Columns

Columns

After Spirited Hearing, Indiana Lawmakers Will Continue to Explore Sports Betting

Indiana on Friday became the latest state to hold a sports betting hearing, when lawmakers heard from various corners of the industry — a technology provider, the NBA, an anti-gambling group and small business owner Patrick Doerflein, who owns an app called “Burn and Bet,” referred to himself as a “hillbilly guy from

Indiana on Friday became the latest state to hold a sports betting hearing, when lawmakers heard from various corners of the industry — a technology provider, the NBA, an anti-gambling group and small business owner Patrick Doerflein, who owns an app called “Burn and Bet,” referred to himself as a “hillbilly guy from Brown County” and asked legislators not to over regulate.

While the session had moments of levity, it was a very different sort of hearing in Illinois on Wednesday. Indiana state lawmakers put forth several sports betting bills in 2018 and the Gaming Commission signed on with a market analysis firm, but Hoosier State legislators on the Interim Joint Public Policy Committee still appeared to be in the early learning stages of learning about sports wagering.

One lawmaker asked if a technology professional had said “toad system” when he was referring to a “tote system,” and another asked NBA executive Dan Spillane if any states that have legalized sports betting passed a law granting the league an “integrity fee.” (None have.) This was in stark contrast to contract with gaming entities independently?”

Read More 137 Words

Khalil Mack questionable for Bears’ game with Patriots

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Bears linebacker Khalil Mack must wait until just before game time to learn if he gets a chance to rush New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Soldier Field.

Mack played through an ankle injury in Chicago's last game, a 31-28 loss to Miami. On Friday, he practiced for the

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Bears linebacker Khalil Mack must wait until just before game time to learn if he gets a chance to rush New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at Soldier Field.

Mack played through an ankle injury in Chicago’s last game, a 31-28 loss to Miami. On Friday, he practiced for the first time this week, although on a limited basis. Bears coach Matt Nagy says he thought Mack “moved around pretty good.”

Mack is listed as questionable for Sunday. Nagy says team medical personnel will monitor how he bounces back from Friday’s practice.

Mack has played in 70 straight games and has never missed a start.

___

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

Read More 62 Words

Sproles among several Eagles out Sunday with injuries

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss his sixth straight game because of a hamstring injury, and cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Corey Graham are also out for Sunday's game against Carolina.

Linebackers D.J. Alexander (quadriceps) and Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee) also won't play when the Eagles (3-3) host

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles will miss his sixth straight game because of a hamstring injury, and cornerback Sidney Jones and safety Corey Graham are also out for Sunday’s game against Carolina.

Linebackers D.J. Alexander (quadriceps) and Nathan Gerry (ankle, knee) also won’t play when the Eagles (3-3) host the Panthers (3-2). Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf) was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

Sproles was injured in the season opener. Jones suffered a hamstring injury last week. Graham hurt his hamstring in Week 5.

The Eagles have already lost starting running back Jay Ajayi and safety Rodney McLeod to season-ending knee injuries.

___

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

Read More 61 Words

Beckham doesn’t like losing, questions on owner or H2O

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There are a lot of things Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't like these days.

It starts off with losing and the New York Giants' 1-5 record. He doesn't like the continual questions about his recent ESPN interview in which he criticized the team's energy on the field and its offensive schemes.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There are a lot of things Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t like these days.

It starts off with losing and the New York Giants’ 1-5 record. He doesn’t like the continual questions about his recent ESPN interview in which he criticized the team’s energy on the field and its offensive schemes.

New York Giants co-owner John Mara saying earlier this week the NFL’s highest -paid receiver needs to make more headlines on the field than off didn’t draw much of a response.

And there’s one more thing. Despite cramping in two of the last three games and needing IVs, Beckham isn’t a big fan of water.

Go figure?

Beckham hit all those topics Friday before the Giants practiced for Monday night’s game in Atlanta against the disappointing and banged-up Falcons (2-4).

The hot topic was Beckham’s reaction to Mara’s criticism. It was the first time the owner had spoken publicly since Beckham’s ill-advised comments in an interview before a game against Carolina on Oct. 7.

“I respect and value his opinion, obviously, so that’s what we’re going to do,” said Beckham, who added he has not spoken to Mara specifically about the owner’s comments. “Like I said, focus on Atlanta right now and that’s really it.”

Beckham reiterated he has no regrets for his comments in the ESPN interview, noting he tries not to have any regrets in life. He refused to say whether the team fined him.

His biggest concern was the Giants’ record and what he and his teammates could do to change things.

“We need to start winning games and everybody needs to pick it up,” Beckham said. “I need to play better. I can’t say that I’ve had my best season. I can’t say that I’ve done enough to help this team win and I need to do more. Everybody needs to do more. Everybody’s got to pick it up. We win games together, we lose them together. There’s no other way around it. It’s a team sport.”

Beckham’s faith in beleaguered quarterback Eli Manning has not wavered. He said he stands in the huddle all the time and tells Manning, “Take me home, 10.”

“He knows what he’s doing,” the 25-year-old said of the two-time Super Bowl MVP. “He’s the most prepared of anybody I’ve ever seen and that’s exactly what I say, ‘Take me home,’ so we’re going to start picking it up. We got to. We have no other choice.”

While he has only one touchdown catch, Beckham leads the team with 45 receptions for 506 yards.

Beckham said a couple of wins before the bye week would do a lot to reduce the focus on the negative things surrounding the team, which came into the year under new coach Pat Shurmur looking to rebound from a 3-13 season.

The Giants have had 11 days to prepare for this game and Beckham used some of the time to take a step back and clear his head. He’s back in football mode.

“You work 10 hours a day, I say this all the time, 10 hours a day for 60 minutes of football,” he said. “Those 60 minutes are crucial, so we need to take advantage of every minute of it.”

Coincidentally, Beckham has missed a couple of minutes in two of the last three days because he needed an IV after becoming dehydrated.

“I really don’t like water,” he said matter-of-factly. “I’m trying, I just really don’t like when you get that stomach feeling, it’s all slushy, like I’m trying to stay hydrated. Sometimes I just got to get an IV, it’s just necessary. You’re cramping in both calves, it’s hard to run and make cuts and if you’re cramping and dehydrated, you’re susceptible to something else, so I’m trying to stay on top of it the best that I can.”

NOTES: LT Nate Solder and WR Russell Shepard were limited in practice for the second straight day with neck problems. … WR/KR Jawill Davis did not practice Friday because of a concussion. … The Giants signed receiver Corey Coleman to their practice squad. He was the 15th overall selection by the Browns in the 2016 draft. Cleveland traded him to the Buffalo Bills, who released him on Sept. 1. He spent 10 days with the Patriots before being waived. … WR Kalif Raymond was released from the practice squad.

___

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

Read More 672 Words

Browns’ Garrett rips officials after rash of bad calls

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett roughed up NFL officials.

The No. 1 overall pick unloaded on officials on Friday, criticizing them for several calls that have gone against Cleveland in recent weeks and swung momentum in their games.

"Do your job just like we need to do our job," Garrett said.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett roughed up NFL officials.

The No. 1 overall pick unloaded on officials on Friday, criticizing them for several calls that have gone against Cleveland in recent weeks and swung momentum in their games.

“Do your job just like we need to do our job,” Garrett said. “If it’s holding, call holding. If it’s a false start, false start, whether it’s us or them.”

Garrett spoke out unafraid of any consequences from the league, which is sensitive about players criticizing its officiating crews.

“If I get fined, so be it,” he said. “Something needs to be said. If it keeps on going this way, this route, where it seems like we keep on getting the short stick.”

Garrett has issues with a number of calls, but he was particularly peeved about a play in the second quarter of last Sunday’s 38-14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

With the Chargers driving, Los Angeles left tackle Russell Okung clearly moved and dropped into pass protection before the ball was snapped. Garrett stopped rushing Okung, and several other players slowed in anticipation of a whistle. But nothing was called, the play continued and Philip Rivers threw a 29-yard touchdown pass.

So what should have been a false start instead became a touchdown.

“It was so obvious,” Garrett said. “To my mind, he’s moved, nobody else has moved and the ball hasn’t moved, so it’s kinda textbook. The flag should be up. I don’t understand how you don’t see it. That’s his job is to look down the line and see when people are jumping offside or false starting, but I’ve got to keep on finishing the play.”

And while the score put the Chargers up by 18 in a game they’d win by 24, Garrett said a different outcome on the play could have changed things.

“Momentum matters in the game,” he said. “No doubt. And a six-point turnaround, a seven-point turnaround like that where it could’ve been a sack or maybe a forced fumble if you keep on playing, or just a no play at all, to a touchdown, that’s a huge difference. There were a couple missed calls like that, and that’s not on Okung, he’s just doing his job.

“It’s on the ref and to him to have that kind of integrity to call that play when it comes.”

Garrett also referenced the Sept. 30 game at Oakland when a strip sack of Derek Carr was nullified by a quick whistle. The Browns scooped the apparent fumble and were running for a TD when the officials ruled Carr was in the grasp.

NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron later acknowledged the crew made the wrong call.

Garrett said there were other instances, and he just wants there to be fairness.

“If it’s holding for them, if they’re grabbing us, if they’re turning us, if they’re trying to pull us out of a gap whether it’s a run play or a pass play, it needs to be called,” he said. “There’s no excuse for us. We need to get their hands off of us and we need to play ball, because we know they’re not going to get those kind of calls, but at the end of the day, if they see it, they need to pull the flag out.”

___

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

Read More 508 Words

FANTASY PLAYS: Burning questions for Week 7 in football

A look at some key fantasy football questions going into Week 7:

WHICH SAINTS WR WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST BOOST IN PRODUCTION WITH TED GINN ON INJURED RERSERVE?

The Saints have been high on Tre'Quan Smith since the preseason. He had 16 receptions (three for 20 yards or more) this summer, and with Ginn sidelined

A look at some key fantasy football questions going into Week 7:

WHICH SAINTS WR WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST BOOST IN PRODUCTION WITH TED GINN ON INJURED RERSERVE?

The Saints have been high on Tre’Quan Smith since the preseason. He had 16 receptions (three for 20 yards or more) this summer, and with Ginn sidelined in Week 5 he caught three passes for 111 yards and added two TDs. His two scores went for 62 and 35 yards, showing he’s a big play receiver. Although he was second on the team in routes run, in Week 5 he only received three targets.

Cameron Meredith should play most of his snaps from the slot. He might receive more targets and catch more passes than Smith, but Smith has the bigger upside. Saints receivers have a tough matchup against a good Ravens defense this week, so don’t become alarmed if neither player puts up big numbers. Both receivers should see an uptick in production but Smith has better potential for the rest of the season.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR WR HAS THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME IN WEEK 7?

Bears WR Allen Robinson has been dealing with a groin injury this week. He may not play and if he does, he might be limited. Robinson’s injury could make Taylor Gabriel Chicago’s most targeted receiver this week. Gabriel hasn’t dropped a pass since Week 3 and has two straight games with 100 receiving yards or more. The Patriots defense has given up the third most TDs to wide receivers with nine this season. Gabriel leads Bears WRs with four targets within the 10-yard line, so should have a good opportunity to score a TD in Week7.

Jets WR Jermaine Kearse could be in line for another double-digit target week vs. the Vikings. With Quincy Enunwa out, Kearse should play a significant portion of his snaps from the slot, a weakness for the Vikings defense.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR RB HAS THE BEST CHANCE FOR A BIG GAME THIS WEEK?

Peyton Barber may eventually lose his starting job to rookie RB Ronald Jones but it’s not likely to happen right now. Barber’s coming off his best performance of the season, having rushed the ball 13 times for 82 yards (that’s 6.31 yards per carry). He also added four receptions for 24 yards and a TD. He has the potential to build upon that with a choice matchup against the Browns. They’ve given up 4.67 yards per carry and the second-most rushing TDs to the position this season.

Kerryon Johnson could also have a larger role out of the Lions backfield this week if Theo Riddick is forced to miss time due to his knee injury. Johnson has averaged 5.98 yards per carry in his last four games and could be featured in the Lions passing game if Riddick is out.

WHICH UNDER-THE-RADAR TE COULD BREAK OUT?

Fantasy football players have been waiting a long time for Austin Hooper to emerge as a reliable fantasy TE. Well, it looks like it’s finally happening. Hooper has caught nine passes in each of the last two weeks and has over 70 receiving yards in each of the past two outings as well. With Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley battling injuries and questionable to play on Monday night, Hooper should see double-digit targets for a third straight game.

CAN YOU RECOMMEND A GOOD BUY LOW TARGET AMONG WRS?

Browns WR Jarvis Landry averaged just under seven catches per game through Week 3. He’s maintained an average of 11 targets per game, but since Week 3 his has just over four catches per game.

Now he gets a very favorable schedule over the next four weeks, facing the Buccaneers, Steelers, Chiefs and Falcons. All four of those teams are top 6 in most yards per game yielded to slot receivers. If you own Landry, use him with confidence starting this week. If you don’t, his two catch for 11-yard Week 6 performance might allow you to trade for him at a discount.

IF DALVIN COOK IS ACTIVE FOR WEEK 7 SHOULD HE BE IN STARTING LINEUPS?

Cook’s status (hamstring) needs to be closely monitored as game time approaches but even if he’s active, if you have an alternate option, you should use it. Leading up to Week 6, Cook’s practice status was as both a limited and full participant, he was also questionable, then likely to play and finally inactive. With the constant uncertainty surrounding his availability and the number of snaps he’ll play if active, try to minimize your risk and slip another RB into your lineup if possible.

IS IT TOO LATE TO TRY TO TRADE STEELERS RB JAMES CONNER?

No. It never hurts to put a player with Conner’s skill set on the trading block and allow offers to come your way. The potential impending arrival of Le’Veon Bell could drive down Conner’s fantasy trade appeal, but if and when Bell reports, he’s probably not going to be able to take on a full workload for a couple of weeks.

If Bell reports and is activated for Week 8 he’d probably suit up, but it might take until Week 10 before he can possibly work as a bell cow back again. It could even still be a time share. Don’t be too surprised if Conner retains a significant role in the Steelers offense.

Gauge his value if you have another feasible option at RB that you can slide into your weekly lineup. If you don’t, continue to use Conner until he’s no longer a surefire starter.

___

For more Week 7 fantasy lineup tips and advice, visit RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com

Read More 854 Words

Pats’ Gronkowski tops AP’s list of top NFL tight ends

NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Gronkowski is a difficult man to stop.

Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.

The latest example was Sunday night, when the Patriots tight end had two key catches in the fourth quarter as New England edged the Chiefs 43-40.

He has caught 76 TD passes from Tom Brady in his

NEW YORK (AP) — Rob Gronkowski is a difficult man to stop.

Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.

The latest example was Sunday night, when the Patriots tight end had two key catches in the fourth quarter as New England edged the Chiefs 43-40.

He has caught 76 TD passes from Tom Brady in his career.

“He made a big play. He’s been making a lot of those his career,” Brady said. “I’ll keep throwing to him in the biggest moments.”

Because of his knack for coming through when needed most, Gronkowski was the runaway choice as the NFL’s top tight end by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press. The All-Pro received eight first-place votes in balloting released Friday.

“He hasn’t played in all 16 games since 2011, but when he’s on the field he’s still essentially unstoppable,” said Minnesota-based AP Football Writer Dave Campbell.

Kansas City’s Travis Kelce was second. He has 33 catches for 468 yards and three touchdowns for the Chiefs, who are off to a 5-1 start entering Sunday night’s matchup against Cincinnati.

“Kelce is already just a notch behind Gronkowski and could top this list soon while playing in Kansas City’s high-flying offense with Patrick Mahomes throwing him the ball,” said New York-based AP Football Writer Dennis Waszak Jr.

Zach Ertz of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles was third. He leads tight ends with 48 catches for 480 yards.

“One wonders if Wentz-Ertz will be a household combo along the lines of Brady-Gronk five years from now,” said Dallas-based AP Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. “It’s lofty company, but the pieces are in place.”

Green Bay’s Jimmy Graham was fourth. He has 27 catches for 349 yards and a touchdown in his first season with the Packers.

“Aaron Rodgers sure knows what to do with a tight end like Graham,” said Nashville-based AP Football Writer Teresa Walker.

Graham edged out Carolina’s Greg Olsen, who has been dealing with injuries the past two seasons. After Olsen, Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph finished sixth.

Tennessee’s Delanie Walker, who is also hurt and out for the season with a broken leg, still managed to finish seventh.

“It’s a shame he is injured, and the flop of the Titans’ offense has a lot to do with his absence,” said New York-based AP Football Writer Barry Wilner.

Eric Ebron, who has six touchdowns, has been a bright spot for the Colts in his first season in Indianapolis. He finished eighth.

“He’s become a go-to guy in the red zone for Andrew Luck,” Philadelphia-based AP Football Writer Rob Maaddi said.

Veteran Jared Cook, who’s third among tight ends with 32 receptions, was ninth.

“Might be the only bright spot in Oakland right now,” said Denver-based AP Football Writer Arnie Stapleton of the one-win Raiders.

Rounding out the top 10 was San Francisco’s George Kittle. The 2017 fifth-round pick is tied for sixth among tight ends with 27 catches.

“Kittle has emerged from being primarily a blocking tight end in college at Iowa to a real dual threat for the 49ers,” Bay Area-based AP Football Writer Josh Dubow said.

___

The rankings:

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England

2. Travis Kelce, Kansas City

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

4. Jimmy Graham, Green Bay

5. Greg Olsen, Carolina

6. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota

7. Delanie Walker, Tennessee

8. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis

9. Jared Cook, Oakland

10. George Kittle, San Francisco

___

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

Read More 494 Words

‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 7 Breakdown, Patriots-Bears, Bengals-Chiefs

The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 7 Breakdown, Patriots-Bears, Bengals-Chiefs appeared first on SportsHandle.

On The Pro Football Handle, 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

The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 7 Breakdown, Patriots-Bears, Bengals-Chiefs appeared first on SportsHandle.

On The Pro Football Handle, 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.

It’s NFL Week 7, another Week of the Dog! First the guys run through some of the hot topics in the industry like the USBookmaking sportsbook launch in New Mexico and current laws favoring brick and mortar sportsbooks in Nevada. The games this week are all about the ‘dogs. Which games are advisable to skip, and where’s there an attractive total?  Listen up. 

Spotify fans go here to listen.  Time codes for the episode follow below. Your feedback is welcome at @sports_handle.


0:54 — Recap on the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in a post-PAPSA world.

2:55 — Robert gives describes the launch of the USBookmaking-managed sportsbook in New Mexico.

8:23 — Why does Nevada allow digital sign ups for poker, but not sports betting?  Protectionism.

19:52 — Sports wagering and the future of sports radio and sports media .

23:43 — NFL Week 6 recap and what the guys learned.

24:44New England Patriots -3 at Chicago Bears  — The public is betting Pats like it’s been decided but the guys like Da Bears.

26:50 –Cincinnati Bengals +6 at Kansas City Chiefs — Walker says bet the over or walk away or but Perrault is on Cincy.

30:05 –LA Rams -9.5 at San Francisco 49ers — San Francisco will probably t lose, but will cover. The number is so high it knocks the public out.

33:04Houston Texans +5 at Jacksonville Jaguars — Week 3 the Jags were the  best team in NFL and now in Week 7 they are lost.

36:36 Dallas Cowboys +1  at Washington Redskins — Big handle, good game and pick the winner outright.

38:39 Cleveland Browns +3.5 at Tampa Buccaneers — Tampa Bay makes you never want to watch them play again

41:05 — Tennessee Titans +6.5 vs. LA Chargers (London) — The public is on the Chargers and they’re a good team but the pros are looking Titans here.

42:40 — Detroit Lions -3 at Miami Dolphins— Pros and Joes don’t like The Brockstar. Walk away — this game won’t be on RedZone much this Sunday.

45:00 — New Orleans Saints +2.5 at Baltimore Ravens  — May be a high scoring game, books will need Baltimore and the under.

46:46 — Minnesota Vikings -3.5  at NY Jets — Aren’t the Vikings better than a field goal versus the bangrd up Jets? Walk away.

49:01– NY Giants +4.5 at Atlanta Falcons — ATL is in serious trouble and NY is terrible. If you get over 4 take the Giants, or bet the over.


Have a profitable Week 7, folks. Follow Perrault on Twitter @sportstalkmatt and Walker @robertusfsports.

Thanks for listening and see you back next week, tell a friend, sign up for our newsletter and also check out our Cover City Podcast, featuring sports bettor Eric Rosenthal with guest Warren Sharp this week:

Don’t be a Square: Subscribe to our once-a-week newsletter for the latest sports betting news and insights
Get the latest content first.

 

 
 
We respect your privacy.

The post ‘Pro Football Handle’: NFL Week 7 Breakdown, Patriots-Bears, Bengals-Chiefs appeared first on SportsHandle.

Read More 489 Words

What to Look For – Week 7 Wide Receivers/Kickers

PRESS RELEASE
 
Indianapolis kicker ADAM VINATIERI has scored 2,535 total points during his 23-year NFL career. With 10 points on Sunday against Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Vinatieri would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MORTEN ANDERSEN (2,544 points) as
PRESS RELEASE
 
Indianapolis kicker ADAM VINATIERI has scored 2,535 total points during his 23-year NFL career. With 10 points on Sunday against Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Vinatieri would surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer MORTEN ANDERSEN (2,544 points) as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
 
The players with the most points scored in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM(S)
TOTAL POINTS SCORED
Morten Andersen*
New Orleans, Atlanta, New York Giants, Kansas City, Minnesota
2,544
Adam Vinatieri
New England, Indianapolis
2,535
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
 
BIG PLAY TYREEK: Kansas City wide receiver TYREEK HILL had seven receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yarder, in Week 6 and ties for the league-lead with six touchdown receptions in 2018.
 
Hill, who turns 25 in March of 2019, has 14 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards. With his next touchdown of at least 50 yards, he would become the third player in NFL history with at least 15 touchdowns of 50+ yards before turning 25 years old.
 
The players with the most 50+ yard touchdowns before turning 25 years old in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASONS
Gale Sayers*
Chicago
16
Randy Moss*
Minnesota
15
Tyreek Hill
Kansas City
14**
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**24 years old
 
AMAZING ADAM: Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN had 11 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Week 6 win and leads the league with 58 receptions and 712 receiving yards this season. His 58 catches are the most by a player in his team’s first six games of a season in league annals.
 
Thielen has recorded at least 100 receiving yards in each of Minnesota’s first six games this season and joined CHARLEY HENNIGAN (seven consecutive games in 1961) as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of his team’s first six games to start a season.
 
With 100 receiving yards on Sunday at the New York Jets (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Thielen would become the fifth player to record seven consecutive games at any point in a season with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history.
 
The players with the most consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASON
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ REC. YARDS
Calvin Johnson
Detroit
2012
8
Demaryius Thomas
Denver
2014
7
Michael Irvin*
Dallas
1995
7
Charley Hennigan
Houston Oilers
1961
7
Adam Thielen
Minnesota
2018
6*
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**Active streak
Courtesy of NFL Communications
Read More 314 Words

NFL Sheds Some Scare Tactics In Sports Betting Statement In Illinois

Hearings on Wednesday in Illinois and Washington, D.C. that focused on sports betting brought together various lawmakers, stakeholders and players’ associations representatives — but not a National Football League representative in the flesh.

Jack Evans, Chairman of the D.C. Council’s Finance & Revenue Committee who led the Council hearing, asked aloud why the

Hearings on Wednesday in Illinois and Washington, D.C. that focused on sports betting brought together various lawmakers, stakeholders and players’ associations representatives — but not a National Football League representative in the flesh.

Jack Evans, Chairman of the D.C. Council’s Finance & Revenue Committee who led the Council hearing, asked aloud why the NFL has largely been absent from the public conversation on legal sports wagering. “That’s the largest gambling area — in football,” Evans noted, before the NBA’s Dan Spillane advised that an NFL official actually had appeared at a Congressional hearing in September.

At that House of Representatives committee hearing, the NFL’s Jocelyn Moore, Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs stated that, “Since the Supreme Court decision, state governments are rushing to promote sports betting — and we are witnessing a regulatory race to the bottom.”

Read More 97 Words

Old friends Shanahan, McVay square off when 49ers face Rams

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan arrived as head coaches in the NFC West together last year as longtime friends and colleagues tasked with revitalizing struggling franchises.

McVay has done a much quicker job overhauling the Los Angeles Rams than Shanahan has with the San Francisco 49ers. The teams headed in

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan arrived as head coaches in the NFC West together last year as longtime friends and colleagues tasked with revitalizing struggling franchises.

McVay has done a much quicker job overhauling the Los Angeles Rams than Shanahan has with the San Francisco 49ers. The teams headed in opposite directions meet for the first time this season on Sunday when the Rams (6-0) hope to remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team when they visit the struggling 49ers (1-5).

McVay credits Shanahan for his success, pointing to his four years as an assistant in Washington when Shanahan was offensive coordinator for much of his development.

“I wouldn’t really say it was a give and take,” McVay said. “It was more me taking information from him, and him a lot of giving. I think more than anything, just being committed to an identity. The way he prepared was so impressive. The way that he saw the game. His ability to make things look the same and attack defensive structures and rules and manipulate those. He’s a great coach. I learned so much from him.”

That knowledge has helped McVay build one of the NFL’s top teams with a dynamic offense led by quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley that ranks third in scoring (32.7 points per game) and second in yards per play (7.16) after winning the NFC West last season.

The Niners haven’t had nearly as much success, winning just six games last year and struggling mightily this year after quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 3.

San Francisco showed glimpses of becoming what Shanahan envisioned with five straight wins to end last season with Garoppolo at quarterback, but the team has a 1-13 record under Shanahan when either Brian Hoyer or C.J. Beathard starts.

Beathard has shown improvement in his second year, leading San Francisco to back-to-back 400-yard games, but his seven turnovers in three starts contributed to the losses.

While the results have been different and the teams take slightly divergent approaches — the Rams preferring three-receiver sets and the 49ers relying more on a two-back offense with fullback Kyle Juszczyk — both coaches have taken what they did together in Washington to their current teams.

“He’s a good coach and a real good friend. We got to put a lot of that stuff in together,” Shanahan said. “Just like you do everywhere and everyone you work with, you’re always a product of your environment. You carry things over, you change a few things. We’ve both gone some different directions over the last few years, but when you do turn on the tape it’s very similar.”

Here are some other things to watch:

TAKE THE TOP OFF

Having a healthy Marquise Goodwin last week provided a big boost to San Francisco’s offense. He made four catches for 126 yards, including touchdowns of 67 and 30 yards in the first half. Perhaps even more importantly, his sprinter’s speed forces defenses to provide help in coverage, opening up holes in the running game and opportunities for other receivers.

“Guys are respecting his speed, and you’ve got to respect his speed,” Beathard said. “He can take the tops off of coverages, so it definitely helps having him out there.”

GOOD GURLEY

Gurley is off to a scintillating start with 870 yards from scrimmage and 11 TDs through six games. Since the merger in 1970, only two other players have reached those marks in six games: Priest Holmes for Kansas City in 2002, Emmitt Smith for Dallas in 1995. Gurley ran for 208 yards and two TDs last week in Denver. Gurley had 149 yards from scrimmage and three TDs in his only game against the Niners last year.

RUN TO DAYLIGHT

Raheem Mostert had just 13 carries since entering the NFL in 2015 before having a breakthrough performance last week for the 49ers. Mostert carried 12 times for 87 yards at Green Bay, forming a potent rushing duo with Matt Breida. San Francisco ranks third in rushing with 142.5 yards per game and a 5.12 average per carry.

FAMILY AFFAIR

The 49ers are hosting alumni weekend and will be wearing 1994 throwback jerseys to honor their last Super Bowl championship team. That team means a lot to McVay, whose grandfather, John, helped build the 49ers dynasty as general manager. Sean McVay listed several of his favorite players from that era, including Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Dexter Carter and Merton Hanks. He also said he had a Deion Sanders jersey from that 1994 season.

“It’s always weird going against them,” he said. “But you feel so fortunate just to have the family history my grandpa established and developed.”

___

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

Read More 721 Words

What to Look For – Week 7 Running Backs

PRESS RELEASE
 
PACE SETTER: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with 870 scrimmage yards and nine rushing touchdowns through the first six weeks of the 2018 season.
 
With 130 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on
PRESS RELEASE
 
PACE SETTER: Los Angeles Rams running back TODD GURLEY leads the NFL with 870 scrimmage yards and nine rushing touchdowns through the first six weeks of the 2018 season.
 
With 130 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on Sunday at San Francisco (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Gurley can become the fifth different player in NFL history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season.
 
The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASON
SCRIMMAGE YARDS
RUSH TDS
Priest Holmes
Kansas City
2004
1,017
13
Priest Holmes
Kansas City
2002
1,113
12
Terrell Davis*
Denver
1998
1,099
12
Eric Dickerson*
Los Angeles Rams
1983
1,045
12
Jim Brown*
Cleveland
1958
1,060
14
Todd Gurley
Los Angeles Rams
2018
870**
9**
 
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**Through first six games of season
 
TOUCHDOWN DAVID: Arizona running back DAVID JOHNSON has 3,678 scrimmage yards and 39 total touchdowns in 39 career games.
 
With a touchdown on Thursday against Denver (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFLN/Amazon Prime), Johnson can become the seventh player since 1970 with at least 40 total touchdowns in his first 40 career games.
 
The players with the most total touchdowns in their first 40 career games since 1970:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
TOUCHDOWNS
Chuck Foreman
Minnesota
45
Marcus Allen*
Los Angeles Raiders
44
Larry Johnson
Kansas City
44
Eric Dickerson*
Los Angeles Rams
42
Earl Campbell*
Houston Oilers
41
Barry Sanders*
Detroit
40
David Johnson
Arizona
   39**
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**In 39 career games
 
KEEP IT 100: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had a career-high 229 scrimmage yards (130 rushing, 99 receiving) in Week 6. Barkley has totaled at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first six career games.
 
With 100 scrimmage yards on Monday at Atlanta (8:20 PM ET, ESPN), Barkley would join KAREEM HUNT (2017) as the only players in league annals with at least 100 scrimmage yards in seven consecutive games to begin their career.
 
Additionally, with 100 scrimmage yards in Week 7, Barkley would become the seventh rookie in NFL history to record seven consecutive games at any point in a season with at least 100 scrimmage yards.
 
The rookies with the most consecutive games of at least 100 scrimmage yards in NFL history:
 
PLAYER
TEAM
SEASON
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH 100+ SCRIMMAGE YARDS
Eric Dickerson*
Los Angeles Rams
1983
10
Edgerrin James
Indianapolis
1999
9
Kareem Hunt
Kansas City
2017
7
Kevin Jones
Detroit
2004
7
Jamal Lewis
Baltimore
2000
7
Clark Gaines
New York Jets
1976
7
Saquon Barkley
New York Giants
2018
6**
*Pro Football Hall of Famer
**Active streak
Courtesy of NFL Communications
Read More 335 Words

Brees and Saints vs Suggs and Ravens: ‘A good, fun game’

BALTIMORE (AP) — The challenge of facing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and the league's highest-scoring offense is precisely why 36-year-old Terrell Suggs still gets a kick out of playing football.

Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens' top-ranked defense take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in an intriguing

BALTIMORE (AP) — The challenge of facing one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history and the league’s highest-scoring offense is precisely why 36-year-old Terrell Suggs still gets a kick out of playing football.

Suggs and the Baltimore Ravens’ top-ranked defense take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in an intriguing matchup of first-place teams.

“They’re the kind of explosive offense that gives you nightmares,” Suggs said. “We get to play football against one of the premier quarterbacks. It’s going to be a good, fun game.”

Suggs had one of Baltimore’s 11 sacks last week in a 21-0 rout of Tennessee. The Ravens (4-2) are allowing an NFL-low 12.8 points and 270.8 yards per game and have given up only 12 second-half points.

“There’s really no weakness,” Brees said. “They do so many things well.”

The Saints (4-1) come off a bye with a four-game winning streak. New Orleans is averaging an NFL-best 36 points per game behind Brees, the league’s career leader in yards passing with 72,103 yards .

“It’s definitely going to be a task there, but we’re up for it,” said Suggs, a seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker. “We like this game. We get the chance to compete against as good a team as there is.”

The prospect of facing the Saints and the 39-year-old Brees is enough to make Suggs feel young again.

“He’s been here longer than me, so I won’t be the old guy,” Suggs said with a smile. “But definitely, I mean that just goes to his experience. He’s mastered his craft. He’s not showing age; he’s just one of those ferocious, deadly quarterbacks in our league.”

Brees is 0-4 lifetime against the Ravens. When the teams last played, in November 2014, Suggs had six tackles and a sack in Baltimore’s 34-27 victory.

“He’s the ageless wonder,” Brees said of Suggs. “He’s still playing at such a high level deep in his career, and man, he’s been doing it so well for so long. I’m obviously aware of that they are the only team that I haven’t beaten, but they’ve always had a great team.”

Some other things to know about the Saints-Ravens game:

DEVELOPING DEFENSE

The Saints’ defense stumbled out of the gate, but has looked markedly better in the previous two games. New Orleans yielded averages of 421 yards and 34.3 points through its first three games, but allowed fewer than 300 yards and 20 points in each of the past two.

The improvement could stem from increasing comfort within the scheme of a few new players, including veteran linebacker Demario Davis and rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport.

New Orleans has been — at least statistically — the NFL’s best against the run, allowing just 71.4 yards per game. One reason is that opponents have gone to the air on nearly two-thirds of their offensive plays against the league’s 30th-ranked pass defense.

HELLO, OLD FRIEND

Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead was once one of Brees’ favorite targets. He left for Baltimore as a restricted free agent during the offseason, and now is catching passes from Joe Flacco.

“It’s great to see him doing well and doing the things I’m sure a quarterback like Joe appreciates,” Saints coach Sean Payton said.

Snead intends to trade jerseys with Brees after the game.

“Absolutely,” Brees said. “He’s a stud, man. I love Willie.”

ELUSIVE ACHIEVEMENT

Brees is trying to become just the third QB in NFL history to defeat every team in the league, joining Brett Favre and Peyton Manning.

Now in his 13th season with the Saints after five years with the Chargers, Brees is still searching for a victory against the Ravens.

“I would love to beat these guys,” Brees said. “You always know it is going to be a slugfest.”

HOME AGAIN

Coming off a three-game road trip, the Ravens play four of the next five at home, where they’re 61-21 since coach John Harbaugh arrived in 2008.

“We get to play in front of our home fans, so that’s going to be exciting,” Suggs said. “It feels like it’s been forever since they got the opportunity to see us play.”

EMERGING TARGETS

It took three games for free-agent acquisition Cameron Meredith to make his first catch with New Orleans and four games for third-round draft choice Tre’Quan Smith to make his initial reception.

Now it appears as if they’ve got the hang of it. Smith had touchdowns of 62 and 35 yards against Washington, and Meredith had five catches for 71 yards, including a 46-yard gain. Their emergence has strengthened a receiving group led by Michael Thomas, who leads the club with 46 catches for 519 yards.

___

AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.

___

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

Read More 724 Words

Browns missing CB Gaines vs. Bucs because of concussion

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Stopping the NFL's top-ranked passing offense got more daunting for the Browns.

Starting cornerback E.J. Gaines will miss Sunday's game at Tampa Bay because of a concussion, further challenging a Cleveland defense also without Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert, who could be out several weeks with a hamstring injury.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Stopping the NFL’s top-ranked passing offense got more daunting for the Browns.

Starting cornerback E.J. Gaines will miss Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay because of a concussion, further challenging a Cleveland defense also without Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert, who could be out several weeks with a hamstring injury.

The loss of Gaines would be tough any time, but especially this week against the high-flying Buccaneers, who are averaging 368.4 yards passing per game and have a trifecta of talented receivers in Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin.

With size and speed, Tampa Bay’s receivers stress defenses.

“Stresses the coaches, too, everybody,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “They are good. Make no doubt about it. We have one that is averaging 23 yards a reception (Jackson), another guy that is 14 yards per reception (Evans) and another guy that is 13 or 12, whatever he is (Goodwin).

“They all are making plays. They have all scored touchdowns. Then you throw the tight ends in there, too. They have some weapons. Guys that can score the ball. It is a big challenge for us. Have to go play well.”

Gaines only recently moved into the starting lineup after Terrance Mitchell, who started Cleveland’s first four games, was placed on injured reserve after he broke his right wrist at Oakland on Sept. 30.

Gaines practiced on Wednesday, but reported to the team’s facility Thursday with concussion-like symptoms and was placed into league protocol. Jackson doesn’t know exactly when Gaines got hurt, but said it was not during practice this week.

“These things, sometimes they flare up at different times in different ways with players,” Jackson said. “We had one of these a year ago that was a little different. Once they check them and put them into the protocol, in they go.”

With Gaines sidelined, T.J. Carrie will start on one corner opposite rookie Denzel Ward, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun will take over at nickel back.

Carrie signed a four-year, $31 million free agent contract with Cleveland in March after four seasons in Oakland. The 28-year-old Carrie started all 16 games last season and 37 during his tenure with the Raiders. He was credited with 12 tackles when the Browns played the Raiders and has 26 this season in a reserve role.

Carrie said all of Tampa Bay’s receivers are dangerous.

“It is going to be a challenge,” he said. “All of us on the back end are going to have to really bone up because they have some talented receivers with the guys that they have. It is another challenge that we have always prepared for. Week in and week out, there is always going to be a challenge with receivers in this league. So many teams in this league have No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 so for our matchup, it is about going out there and being confident in what we do.”

Cleveland’s got a major injury issue on the offensive side as well with starting center JC Tretter slowed by a high left ankle sprain.

Tretter didn’t practice again Thursday so he could get more treatment on the ankle he injured last week while blocking on a quarterback sneak in the first half of a loss to the Chargers. Tretter will test the ankle Friday, but feels positive he’s going to play.

“We will tape it up and we will see what it feels like, and we will make a good decision,” said Tretter, who is wearing a walking boot. “I still feel confident about playing on Sunday. I played with it during the game for the rest of it, and it feels better than it did at that point. I feel confident.”

NOTES: Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley said there were plenty of teaching points for rookie QB Baker Mayfield after his shaky performance last week. Haley said it’s vital the No. 1 pick bounces back Sunday. “How we respond to that, how he (Mayfield) responds to a game like that is very, very critical,” Haley said. “It was one game of 16.” … The Browns have scored just six points in the first quarter this season, and Haley’s emphasized stronger starts. “I have told the offense very clearly that we need to do something to get the Browns going early. We can’t wait around and wait for somebody else to do it — for (DE) Myles Garrett to make a big sack/fumble or something like that. We have to do it. That is the charge this week and looking to see our guys respond.”

___

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

Read More 701 Words

FANTASY PLAYS: Players to start and sit for Week 7

Fantasy football in 2018 has been defined by a revival at quarterback. Entering Week 7, the position is 12 to 15 players deep with quality starters along with a handful of others who can deliver above-average numbers, depending on the matchup.

There are also those who came into the season expecting to put up monster

Fantasy football in 2018 has been defined by a revival at quarterback. Entering Week 7, the position is 12 to 15 players deep with quality starters along with a handful of others who can deliver above-average numbers, depending on the matchup.

There are also those who came into the season expecting to put up monster numbers but haven’t.

There will be more of the same at the position this week, as well as some under-the-radar backs who need to be in most lineups and a receiver who has worked his way into WR2 status.

START: Sony Michel, RB, Patriots: He’s arrived to borderline RB1 status. In his past three games, Michel is averaging 105.1 yards on a solid 4.7 yards per carry average while scoring four touchdowns. By averaging 22.1 carries a game, Michel has shattered the longtime fear of fantasy owners committing to Patriots running backs. Even against a Bears defense that is second only to the Ravens in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs, Michel belongs in most lineups.

SIT: Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans: Watson looks like a quarterback with only 13 games of experience under his belt. In his past two starts, Watson has thrown three interceptions and has led the offense to only two drives that resulted in touchdowns. A lot of his issues come from the fact Houston’s running game averages just 3.9 yards per carry and has only one rushing touchdown from its backs (Watson has the only other rushing TD), a problem that will not be resolved on the road against a Jaguars D that is fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Better days lie ahead for Watson, but Sunday won’t be one of them.

START: John Brown, WR, Ravens: Nothing says “rebound” like facing the Saints pass defense that is the most fantasy-friendly unit against opposing receivers. Brown had only three targets last week against the Titans but should easily return to the nearly nine targets per game he had before that. New Orleans has given up 21 passes of at least 20 yards, which plays well for Brown, who had at least one catch for better than 20 yards in each game prior last week. Expect at least 2-3 shots up top to Brown, who’ll make the most of the opportunities.

SIT: Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings: Although Cook practiced Wednesday without a hitch, the weekly saga continues for owners of Cook. He has only 10 touches over the last four games and even if he does get on the field, there’s no guarantee how many touches he’ll see. Cook could miss out on a Jets defense that is a modest 17th against the run, which means Latavius Murray owners should be ready to plug him in as either an RB2 or flex if Cook is either limited or completely unavailable.

START: Marquise Goodwin, WR, 49ers: Finally healthy, Goodwin torched the Packers for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just four catches. The Rams secondary has struggled without injured All-Pro corner Aqib Talib, having allowed nine touchdown passes in the last four games. Expect Goodwin — who has just 14 targets all season — to approach double digits in a game where the 49ers will likely be playing catch-up. Niners quarterback C.J. Beathard has thrown two touchdown passes in three straight games and is likely to keep that streak if he gets Goodwin involved from the outset.

SIT: Jordan Howard, RB, Bears: Howard has just one touchdown thus far and has become almost nonexistent in the Chicago passing game. Tarik Cohen continues to eat away into his snaps and Howard’s 3.5 yards per carry only makes using him tougher. Even though the Patriots are a middle of the road run defense (18th overall), Howard probably deserves to be benched, especially in PPR formats.

START: C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals: Uzomah is a big, athletic target who has caught eight of the nine passes thrown in his direction the past two games and gets a chance to make his fantasy mark against a Chiefs defense that is 30th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing tight ends. Kansas City last in passing yards allowed, and if they become too focused on stopping receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, Uzomah will have the middle of the field to himself for much of Sunday night. He’s likely available in most leagues.

SIT: Evan Engram, TE, Giants: Everything is pointing in the direction of Engram returning to the lineup but he’s not a lock and with the G-Men playing on Monday night, fantasy owners will be taking a high risk in assuming the potential TE1 will be on the field. Engram has an impressive 77 percent catch rate and should develop into a must-start performer; however, that development might be best served until next week for fantasy owners.

START: Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: The Bears secondary gives up catches to opposing receivers at a 71 percent rate. Gordon’s workload has increased with each game, and it’s not a stretch to envision him getting double-digit targets on Sunday. This has a good chance of being Gordon’s best fantasy game since arriving to New England.

SIT: Lamar Miller, RB, Texans: Even if it wasn’t against the Jaguars, Miller merits time on the bench, managing 105 yards on 39 carries in the last three games, a 2.7 yards per carry average. D’Onta Foreman is one to two weeks away, so Miller’s owners should consider stashing Foreman if possible.

___

For more Week 7 fantasy lineup advice and tips, visit RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com

Read More 852 Words

Chiefs defense continues to hold back electrifying offense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The only thing that might hold back the Kansas City Chiefs this season is their defense.

That's because they haven't been able to hold back anybody.

While the Chiefs have earned plenty of attention for their record-setting offense, led by Patrick Mahomes and several skill-position studs, the defense has struggled

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The only thing that might hold back the Kansas City Chiefs this season is their defense.

That’s because they haven’t been able to hold back anybody.

While the Chiefs have earned plenty of attention for their record-setting offense, led by Patrick Mahomes and several skill-position studs, the defense has struggled six weeks into the season.

The unit is allowing a league-high 468.2 yards and more than 28 points per game.

The latest glaring letdown came last Sunday night in New England, when the Chiefs had just forged a 40-all tie with 3 minutes left on Mahomes’ 75-yard touchdown toss to Tyreek Hill. Their defense proceeded to allow Tom Brady and Co. to march the length of the field, getting within range for Stephen Gostkowski to drill a point-blank field goal and give the Patriots the win.

“When you score 40 points and you lose, you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror,” Chiefs cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “This team has got great character. It’s one of the best groups of guys I’ve been around in my whole 11-year career. We’ll be fine. I’m not worried about it at all.”

That makes one person.

Among fans in bars and restaurants or call-ins on sports-talk radio, the biggest source of angst this week has been the porous defense. And the biggest point of discussion has been defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, whose group struggled so much last season that some thought he would be fired.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid decided to stick with him, preferring continuity over change, and the result has been — well, a continuation of last season. The defensive line has been pushed around to the tune of 127.8 yards rushing per game, and the secondary is second-to-last in the NFL in yards passing.

“I don’t want to single out anybody for not meeting supposed expectations,” Sutton said Thursday. “I think everybody needs to elevate their game. You don’t make quantum leaps. You make these small improvements individually, and you hope collectively if we all do that we have a chance to move this in the direction we’d all like it to be going.”

Still, the Patriots were particularly successful last weekend.

Sony Michel and James White helped to grind out 173 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and Brady was 24 of 35 or 340 yards and a score. His favorite target down the stretch was Rob Gronkowski, who had three catches for 97 yards and helped set up the winning field goal.

“They got us on a couple of big plays there,” Reid acknowledged. “Bob goes back and evaluates it, we talk — ‘What can we help the guys with? What can the guys do to help themselves?’ We’re in it just like the players are in it. We’re going to get you in the best position and if you are, then you have to look at technique. But our guys stand up. They tell you, ‘Hey, listen, I messed up.’

“If you have that you get better,” Reid continued. “If there’s a wall, eh, you’re average. But we all take responsibility and that’s what is important.”

Reid is the last to make excuses, but the Chiefs defense has two readily available.

The first is the fact that Kansas City has roared to big leads in many of its games, forcing its opponents to air it out from behind. Many of the yards that the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles put up came in garbage time.

They count toward the stats. They didn’t count much toward the outcome.

The second is injuries, which began hitting the Chiefs defense in training camp and have continued to be a problem. They’re down three safeties in Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen and Armani Watts — Berry and Sorensen are hopeful of playing this season — along with top pass rusher Justin Houston.

Throw in nagging injuries to Dee Ford and Tanoh Kpassagnon, and the Chiefs were forced last week to sign Frank Zombo, who was cut in training camp, to give them some insurance against more injuries.

“Unfortunately you’re going to have injuries,” Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones said, “but people come in and learn the scheme and have to be ready the same week. It’s part of the business.”

Or, as Ford said, “you have to answer the bell at the end of the day.”

“We know that as a defense as a whole, we have to keep rocking and rolling,” he said. “There’s just a bunch of little things that we need to correct.”

Notes: Safety Eric Berry (heel), outside linebacker Justin Houston (hamstring) and C Mitch Morse (concussion) did not practice Thursday. … P Dustin Colquitt is averaging a career-best 48.7 yards per punt, and special teams coach Dave Toub said there’s a couple reasons for it. “We haven’t had a lot of punts,” Toub said, “and it’s still warm. It’s not winter yet. The cold weather hasn’t hit. It’s going to get harder as it gets further on, but he’s off to a really good start.”

___

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

Read More 790 Words

Study: MLB, NBA to Yield Combined $1.7 Billion From Legal Sports Betting

The American Gaming Association on Thursday released the results of two more Nielsen studies, showing how America’s professional sports leagues stand to benefit from legal, regulated sports betting. The latest studies indicate that Major League Baseball will see a revenue increase of $1.106 billion, and the NBA is look at a $585 million

The American Gaming Association on Thursday released the results of two more Nielsen studies, showing how America’s professional sports leagues stand to benefit from legal, regulated sports betting. The latest studies indicate that Major League Baseball will see a revenue increase of $1.106 billion, and the NBA is look at a $585 million bump. Combined with research from previous studies on the NFL and NHL, U.S. professional sports leagues can expect an overall combined revenue boost of $4.23 billion.

The increased revenue won’t come from the “integrity fee” or “royalty” that some of the professional sports leagues have been lobbying for, but rather from increased fan engagement (media rights, sponsorships, merchandise, tickets) and through gaming (TV advertising, sponsorships, data packages).

According to the studies, MLB will net $952 million from increased fan engagement and $154 million from gaming-related revenue. The NBA should see increases of $425 million and $160 million, respectively. Results of previous studies showed that the NFL will see the biggest benefit, an overall increase in revenue of $2.33 billion, and the NHL can expect an increase of $216 million.

 

Read more Study: MLB, NBA to Yield Combined $1.7 Billion From Legal Sports Betting on SportsHandle.

Read More 131 Words

‘Cover City’: NFL Week 7 Picks, Preview With Analytics Guru Warren Sharp

The post ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 7 Picks, Preview With Analytics Guru Warren Sharp appeared first on SportsHandle.

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports). Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football.

The post ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 7 Picks, Preview With Analytics Guru Warren Sharp appeared first on SportsHandle.

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports). Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

For the NFL Week 7 preview and picks pod, Rosenthal is joined by Warren Sharp @SharpFootball, creator of custom and predictive NFL analytics to discuss the most (and least) valuable statistics in the game, as well as some key games for bettors.

Don’t miss Rosenthal’s SuperContest picks (he went 4-1 last week) toward the end of the podcast. Time codes for the episode follow below. Listen and subscribe on Spotify here.


3:20 — Which stat is more valuable: Success rate or total yards? Sharp reviews some of the key stats the average fan may not know, and what that may mean for your wallet.

8:30 — In 2017 the Eagles showed how data can give a team a competitive edge, so why are bad teams and bad coaches not using analytics?

12:47 — How do injuries impact analytically driven teams?

17:10 — Sharp explains the intricacies of the teaser betting philosophy.

20:24 — Sharp weighs in on the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers’ and Mike McCarthy’s roles in shaping what could have been a dynasty.

25:42 — Sharp predicts what we can expect to see from Derek Anderson and the Bills going forward.

29:35 — Executive Producer Sean Pfeiffer joins the show to break down Week 7 in the NFL.

30:58 — Houston Texans +5 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars — Can Sean’s Texans, winners of three straight, beat reeling divisional rival Jacksonville?

33:48 — Carolina Panthers +4.5 vs. Philadelphia Eagles — An attractive matchup for the Super Bowl champs.

35:30 — New England Patriots -3 vs. Chicago Bears — Trap game, be on the side of Vegas if any side at all.

37:33 — Buffalo Bills +7.5 v Indianapolis Colts — Why this game really comes down to Derek Anderson vs. Andrew Luck.

40:01 — Dallas Cowboys +1.5 at Washington Redskins — Will the Cowboys be the same team we saw in the Jaguars blowout last week?

42:16 — LA Rams -9.5 at San Francisco 49ers — One of Rosenthal’s favorite games of the year. Find out how to leverage this game to cash in.

44:10 — Quick rundown of the other Week 7 matchups.

46:55 — This may be a football podcast, but Sean takes advantage of Rosenthal’s LA Dodgers fanhood for some MLB action!

48:55 — Rosenthal makes his his SuperContest picks of Week 7 in the NFL (4-1 last week).


[Located in New Jersey and want to join a quality legal sportsbook with a generous sign up bonus? Read our review of SugarHouse Sportsbook hereSign up using our link and you’ll get a 100% match bonus on up to $250 on your first deposit (with only a 1x wager requirement).  Use code HANDLE when depositing.

[You can download the app for Android phones here and iOS devices here. Prefer the laptop/desktop experience? The web-based platform is accessible here.]


Also check out: Sports Handle’s Week 7 edition of “LoLookahead Lines’: 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.

Listen to more ‘Cover City’: NFL Week 7 Picks, Preview With Analytics Guru Warren Sharp on SportsHandle.

Read More 491 Words

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 7

Key takeaways from week 6:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • LA Chargers are 4-2, with losses only to the LA Rams, KC Chiefs
  • Biggest jump: New York Jets (+42.9%)
  • Biggest drop: New York Giants (-100.00%)
  • No change: Lions, Vikings (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

{{CODE_SB_ODDS_AFTER_WEEK_6}}

Key takeaways from week 6:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • LA Chargers are 4-2, with losses only to the LA Rams, KC Chiefs
  • Biggest jump: New York Jets (+42.9%)
  • Biggest drop: New York Giants (-100.00%)
  • No change: Lions, Vikings (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.

Read More -11 Words

Week 8 College Football Picks: Navy’s A Double-Digit Home ‘Dog, Oklahoma

 

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks. (Season record: 8-5.)

Also check out our NFL “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias.

Back to the college game…


College Football Picks Week 8: Navy’s a Double-Digit Home Underdog and Oklahoma

 

Each week we’ll be providing our top college football picks. (Season record: 8-5.)

Also check out our NFL “Lookahead Lines” story, finding value (or not) by comparing earlier lines, and identifying recency bias.

Back to the college game…


College Football Picks Week 8: Navy’s a Double-Digit Home Underdog and Oklahoma in a Good Spot vs. TCU

cfb picks oklahoma tcu sports betting


Oklahoma -8 over TCU

It seems like everyone in the world is on Oklahoma this week. I usually try to stay away from games like that but sometimes you just have to ride the public wave to the window and cash the ticket.

This is such a great spot for the Sooners. Oklahoma is coming off a bye and finally fired “defensive” coordinator Mike Stoops. Ruffin McNeill will take over a defense that faces a struggling TCU offense. The Horned Frogs have lost three of their last four games and have scored more than 17 points just once over that span.

TCU is only 2-4 ATS as a home dog in its last six games and 2-7 ATS overall in its last nine. Oklahoma has won four straight over the Horned Frogs with the average margin of victory of 12.2 points. 

I’ll take the Sooners to pull away in this game and cover the eight points.


Kentucky -11 over Vanderbilt

Speaking of good spots, Kentucky finds itself in one this week. The Wildcats are coming off a bye, while Vanderbilt is playing for the eighth straight week and must rebound from a tough loss to Florida where they blew a 21-3 lead.

Kentucky has a major edge here with their rushing offense going against a Vandy defense that’s allowed an average of 257 rushing yards over the last four games. That will be a big problem when facing Kentucky RB Benny Snell and his 5.5 yards per carry.

Vanderbilt quarterback Ke’Shawn Vaughn was injured last week but is expected to play on Saturday. Kentucky has been strong on defense this year holding opponents to 116 yards below their opponents’ season average.

Vanderbilt has been a great fade in conference play going 1-10 ATS in its last 11 games versus SEC opponents. This line opened 10.5 at the SuperBook and moved to 11 where it is at most books as of Wednesday. Kentucky’s five wins this year have all been by 11 points or more. I’ll call for another double-digit victory here.es not used to seeing that offense, especially when I’m getting points (a dozen of ’em).

Read more Week 8 College Football Picks: Navy’s A Double-Digit Home ‘Dog, Oklahoma  on SportsHandle.

Read More 367 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 7 Picks

We’re back for Week 7 picks and there’s actually plenty to like, at least on paper. When I sat down and wrote which games I would consider betting this week, I came up with nine. That’s much higher than what I normally come up with. For the sake of the column, I’ve whittled

We’re back for Week 7 picks and there’s actually plenty to like, at least on paper. When I sat down and wrote which games I would consider betting this week, I came up with nine. That’s much higher than what I normally come up with. For the sake of the column, I’ve whittled it down to the five I’m most confident in.

Just like last week, we’re gonna put much more money on the highest confidence pick than the others. That’s the only way we’re going to start making considerable money (unless, of course, we run the table and go 5 for 5). For the first time all year, that high confidence is in an over/under.

Vikings -4 at Jets (-110)

The Jets offense looked revived against the Colts last Sunday, but Indy is also the most injured team in football. New  York may be a little better than we gave them credit for, but the Vikings are hitting their stride too and their ceiling is much higher than the Jets. Kirk Cousins’ weird dance in the end zone against the Cardinals doesn’t do them any favors in the style points department, but he’s really starting to gain command of that offense.

It looks like Dalvin Cook should finally be back for this game as well. Even if he’s limited, having the two-headed monster of Cook and Latavius Murray should open up Minnesota’s passing game even more. It’s always scary betting a team that’s over a touchdown favorite, but I’m confident enough in the fact the Vikings have now found their groove that I’m comfortable giving those points even on the road. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Texans +5 at Jaguars (-105)

Yes, the Jaguars defense is (or maybe “was” is a more accurate term) the best defense in football, but the Texans are red hot. Jacksonville is coming off allowing 37 points to the anemic Cowboys offense. Deshaun Watson and Co. have been close in every game. They’ve lost their three games this season by a combined 15 points. That means even if the Jags get some of their mojo back, Houston should keep things interesting.

It’s hard to say whether or not the Jaguars offense is completely broken, but it’s certainly been hampered without RB Leonard Fournette in the lineup. Houston’s defense is tough as well and in a game that should be low scoring, five points is too much for us to pass up. Texans cover on the road. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.81.

Saints over Ravens (+120)

Here’s an upset pick for you. New Orleans has been bouncing between a 2 and 2.5-point underdog against Baltimore this week. Yes, they are coming off an emotional game in which Drew Brees broke the passing record, so they’re primed for a letdown. However, expect this one to come down to the final possession. The Saints’ high-powered offense against the Ravens’ high-powered defense will create an interesting dynamic.

I could see this one going either way, so I’m going to go where the value lies and that’s with the Saints being +120 straight up to win. As a general rule, whenever a team is +2.5 or lower as an underdog, I will just bet them to win. There isn’t a ton of value in getting those points, because very rarely is a game decided by 1 or 2 points. The bet: $3 for total payout of $6.60.

Panthers-Eagles OVER 45.5 (-110)

The Panthers are coming off a letdown game against the Redskins and the Eagles will have had 11 days to prepare for this matchup. With Carson Wentz starting to look good in this offense again, Philly should be able to hold their own on offense. After a slow start last Sunday, Cam Newton and his offensive weapons should be able to put up some points as well. Greg Olsen being in the lineup makes a huge difference.

This game will be dictated by tempo and early field position, so if we can get some points on the board early, we should be in good shape. Worst-case scenario for us would be a field position battle in the first half. We need a close shootout, so that both teams are still taking shots downfield late into the game. The bet: $2 for total payout of $3.70.

Saints-Ravens UNDER 49.5 (-110)

I LOVE this pick. This is the big one this week. Do you know how many points Baltimore has allowed over their last two games combined? I’ll save you the 10-second Google search: the answer is 12. They’ve given up just 12 points over the last two games. Granted, that was against the Browns and Titans and they lost one of those games, but those are still NFL teams they’re shutting down.

Drew Brees and New Orleans will be a different beast, but do we expect this game to finish 30-20? Even then, that would hit the over by just half a point. Who knows, it could develop into a shootout, but I certainly don’t see it. As long as Baltimore can avoid giving up the big play that New Orleans is known for, this under should be safe. Especially with the Ravens having to settle for so many field goals this season (eight combined between Weeks 4 & 5), the under should be safe. The bet: $8 for total payout of $15.20.

BONUS PICKS: For the first time in weeks, I’m going to give you some bonus picks, because there’s a lot to love this Sunday. We aren’t going to go one-by-one and explain them all, but there are a handful of promising spreads and picks this week. The picks: Bucs -3 vs. Browns, Bills +7.5 vs. Colts, Titans-Chargers OVER 45, Vikings-Jets UNDER 47.

As always, we will calculate our pipe dream of going 5 for 5 this week, by letting you know the parlay payout for our main bets this week. If all five of them hit, we’d be in the green to the tune of $597.52. Let’s hope for that, but if all else fails, we really need that Saints-Ravens UNDER to hit. Happy betting and we’ll check back in early next week.

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.

Read More 974 Words

Hearing Reveals Illinois Lawmakers Moving Toward Legalizing Sports Betting

If anything became clear from Wednesday’s Joint Committee on Revenue in Finance in Illinois it was this: Illinois lawmakers are eager to pass a bill legalizing sports wagering in Illinois. The question — or questions — are what the bill will look like. During the four-plus hour hearing in Springfield, lawmakers heard from gaming

If anything became clear from Wednesday’s Joint Committee on Revenue in Finance in Illinois it was this: Illinois lawmakers are eager to pass a bill legalizing sports wagering in Illinois. The question — or questions — are what the bill will look like. During the four-plus hour hearing in Springfield, lawmakers heard from gaming stakeholders, representatives from individual cities and towns, pro sports players’ associations, Major League Baseball and the Chicago White Sox, various horsemen’s groups and racetracks and those opposed to sports betting.

Questions from the bi-partisan panel of lawmakers almost exclusively focused on details, suggesting that many had already made the decision that legal sports betting is right for Illinois. But the devil is in the details, and when it comes to legalizing sports betting, there are many, many, many details.

The hearing was put together by Representative Bob Rita (D-District 28) and was the second of two in the last few months. Rita introduced SB 7 in 2017, and the bill has gone through multiple iterations and evolved into a comprehensive bill that contemplates online gaming and daily fantasy sports as well.

Read More 135 Words

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

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

He's no L.T.

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

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

He’s no L.T.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

AP Sports Writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this report.

___

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

Read More 571 Words

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

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

He hasn't recovered.

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

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

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

He hasn’t recovered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mayfield took the blame.

Jackson spread it around.

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 732 Words

Jets, Darnold to face QB who spurned team

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 568 Words

Redskins’ defense ready for Elliott-led Cowboys running game

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

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

Their concern is Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys' top

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 736 Words

Chargers release season-ticket prices for new LA Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 164 Words

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

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

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

Quarterback Sam Darnold is on there, with his

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 89 Words

49ers offense making strides under CJ Beathard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 752 Words

Titans address protection issues after giving up 11 sacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lewan called the 11 sacks frustrating after the game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

___

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

Read More 558 Words

Brocktober continues: Dolphins QB Tannehill ruled out Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s confident.

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

___

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

___

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine.

Read More 531 Words

Jags bring back training camp practices amid losing streak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The biggest difference came on the practice field.

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

Not everyone thought significant changes were needed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 675 Words

Chiefs’ Mahomes-to-Hill connection setting NFL ablaze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck with that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 759 Words

Ravens WR Willie Snead makes impression as man in the middle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not anymore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 645 Words

Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack day to day with ankle injury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 247 Words

Dolphins QB Tannehill ruled out Sunday against Lions

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 62 Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Key issues that arose during this hearing:

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

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

Read the full post – Lawmakers Pushing For Legal Sports Betting In Washington D.C., Possibly With Mobile Betting Before Retail at SportsHandle.

Read More 620 Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The league halted the policy in July.

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 591 Words

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

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

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

Jaguars RB Fournette remains idle with hamstring injury

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Field Level Media

Read More 124 Words

AP sources: NFL looking into Tannehill injury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

___

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

___

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve_Wine.

Read More 154 Words

NFL officiating not a hot topic in formal owners meetings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 140 Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

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

Read More 270 Words

FANTASY PLAYS: Stick with expensive RBs in daily this week

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

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

These are the top backs

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

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

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

EXPENSIVE RBS

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHEAPER COMPLEMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

___

For more daily fantasy tips and lineup advice, visit DailyRoto: https://dailyroto.com

Read More 672 Words

Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’

The post Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, a tribal gaming operation near Albuquerque, New Mexico, is now the first Western U.S. state to join Nevada in offering full-fledged sports betting in a

The post Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, a tribal gaming operation near Albuquerque, New Mexico, is now the first Western U.S. state to join Nevada in offering full-fledged sports betting in a legal environment.

The first bet, made Tuesday at noon Mountain Time, was a $30 money line win ticket on the Astros to beat the Red Sox (-128) in game four of their ALCS contest Tuesday. The Red Sox lost 8-2.  

Las Vegas-based USBookmaking is risk manager for the Santa Ana Star, in operation since 1993 by Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana. US Bookmaking Director of Operations John Salerno told Sports Handle, it’s a B2B operation utilizing the Stadium betting platform with all employees working directly for the property. It has four windows for taking bets and will be open daily from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m., with expanded hours on weekends.

 
 

Read more Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’ on SportsHandle.

Read More 119 Words

NFL Week 7: Over and Under Best Bets

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

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of

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

Over and Under Best Bets

Over of the week: New England Patriots at Chicago Bears

Total: 49.5

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

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

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

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

Predicted score: Patriots 33, Bears 30

Under of the week: Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars

Total: 43

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

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

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

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

Predicted score: Jaguars 23, Texans 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

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

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

Read More 302 Words

Future of Paul Allen’s sports holdings remains unclear

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Paul Allen's love was basketball and he delved into professional football out of loyalty to his hometown Seattle.

In the wake of his death, Allen's ownership of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and NFL's Seattle Seahawks has come into focus because of questions about how the franchises will move forward in

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Paul Allen’s love was basketball and he delved into professional football out of loyalty to his hometown Seattle.

In the wake of his death, Allen’s ownership of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and NFL’s Seattle Seahawks has come into focus because of questions about how the franchises will move forward in his absence.

No one is providing many details yet about the succession plans for Allen’s franchise holdings in the wake of his death Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His primary franchises were the Blazers and Seahawks, although he also owned a small stake in Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders.

“Paul thoughtfully addressed how the many institutions he founded and supported would continue after he was no longer able to lead them. This isn’t the time to deal in those specifics as we focus on Paul’s family,” according to a statement from Allen’s company, Vulcan Inc. “We will continue to work on furthering Paul’s mission and the projects he entrusted to us. There are no changes imminent for Vulcan, the teams, the research institutes or museums.”

For now, Allen’s teams will continue to be overseen by Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, an arm of the company he created. His sister, Jody Allen, and executive Bert Kolde were the other members of the Seahawks’ board of directors with Allen. Jody Allen may take a more prominent role with the NFL franchise going forward.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s time to be engaging in that conversation. We’re more into the conversation about recognizing what took place and how to respect Paul and his desires and all of that,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday. “There’s plenty of time to talk about all that stuff. It’s not even a factor in our minds. I understand the interest but there will be plenty of time.

“Nothing is changing. Paul wouldn’t want us to do anything different than what we’re doing, which is to go for it and to represent it every way we can until you can’t. And we’re going to go for it just in that fashion.”

A similar message was being relayed in Portland, where Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey and Vulcan Sports and Entertainment CEO Chris McGowan spoke about Allen. The Trail Blazers are dealing with the death of Allen just a couple of days before beginning the regular season at home against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

“At this point we’re just dealing with the death and we don’t have any imminent announcements,” McGowan said. “At an appropriate time I’m sure we’ll come and talk with everyone about what potentially could happen but right now we’re just dealing with the grief.”

Olshey said his final phone conversation with Allen was in early October with the owner asking if the Blazers GM was watching that night’s preseason games.

“He wanted to talk basketball,” Olshey said. “One of the things that is really unique about Paul is that everything was bifurcated. … If he wanted to talk hoops, he talked hoops. If he wanted to talk music, he called Mick Jagger. If he wanted to talk football, he called Pete Carroll. Who else gets that?”

___

AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report.

___

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

Read More 492 Words

Giants owner embarrassed by start, wants more from Beckham

NEW YORK (AP) — The co-owner of the New York Giants is embarrassed by the team's second straight 1-5 start and he wants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to make his highlights on the field instead of getting recognition from off-the-field comments.

Speaking before the fall meeting of the NFL owners Tuesday, John Mara was

NEW YORK (AP) — The co-owner of the New York Giants is embarrassed by the team’s second straight 1-5 start and he wants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to make his highlights on the field instead of getting recognition from off-the-field comments.

Speaking before the fall meeting of the NFL owners Tuesday, John Mara was clearly miffed by the disappointments of a season he had hoped would make fans forget the 3-13 campaign a year ago that led to the firings of coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.

New general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur turned over more than half the roster, spent almost $80 million rebuilding the offense line, made Beckham the highest-paid receiver in the league with a $95 million deal and had high hopes heading into the season.

It hasn’t worked out and the biggest disappointment came Thursday when the struggling Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles came to MetLife Stadium and embarrassed the Giants.

What made the loss even more disappointing was the Giants felt they were close to turning things around.

“I’m sick about it, particularly the way we’ve disappointed our fans,” Mara said. “To start out like this is very disappointing. I don’t think you ever expect to go 1-5 … two years in a row. I’m still embarrassed being 1-5. I can’t stand up here and make any excuses about that. We suffer as much as our fans, maybe more.”

Beckham had been on his best behavior this season, but the losing seemed to catch up to him in recent weeks. He did an interview on ESPN more than a week ago where he complained that Eli Manning was not throwing the ball down the field. He also questioned the heart of his teammates.

That did not sit well with Mara, who had spoken to Beckham about getting his act together in the offseason.

“I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking,” Mara said. “I wish he would create the headlines by his play on the field, as opposed to what he says and does off the field.”

Beckham leads the Giants with 45 catches for 506 yards, but he only has one touchdown catch.

While the 37-year-old Manning has gotten most of the blame for the woes of the offense, Mara said a lot of players have to share the blame. He added that it would be up to Shurmur to decide if a change was to be made.

Mara believes Gettleman and Shurmur will turn things around, and he defended their choice of running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick overall in the draft.

“We went with the best player in the draft,” Mara said. “I still believe he’s the best player in the draft. I’m thrilled with what he’s accomplished so far, and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”

Barkley has rushed for 438 yards and four touchdowns and caught 40 passes for 373 yards and two TDs.

The choice has been criticized by some because the Jets took quarterback Sam Darnold with the third pick and they are 3-3.

___

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

Read More 468 Words

Heisman Trophy Winner Props: Updated through Week 7

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

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

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

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

Heisman Trophy Winner Props


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.

Read More 7 Words

Broncos star linebacker promises to whoop Cardinals

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller, who once said his job was to sack quarterbacks and tell jokes, isn't in a jocular mood with the Denver Broncos mired in a monthlong funk.

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos (2-4) would whoop the Cardinals (1-5) Thursday night in Arizona.

"I

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller, who once said his job was to sack quarterbacks and tell jokes, isn’t in a jocular mood with the Denver Broncos mired in a monthlong funk.

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos (2-4) would whoop the Cardinals (1-5) Thursday night in Arizona.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win,” Miller said. “We’re going to kick their (behind), though. Make sure you put that up there. We’re going to kick their (behind).”

The Broncos lost their fourth straight game on Sunday, when they became the first team in NFL history to allow back-to-back 200-yard rushers — Todd Gurley and Isaiah Crowell.

That led general manager John Elway to declare this week that the Broncos have gotten “very soft” in defending the run, reigniting an insult he used last year that didn’t sit well with the players amid a franchise-worst eight-game skid.

“The last two weeks we had a 200-yard rusher. I get where he’s coming from,” Miller said. “But that was the last two weeks. This week is totally different.”

The Broncos successfully schemed to thwart Rams QB Jared Goff, who was limited to 14 completions for 201 yards and no touchdowns to go with an interception and five sacks.

Gurley, however, capitalized on the Broncos’ heavy use of nickel defense and nose tackle Domata Peko’s worst game in his two seasons in Denver to run for a career-best 208 yards and two TDs a week after the Jets’ Crowell gashed them for 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown.

The Broncos’ 23-20 loss left the Rams (6-0) as the league’s last unbeaten team.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said too many tackles and assignments were missed and challenged his team to get mentally tougher, declaring that tackling is “really mind-set and want-to.”

“Yeah, that was last week, we’re going to be better,” Miller said.

Miller insisted he wasn’t being salty.

“No, I’m not irritated,” he said. “I’m just confident.”

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

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

___

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

___

Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Read More 357 Words

NFL wants players to play with a free mind

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL doesn't want players worrying about getting flagged or fined.

"You gotta play," NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said Tuesday at the league's fall meetings. "You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. We want them to play (with a) free mind where you're just free and

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL doesn’t want players worrying about getting flagged or fined.

“You gotta play,” NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said Tuesday at the league’s fall meetings. “You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. We want them to play (with a) free mind where you’re just free and you play.”

Chiefs rookie linebacker Breeland Speaks said he didn’t take Tom Brady down because he was concerned about a roughing-the-passer penalty in the fourth quarter of Kansas City’s 43-40 loss at New England on Sunday night. Brady eluded Speaks and ran 4 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots the lead.

“We watched that video and watched that play and Tom did what we’ve seen Tom do a thousand times,” Vincent said.

“He stepped up in the pocket and the defender didn’t make a play or didn’t create a sack, but you don’t want any player thinking about a penalty or being fined but you hope that he would make that adjustment on some of the things we’ve put in place and that’s not just for his opponent’s protection but for his as well.”

Overall, roughing-the-passer calls are down since the competition committee clarified to game officials the techniques used in such hits during a conference call last month. There were 34 roughing calls through the first three weeks and 19 in the three weeks since the call.

Vincent said the league didn’t advise officials to cut down on the calls, but emphasized to them making sure they see it clearly.

“If you don’t see the complete play, don’t call it,” Vincent said. “That was a directive from the competition committee. That was always the point of emphasis but after the (conference) call and after watching the video, the committee and our coaches (said): ‘If you don’t see the complete play, we ask that you leave the penalty in your pocket.'”

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was penalized three times in the first three weeks for roughing the passer, including two of which that appeared to be normal tackles. Matthews suggested the league has gone soft and argued that defensive players no longer know what constitutes a legal hit.

Dolphins defensive end William Hayes tore his right ACL trying to avoid landing on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

“Every time we emphasized a call, you see more calls in the preseason and first (few) weeks and then you see an adjustment, and a leveling out of calls,” said Atlanta Falcons CEO Rich McKay, the head of the league’s competition committee. “We’re not going to apologize for trying to protect players we think are in a vulnerable state.”

Some other things we learned on the first day of the NFL’s fall meetings:

MORE FINES THAN FLAGS: There have been only six penalties for illegal use of the helmet, but Vincent said between 10-12 players have been fined for such hits and almost 70 warning letters have been issued to players about using the crown of their helmet to initiate a hit.

“We told officials if they don’t see all three elements of it, we can fine it on Monday and we’ll get the conducted corrected,” McKay said. “I think the players have adjusted, the officials have adjusted and I know the coaches have adjusted.”

CONCUSSIONS DOWN: Concussions in preseason were down from 91 to 79, a 13 percent decline. Concussions on kickoffs were zero in the preseason, down from three. Concussions in practices were down from 23 to 9. Jeff Miller, the league’s executive vice president of health and safety initiatives, credits a reduction plan the NFL put into place last year, improvements in helmets in part spurred by the league ratings of helmets and banning of some, rules changes such as the “helmet rule” and the kickoff rules, and the education of players.

“We’re certainly optimistic about the results,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s medical director. “We’ll continue with more in-depth analyses of concussions.”

HELMET BAN: Miller said there were some 230 helmets players used in 2017 that ranked in the red area, meaning they were banned for new league players in 2018 and will be banned for every player next season. Through Week 3 of this season, about 40 were still in use that were grandfathered in.

He noted “it’s sometimes hard to make a change,” but added that players won’t have a choice after this season regarding those helmets.

ADVANTAGE, OFFENSE: Teams are scoring more than ever. The number of points (4,489), touchdowns (504) and touchdown passes (328) are the most in league history through six weeks.

McKay credited the performance of young quarterbacks and the emphasis on calling illegal contact and defensive holding penalties. Illegal contact penalties are up from 11 to 36. After six weeks in 2016, there were 30 such calls.

“We didn’t like the way it was going last year and it led to passing yardage going down,” McKay said. “As defenses get more aggressive and grab more, yards go down.”

Vincent said he expects scoring to “normalize” as teams see more film on the young quarterbacks and he noted weather conditions later in the season could make an impact.

“I believe some of the defenses and coordinators will adjust,” Vincent said. “Players are adjusting all the time and you just need game footage to see what people can and can’t do.”

PARITY IS GOOD: Games have been closer through the first six weeks. So far, 54 games have been decided by one score, tied for the most in league history at this point. There have been 28 games decided by three points or fewer, second-most at this point.

“Those are good stats for us because fans want to watch and attend close games,” McKay said.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report.

___

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

Read More 899 Words