut at left tackle.

Washington essentially was out of linemen at that point, so if another injury had happened, Gruden said defensive end Matt Ioannidis would have been forced to play guard, something he said he’d never done at any level.

“We were about a hangnail away from that happening,” Roullier said. “That would have been interesting.”

Richardson’s first season with the Redskins after leaving the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent ends with 20 catches for 262 yards and two TDs.

“Paul’s been dealing with this thing all year,” Gruden said of the AC joint injury. “Toughed it out for eight weeks and I think the pain has been bothering him so much that he needs to get it fixed.”

Gruden said that starting slot receiver Jamison Crowder, who’s missed four games with an ankle injury, might practice Wednesday.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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Patriots’ Patterson has become revelation out of backfield

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — To be a productive member of the New England Patriots, it's usually best to approach the game plan each week with adaptive eyes.

No one has learned that lesson more this season than receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

When he was traded by Oakland to the Patriots in March, Patterson arrived in New

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — To be a productive member of the New England Patriots, it’s usually best to approach the game plan each week with adaptive eyes.

No one has learned that lesson more this season than receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

When he was traded by Oakland to the Patriots in March, Patterson arrived in New England hoping to land a place on Tom Brady’s receiving corps following an offseason shake-up that saw the departures of both Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola.

But after a Week 3 neck injury sent veteran running back Rex Burkhead to injured reserve and rookie Sony Michel’s knee injury in Week 7 stunted his strong start, it created a void at another position that itself was recovering from the free agency loss of Dion Lewis.

The natural solution seemed to be an increased role for veteran James White. Instead the coaching staff chose creativity over predictability.

Two productive games at running back later, Patterson has become the latest Patriots player to excel in an unconventional role in New England.

Patterson led the Patriots with 61 rushing yards, including a 5-yard touchdown in their 31-17 victory over the Green Bay Packers Sunday night . It was the second straight week he led the team in rushing and came two weeks after he had a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Bears.

That’s just about right for a player called “Flash” early in his career.

“I said I wanted 25 carries this week,” Patterson said. “Whenever my number’s called I’m being ready for whatever I need to do on the football field.”

Using Patterson out of the backfield isn’t as much of a stretch as it might seem.

Coach Bill Belichick said he noted the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder’s ability to make plays from there when studying his 2017 film with the Raider. He rushed 13 times for 121 yards and two scores with Oakland last season, an average of 9.3 yards per carry.

Patterson was used by the Patriots on some reverses early in the season, again impressing his new coaches with his speed and power attacking holes.

“He’s worked really hard with the ball handling, the reads, but boy, he runs hard. He runs fast and he’s a hard guy to tackle,” Belichick said. “Like a lot of our guys have, they just step in, fill the role that we need for them and help the team win, and that’s really what it’s all about.”

That’s become the theme for role players under Belichick.

Fullback James Develin was an undrafted defensive end out of Brown before finding a home as the Patriots’ fullback. Matt Slater arrived in New England as a receiver but became its special teams captain and a seven-time Pro Bowler.

White said Patterson’s natural skillset and willingness to accept coaching have been his biggest attributes in acclimating to the Patriots’ culture.

“He’s a strong, fast, explosive guy,” White said. “He can score any time he touches the football and he’s been trying to get better and better at it each week. The more he does it, the better he gets.”

Michel was questionable heading into Sunday’s game with Green Bay and could return to action when the Patriots travel to Tennessee this week.

For now, Patterson said he’s trying to stay humble and hungry in the role he’s been given — however long it lasts.

“I mean it’s the next man up. It’s the NFL. If you can play, you can play,” He said. “We didn’t like that the guys weren’t ready, but every guy is going to step up because this is our job. This is our life.”

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Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

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Injuries make impact sidelining NFL stars at halfway point

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rookie head coach Mike Vrabel has no time to imagine how much better his struggling Tennessee offense might be if only three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker hadn't broken his ankle in the Titans' season opener.

Next man up is a necessity as much as a cliche in the NFL.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rookie head coach Mike Vrabel has no time to imagine how much better his struggling Tennessee offense might be if only three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker hadn’t broken his ankle in the Titans’ season opener.

Next man up is a necessity as much as a cliche in the NFL.

“You have to adjust,” Vrabel said of losing the tight end with the most receptions in the NFL between 2013 and 2017. “I think the one thing about winners is that they’re flexible and they’re able to adapt, among other things. We have to continue to move forward with the guys that we have.”

Marcus Mariota lost his favorite target, and the Titans are scraping along with the league’s 30th best passing offense after winning a playoff game last January.

“It’s asked a lot of the young guys to step up,” Mariota said.

Halfway through the NFL season, lots of stars, starters and key role players are sidelined by injuries with nobody topping the emotional departure of Seattle safety Earl Thomas after breaking his leg the same day Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert had his own gruesome leg injury. It’s making a big impact on the standings.

OH NO, JIMMY G

Trying to pick up an extra yard Sept. 23 cost San Francisco its quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, for the rest of this season with a torn left ACL when his leg buckled in the fourth quarter of a loss to Kansas City. That left the 49ers only three 2018 games with the man they signed to a $137.5 million, five-year contract after watching Garoppolo win five straight to wrap up last season.

Garoppolo’s injury came three weeks after 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon tore his own ACL for a team that had all five offensive linemen hurt knees in a game.

Now San Francisco’s playoff drought is assured of reaching a fifth straight season with the painful lesson for Garoppolo that a team needs its quarterback to be available.

“That’s something that Jimmy will probably look at differently going forward because now he’ll remember this the rest of his life,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Nothing against him. This happens with everyone. You see it every Sunday. It’s a reminder for everyone why it’s an obvious coaching point.”

SO MANY ACLS

When Texans receiver Will Fuller tore his ACL, he joined a list that includes Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee , who didn’t even make it to the regular season; Eagles running back Jay Ajayi; and Miami defensive end William Hayes, who tore his trying to avoid a roughing-the-passer penalty. Unfortunately, Hayes’ foot caught in the ground as he tried to keep his weight off Derek Carr during a sack.

MISSING ON DEFENSE

Derek Barnett recovered Tom Brady’s fumble to clinch the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory in February, but season-ending shoulder surgery has sidelined Philadelphia’s young defensive star. Green Bay lost defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson to an ankle injury.

WAITING FOR BOSA

Defensive end Joey Bosa has not played a snap this season for the Chargers because of a bone bruise in his left foot, an injury that happened Aug. 7 during training camp. Bosa, the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year, tried to get back for the regular season, then reinjured his foot Sept. 5 and has been sidelined since.

The Chargers hoped he might be back after their bye, but Bosa says he’s still facing a week-to-week situation, while people keep asking him when he’ll be ready. Being 6-2 has allowed the Chargers to stay patient and avoid rushing him back again after what happened in September.

“The second my foot is ready to practice on a Wednesday I will play that week,” Bosa said.

MISSING COOK

Luckily, the Minnesota Vikings still have Latavius Murray while they wait for the return of running back Dalvin Cook . He played three of the first four games this season after reconstructive surgery on his left knee ended his rookie season, but Cook hasn’t played since Sept. 27 because of a hamstring injury.

That’s not the only issue for Minnesota, which is second in the NFC North after playing in the NFC championship last January. Rookie cornerback Mike Hughes , the 30th pick overall last April out of UCF, tore up his left knee in October.

BATTERED FALCONS

Atlanta has simply been decimated across the board in a season that started with hopes the Falcons might be the first team to play the Super Bowl on their own field. Both starting safeties and both starting guards are out for the season, top running back Devonta Freeman (groin) is on injured reserve and can’t return until December. Even kicker Matt Bryant has been hurt.

That leaves Matt Ryan trying to carry the Falcons (4-4).

ANOTHER TANNEHILL INJURY

Ryan Tannehill has missed four straight games with an injured shoulder, the latest problem for the Miami quarterback who missed all of the 2017 season after tearing an ACL in training camp. That was the same knee that kept him out of the final four games of 2016. Tannehill hurt his throwing shoulder in Week 5 and is trying to work his way back to the field. Luckily for the Dolphins, Brock Osweiler is 2-2 as a fill-in — even with starting left guard Josh Sitton and center Daniel Kilgore both out for the season.

DISEASE NOT INJURY

Four-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick is off the Dallas roster as he deals with an auto-immune disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, which attacks nerves and leads to weakness in parts of the body. He has no idea when his football career will resume after dealing with numbness in both feet and hands and one arm. “I was very relieved to finally have an idea of what it was,” Frederick said.

POSSIBLE RETURNS

Rams cornerback Aqib Talib is out at least until Thanksgiving after being placed on injured reserve after needing surgery on an ankle early this season, while the Raiders are in the same situation after putting running back Marshawn Lynch on IR last month after surgery to repair an injured groin.

AND THEY KEEP COMING

Denver lost center Matt Paradis to a broken right leg when his own quarterback rolled up on him in the Broncos’ 19-17 loss to Houston on Sunday. The 49ers lost running back Raheem Mostert to a broken arm and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley to season-ending shoulder surgery in San Francisco’s win Thursday night.

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Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

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