Features

Features

Seahawks counting on run game against Cowboys

Seahawks counting on run game against Cowboys

When the

Seahawks counting on run game against Cowboys

When the Seattle Seahawks were preparing to play in their home opener against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, they were on their way to meeting the expectations of most preseason prognosticators.

The Seahawks had dropped their first two games on the road at Denver and Chicago, with quarterback Russell Wilson sacked 12 times in the process.

Those picks of a 4-12 or 5-11 season for the Seahawks seemed increasingly likely.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer met and decided change was in order.

“He and I sat down and kind of had a little heart-to-heart,” Schottenheimer said. “There were things that he and I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page about. It wasn’t just the running game, it was he and I continuing to build our relationship and it was an awesome meeting. It probably lasted about an hour and we talked about a ton of different stuff. I know I came out of that meeting feeling really good just about the direction where we wanted to go.”

With a renewed commitment to the running game, the Seahawks defeated the Cowboys 24-13 at CenturyLink Field, sparking them as they became just the 29th team since the current NFL playoff format started in 1990 to make the playoffs after an 0-2 start.

The fifth-seeded Seahawks (10-6) earned the NFC’s top wild-card berth and will travel to Dallas to play the fourth-seeded Cowboys (10-6), the NFC East champion, on Saturday night.

Seattle ended up with league’s top ground game on the season. Chris Carson rushed for 102 yards in Week 3 and went on to become the first Seahawks player with a 1,000-yard rushing season since Marshawn Lynch in 2014.

“They were talking about it the whole (preseason) of running the ball more and being a run team,” Carson said. “They finally started getting it going against the Cowboys and it’s taken off ever since.”

The Cowboys alternated losses and wins until a 27-20 victory at the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in Week 9 sparked a last-season run. The Cowboys won six of their final seven regular-season games after that.

That meant that unlike in 2016, when rookie quarterback Dak Prescott barely played in a three-week span before losing his postseason debut, he kept firing until the end.

Even though the Cowboys already had locked up the division title, Prescott played the entire game last week in a 36-35 victory against the New York Giants. He completed 27 of 44 passes for 387 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to lead a comeback.

“We can definitely build on this,” Prescott said. “That was not meaningless to me. It wasn’t meaningless to any of the guys that played or even to the guys that didn’t play.”

The Seahawks expect to have guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) and safety Tedric Thompson (ankle) back after they missed the regular-season finale. Guard J.R. Sweezy (foot) and cornerback Shaquill Griffin (ankle) likely will be game-time decisions. Safety Delano Hill, who started for Thompson the past two weeks, was placed on injured reserve with a non-displaced fracture in his hip.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the regular-season finale for precautionary measures, but he has been a full participant in practice this week. Pro Bowl linemen Tyron Smith (neck) and Zack Martin (knee) also missed the finale but are expected back, as well as defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (neck). Defensive end David Irving (ankle) remains out.

–Field Level Media

Read More 521 Words

Bengals to interview Jackson, Joseph

Bengals to interview Jackson, Joseph

Endorsed by outgoing

Bengals to interview Jackson, Joseph

Endorsed by outgoing coach Marvin Lewis, fired Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson will interview with the Cincinnati Bengals to become head coach.

Another former Cincinnati assistant, Vance Joseph, is a candidate for the open head coach gig.

NFL Network reported Joseph heard from the Bengals, with whom he worked as a defensive assistant under Lewis, almost immediately after he was fired on Monday by the Denver Broncos. Joseph will be one of the first candidates to speak with the team brass, which is looking for a new coach for the first time in more than 13 years after Lewis was let go on Monday.

Jackson was endorsed publicly by Lewis in his press conference this week.

“I think he’s more than qualified,” Lewis said of Jackson, who was head coach of the Oakland Raiders before his chance with the Browns. “I think he deserves an opportunity, if not here, somewhere else.”

Joseph spent two seasons as head coach of the Broncos, which was his first head-coaching position.

He is scheduled to spend Wednesday night and Thursday with Bengals owner Mike Brown. Joseph knows Brown from his time in Cincinnati (2014-15).

Another in-house candidate, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, was already interviewed, per ESPN.

The Bengals are also set for a formal interview with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, per reports.

–Field Level Media

Read More 172 Words

Report: Bucs consider Notre Dame’s Kelly as coach

Report: Bucs consider Notre Dame's Kelly as coach

Report: Bucs consider Notre Dame’s Kelly as coach

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could try to lure Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly to be their next coach, according to a report from Chicago’s 670 The Score.

Former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter was fired after Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

According to the report, a search firm enlisted to help the Bucs find a new coach suggested Kelly as a potential hire.

Kelly has reportedly been apprised of Tampa Bay’s interest, but has not indicated whether he is interested.

Kelly, who has gone 81-35 since replacing Charlie Weis at Notre Dame in 2010, is coming off a season-ending blowout loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The Fighting Irish went 12-0 during the regular season.

After Kelly took Notre Dame to the national championship game in his third season, he interviewed to be head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. Shortly thereafter, he said he was committed to Notre Dame.

“For me to say I’ll never coach in the NFL — I have no idea. I’m not trying to be evasive. It’s the truth of the matter. It’s all about timing,” Kelly said in 2013.

Koetter went 19-29 in three seasons as coach of the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay finished 5-11 this season after Sunday’s 34-32 loss.

Koetter went 9-7 in 2016 in his first season at the helm. But back-to-back 5-11 seasons doomed him.

–Field Level Media

Read More 173 Words

Report: Steelers WR Brown asks for trade

Report: Steelers WR Brown asks for trade

The

Report: Steelers WR Brown asks for trade

The season is over for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the drama might be just getting started.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has asked to be traded, according to a report Tuesday from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. But Pittsburgh is unlikely to grant the request, which would include a $21.12 million salary-cap hit if the deal happened before June 1, according to reports.

“(I’m) told it was not a demand but he has asked to be dealt,” La Canfora wrote on his Twitter account. “Very unlikely (Steelers owner Dan) Rooney would capitulate. Brown has issues with Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. Feels like the coach is too aligned with the QB.”

Meanwhile, Roethlisberger insists that all is well between himself and Brown. And if the outspoken wide receiver “went off” on a teammate, as published reports indicated earlier this week, that is news to the veteran quarterback.

“If there was a blowout, I certainly didn’t see it,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday during a radio appearance with 93.7 “The Fan” in Pittsburgh.

It has been a controversial week for Brown, who sat out the Steelers’ regular-season finale against the Cleveland Bengals. The Steelers listed Brown as out with a knee injury, but a source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was not injured. The newspaper also reported that Brown missed multiple practices and meetings before and after the contest.

Brown has three years remaining on a five-year, $72.7 million contract extension that he signed before the 2017 campaign. He has surpassed 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons, and this year he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns.

“I hope he’s back here with me because he makes me better,” Roethlisberger said.

More questions will arrive Wednesday when Tomlin addresses reporters.

“I’m blessed to play with him,” Roethlisberger said. “I consider him one of my closer friends. … Each guy has to answer that question (about welcoming him back to the locker room). I know guys are frustrated, some of the guys I talked to, that they tried to reach out to him and didn’t hear back.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 295 Words

Steelers QB Roethlisberger defends WR Brown

 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger insists that all

 

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger insists that all is well between himself and teammate Antonio Brown.

 

And if Brown “went off” on a teammate, as published reports indicated earlier this week, that is news to the veteran quarterback.

 

“If there was a blowout, I certainly didn’t see it,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday during a radio appearance with 93.7 “The Fan” in Pittsburgh.

 

It has been a controversial week for Brown, who sat out the Steelers’ regular-season finale against the Cleveland Bengals. The Steelers listed Brown as out with a knee injury, but a source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was not injured. The newspaper also reported that Brown missed multiple practices and meetings before and after the contest.

 

Brown has three years remaining on a five-year, $72.7 million contract extension that he signed before the 2017 campaign. He has surpassed 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons, and this year he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and a career-high 15 touchdowns.

 

“I hope he’s back here with me because he makes me better,” Roethlisberger said.

 

More questions will arrive Wednesday when Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin addresses reporters.

 

“I’m blessed to play with him,” Roethlisberger said. “I consider him one of my closer friends. … Each guy has to answer that question (about welcoming him back to the locker room). I know guys are frustrated, some of the guys I talked to, that they tried to reach out to him and didn’t hear back.”

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 193 Words

Ravens’ Weddle set to share $1M bonus with team

 

Safety Eric Weddle has plenty of reason to celebrate after

 

Safety Eric Weddle has plenty of reason to celebrate after the Baltimore Ravens qualified for the NFL postseason on Sunday. One million bucks worth of reasons in fact. And he wants to share those dollars with his teammates and coaches.

 

For making the Pro Bowl and playoffs in the same season, Weddle has finally earned the seven-figure incentive that has been part of his contract for three seasons in Baltimore.

 

The 12-year veteran, who earlier found more value in making the playoffs than earning the extra cash, said after Sunday’s 26-24 nail-biting victory over the Cleveland Browns: “I’ve been thinking about it all week that if it happened, I’m going to do something nice for all my teammates and my coaches because I’m nothing without my team. As much as it’s for me and my play, my defense helped me get to where I’m at.”

 

How he’ll divvy up the bonus is still unknown as Weddle offered, “I’ve got something brewing, but I am not going to tell. You’ll find out when I make it happen.”

 

But fellow Ravens safety Tony Jefferson is already in line, saying that he needs $75,000, while adding with a smile, “Now, we’re going to be in his pockets.”

 

Weddle, who was selected to his sixth Pro Bowl earlier this month, missed out on the $1 million incentive in 2017 when Tyler Boyd’s game-winning touchdown catch and run on 4th-and-12 for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 ended the Ravens’ playoff hopes.

 

“I would trade one million bucks for a chance at the playoffs any second,” ESPN reported Weddle saying before Sunday’s season finale. “That’s just where I’m at. It’s not that I don’t appreciate money or how much money it is, but that’s not my incentive to try to go to win.”

 

The AFC North champion Ravens will meet the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC wild-card matchup in Baltimore on Sunday.

 

Weddle has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons with Baltimore and also made it in 2011, 2013 and 2014 with the San Diego Chargers. In 16 games this season, he has recorded one sack, three passes defensed and 68 tackles (54 solo).

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 306 Words

NFL coaching tracker: Every head coach fired in 2018

 

With the regular season complete, the NFL's

 

With the regular season complete, the NFL’s annual Black Monday purge of head coaches is well underway. In fact, some teams got a head start and handed out pink slips by Sunday’s end.

 

Add Cleveland and Green Bay, which fired their coaches during the season, and eight NFL franchises — 25 percent of the 32 teams — are in the market for a new head coach. Here’s a look at each coach let go since the start of the 2018 season, with their season and career records.

 

Source: Pro Football Reference

 

* — Fired during the regular season

 

Steve Wilks, Arizona

Age: 49

Seasons with team: 1

Record with team: 3-13

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 3-13

Career NFL head coaching record: 3-13 (all with Arizona)

 

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati

Age: 60

Seasons with team: 16

Record with team: 131-122-3

Playoff appearances with team: 7 (0-7 record)

2018 record: 6-10

Career NFL head coaching record: 131-122-3 (all with Cincinnati)

 

*Hue Jackson, Cleveland

Age: 53

Seasons with team: 3

Record with team: 3-36-1

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 2-5-1

Career NFL head coaching record: 11-44-1 (3 seasons with Cleveland, 1 season with Oakland)

 

Vance Joseph, Denver

Age: 46

Seasons with team: 2

Record with team: 11-21

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 6-10

Career NFL head coaching record: 11-21 (all with Denver)

 

*Mike McCarthy, Green Bay

Age: 55

Seasons with team: 13

Record with team: 125-77-2

Playoff appearances with team: 9 (10-8 record; won Super Bowl in 2010 season)

2018 record: 4-7-1

Career NFL head coaching record: 125-77-2 (all with Green Bay)

 

Adam Gase, Miami

Age: 40

Seasons with team: 3

Record with team: 23-25

Playoff appearances with team: 1 (0-1 record)

2018 record: 7-9

Career NFL head coaching record: 23-25 (all with Miami)

 

Todd Bowles, New York Jets

Age: 55

Seasons with team: 4

Record with team: 24-40

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 4-12

Career NFL head coaching record: 26-41 (4 seasons with New York, coached 3 games with Miami in 2011)

 

Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay

Age: 59

Seasons with team: 3

Record with team: 19-29

Playoff appearances with team: 0

2018 record: 5-11

Career NFL head coaching record: 19-29 (all with Tampa Bay)

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 291 Words

Seven From Sunday – Week 17

PRESS RELEASE

 

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.

  • NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new

PRESS RELEASE

 

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 17

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 30, the 17th week of the 2018 season.

  • NEW PLAYOFF TEAMS: Six of the 11 teams to have qualified for the playoffs are new to the postseason in 2018: Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, the Los Angeles Chargers and Seattle. Should Indianapolis defeat Tennessee on Sunday Night Football, that number would increase to seven.

    Since 1990 – a streak of 29 consecutive seasons – at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

    WORST-TO-FIRST: Both the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Houston Texans (AFC South) completed “worst-to-first” turnarounds and at least one team has won its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place in 15 of the past 16 seasons.

    PLAYOFF SEEDING: The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS won the NFC South and finished as the NFC’s No. 1 seed. The Saints will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

    The LOS ANGELES RAMS, who defeated San Francisco 48-32 and won the NFC West, are the No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

    The CHICAGO BEARS, who defeated Minnesota 24-10 and won the NFC North, are the No. 3 seed and will host Philadelphia in the Wild Card round. The PHILADELPHIA EAGLES defeated Washington, 24-0, and combined with Minnesota’s loss to Chicago, clinched a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.

    The DALLAS COWBOYS, who defeated the New York Giants 36-35 and won the NFC East, are the No. 4 seed and will host Seattle in the Wild Card round.

    In the AFC, the KANSAS CITY CHIEFS defeated Oakland, 35-3, and clinched the AFC West division title and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

    The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS, who defeated the New York Jets, 38-3, are the AFC’s No. 2 seed and clinched a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

    The HOUSTON TEXANS, who defeated Jacksonville 20-3 and are the No. 3 seed, clinched the AFC South division title and will host a game on Wild Card weekend.

    The Texans completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround after finishing tied for last place in the division in 2017. Houston is the sixth team in NFL history to make the postseason after beginning the season 0-3 and joined the 1992 SAN DIEGO CHARGERS as the only teams in league annals to win their division following an 0-3 start to a season.

    The BALTIMORE RAVENS defeated Cleveland, 26-24, and clinched the AFC North division title for the first time since 2012. Baltimore, the AFC’s No. 4 seed, will host the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round.

  • Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES passed for 281 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for a 109.9 rating in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over Oakland.

    Mahomes has 50 touchdown passes this season and joined PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history. ​​

    Chiefs wide receiver TYREEK HILL had five receptions for 101 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yard touchdown reception, against Oakland and had a 15-yard touchdown run.

    Hill has 16 career touchdowns of at least 50 yards and tied Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE SAYERS (16) for the most touchdowns of at least 50 yards by a player in his first three seasons.

    Hill has 1,479 receiving yards in 2018 and surpassed DERRICK ALEXANDER (1,391 receiving yards in 2000) for the most receiving yards in a single season in franchise history.

  • New England quarterback TOM BRADY completed 24 of 33 attempts (72.7 percent) for 250 yards and four touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 133.8 passer rating in the Patriots’ Week 17 win against the New York Jets.

    Brady has 6,004 career regular-season completions and is the fourth player in NFL history with at least 6,000 career regular-season completions, joining DREW BREES (6,586), Pro Football Hall of Famer BRETT FAVRE (6,300) and PEYTON MANNING (6,125).

  • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD passed for 376 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in the Browns’ Week 17 loss at Baltimore.

    Mayfield has 27 touchdown passes this season, surpassing PEYTON MANNING (26 touchdown passes in 1998) and RUSSELL WILSON (26 in 2012) for the most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in the common draft era.

  • San Francisco tight end GEORGE KITTLE had nine receptions for 149 yards and one touchdown in the 49ers’ Week 17 loss.

    Kittle, who has 1,377 receiving yards this season, and Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (1,336 receiving yards in 2018) both surpassed ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

  • Houston defensive end J.J. WATT had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the Texans’ Week 17 win over Jacksonville.

    Watt has 16 sacks in 2018 and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer REGGIE WHITE (five seasons) as the only players since 1982 with four seasons of at least 15 sacks.

  • Three non-quarterbacks – Atlanta wide receiver MOHAMED SANU, Detroit kicker MATT PRATER and Miami wide receiver KENNY STILLS – threw touchdown passes in Week 17.

    In total, there have been 13 touchdown passes thrown by non-quarterbacks in 2018, the most in a single-season since 1983 (15 touchdowns).

    Quarterbacks RYAN TANNEHILL of the Dolphins and MATT RYAN of the Falcons both had touchdown catches in Week 17, marking the first week in the Super Bowl era in which multiple quarterbacks recorded a touchdown reception.

  • Other notable performances from Sunday include:
     

    • Eagles quarterback NICK FOLES recorded 25 consecutive completions against Washington, tied with Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS (Week 12 vs. Arizona) for the most by a quarterback in a single game in NFL history.
    • New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY had 142 scrimmage yards (109 rushing, 33 receiving) and one rushing touchdown in the Giants’ Week 17 loss.

      Barkley has 2,028 scrimmage yards and joins Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

​​Barkley, who had four catches against the Cowboys, has 91 receptions this season and surpassed REGGIE BUSH (88 catches in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

    • Buffalo rookie quarterback JOSH ALLEN passed for 224 yards with three touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills’ 42-17 win against Miami.

      Allen is the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to record three touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns in the same game, joining Miami’s DAVID WOODLEY, who had three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns against the Los Angeles Rams on November 9, 1980.

      Allen has eight rushing touchdowns this season and joins CAM NEWTON, who had 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011, as the only rookie quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era with at least eight rushing touchdowns.

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 1040 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 17 Results

We did it, guys. We bet five games in Week 17 and won more than we lost. That's hard to do. On the season, we only had a couple losing weeks all year long. It was a good run, with us going 3-2 this Sunday. With the playoffs looming, we will have one

We did it, guys. We bet five games in Week 17 and won more than we lost. That’s hard to do. On the season, we only had a couple losing weeks all year long. It was a good run, with us going 3-2 this Sunday. With the playoffs looming, we will have one Wild Card Round column to round out the year, but this is just about it. Let’s dive into what went right and what went wrong in Week 17.

LOSS: Redskins +7 vs. Eagles (-115): Eagles 24, Redskins 0.

Washington finally ran out of gas. They’d been playing inspired football while being the most banged up team in the league, but without a sense of direction or identity, they fell apart in Week 17. Philly, with some help from the Bears, somehow sneaks into the playoffs, even though starter Nick Foles hurt his chest and had to leave this game.

This is why picking Week 17 games is so hard: you just never know when one of the teams is going to lose their fight. The Redskins lost theirs sooner than we would’ve hoped, so we have to put this one in the L column. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Texans -6.5 vs. Jaguars (-110): Texans 20, Jaguars 3.

Houston still had to win in order to take care of the division, so you felt like they’d come up with a more inspired effort than the Jaguars, who would probably prefer a higher draft pick. For the first two and a half quarters, that didn’t seem to be the case, but then the Texans turned things on. They started to roll and with Jacksonville looking anemic on offense, we had a good feeling that would be all we needed.

With a stout defense, Houston didn’t let the Jaguars sniff the end zone and dominated the second half. In the final week of the season, you usually go with the team which has more to play for. We didn’t follow that line of thinking in the Redskins pick and it came back to bite us. Total payout: $5.70.

WIN: Chargers -6.5 at Broncos (-110): Chargers 23, Broncos 9.

Just like with the Texans, the Chargers had more to play for (a first-round bye if Kansas City slipped up against the Raiders) Sunday afternoon. They started slow like Houston, but picked up steam in the second half as well. With Denver’s offense looking absolutely atrocious over the past few weeks, we knew we probably only needed a couple scores from L.A. to cover this spread.

The Chargers are going to have a tough match up with the Ravens in the first round of the playoffs, but we of course, don’t care about that. They won us our bet this week and that’s all that matters. Total payout: $7.60.

LOSS: Browns-Ravens UNDER 41 points: Ravens 26, Browns 24.

This turned out to be one of the most exciting games of the day, but it didn’t go in our favor. Both teams started off hot on offense, which was unexpected. Each play good defense and the last time they met, they combined for just 21 points in a 12-9 affair. That didn’t happen this time around. The offenses stalled for most of the third quarter, which left us with a glimmer of hope for an under hit. However, as soon as the Browns showed they were staying in the game, we knew our hopes would be dashed.

Cleveland, even in a loss, ends the season as one of the hottest teams in the league and have some really positive momentum heading into 2019. We sure would’ve liked if they could’ve built some momentum while scoring fewer points, but you can’t win them all. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Colts -3.5 at Titans (-115): Colts 33, Titans 17.

We ended the regular season on a high note. Really, we should never feel nervous about betting against Blaine Gabbert, but things were interesting for a while in Nashville. In the end, though, Indy looked like the much superior team as we figured they might. Needing to win by just four points, I felt pretty confident coming in they had the offensive firepower to do some damage.

Whether or not they stand any chance against the Texans next week remains to be seen, but tonight, they did us a solid and won us our final bet of the season, giving us yet another winning week of picks here in the Ballin’ on a Budget column. Total payout: $9.35

PIGGY BANK: $368.20 (8.3% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 58% (47-34-4)

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 678 Words

NFL roundup: Colts top Titans, lock down playoff spot

NFL roundup: Colts top Titans, lock down playoff spot

Andrew Luck threw

NFL roundup: Colts top Titans, lock down playoff spot

Andrew Luck threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns Sunday night as the Indianapolis Colts claimed the AFC’s final playoff spot with a 33-17 win over the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Luck, who completed 24 of 35 passes, finished the regular season with 39 touchdown passes, the most for a player who missed the previous season. He also enabled Indianapolis (10-6) to cap a comeback from a 1-5 start and earn a trip to AFC South champion and divisional foe Houston for a wild-card round game on Saturday.

Tennessee (9-7) snapped a nine-year playoff drought last year with a home win over Jacksonville in Week 17, but wasn’t able to repeat the feat this time. The short-handed Titans played without quarterback Marcus Mariota (stinger, plantar fascia) and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (knee), and their absences were clearly felt.

Casey’s injury left a massive gap in the interior defense that Indianapolis exploited with consistency. Besides Luck’s passing, the Colts also pounded out 158 yards on 36 carries, enabling them to possess the ball for more than 40 minutes.

Patriots 38, Jets 3

Tom Brady tossed a season-high four touchdowns and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete 6,000 career passes as New England clinched the No. 2 seed in the AFC by cruising past visiting New York.

New England (11-5) clinched a bye for the 13th time in the Bill Belichick-Brady era since 2001 and the ninth straight season. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders later Sunday to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs and lock the Patriots in to the No. 2 seed.

The Jets (4-12) finished the season by losing nine of their last 10 games and fired coach Todd Bowles with two years remaining on his contract. The Jets were 24-40 under Bowles, who took over in 2015 following Rex Ryan.

Eagles 24, Redskins 0

Nick Foles tied an NFL single-game record with 25 straight pass completions and visiting Philadelphia found a way into the NFC playoffs with a blowout win at Washington.

The Eagles (9-7) clinched the second wild card spot when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Chicago Bears 24-10. Philadelphia will visit Chicago, the NFC’s third seed, Saturday afternoon.

After throwing an interception on the opening drive, Foles recovered to finish 28 of 33 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and the pick before leaving with a chest injury in the fourth quarter. He was perfect in a stretch that began in the first quarter and ended late in the third. Washington (7-9) lost six of its final seven games as it was forced to use four different starting quarterbacks.

Bears 24, Vikings 10

Jordan Howard had 21 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns and Chicago held on to eliminate host Minnesota from playoff contention.

Tarik Cohen also had a rushing touchdown for Chicago (12-4), which finished with its best regular-season record since 2006. The Bears locked up the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs and will host the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday afternoon.

Stefon Diggs scored the lone touchdown for Minnesota (8-7-1). The Vikings could have earned a wild-card playoff berth with a victory — which would have created a rematch in Chicago next week — but instead will go home early for the third time in five seasons under head coach Mike Zimmer.

Ravens 26, Browns 24

Lamar Jackson rushed for two touchdowns and accounted for 269 all-purpose yards as Baltimore clinched the AFC North title with a narrow win over visiting Cleveland.

The Ravens (10-6), who went 6-1 with Jackson at quarterback after veteran Joe Flacco was injured midseason, will host the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in the wild-card round. Baltimore dumped Los Angeles 22-10 on Dec. 22 in Carson, Calif.

Jackson completed 14 of 24 passes for 179 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions while rushing 20 times for 90 yards. Kenneth Dixon piled up 117 yards on 12 carries and Gus Edwards chipped in 76 yards on 12 attempts as the Ravens finished with 296 yards on the ground against the Browns (7-8-1). Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield set a new NFL record for rookie touchdown passes with his 27th.

Steelers 16, Bengals 13

Rookie kicker Matt McCrane’s third field goal, from 35 yards with 1:56 left, gave Pittsburgh a win over visiting Cincinnati, but it was not enough to ensure the Steelers’ season would continue.

With Baltimore beating Cleveland, the only way Pittsburgh (9-6-1) could make the playoffs was if the Tennessee-Indianapolis game Sunday night ended in a tie. The Colts won 33-17.

The Steelers played without receiver Antonio Brown, who has a knee injury. Without a double threat, JuJu Smith-Schuster faced stiff coverage, with five catches for 37 yards and a tying touchdown against the Bengals (6-10).

Chiefs 35, Raiders 3

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes became the second quarterback in NFL history to pass for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season as the Chiefs bashed visiting Oakland to lock up the top seed in the AFC playoffs.

An 89-yard scoring bomb to Demarcus Robinson with 8:33 left in the third quarter was Mahomes’ 50th TD strike of the season and pushed the first-year starter past the 5,000-yard plateau. The only other quarterback to reach both milestones in the same season was Denver’s Peyton Manning in 2013, when he set records for touchdown passes (55) and passing yardage (5,477) in a season.

Mahomes punctuated his MVP candidacy with 281 yards against the Raiders (4-12), going 14 of 24 with two touchdowns and one interception. Tyreek Hill led the Chiefs (12-4) with five receptions for 101 yards and scored touchdowns on a 67-yard reception and 15-yard rush.

Chargers 23, Broncos 9

Philip Rivers passed for 176 yards and a touchdown, linebacker Kyle Emanuel returned a fumble for another score and Los Angeles beat host Denver Broncos to end the regular season.

With Kansas City’s win over Oakland on Sunday, the Chargers (12-4) are locked into the No. 5 seed and will play at Baltimore next Sunday at 1:05 ET on CBS.

Mike Williams had 65 yards receiving and a score and Austin Ekeler ran for 58 yards and a touchdown for Los Angeles, while Case Keenum was 31-for-48 passing for 292 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Denver (6-10).

Rams 48, 49ers 32

The Los Angeles defense set the tone with four first-half turnovers and a touchdown on the way to a victory over visiting San Francisco that earned L.A. a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Rams (13-3) clinched the No. 2 seed in the NFC with the victory over their longtime rival and finished undefeated against the NFC West in the process. The opening-round bye is the first for the Rams since the 2003 season when the team was in St. Louis.

Jarred Goff passed for 199 yards and four touchdowns and C.J. Anderson rushed for 132 yards and a score against the 49ers (4-12) as the Rams were without starting running back Todd Gurley for a second consecutive week as he works his way through knee inflammation.

Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24

Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give Seattle a win against visiting Arizona.

Chris Carson rushed 19 times for 122 yards and a touchdown for the Seahawks (10-6), who had already clinched an NFC wild-card berth but cemented the No. 5 seed. Seattle will play at Dallas on Saturday night.

Arizona (3-13) clinched the league’s worst record and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

Texans 20, Jaguars 3

Deshaun Watson capped his second season with a unique statistical accomplishment and host Houston claimed its third AFC South title in four seasons with a victory over woeful Jacksonville, becoming the second team to earn a division title after starting a season 0-3.

With 234 passing yards plus another 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown, Watson is the first quarterback in NFL history to total 4,000 yards (4,165) and at least 25 touchdowns (26) passing while rushing for 500 yards (551) with another five touchdowns on the ground.

Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans (11-5) harassed Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles throughout what likely was his last appearance with the Jaguars (5-11). Watt recorded 1 1/2 of the three sacks of Bortles, closing his season with 16. Watt and Hall of Fame member Reggie White are the only players in NFL history with four 15-plus sack seasons.

Cowboys 36, Giants 35

Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns passes and completed a two-point conversion to Michael Gallup with 1:12 left to lift Dallas Cowboys past host New York.

Prescott, who threw for 387 yards, completed a 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Cole Beasley on fourth-and-15 to set up the two-point conversion. Originally, Beasley was called out of bounds on the field, but after review was ruled to have gotten his knee down before his elbows landed out of bounds.

Though running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the game, Dallas played most of its starters and heads into the postseason having won seven of eight games. The Cowboys (10-6) earned the fourth seed in the playoffs and will host Seattle at AT&T Stadium next weekend. The Giants finish the season 5-11.

Lions 31, Packers 0

Detroit blasted listless Green Bay, ending the season on a positive note and earning back-to-back victories at Lambeau Field for the first time since the 1990-91 seasons.

Matthew Stafford, throwing passes to the likes of Brandon Powell, Andy Jones and T.J. Jones instead of Kenny Golladay (inactive), Marvin Jones (injured reserve) and Golden Tate (traded), threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns to T.J. Jones for the Lions (6-10).

His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, exited following the third series with a concussion. A week after rallying three times from two-touchdown deficits to beat the New York Jets, interim coach Joe Philbin’s Packers (6-9-1) showed no fight against the Lions.

Bills 42, Dolphins 17

Josh Allen passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Buffalo defeated Miami in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Zay Jones caught two touchdowns from Allen, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with an interception. Allen also ran nine times for 95 yards. Buffalo forced four turnovers and enjoyed its highest-scoring game of the season.

The game was the season finale for two teams out of playoff contention. Buffalo (6-10) finished 4-3 in its final seven games. Miami (7-9) concluded its season on a three-game losing streak, dropping nine of its final 13.

Panthers 33, Saints 14

Undrafted rookie quarterback Kyle Allen threw two touchdowns passes before leaving the game with a fourth-quarter shoulder injury as visiting Carolina won in New Orleans.

With the Saints (13-3) secure in their No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, they rested several starters. Drew Brees missed only his third start since coming to the Saints in 2006. He finished the season with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage (364 of 489) with 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Carolina (7-9) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, with Allen driving the Panthers 75, 89 and 90 yards — mostly against the Saints’ starting defense — to forge a 20-0 lead, and it climbed to 30-0 late in the third quarter.

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32

Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give visiting Atlanta a victory in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the team fired shortly after the game. Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.

–Field Level Media

Read More 1861 Words

Steelers drop Bengals but fail to make playoffs

Steelers drop Bengals but fail to make playoffs

Steelers drop Bengals but fail to make playoffs

Rookie kicker Matt McCrane’s third field goal Sunday, from 35 yards with 1:56 left, gave Pittsburgh a 16-13 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, but it was not enough to continue the Steelers’ season.

Pittsburgh (9-6-1) also needed Cleveland to win at Baltimore, but the Ravens prevailed 26-24. The only way the Steelers could make the playoffs was if the Tennessee-Indianapolis game Sunday night ended in a tie. But the Colts ended those hopes with a 33-17 win.

Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger passed for 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception by Cincinnati’s Shawn Williams that was returned for a touchdown.

The Steelers played without receiver Antonio Brown, who has a knee injury. Without a double threat, JuJu Smith-Schuster faced stiff coverage, with five catches for 37 yards and a tying touchdown.

The Bengals’ Jeff Driskel passed for 95 yards. Joe Mixon rushed for 105 yards.

Cincinnati finished 6-10 in a season marked by numerous injuries.

The first quarter was a punt fest, with the most significant moment coming when Cincinnati receiver Cody Core left with an air cast on his left elbow after an awkward, gruesome-looking fall.

At 12:37 of the second quarter, Williams picked off Roethlisberger and returned the ball 58 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Cincinnati lead.

Randy Bullock increased the Bengals’ lead to 10 with a 49-yard field goal with 2:12 left in the first half.

Pittsburgh’s first points came as the first half ended. McCrane hit from 39 yards to cut the deficit to 10-3. It was his first field-goal attempt for Pittsburgh after he was signed this week. The Steelers put struggling kicker Chris Boswell on injured reserve.

The Steelers finally got the big play they needed when Roethlisberger hit rookie James Washington in stride for 47 yards to the Bengals 27. It put Roethlisberger over 5,000 yards for the first time in his career.

After a James Conner run for another first down, Roethlisberger threw an 11-yard screen pass to Smith-Schuster for a touchdown to tie the game at 10 with 3:50 left in the third quarter.

McCrane gave the Steelers their first lead, 13-10, with 8:35 left in the game on a 47-yard field goal that bounced off the right upright and through.

Bullock tied it 13-13 with a 32-yard field goal with 6:17 left, in part set up by Joe Mixon’s 51-yard run.

–Field Level Media

Read More 328 Words

Bucs fall to Falcons, fire Koetter after game

Bucs fall to Falcons, fire Koetter after game

Matt

Bucs fall to Falcons, fire Koetter after game

Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give the visiting Atlanta Falcons a 34-32 victory Sunday in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Buccaneers head coach Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the club fired shortly after the game.

The Falcons’ Matt Ryan completed 31 of 44 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns, and also caught a score on a trick play.

Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.

Atlanta’s Julio Jones had nine catches for 138 yards and a touchdown, while Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans had six grabs for 106 yards and two scores.

The Falcons, scoring on their fifth straight possession, went up 31-20 early in the fourth quarter as Ryan passed 7 yards to Calvin Ridley for the rookie’s 10th TD on the season.

Evans scored on a 10-yard pass from Winston shortly thereafter, though, and the Bucs regained the lead on a 19-yard connection from Winston to Chris Godwin after Ryan was picked off by Andrew Adams.

The Bucs went for two points after both scores and failed each time.

Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu hit Ryan with a 5-yard pass to start the second half and the Falcons took their first lead at 24-20 late in the third quarter on a 23-yard run by Tevin Coleman.

That touchdown came after the game’s first turnover as Damontae Kazee got his seventh interception, picking off Winston’s deflected pass.

Tampa Bay went up 17-0 on Winston’s 30-yard strike to Godwin with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter, but the Falcons finally got going on a 19-yard score from Ryan to Jones with 20 seconds left before halftime.

Winston completed 15 of 23 first-half passes for 210 yards and two scores, while the Falcons sputtered until their quick-strike 75-yard TD drive.

Evans, who finished the season with 1,524 yards, broke the Tampa Bay career record for receiving yardage with a 16-yard catch early on the Bucs’ second possession and then capped the 93-yard drive with a 19-yard TD grab.

Evans, 25, is the youngest of six players to reach 6,000 career receiving yards in their first five NFL seasons, joining Torry Holt, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, Julio Jones and A.J. Green.

–Field Level Media

Read More 382 Words

NFL roundup: Brady dominates, Pats lock up bye

NFL roundup: Brady dominates, Pats lock up bye

Tom Brady tossed a

NFL roundup: Brady dominates, Pats lock up bye

Tom Brady tossed a season-high four touchdowns and became the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete 6,000 career passes as the New England Patriots clinched at least the No. 2 seed by cruising to a 38-3 victory over the visiting New York Jets on Sunday.

New England (11-5) clinched a bye for the 13th time in the Bill Belichick-Brady era since 2001 and the ninth straight season. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders later Sunday to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs and lock the Patriots in to the No. 2 seed.

Brady reached his 6,000th career completion on a 5-yard pass to Chris Hogan with 11:40 remaining. He joined Drew Brees (6,586), Brett Favre (6,300) and Peyton Manning (6,125) as the only players in NFL history to reach that milestone.

The Jets (4-12) finished the season by losing nine of their last 10 games and likely will fire coach Todd Bowles with two years remaining on his contract. The Jets are 24-40 under Bowles, who took over in 2015 following Rex Ryan.

Texans 20, Jaguars 3

Deshaun Watson capped his second season with a unique statistical accomplishment and host Houston claimed its third AFC South title in four seasons with a victory over woeful Jacksonville, becoming the second team to earn a division title after starting a season 0-3.

With 234 passing yards plus another 66 yards on the ground with a touchdown, Watson is the first quarterback in NFL history to total 4,000 yards (4,165) and at least 25 touchdowns (26) passing while rushing for 500 yards (551) with another five touchdowns on the ground.

Led by defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans (11-5) harassed Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles throughout what likely was his last appearance with the Jaguars (5-11). Watt recorded 1 1/2 of the three sacks of Bortles, closing his season with 16. Watt and Hall of Fame member Reggie White are the only players in NFL history with four 15-plus sack seasons.

Cowboys 36, Giants 35

Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns passes and completed a two-point conversion to Michael Gallup with 1:12 left to lift Dallas Cowboys past host New York.

Prescott, who threw for 387 yards, completed a 32-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Cole Beasley on fourth-and-15 to set up the two-point conversion. Originally, Beasley was called out of bounds on the field, but after review was ruled to have gotten his knee down before his elbows landed out of bounds.

Though running back Ezekiel Elliott sat out the game, Dallas played most of its starters and heads into the postseason having won seven of eight games. The Cowboys (10-6) earned the fourth seed in the playoffs and will host Seattle at AT&T Stadium next weekend. The Giants finish the season 5-11.

Lions 31, Packers 0

Detroit blasted listless Green Bay, ending the season on a positive note and earning back-to-back victories at Lambeau Field for the first time since the 1990-91 seasons.

Matthew Stafford, throwing passes to the likes of Brandon Powell, Andy Jones and T.J. Jones instead of Kenny Golladay (inactive), Marvin Jones (injured reserve) and Golden Tate (traded), threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns to T.J. Jones for the Lions (6-10).

His counterpart, Aaron Rodgers, exited following the third series with a concussion. A week after rallying three times from two-touchdown deficits to beat the New York Jets, interim coach Joe Philbin’s Packers (6-9-1) showed no fight against the Lions.

Bills 42, Dolphins 17

Josh Allen passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more as Buffalo defeated Miami in Orchard Park, N.Y.

Zay Jones caught two touchdowns from Allen, who completed 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with an interception. Allen also ran nine times for 95 yards. Buffalo forced four turnovers and enjoyed its highest-scoring game of the season.

The game was the season finale for two teams out of playoff contention. Buffalo (6-10) finished 4-3 in its final seven games. Miami (7-9) concluded its season on a three-game losing streak, dropping nine of its final 13.

Panthers 33, Saints 14

Undrafted rookie quarterback Kyle Allen threw two touchdowns passes before leaving the game with a fourth-quarter shoulder injury as visiting Carolina won in New Orleans.

With the Saints (13-3) secure in their No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, they rested several starters. Drew Brees missed only his third start since coming to the Saints in 2006. He finished the season with an NFL-record 74.4 completion percentage (364 of 489) with 3,992 yards, 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Carolina (7-9) scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, with Allen driving the Panthers 75, 89 and 90 yards — mostly against the Saints’ starting defense — to forge a 20-0 lead, and it climbed to 30-0 late in the third quarter.

Falcons 34, Buccaneers 32

Matt Bryant made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give visiting Atlanta a victory in what turned out to be Dirk Koetter’s final game as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

The field goal was Bryant’s second of the game after a 49-yarder in the third quarter and gave the Falcons (7-9) a three-game winning streak to end the season despite trailing 17-0 late in the first half.

The Bucs (5-11) lost eight of their last 10 games, including the final four, and fell to 19-29 under Koetter, whom the team fired shortly after the game. Jameis Winston had four touchdown passes for the Bucs, including a score with five minutes remaining, and was 22 of 35 for 345 yards and an interception.

–Field Level Media

Read More 838 Words

Alabama Favorites to win CFP Championship

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium as 6.5 Point favorites vs the Clemson Tigers. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that these two teams have met in the finals, with both teams 1-1 in the rivalry. Last season, Alabama defeated Clemson in

The Alabama Crimson Tide will enter the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium as 6.5 Point favorites vs the Clemson Tigers. It will be the 3rd time in 4 years that these two teams have met in the finals, with both teams 1-1 in the rivalry. Last season, Alabama defeated Clemson in the Sugar Bowl by a score of 24-6. This years championship will likely resemble the previous championship matchups and be a high scoring shootout that could very possibly come down to the final drive.

Both of the championship matchups between these teams resulted in the #2 seed winning the championship. With #1 Alabama as 6.5-point favorites, it’s likely we’ll see that streak come to an end. Also, the past three championships have been decided by 5 points or less, so expect a good one out of next Monday’s matchup.

Notable previous matchups between Alabama and Clemson:

January 11, 2016 (CFP National Championship)

Alabama defeats Clemson 45-40. Clemson scored a touchdown with under a minute left to bring it to a 1-possession game, but were unable to secure an onside kick.

January 9, 2017 (CFP National Championship)

Clemson defeats Alabama 35-31. Clemson scored the go ahead touchdown with one second left on the clock to win the title.

January 1, 2018 (Allstate Sugar Bowl)

Alabama defeats Clemson 24-6. Clemson only managed a pair of field goals in this 18-point rout by Alabama.

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 166 Words

What To Look For – Week 17

PRESS RELEASE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday against Oakland (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes can join PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with

PRESS RELEASE

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 48 touchdown passes this season.

With two touchdown passes on Sunday against Oakland (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Mahomes can join PEYTON MANNING (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and TOM BRADY (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history.​​

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

48*

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associate​d Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 17

 

RIDICULOUS ROOKIE: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY ranks third in the NFL with 1,886 scrimmage yards this season.

With 114 scrimmage yards against Dallas (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Barkley would join Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and EDGERRIN JAMES (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history.

The rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,886*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 17

Barkley has 87 receptions this season and needs two catches against the Cowboys to surpass REGGIE BUSH (88 receptions in 2006) for the most catches by a rookie running back in league annals.

 

RUN & CATCH CMC: Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY ranks second in the league with 1,925 scrimmage yards (1,080 rushing, 845 receiving) this season. McCaffrey has 106 catches in 2018 and surpassed MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in league annals.

With 55 receiving yards at New Orleans (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey would join Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (1998& 1999) and ROGER CRAIG (1985) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season.

The players with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Marshall Faulk^

St. Louis

1999

1,381

1,048

Marshall Faulk^

Indianapolis

1998

1,319

908

Roger Craig

San Francisco

1985

1,050

1,016

 

 

 

 

 

Christian McCaffrey

Carolina

2018

1,080*

845*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 17

 

HISTORY FOR AB: Pittsburgh wide receiver ANTONIO BROWN has 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and leads the league with a franchise-record 15 touchdown catches this season.

With three receiving yards against Cincinnati (4:25 PM ET, CBS), Brown would become the first player in league annals with five seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards.

The players with the most seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 100+ CATCHES & 1,300+ REC. YARDS

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

4*

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

4

Andre Johnson

Houston

4

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 104 receptions & 1,297 receiving yards in 2018

Brown and teammate JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER, who has 106 receptions and became the youngest player in league history with at least 100 receptions in a single season, can become the first pair of teammates in league annals to each record at least 110 receptions in the same season.

 

DOMINANT DONALD: Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle AARON DONALD leads the NFL with a career-high 19.5 sacks this season.

With three sacks against San Francisco (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Donald would tie Pro Football Hall of Famer MICHAEL STRAHAN (22.5 sacks in 2001) for the most sacks in a single season since 1982 when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SACKS

Michael Strahan^

New York Giants

2001

22.5

Jared Allen

Minnesota

2011

22

Mark Gastineau

New York Jets

1984

22

Justin Houston

Kansas City

2014

22

 

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

19.5*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 17

Donald, who has recorded at least two sacks in seven games this season, can become the second player since 1982 to record at least eight games with two-or-more sacks in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers REGGIE WHITE (eight games in 1987).​

The players with the most games with two-or-more sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

GAMES WITH 2+ SACKS

Reggie White^#

Philadelphia

1987

8

Chris Doleman^

Minnesota

1989

7

Aaron Donald

Los Angeles Rams

2018

7*

Bruce Smith^#

Buffalo

1990

7

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year

*Entering Week 17

 

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 665 Words

Pats TE Gronkowski not thinking retirement

Pats TE Gronkowski not thinking retirement

New

Pats TE Gronkowski not thinking retirement

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski told reporters Thursday he is not thinking about retirement after first broaching the subject following last season’s Super Bowl.

“I haven’t been thinking about that at all,” Gronkowski said ahead of the Patriots’ regular-season finale against the New York Jets. “We’re on the last game. Going into Week 17, we’ve got the Jets. That’s all I’m really worried about as of now.”

Following New England’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Gronkowski would not commit to playing the 2018 season. The ensuing offseason was tumultuous for the 29-year-old, who was the subject of numerous trade rumors and skipped OTAs.

Gronkowski reported to Patriots training camp, and the team restructured his contract to boost his potential 2018 earnings by $4.3 million. The star tight end is under contract at a base salary of $9 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent.

The oft-injured Gronkowski has struggled to stay on the field yet again this season, catching 45 passes for 658 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. He has battled back and ankle injuries.

“I would say every season presents a different challenge,” Gronkowski said. “You go through things, you get dinged up a little bit. It’s a different challenge. … Every season brings it’s own little challenges. You’ve just gotta keep on grinding, keep on staying positive. Stay focused. That’s all you got to really do. You can’t ever get too down and then you dig yourself a bigger hole.”

The Patriots (10-5) enter their season finale against the Jets this weekend with the AFC East clinched and a chance at winning the top seed in the AFC.

“We got this big game Sunday, still, and the playoffs after, so that’s the last thing on my mind right now,” Gronkowski said of calling it quits. “I love the grind. I’m all in. I’ve been all-in all season — no matter if it’s been up, if it’s been down. And I’m going to tell you this right now, I’m going to be all-in for the rest of the year no matter what it is. That’s my main focus, no matter how it goes.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 301 Words

NFL Week 17: 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: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Total: 40

The Minnesota offense has exploded for 68 points in its first two games under interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. The Vikings also play extremely well in Sunday matinees at home, and they’re fighting to keep their season alive in this case.

Against a Bears team that may go into auto-pilot mode as soon as it becomes obvious that a win won’t help them, look for Minnesota to light up the scoreboard with 30-plus points all on its own.

The Chicago defense is stellar, but it has surrendered 30-plus on the road twice this season. That’ll likely happen a third time, meaning the Bears just need an early score or two out of their regular offense, maybe a garbage-time score or two for good measure.

Regardless, this one should be closer to 50 than 40.

Predicted score: Vikings 31, Bears 17

Under of the week: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens

Total: 41

Baker Mayfield is on fire and the Browns offense has become legitimately good, which might explain why the total for Sunday’s matchup between the Browns and the Baltimore Ravens is up above the 40 mark.

But that’s an overreaction. These teams combined for just 21 points when they met earlier this year, the Baltimore defense is the best in the NFL, and Mayfield and the Browns offense haven’t been the same on the road.

Mayfield has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three) and a mere 78.9 passer rating on the road this month (and the Browns have averaged just 15.0 points per game), compared to four touchdowns and no interceptions and a 125.1 rating at home (where the Browns have averaged 26.0 points per game).

The Cleveland defense has also performed well and should have the playmaking ability to limit mistake-prone Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.The Browns have an AFC-high 30 takeaways (Jackson has fumbled 10 times), and they recently shut down mobile quarterbacks Cam Newton and Jeff Driskel on the ground (Jackson sorta likes to run).

Predicted score: Ravens 16, Browns 13

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 0-2
2018 season: 19-12-1

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 340 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 17 Picks

It's the most dangerous betting week of the NFL season. Week 17 provides so many challenges that a normal week doesn't. Most of the league has already been eliminated from playoff contention. How can we possibly pick games in which we don't know either team's motivation? Better yet, how can we pick any

It’s the most dangerous betting week of the NFL season. Week 17 provides so many challenges that a normal week doesn’t. Most of the league has already been eliminated from playoff contention. How can we possibly pick games in which we don’t know either team’s motivation? Better yet, how can we pick any games in which the normal favorite will likely be resting its starters? It’s a very hard week to pick and to avoid the madness, we’re going to make sure we pick games in which at least one team is guaranteed to have something to play for. Here we go one last time in the regular season as we try to go out with a bang.

Redskins +7 vs. Eagles (-115)

The Eagles are red hot and I’d be shocked if they lost this game. However, they seemingly only play in close games, so this seven-point spread looks pretty juicy. Also, Jay Gruden has quietly done one of the best jobs in the NFL this season. He has lost three quarterbacks as well as countless other playmakers on both sides of the ball and his team is 7-8. They are not a good football team with Josh Johnson at quarterback, but they’ve shown heart.

This game is also in D.C. With just one game to play, Washington’s season comes down to them getting a chance to knock their rivals out of the playoffs. Of course, if Philly wins and Minnesota loses, the Eagles sneak in. If either of those fails to happen, they don’t. This could randomly turn into a blowout, but I really don’t see it going that way. Philly wins a close one and the Redskins cover the spread. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.61.

Texans -6.5 vs. Jaguars (-110)

Houston is still playing for a first-round bye, something they choked away for the time being against the Eagles last week. Now, they’re tied with New England and the Patriots have the tiebreaker. The danger here is that if the Texans see the Patriots are up big on the Jets at halftime, there’s a very real chance they could rest their starters in the second half. If that happened, it could really throw off this bet.

However, playing at home and with home field on the line, let’s just assume that the Texans, a team far superior to the Jaguars, will come out and dominate in the first half. If that’s the case, hopefully they can hang on by a touchdown in the second half. We have slim pickens this week, folks, so this is one we’re going to roll with and hope for the best. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Colts -3.5 vs. Titans (-115)

This one’s for all the marbles. These two AFC South foes are battling it out for the final playoff spot in the AFC. It’s on Sunday Night Football, because it is the only game in which the winner is guaranteed a playoff spot. Both these teams have been so inconsistent this year, it’s torture to pick this game. However, we don’t know how healthy Marcus Mariota’s going to be and the Colts offense can run away from you fast.

Indy hasn’t beaten many good teams this year, but I’m still not convinced the Titans are a good team anyway. It’s in Nashville, but the Colts feel like the more deserving team. That doesn’t always add up to a win and in such an intense match up, the game should be close. That makes a 3.5-point spread seem like a lot. Let’s just say Indy wins by a touchdown in a relatively low scoring game and call it a day. The bet: $5 for total payout of 9.35.

Chargers -6.5 at Broncos (-110)

As it turns out, the Chargers wasted their shot at the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC last week with a loss to the Ravens. Kansas City ended up losing to the Seahawks, so L.A. would control its own destiny this week had they won. However, they have to win and have the Raiders pull off the huge upset of the Chiefs in order for that to happen now. Meanwhile, their opponents, the Broncos, are flat out broken. If you didn’t see them against the Raiders on Monday Night Football, you’re lucky.

They look like a downtrodden team that will have no motivation to finish the season strong for a head coach in Vance Joseph, who will likely be fired Monday. While L.A. might be a long shot to get the top seed in the AFC, they still have a shot and that’s enough to convince me Phillip Rivers and Co. have what it takes to cover a touchdown spread, even if they’re playing on the road. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Ravens-Browns UNDER 41 points (-110)

This is a very interesting game. Baltimore is into the playoffs with a win and will clinch the AFC North division title. Cleveland is mathematically eliminated from the postseason, but is among the hottest teams in football. These are also two of the best defenses in the league. Combine good defense with the Ravens’ new affinity for running the football and this one has the under written all over it.

Even if Baltimore is successful moving the football, they’re likely going to run a lot of clock in the process. It isn’t hard at all to see this game ending 20-17 or somewhere in that neighborhood. In that case, we’d be in the under right where we want to be. The Ravens might not be the most exciting team to watch, but they’re among the most effective and if they run their game plan to perfection, this game is likely to hit the under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

In our last week, maybe we will finally get the 5-for-5 week we’ve been looking for all year long. If that happens, we will have a pretty little parlay payout of $486.55. Best of luck in your last week of betting before the real fun starts in the playoffs.

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 947 Words

Seven From Sunday – Week 16

PRESS RELEASE

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 16

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the

PRESS RELEASE

SEVEN FROM SUNDAY – WEEK 16

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 23, the 16th week of the 2018 season.

  • The NEW ORLEANS SAINTS defeated Pittsburgh, 31-28, and clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. With the Steelers’ loss, the HOUSTON TEXANS clinched a playoff berth.

The NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS defeated Buffalo, 24-12, and clinched the AFC East division title for the 10th consecutive season.

The Patriots have advanced to the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons (2009-18), surpassing Dallas (nine from 1975-1983) and Indianapolis (nine from 2002-2010) for the most consecutive seasons in NFL history with a playoff berth.

With their 10th win of the season, New England (16 seasons from 2003-2018) tied San Francisco (16 from 1983-98) for the most consecutive seasons with at least 10 victories in NFL history.

New England quarterback TOM BRADY, who has 4,105 passing yards this season, joins PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons), DREW BREES (12) and PHILIP RIVERS (10) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 10 seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards.

The DALLAS COWBOYS defeated Tampa Bay, 27-20, and clinched the NFC East division title for the second time in the past three seasons.

Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT had 109 scrimmage yards (85 rushing, 24 receiving) in the Cowboys’ Week 16 victory.

Elliott, who has 4,048 rushing yards and 1,199 receiving yards in his three-year NFL career, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three NFL seasons, joining OTTIS ANDERSON, CHRIS JOHNSON, and Pro Football Hall of Famers BARRY SANDERS and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON.

Elliott, who had 1,994 scrimmage yards in 2016, leads the NFL with 2,001 scrimmage yards this season and joins Pro Football Hall of Famers ERIC DICKERSON and LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON, and EDGERRIN JAMES as the only players in league annals with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards in two of their first three career seasons.

  • Cleveland rookie quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD completed 27 of 37 pass attempts (73.0 percent) for 284 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 121.9 passer rating in the Browns’ 26-18 win against Cincinnati.

Mayfield, who has 24 touchdown passes in 2018, surpassed ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era. Only PEYTON MANNING (26 in 1998) had more passing touchdowns as a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

  • Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS completed 37 of 55 pass attempts (67.3 percent) for 442 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 103.8 passer rating and had two rushing touchdowns in the Packers’ 44-38 overtime win at the New York Jets.

Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns. He also previously accomplished the feat on October 2, 2011 against Denver (408 passing yards, four touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns).

  • Philadelphia quarterback NICK FOLES passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns while tight end ZACH ERTZ had 12 receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 32-30 victory against Houston.

Foles is the first quarterback in franchise history with multiple career games of at least 400 passing yards and four touchdown passes (406 passing yards and seven touchdown passes on November 3, 2013 at Oakland). His 471 passing yards are the most in a single game in franchise history, surpassing DONOVAN MC NABB, who passed for 464 yards against Green Bay on December 5, 2004.

Ertz, who has a franchise-record 113 catches in 2018, surpassed JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

  • Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN had five receptions for 80 yards in the Vikings’ 27-9 victory at Detroit.

Thielen, who signed as an undrafted free agent with Minnesota in 2013, has 110 catches and 1,335 receiving yards in 2018 and joins ROD SMITH (2000 & 2001) & WES WELKER (2009, 2011 & 2012) as the only undrafted players in the common draft era with at least 100 receptions and 1,300 receiving yards in a single season.

  • Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY had 178 scrimmage yards (101 rushing, 77 receiving) and 12 receptions in the Panthers’ Week 16 loss against Atlanta.

McCaffrey, who leads all running backs with 106 receptions this season, surpassed MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

McCaffrey, who has 1,080 rushing yards in 2018, joins Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2003) and MATT FORTÉ (2014) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 100 receptions in a single season.

  • Pittsburgh wide receiver JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER had 11 receptions for 115 yards in the Steelers’ Week 16 loss against New Orleans.

Smith-Schuster, who is 22 years and 31 days old, has 106 catches this season and surpassed LARRY FITZGERALD (22 years, 123 days) as the youngest player to reach 100 receptions in a single season in NFL history.

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 722 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 16 Results

We navigated the treacherous waters of late-season NFL betting and came out okay. After going 2-2-1, the stage is set for the end of our season. Week 17, we will have both our 60 percent pick percentage as well as our 10 percent return on investment goals on the line. Each are on

We navigated the treacherous waters of late-season NFL betting and came out okay. After going 2-2-1, the stage is set for the end of our season. Week 17, we will have both our 60 percent pick percentage as well as our 10 percent return on investment goals on the line. Each are on the line and each is possible with a good week. Following a rough start, this week could have been a lot worse. As it is, we will take the virtual wash and move on to the final week of the season with our heads held high.

LOSS: Dolphins -4 vs. Jaguars (-110): Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7.

We knew better than to bet on the Dolphins in back-to-back weeks. We even talked about it in our pick column. That line against the Jaguars and at home looked too juicy to pass up, though. Just when it matters, Miami folds. That’s how it goes every single year, folks. News flash: this isn’t the year Ryan Tannehill becomes a premiere quarterback. Despite showing flashes, he’s just never becoming that guy.

Jacksonville’s defense decided to show up, which was nice of them when we bet against them. This was just a gross game and the fact we had money on the wrong side of it made it even worse. Ironic, because I’m not sure you could pay me to watch this game otherwise. Total win: $0.

LOSS: Cardinals +14.5 vs. Rams (-110): Rams 31, Cardinals 9.

Well, the streak had to come to an end at some point. This was the fifth time in 2018 that we took a team that was +14 or more. This was the first one we lost. Arizona looked competitive for a half, trailing just 14-9 at one point late in the first, but this one got away from them. The Los Angeles offense got back on track even without Todd Gurley in the lineup, which is an encouraging sign for a team that’s struggled in recent weeks.

Of course, that’s not an encouraging sign for us as we were taking the big home underdogs. At least now the illusion that every +14 or greater underdog is a lock is gone and we can make more calculated decisions about those types of bets in the future. Total win: $0.

WIN: Bears -4 vs. 49ers (-110): Bears 14, 49ers 9.

This was just another methodical win by the Bears, who are still alive for a first-round bye in the NFC going into the final week of the season. Down 9-7 at halftime, they buckled down and shut San Francisco out in the second half. They also were able to put together two long drives, one which ended in a touchdown, another in a near backbreaking fumble. Either way, the offense was moving the ball, despite scoring just 14 points.

These are the types of games the Bears want to play. They want to milk the clock, put up a couple scores and let their defense do the rest. Whether that will work in the playoffs remains to be seen, but it worked on the road today and they just edged out the win for us with a five-point win on a four-point spread. Total win: $9.50.

PUSH: Bengals-Browns OVER 44 points: Browns 26, Bengals 18.

We can all thank Cincinatti’s late comeback for this nice backdoor cover. It just didn’t look like we were going to get there with the Browns defense playing really well, but the Bengals willed it to happen. Late in the game, they scored a touchdown and went for two in order to make it a one-possession game. With that successful conversion, they pushed the total to 44, meaning we then had nothing to lose.

Unfortunately, no more points were scored, so we were stuck with a push, but that was a lot better than what it seemed like we were headed for when Cleveland dominated the first half. We haven’t had a push in a while and they generally feel dissatisfying, but this one feels all right. Total win: $5.

WIN: Steelers +6 at Saints: Saints 31, Steelers 28.

They may have fallen apart down the stretch and allowed the Saints to win on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, by gosh darn it, the Steelers covered and that’s all that matters. They now are in desperation mode, needing a win and some help next week to make the playoffs. That’s a real shame for them, but again, they covered for us, so all is right in the world.

After looking shaky on offense recently, the Saints got back to doing their thing at home, a scary prospect for any team that has to pass through there in the playoffs. After this win, that’s everybody, because NOLA locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC with this win. You know what that means: they’re resting their starters next week and we’re not coming anywhere near that game from a betting perspective. Total win: $5.70.

PIGGY BANK: $345.55 (8.0% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 57.9% (44-32-4)

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 758 Words

Pederson stands by Wentz as Eagles’ QB of future

 

While quarterback Nick Foles tries to guide the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs, coach

 

While quarterback Nick Foles tries to guide the Philadelphia Eagles back to the playoffs, coach Doug Pederson assured reporters on Friday that injured starter Carson Wentz remains the franchise quarterback.

 

“I can stand here and say that Carson is our quarterback,” Pederson said. “He’s our quarterback in the future. That’s why we drafted him. It’s also why we have Nick here as a backup, as a veteran player to – I don’t want to say bail us out, but to come in and execute the offense. I think we just continue to reconfirm that with Carson and let him know that.”

 

Wentz, who turns 26 next week, remains out with a fractured vertebra that might require three months of rest to fully heal, though he has not yet been placed on injured reserve.

 

Foles, who replaced Wentz late last season and led the Eagles to the Super Bowl championship, finished 24 of 31 for 270 yards and an interception as the Eagles put up 30 points in a game for just the second time this season in an upset of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night.

 

He will start again this week against the Houston Texans.

 

Foles, 30, could play his way into a healthy salary bonus and steer the Eagles into the playoffs, which seemed improbable sitting at 6-7 before beating the Rams.

 

The Super Bowl MVP’s restructured contract includes a clause that pays him an extra $250,000 for every game in which he plays at least 33 percent of the snaps, and another $250,000 if the Eagles win that game.

 

The Eagles (7-7) trail the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) in the NFC East race as they prepare to host the Texans (10-4) on Sunday.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 228 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 16 Picks

It's hard to believe we only have two weeks left in the NFL regular season. These two weeks will really test our betting mettle, because the last couple weeks of the season are always the hardest to wager on. Who's going to give their starters a little bit of a rest? Which teams

It’s hard to believe we only have two weeks left in the NFL regular season. These two weeks will really test our betting mettle, because the last couple weeks of the season are always the hardest to wager on. Who’s going to give their starters a little bit of a rest? Which teams out of the race will take their feet off the gas in order to grab a higher draft pick? At this stage in the season, there are so many things at play beyond X’s and O’s. As such, we will try to sort through the noise and tip toe around the minefield of games this week and make sure we end the regular season on the right note.

Dolphins -4 vs. Jaguars (-110)

The Dolphins made us look foolish last week when we took them +7 against the Vikings and they lost 41-24, but we’re going to give them another go. Jacksonville has looked marginally better in recent weeks, but not enough to convince me they will give Miami a decent game. This will be played in South Florida, where the Dolphins are really tough to beat. Add to that this is a do-or-die game for Miami and this should add up to at least a touchdown victory.

Of course, that being said, we will all be watching in agony as they squeak by with a three-point win. This is a pretty gross game to pick, but it’s one of the only games of the week where we can theoretically predict the motivation level of both teams. There’s a lot to be said for that this time of year. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Arizona Cardinals +14.5 vs. Rams (-110)

Once again, we have ourselves a multi-touchdown underdog and once again, we’re going to jump all over it. We are 4-for-4 this year in such bets and I don’t see it slowing down this week. The Rams are trying to take a step toward locking up home field in the playoffs and they should win this game pretty easily, but the Cardinals defense is no joke. Their offense might not be able to keep up, but if the D can help keep red zone drives to field goals, they’ll cover.

The only worry is if this game gets out of hand from the get go and the Cardinals just can’t keep up while only being able to pass. However, with a steady dose of David Johnson and controlling the clock, Arizona should be able to keep this game a little closer than most people anticipate. Let’s not forget the Rams’ offense has looked broken ever since it was embarrassed by the Bears on Sunday Night Football. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Bears -4 at 49ers (-110)

I get that the 49ers just beat the Seahawks and that they get this game at home, but Seattle is a rival. Chicago still has a shot at getting a first-round bye, and despite the Rams’ cupcake final two games on their schedule, the Bears should be playing like they have a chance at that bye. There’s just no way you can convince me Nick Mullens is going to be able to do anything against a Bears defense allowing the lowest opposing QBR in football this season.

Yes, San Francisco’s at home, and them keeping this game within a field goal is not out of the realm of possibility. However, the Bears are one of the hottest teams in football with plenty of motivation to actually win this game and give themselves a chance at a first-round bye. All of these factors added together make this a pretty good bet. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

Steelers +6 at Saints (-110)

Given how unpredictable the Steelers have been this season, this is a pretty big risk. However, the Saints have looked human in recent weeks and the Steelers really need this game more than New Orleans. It is in the Big Easy, where opponents often go to die, but this is a chance at a statement win for Pittsburgh. Even if they don’t win, it certainly should be closer than a touchdown.

Where the Saints are simply trying to clinch the top overall seed in the NFC (something they can do with a win in either of the next two weeks), the Steelers are trying to avoid falling into a wild card spot or worse. Will the desperation be enough to fuel them to a straight-up win? That remains to be seen, but I see this being a close, one-score game, which makes +6 look pretty good. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Bengals-Browns OVER 44 points (-110)

Here’s our only over/under of the week and it looks like a promising one. Cleveland’s defense has stepped up big time during their recent hot streak, but the Bengals defense is finally starting to click. They’re going to need a big day from Joe Mixon to establish the run and set up the passing game for Jeff Driskel, but that isn’t out of the realm of possibility. On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati’s defense is putrid and Baker Mayfield and Co. should be in for a field day.

We need to hope this game stays close and climbs into the 20’s. That seems likely to happen and with it, it seems more likely than not that these two teams will go over the 44-point mark that has set the over/under. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.50.

If we’re able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and go 5-for-5 this week, our big winnings on our $20 would be $507.06. There’s only two weeks left for us to pull it off. Here’s to hoping it’ll be this 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 895 Words

WR Bryant vows to return in 2019

 

New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant says the torn

 

New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant says the torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2018 season won’t end his career.

 

“I have to (play again). I got business and I got ball,” said Bryant on KRLD-FM, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

 

“I can’t end like this. I have to throw the X up.”

 

Bryant, 30, suffered the injury on the final play of his second practice with the team.

 

The three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract with New Orleans in November after being cut by the Dallas Cowboys before the season.

 

Bryant has 531 catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns in his career, but hasn’t posted a 1,000 yard season since 2014.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 58 Words

What To Look For – Week 16

PRESS RELEASE

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one

PRESS RELEASE

WORST TO FIRST: As the NFL enters Week 16, five postseason berths have been clinched and seven remain up for grabs. Nineteen of the league’s 32 teams remain in contention for a trip to Super Bowl LIII and 14 of the 16 games on this week’s schedule feature at least one team still alive in the race to Atlanta.

Two teams – the Chicago Bears (NFC North) and Los Angeles Chargers (playoff berth) – clinched a berth in the 2018 NFL postseason last week. The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. The Houston Texans (10-4), who finished in last in the AFC South in 2017, can clinch the division title at Philadelphia (1:00 PM ET, CBS) with a win or tie or if both the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans lose or tie.

In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 45 touchdown passes this season.

On Sunday night at Seattle (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Mahomes can continue his climb up the NFL’s single season touchdown pass leaderboard.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

45*

Aaron Rodgers#

Green Bay

2011

45

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 16

 

4,000 in 10: New England quarterback TOM BRADY ranks fifth in the league in passing yards (3,979) while Los Angeles Chargers quarterback PHILIP RIVERS ties for seventh  in the league with 3,951 passing yards this season. Both quarterbacks have eclipsed 4,000 passing yards in nine different seasons during their careers.

In Week 16, Brady, who faces Buffalo on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS), and Rivers, who faces Baltimore on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), can join PEYTON MANNING (14 seasons) and DREW BREES (12) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to record at least 10 seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards. Brees has 3,666 passing yards in 2018.

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 4,000 passing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 4,000+ PASSING YARDS

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis, Denver

14

Drew Brees

New Orleans

12

Tom Brady

New England

9*

Philip Rivers

Los Angeles Chargers

9#

*Has 3,979 passing yards entering Week 16

#Has 3,951 passing yards entering Week 16

 

SHAKE& BAKER: Cleveland quarterback BAKER MAYFIELD, selected first overall by the Browns in the 2018 NFL Draft, leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes on Sunday against Cincinnati (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Mayfield would surpass ANDREW LUCK (23 touchdown passes in 2012) for the second-most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era.

The most touchdown passes by a rookie selected No. 1 overall in the common draft era:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS

Peyton Manning

Indianapolis

1998

26

Andrew Luck

Indianapolis

2012

23

Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay

2015

22

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland

2018

21*

Cam Newton#

Carolina

2011

21

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 16

 

RUN & CATCH: Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY leads all running backs with 94 receptions in 2018.

With nine receptions on Sunday against Atlanta (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey would surpass MATT FORTÉ (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in NFL history.

The running backs with the most receptions in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Matt Forté

Chicago

2014

102

Larry Centers

Arizona

1995

101

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2003

100

Larry Centers

Arizona

1996

99

Chrstian McCaffrey

Carolina

2018

94*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 16

 

New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 82 receptions and needs seven catches at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to surpass REGGIE BUSH (88 in 2006) for the most receptions by a rookie running back in league annals.

The rookie running backs with the most receptions in league annals:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Reggie Bush

New Orleans

2006

88

Earl Cooper

San Francisco

1980

83

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

82*

*Entering Week 16

 

RECORD-SETTING TIGHT ENDS: Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE leads all tight ends with a career-high 1,220 receiving yards in 2018.

With 108 receiving yards against Seattle on Sunday night (8:20 PM ET, NBC), Kelce would surpass ROB GRONKOWSKI (1,327 receiving yards in 2011) for the most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season in NFL history.

The tight ends with the most receiving yards in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEIVING YARDS

Rob Gronkowski

New England

2011

1,327

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans

2011

1,310

Kellen Winslow^

San Diego

1980

1,290

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

1,258

Todd Christensen

Los Angeles Raiders

1983

1,247

 

 

 

 

Travis Kelce

Kansas City

2018

1,220*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Entering Week 16

 

Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ, who ranks third in the NFL with 101 receptions, needs 10 catches against Houston on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, CBS) to surpass JASON WITTEN (110 receptions in 2012) for the most receptions by a tight end in a single season in league annals.

The tight ends with the most receptions in a single season in league annals:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

RECEPTIONS

Jason Witten

Dallas

2012

110

Tony Gonzalez

Kansas City

2004

102

Zach Ertz

Philadelphia

2018

101*

*Entering Week 16

 

KEEP IT 100: Five players – New Orleans wide receiver MICHAEL THOMAS (109 receptions), Minnesota wide receiver ADAM THIELEN (105), Philadelphia tight end ZACH ERTZ (101), Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES (100) and Green Bay wide receiver DAVANTE ADAMS (100) – have recorded at least 100 receptions this season.

Entering Week 16, six additional players – Pittsburgh wide receivers JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER (95 receptions) and ANTONIO BROWN (90), Houston wide receiver DE ANDRE HOPKINS (94), Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MC CAFFREY (94), Kansas City tight end TRAVIS KELCE (93) and Minnesota wide receiver STEFON DIGGS (92) – currently have at least 90 receptions.

With 10 players recording at least 100 catches this season, the 2018 season would surpass the 1995 season (nine) for the most players with at least 100 catches in a single season.

The seasons with the most players with at least 100 receptions in NFL history:

SEASON

PLAYERS WITH 100+ RECEPTIONS

1995

9

2015

7

Many tied

6

 

 

2018

5*

*Entering Week 16

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 971 Words

NFL suspends Patriots WR Gordon indefinitely

 

The NFL on Thursday officially suspended New England Patriots wide

 

The NFL on Thursday officially suspended New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon, hours after Gordon announced that he planned to step away from football indefinitely to address his mental health.

 

Gordon has been returned to the Reserve/Commissioner Suspended list indefinitely for violating terms of his reinstatement from a yearlong ban for substance abuse.

 

Gordon, 27, was suspended the entire 2015 season, one year after serving a two-game suspension, all for drug violations, and has been banned a total of 56 games in his career.

 

Gordon earlier in the day released a statement saying he was taking another leave.

 

“I take my mental health very seriously at this point to ensure I remain able to perform at the highest level. I have recently felt like I could have a better grasp on things mentally. With that said, I will be stepping away from the football field for a bit to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft, as well as countless others within the Patriots organization for their continued support. I want to thank my fans for their support as well as I continue down the path of getting back to 100 (percent).”

 

“We support Josh Gordon in his continued efforts to focus on his health,” the Patriots said in a statement released 45 minutes after Gordon posted his message to Twitter. “His attempt to do so is a private matter, which we intend to respect.”

 

Gordon took a leave from the Cleveland Browns lasting more than three weeks in August. The Patriots acquired him from the Browns via trade in September. Gordon had 40 receptions and three touchdowns — averaging 18 yards per catch — in 11 games played with the Patriots. He was inactive Sept. 23 at Detroit.

 

Without Gordon, the Patriots’ receiving corps has no legitimate lead receiver.

 

Tight end Rob Gronkowski has not been his All-Pro self because of injuries, but is still third on the team with 45 catches and three scores.

 

The news comes as the Patriots make a push for another playoff run while sitting at 9-5 and coming off of a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in which the New England offense managed only 10 points.

 

In three of the team’s five losses this season, the Patriots scored just 10 points (Pittsburgh, Detroit, Tennessee).

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 332 Words

Jets’ Darnold eager to battle Rodgers, Packers

 

New York finishes the season against the Green Bay Packers

 

New York finishes the season against the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots, giving Jets rookie Sam Darnold the chance to watch two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history — Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady — up close and personal.

 

“Just the way he’s able to see the field so fast, it’s almost like he knows what the defense is going to do before the snap. For him it looks so easy and effortless,” Darnold said of Rodgers.

 

“And he has probably the best arm talent that I’ve ever seen — debatably in the NFL’s entire history. He’s just really gifted throwing the football, but on top of that, he’s super smart, so we’ve got our hands full with him.”

 

The Jets (4-10) host the Packers (5-8-1) on Sunday. Green Bay is 0-7 on the road.

 

Bothered all season by a knee injury and now dealing with a groin injury, Rodgers only ranks 14th in the NFL this season in passer rating.

 

“We have a guy coming in that to me is the best quarterback in the league when he’s healthy, and he’s going to be ready to play,” Pro Bowl Jets safety Jamal Adams said. “He’s a hell of a competitor and I’m definitely looking forward to going up against him for the first time. I used to watch him as a little boy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the matchup.”

 

Rodgers expects to be in the starting lineup, even with last week’s loss at Chicago officially ending Green Bay’s playoff hopes.

 

“I think it’s a lot about leadership,” he said of not sitting out the final two games to begin the healing process. “If I want to be listened to and followed and looked up to, how could I stand here and say that these games that don’t matter for playoffs, I’m going to cash it in? That’s just not the way I lead, and I’m super-competitive, and I want to be out there with the guys, and I look forward to being out there.”

 

Both teams have been riddled by injuries in the backfield, and that means both quarterbacks could be throwing it around Met Life Stadium.

 

Green Bay has 14 players on injured reserve, most recently running back Aaron Jones, who leads the NFL in yards per attempt. The Jets’ leading rushers, Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell, are both on IR. New York listed 19 players on Wednesday’s injury report before putting right tackle Brandon Shell on IR.

 

With Rodgers struggling, Jones out and Darnold going through rookie growing pains, the best offensive player on the field will be Packers receiver Davante Adams.

 

With 100 receptions for 1,315 yards and 12 touchdowns, Adams has a chance to break the franchise records for catches (112) and yards (1,519). Rodgers intends to give his Pro Bowl receiver every chance.

 

“He’s been a lot of fun to throw to this year,” Rodgers said. “He’s a fantastic wide receiver. The great thing about Davante is the way that he practices. He’s a fantastic professional. He’s got a great approach to the game.

 

“I would love for him to break some records. The fact that he’s put up these numbers already … is fantastic. I’d love to get him over those records because we’ve been around for a long time.”

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 502 Words

Rams (11-3) ready to restore dominance in desert

 

The Los Angeles Rams can

 

The Los Angeles Rams can only hope a game slot out of primetime can settle recent woes that have put a wrinkle into what had previously been a dominating season.

 

When the Arizona Cardinals play host to the Rams (11-3) on Sunday, Los Angeles will be coming off nationally televised defeats to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.

 

And while the focus all around will be on Sunday’s NFC West matchup, much of the attention will also be paid to veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who could be playing the final home game of his accomplished career.

 

There is a chance Fitzgerald could retire after completing his 15th NFL season. And since he will become a free agent after playing in two more games for the Cardinals, there is also a chance he could move on to a contender next season. As of now, Fitzgerald is keeping his future plans to himself.

 

“It may. It may not,” Fitzgerald said, according to nfl.com, when asked if Sunday will be his last game in front of Cardinals fans.

 

Fitzgerald says that one thing is certain: He will be ready and focused to match up against a Rams team that had just one loss before the Bears and Eagles found a way to diffuse a high-scoring team.

 

While the Rams offense was churning out points with ease in compiling an 11-1 record, the defense showed a tendency to be a bit porous. Suddenly it is the Rams offense that is in a rut, while the defense has given up just 20.3 points per game over the last three weeks after the team’s thrilling 54-51 Monday night victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

“It’s just us, turning the ball over, mental mistakes, stuff like that,” Rams Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley said after Sunday night’s defeat to the Eagles. “We know that’s not us. We’ll go watch the film. I’m not worried though. We have a great group of guys. I think we all know where we need to get better.”

 

Quarterback Jarred Goff also was selected for the Pro Bowl, but he has been a mere mortal of late, throwing six interceptions with one touchdown pass over the last three games. He had 26 TD passes in the first 11 games.

 

Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has just 10 TD passes and none in the past three weeks. But he is getting valuable experience, with some rewards mixed in, like his two victories over the San Francisco 49ers and his three TD passes against the Raiders on Nov 18.

 

“They’re really good and they have talent all around the field,” Rosen said about the Rams, a team he did not play against in Week 2 but got an up-close look at from the sideline as L.A. cruised to a 34-0 victory. “They have really good players top to bottom. Some of them play certain ways that we think we can take advantage of them, but a really good defense.”

 

Sunday’s game will also pit new Cardinals kick returner/wide receiver Pharoh Cooper against a Rams team that waived him this week. An ankle injury during the first game of the season limited Cooper to five contests this season and he was cut Tuesday so that the Rams could make roster room for the addition of running back C.J. Anderson.

 

The Rams will enter the game knowing that a win or a tie, coupled with a Bears defeat at San Francisco will clinch a top-two record in the NFC and a first-round playoff bye.

 

Gurley did not participate in a walk-through Wednesday after fighting through a tender knee against the Eagles, but head coach Sean McVay said he expects his starting running back to play against the Cardinals. Running back Justin Davis (shoulder) and linebacker Samson Ebukam (illness) also did not participate in the walk-through.

 

Cardinals offensive tackle Joe Barksdale and cornerback David Amerson should play Sunday after concussion issues. Wide receiver Trent Sherfield (ankle) and wide receiver Chad Williams (hamstring) were limited in practice. Safety Rudy Ford (ribs) was a full participant. Not practicing Wednesday: safety Budda Baker (knee), defensive end Markus Golden (ankle), defensive tackle Rodney Gunter (foot), wide receiver J.J. Nelson (illness) and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (illness). Fitzgerald did not practice, but it was not injury related.

 

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 675 Words

Patriots hunt for playoff position, host Bills

 

 

The second meeting this season between the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots looks awfully different from the first.

 

That’s clear simply from the point spread, where the Patriots (9-5) are huge-but-not-mammoth 12.5-point favorites at home. That’s a far cry from Week 8 in Buffalo, when the Bills were the second-largest home underdogs (13.5 points) in franchise history.

 

That Monday night battle was just the second start for veteran quarterback Derek Anderson — signed off the street 20 days earlier — since 2016, as rookie Josh Allen was still sidelined by an elbow injury. New England coasted through a defensive slog, ultimately winning 25-6 to drop Buffalo to 2-7.

 

But since Allen returned in Week 12, the Bills have gone 2-2 to get to 5-9, with narrow losses to the division-rival Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. While Allen’s passing numbers have been inconsistent, he’s created with his legs (351 rushing yards, three TDs since in that span) and found receivers like undrafted rookie Robert Foster (19 catches, 468 yards, two touchdowns this year) for huge gains.

 

“Offensively, they’ve got a lot of explosive weapons,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “We didn’t see Allen. He’s been impressive. Foster — they have a lot of big plays.

 

“…The quarterback is a big difference. That’s a big difference right there. But the receivers — no [Kelvin] Benjamin, Foster has emerged — they’re much different.”

 

Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott has seen significant changes in his team too, particularly in Allen’s development since returning from injury.

 

“I went back and watched the Miami game a few days ago and he looks like a different player than he did from two or three games ago, which is important and good for him,” McDermott said of Allen. “The way the game is slowing down for him is encouraging.”

 

The Patriots, meanwhile, are just 3-3 since beating the Bills, and they’re riding their first losing streak in December since 2002. New England remains undefeated (6-0) at home this season, with four of the six victories coming by at least 14 points, but there have been chinks in the armor.

 

Tom Brady’s touchdown (4.7) and interception rates (1.8) are on pace for his worst marks since the 2013 season. After finishing in the top five in passing yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, completion percentage and passer rating last year, Brady ranks fifth, 10th, T-10th, 17th and 12th, respectively, in those categories this year, meaning he could miss out on $4-5 million in incentives on his contract.

 

But McDermott doesn’t see any decline in the 41-year-old QB, who is 29-3 against the Bills in his career and was just named to his record-tying 14th Pro Bowl.

 

“To me, he looks even better than he has in years past, believe it or not,” McDermott said. “I know that the numbers may not support that, but I think his game is strong, he doesn’t turn the ball over. I think he’s as good as ever.”

 

Last week’s loss to Pittsburgh leaves New England two games back of Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers in the race for a first-round bye in the AFC. The Patriots are also a game back of the Texans (10-4), though they hold the tiebreaker after beating Houston in Week 1.

 

New England enters Sunday in great health, with only linebacker Brandon King (knee, limited) on Wednesday’s injury report.

 

McDermott sounded optimistic about the availability of running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring, limited), while the status of defensive tackle Kyle Williams (back, did not participate) remains unclear.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 538 Words

Packers QB Rodgers says he’s playing vs. Jets

 

 

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters Wednesday he plans to play through his groin injury Sunday against the New York Jets.

 

“It’s about leadership,” said Rodgers, who hurt the groin in Sunday’s loss to the Bears but played through the issue. “How can I stand here and say these games don’t matter? … That’s not the way I lead. I’m super competitive.”

 

Hours earlier, interim coach Joe Philbin declined to say definitively whether or not Rodgers would play.

 

“I’m hopeful he’s going to practice, and I’m hopeful he’s going to play,” Philbin told reporters. “But certainly, yeah it’s a little early to say exactly where everybody’s at.”

 

Rodgers did practice and took all the reps, avoiding the limited designation on the team’s injury report.

 

Many have wondered if Rodgers would not play the final two weeks, given the groin injury, the knee injury he played through earlier this season and the Packers officially being eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday.

 

Elsewhere, multiple outlets reported Tuesday that defensive tackle Kenny Clark would be placed on injured reserve after injuring his elbow in Sunday’s loss, but Philbin said he was not aware of any plans to shut down Clark “at this point in time.”

 

Clark, a 2016 first-round pick, has six sacks in 13 games this season. The team must decide this offseason whether or not to pick up his fifth-year option for 2020, which would be guaranteed only for injury.

 

Clark’s elbow injury is not considered serious and he isn’t expected to need surgery.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 203 Words

Report: Raiders to sign former Bills QB Peterman

 

The Oakland Raiders are signing

 

The Oakland Raiders are signing former Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman to their practice squad, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday.

 

The move came as Raiders backup AJ McCarron was at the hospital with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday night.

 

Peterman will work with Oakland’s scout team, according to Rapoport.

 

The Bills cut Peterman last month. The 2017 fifth-round pick appeared in eight games in two seasons in Buffalo, completing 52.3 percent of his passes for 548 yards, three touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 32.5 quarterback rating.

 

Working as an ESPN analyst at the time, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden raved about Peterman before the 2017 draft.

 

“Peterman is ready to walk in and be a contributor from day one,” Gruden wrote at the time. “He just looks like a pro quarterback.”

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 81 Words

Report: Wentz had back fracture before college

Report: Wentz had back fracture before college

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was

Report: Wentz had back fracture before college

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back when he was a redshirt freshman at North Dakota State, ESPN reported Wednesday.

The injury occurred during his childhood and was completely healed before he got to college, a league source told ESPN. The source also said that injury is not related to Wentz’s current malady, a fractured vertebra that could sideline him for the rest of the season.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Wentz’s medical report, given to teams at the NFL Scouting Combine before the 2016 NFL Draft, referred to a healed stress fracture in his back. It did not affect his draft status, as the Eagles selected him No. 2 overall.

Wentz has been characterized as “week-to-week” by Eagles coach Doug Pederson after a CT scan last week revealed the current fracture.

He has started 11 games this season, completing a career-high 69.6 percent of his passes for 3,074 yards with 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will make his second straight start (fourth of the season) when Philadelphia (7-7) plays host to the Houston Texans (10-4) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Read More 135 Words

Mr. Townsend and the Polish Prince: An American Story of Race, Redemption, and Football.

Mike Gastineau's new book Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football, written with Joe Purzycki, tells the remarkable story of Joe Purzycki, the first-ever white head football coach at a historically black college, and Nelson Townsend, the athletic director who had the courage to hire him.

In November

Mike Gastineau’s new book Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football, written with Joe Purzycki, tells the remarkable story of Joe Purzycki, the first-ever white head football coach at a historically black college, and Nelson Townsend, the athletic director who had the courage to hire him.

In November of 1980, Delaware State College lost a football game to Portland State University by the outrageous score of 105 to 0. In the wake of that loss, athletic director Nelson Townsend decided to hire Joe Purzycki as Del State’s new coach. Purzycki was well-known throughout the state of Delaware.

He had been an all-American football player at the University of Delaware and had won a championship as coach of one of the largest high schools in the state. He was young, charismatic, and in Townsend’s eyes the perfect man for the job.

There was only one problem. He was white.

Delaware State is one of dozens of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America. No HBCU had ever hired a white head football coach until Townsend hired Purzycki in 1981. The news was not well received.

Students staged angry protests, players boycotted his first meeting, 17 scholarship players quit, Purzycki’s office was vandalized, he received death threats, and the student newspaper derisively nicknamed him “the Polish Prince.”

Townsend and Purzycki stayed loyal to one another through two tough seasons as Purzycki slowly turned Delaware State’s football fortunes around. One of the players who helped was a guy who arrived as a transfer at the start of Purzycki’s second season. He was quiet, maybe even shy, and he was so small that both the coach and the AD were worried that he could handle college football. In this excerpt from the new book “Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince, they not only find out that he could handle college ball, they even eventually learn his name.

From Chapter 22

                               Townsend finished his lunch and began walking across campus on a hot afternoon in the summer of 1982. He needed to get back to his office for a meeting with a student who wanted to transfer to Delaware State and play football.

The player and his parents were visiting Dover to check out the campus and meet with Townsend to see what needed to be done. As he got close to his office, he squinted his eyes to make out three people coming from the opposite direction.

“John?” he asked. “Alice? Is that you?”

Indeed, it was. John Taylor and his wife Alice had been Townsend’s classmates at Mary N. Smith High School on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the 1950s. They exchanged hugs and hellos and laughed the way you do when you unexpectedly bump into someone you haven’t seen for a long time. Eventually, Townsend asked them what they were doing at Delaware State.

“This is my son, JT,” Taylor said. “He’s transferring here this fall and we’re supposed to meet the athletic director and the football coach.”

Townsend laughed at the series of coincidences unfolding in front of him. “I’m the athletic director,” he said as he introduced himself to JT. “Let’s head over to the office and I’ll introduce you to Coach Purzycki.”

His friend’s son was small and as they all talked, Purzycki and Townsend exchanged glances of concern as to whether he was big enough to play college football. He had attended Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte in 1981 but had been cut from the football team during the preseason, which was another red flag. Still, Purzycki was not in a position to turn away players: He needed all the help he could get.

They returned to Townsend’s office and began the paperwork for JT to become a Hornet. When Nelson asked him why he had decided to transfer he explained that he had become homesick and he thought Del State would be a better fit.

John and Alice Taylor’s son hadn’t even planned to go to college. He got a job driving a truck for a liquor warehouse right out of high school. A few months in, he realized he was hanging around his client’s establishments a little too frequently.

“I need to get out of here,” he told his father, “or I’ll end up no good.” His year in Charlotte with the Golden Bulls had been a bust athletically but he got good grades and was able to transfer into Delaware State. The NCAA ruled him eligible to play in the sixth game of the 1982 season, but he could begin practice immediately.

He had been undersized his whole life and the equipment he was issued at Delaware State hung on his body like a trench coat on a toddler.

“My head was so small that I could almost spin my helmet completely around,” he said. “My shoulder pads were way too big, and my pants sagged the way kids began wearing them in the 1990s.”

The first time he walked onto the field for practice he heard other players laughing at him. They also laughed at Ace Comer who took one look at the new guy and piped up, “Who the hell is this reject?”

Soon enough they found out. Taylor was a quiet, likable guy who showed tremendous ability from the start. “You could tell when he walked on the field that he was something special,” said Steven Holiday.

Assistant coach Walt Tullis decided that the J in JT stood for Jake. And Jake Taylor began working with the Hornets’ scout team during practice.

One day, with Purzycki watching, the scout team ran a play that called for Taylor to run a slant from the left side. He ran the route, caught the pass, put a move on his defender, and sped upfield untouched.

“I come back to the huddle and they called the same play to the other side,” he said. “I did the same thing. Caught the ball, put a move on a guy, and ran away from everybody.”

“I remember his speed was just different,” said safety James Niblack. “He’d get on you and he’d pass you. He was small and quiet off the field. But something happened when he put pads on. He became a different animal and he got stronger and faster. It was like he flipped a switch. He was true to his craft and you could tell he was going places. I remember right away thinking he’d make it to the next level.”

Linebacker Mike Colbert remembered something else about Taylor. After watching the new guy scamper past everyone on the defense, Colbert decided to put a stop to it. On the next play, Taylor caught a pass and Colbert zeroed in on him.

“He was a skinny, scrawny little guy,” said Colbert, who would lead the MEAC in tackles that year. “But he was like running into a brick wall. He was the hardest player I ever tried to tackle. He was a beast out there, he was so strong. He was the best player I ever saw.”

Taylor’s debut as a Hornet came during homecoming against Virginia State. Del State trailed 14-7 in the fourth quarter when he got his chance.

“I came into the huddle,” Taylor said, “and Rod Lester (the quarterback) looked at me and said, ‘we’re gonna run that slant pass you like.’”

Just like he had done with the scout team, Taylor caught the ball, made a move and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown to pull the Hornets to within one with about a minute to play. Suddenly, Purzycki was in position for back-to-back wins for the first time as a college coach and he wanted to go for it.

“I don’t want to tie this game,” he yelled at Billings. “I want to win it. Let’s go for two!” Billings concurred that was the right move.

Purzycki shifted into Dutch Uncle mode: “Now Herky, I need a two-point play … and it better be good.”

“I’ve got a two-point play,” Billings replied. “I don’t know how good it is, but I’ve got one.”

It was good enough to work this time (“Barely,” Billings admitted) and lifted Delaware State to a second consecutive victory and third of the season.

The Wilmington News Journal referred to the hero as “seldom-used freshman Jake Taylor,” which was accurate although to be fair, he had only recently become eligible. The touchdown was his first on offense since his days as a pee-wee football star in the Pennsauken Youth Athletic Association (he had been a defensive back in high school).

He would catch three more passes that season and by the end of the year informed everyone that they had been calling him the wrong name all season. For some reason, Tullis got it in his head that Taylor was named Jake.

“Coach,” he said one day in practice. “My name isn’t Jake. It’s John. I’m John Taylor.”

As in John Taylor, who would go on to spend nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, earning two Pro Bowls and three Super Bowl rings, and catch the game-winning pass in Super Bowl XXIII in 1989. THAT John Taylor. The one who would be selected to the NFL’s all-decade team in the 1980s.

 

                            Taylor would go on to play four years at Delaware State and establish numerous school records. He still holds the record for receiving yards in a game at the school (223 vs St. Paul’s in 1985) and is third all-time at Delaware State in career receiving yards. Both of those notes are made more remarkable considering Taylor played for a team that ran the Wing-T offense and focused more on running than passing. The two players ahead of him on the all-time list had 201 and 160 receptions in their careers. Taylor rolled up 2426 yards on just 100 career receptions.

Mr. Townsend & the Polish Prince: An American story of race, redemption, and football can be purchased at Amazon.com or requested from your local bookseller.

View the Youtube video of Coach Purzycki talking about the book here.

Read More 1644 Words

NFL Week 16: 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: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals

Total: 46.5

Not going to lie — it wasn’t easy to find a clear-cut over this week. Far too many offenses are shorthanded or struggling and far too many defenses have emerged.

But it was still surprising to see the Rams and Cardinals with a sub-47 total for their matchup Sunday in Glendale, simply because Los Angeles has made a habit of crushing weak opponents this season.

Look for the Rams, frustrated following a shocking home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, to bounce back with a strong offensive performance against an opponent that gave up 40 points to the previously-sleeping Atlanta Falcons in Week 15.

Los Angeles should easily generate more than 30 points on its own here, while Arizona should at least have a touchdown or two in it. After all, the Cards might want to avoid embarrassment in their home finale, and the Rams have surrendered a season-high 30.8 points per game over the course of the last eight weeks.

Predicted score: Rams 38, Cardinals 17

Under of the week: New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts

Total: 46.5

The Colts offense has really bounced back with Andrew Luck under center this season, but three consecutive Indianapolis games have fallen short of the Las Vegas total. And I think Vegas is once again too high with an over/under of 46.5 for Indy’s Week 16 matchup with the New York Giants.

This Colts defense is for real. It has surrendered 10 or fewer points in three of the team’s last five games and is giving up an AFC-low 12.2 points per game during that stretch.

Darius Leonard might be the defensive rookie of the year, Margus Hunt has been a revelation, and Anthony Walker, Jabaal Sheard and Quincy Wilson have also shined under the tutelage of Matt Eberflus.

Now they’re going up against a Giants team that was shut out on Sunday by the Tennessee Titans and has given up just 33 points total the last two weeks.

Saquon Barkley went cold against Tennessee and now faces an even better run defense, and Odell Beckham Jr. is dealing with a pesky quad injury. But the Indy offense also hasn’t been as crisp as it was earlier this season, so New York might hang around with a strong defensive effort from Olivier Vernon, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill and Janoris Jenkins, all of whom are playing well.

Predicted score: Colts 20, Giants 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 1-1
2018 season: 19-10-1

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 408 Words

Ray Rice speaks out against domestic violence, says ‘I’m done with football’

Ray Rice speaks out against domestic violence, says 'I'm done with football'

Ray Rice speaks out against domestic violence, says ‘I’m done with football’

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, whose name has resurfaced since video emerged last month showing Kareem Hunt pushing and kicking a woman, spoke publicly on Tuesday, saying he is done with football and that he would be willing to speak with Hunt.

The NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner’s exempt list hours after TMZ published the video on Nov. 30, and a few hours later the Kansas City Chiefs cut the running back.

The Ravens cut Rice in 2014 after two videos surfaced, the first showing him dragging his unconscious fiancée Janay Palmer out of an elevator, and the second showing him punch Janay in the face in the elevator, knocking her out. Rice has not played in the NFL since.

Speaking with Janay, now his wife, on “CBS This Morning,” Rice, 31, talked about his life in the years since his banishment from the league. And he made it clear he is not speaking out in an effort to get back into the NFL.

“Well, see that for me, is something that I understand why it was being said early on about, you know, is this a ploy to get back into football,” Rice told CBS’ Gayle King. “I’ll be the first one to say it. I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football. The pressure I was under of being a star — that was the person I hated the most.”

The couple married in March 2014, shortly after Ray Rice was charged with aggravated assault against Janay. King asked Janay Rice why she remained with Rice after the assault and why she has yet to see the video of the assault.

“I know it’s hard for people to understand,” Janay Rice said. “And I’m not here to force people to understand. It was never a thought whether I was going to leave or not, because I knew that that wasn’t him in that moment. This is somebody I’ve known since I was 15 years old. I knew that we had work to do, and I was willing to move forward and put in the work.”

When asked if he deserves a second chance of football, Ray Rice bluntly replied, “No. I didn’t deserve another chance.” Instead, he said, he got his second chance with his wife.

According to the CBS report, the NFL confirmed that Ray Rice works with the league on its domestic violence education program. Among other topics Ray Rice covered:

On his life before the assault on Janay and the subsequent fallout:

“One of the underlying issues for me was — I never wanted to ask for help. Football, for me, was my counseling. It was my therapy. It was my psychologist. It was everything.”

On the NFL’s efforts to address domestic abuse, including the current cases of Hunt and Reuben Foster:

“They’re trying to do the right thing … I know they are working with groups to try to get more of an understanding. And they’re doing the work. … I know the NFL … they’re not trying to push — they’re not trying to push people who do bad things or abuse against women. They’re not trying to push those guys on the field.”

On whether he would be willing to speak to Hunt:

“I would love to help anyone that’s willing to go the long haul.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 510 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 15 Results

We were off to such a good start, but Sunday really kicked us where it hurt. In our two Saturday games, we began the week 2-0. However, a miserable Sunday, which saw us go 0-3 ensured us one of our only losing weeks of the season. Luckily, one of those two games was

We were off to such a good start, but Sunday really kicked us where it hurt. In our two Saturday games, we began the week 2-0. However, a miserable Sunday, which saw us go 0-3 ensured us one of our only losing weeks of the season. Luckily, one of those two games was our highest confidence pick, so we were able to mitigate our losses to a degree. It’s not going to get any easier in the final two weeks of the season, so let’s take a look at what went right, what went wrong and where we go from here.

WIN: Texans -6.5 vs. Jets (-105): Texans 29, Jets 22.

For the third straight week, the Jets were part of a winning bet for us. For the first time in that span, we weren’t betting on them. Getting Houston for less than a touchdown, even in a battle of two tough defenses, seemed like a pretty good idea. Obviously, it barely worked for us, but the only reason we took it is we knew we could win this bet with a touchdown margin of victory. Still-hot Houston gave us exactly that and started our week on a high note.

Now 10-1 in their last 11 games, the Texans look like a real force to be reckoned with. They control their own fate as far as a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs goes and if Deshaun Watson is healthy with the defense humming like they are right now, look out. Total payout: $9.76.

WIN: Browns +3 at Broncos (-110): Browns 17, Broncos 16.

Like I said in this week’s column, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns won this game straight up. It being played away from home was the only thing keeping me from taking the money line in this one. We took the extra three points of cushion and it’s not a big deal we did so. Cleveland is red hot and rolled right through Denver as they cling to their playoff hopes.

It seems like the Broncos are always playing in close games, so this field goal spread felt relatively safe. Down the stretch, teams like the Browns will be interesting to keep an eye on, because that faint chance of grabbing a playoff spot can be a huge motivator. Total payout: $5.70.

LOSS: Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110): Vikings 41, Dolphins 17.

The wheels really fell off for Miami, huh? They threatened for a moment in the second half when they cut what was once a 21-0 lead into a 24-17 Vikings advantage, but then they went into hibernation. They can’t even blame the elements, because the game was indoors. Miami allowed Kirk Cousins, who has looked very pedestrian as of late, to be  a world beater and he had one of his best games of the season.

I would like to think the Dolphins should have at least earned a push in this game, especially with their playoff fate hanging in the balance, but hey, this is what Miami does every December. They’re just close enough to the playoff race to be interesting, but very rarely actually get there. Minnesota is now an interesting team to follow as they can catch the Seahawks for the No. 5 seed in the NFC.

LOSS: Cowboys over Colts (+130): Colts 23, Cowboys 0.

Yikes. Dallas hasn’t been shutout since 2003 and they looked absolutely horrific. So much for taking them in the upset. Indianapolis has been such a dangerous team to bet this season, because they are so inconsistent. Week to week, you never know what you’re going to get, so we might stay away from them in the future.

As for the Cowboys, I’m not sure what to think. The defense can only do so much and when the offense can’t move the ball, that does them no favors. We should try and forget about this game, because boy, were we off. Total payout: $0.

LOSS: Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110): 49ers 26, Seahawks 23 (OT).

What a fitting end to a horrible Sunday of betting. San Francisco, who has nothing to play for, somehow beats Seattle in overtime, despite the Seahawks needing a win to gain firm control of the No. 5 seed in the NFC. We should give the 49ers some credit as they did actually play the better game, but you always expect to see the more talented team win out. That didn’t happen today.

Russell Wilson and Company fell back down to earth, it’s just unfortunate it happened in a week we bet them. Seattle has been very good against the spread this season and has won us money on numerous occasions, so we can forgive them this one time. Total payout: $0.

PIGGY BANK: $325.35 (8.5% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 58.3% (42-30-3)

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

Read More 719 Words

McVay: Peters must ‘be better’ after confronting fan

 

Los Angeles cornerback Marcus Peters

 

Los Angeles cornerback Marcus Peters let frustration spill over during the Rams’ 30-23 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, and coach Sean McVay said Monday that Peters knows “we’ve got to be better.”

 

In a video posted on social media after the contest, Peters is seen confronting a heckler behind the Rams bench. Peters walks over to the individual, repeatedly asking where the person was from and directing several profanities toward the fan.

 

“I saw the video. I got a chance to talk to Marcus,” McVay said during his press conference. “He knows that we’ve got to be better in those situations and can’t allow whatever is going on in terms of that dialogue to affect our ability to be focused on what is going on during the game and on the field. … We had a good discussion, and he knows that.”

 

McVay said the incident was being handled internally by the Rams and that he wasn’t sure how the NFL might view the matter.

 

While McVay did not say what he and Peters talked about specifically, he added, “I wanted to have an understanding of what was going on because all I saw was that video — not exclusive to everything else that might have taken place.

 

“He and I were able to have that (talk). I like the way that he was able to communicate to me, and I trust that when those situations, if they do arise in the future, that we’ll handle it differently.”

 

Peters downplayed the incident Monday.

 

“It wasn’t nothin’, man,” he told reporters. “Just makin’ a little bit of fun with the people out there that be hecklin’ and stuff. It wasn’t nothing. Don’t take it too personal.”

 

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Taran Killam, who was at the game, said he witnessed the incident and posted his take on social media: “Saw the whole thing go down. Despite 8-10 security members and Rams personnel stepping in to diffuse the situation, Peters couldn’t let it go. Guy he was talking to was escorted out. Friend sitting closer said he overheard it had to do with old high school beef.”

 

The NFL has come down on Peters already once this season, fining him $13,000 for a lewd touchdown celebration during a Week 1 win over the Oakland Raiders. In 2017, Peters was suspended one game by his team at the time, the Chiefs, for throwing an official’s flag into the stands and arguing with a Kansas City assistant coach. He was fined $24,309 by the NFL for throwing the flag.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 378 Words

Panthers S Reid, QB Newton use cleats to send their message

 

Carolina safety Eric Reid took advantage of the NFL's "my cause, my

 

Carolina safety Eric Reid took advantage of the NFL’s “my cause, my cleats” campaign during the Panthers’ Monday night matchup against the New Orleans Saints to promote continued awareness of social injustice.

 

Reid collaborated with activist and artist Brandan “B-mike” Odums to create the cleats, which Reid said were a “tribute to the history of protest” while promoting former teammate Colin Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights Camp.”

 

The design features images of protesters holding signs that read, “I know my rights,” “If not us, who?” and “If not now, when?” The cleats also spell out the 10 points of Kaepernick’s camp platform:

 

1. You have the right to be free.

2. You have the right to be healthy.

3. You have the right to be brilliant.

4. You have the right to be safe.

5. You have the right to be loved.

6. You have the right to be courageous.

7. You have the right to be alive.

8. You have the right to be trusted.

9. You have the right to be educated.

10. You have the right to know your rights.

 

The 27-year-old Pro Bowler posted pictures of the cleats on Twitter, thanking the artist and praising Kaepernick, writing: “We all benefit and stand on … the shoulders of those giants who decided their moment was best used for the sake of the people. And it’s always the right time to do what’s right. No different from you using your moment to take a knee.”

 

Reid, Kaepernick’s former San Francisco 49ers teammate, was the first player to join Kaepernick in 2016 in kneeling during the national anthem as a protest to social injustice and police brutality.

 

Earlier this year, both players filed a collusion grievance against the NFL claiming the league and team owners colluded to keep them from playing. Reid had trouble finding work before Carolina signed him in September when starting free safety Da’Norris Searcy was placed on injured reserve. Kaepernick remains unemployed.

 

Reid has not withdrawn his grievance.

 

Also Monday night, Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had a picture of a broken broom on the side of his right cleat — a reference to the broom he was sent after the Saints swept the Panthers in three games last season.

 

Earlier in the week, Newton called the gesture “disrespectful” and said if the Panthers beat the Saints twice in the final three games this season, he would send the broom back to the person who sent it. The broom has been hanging in his locker all season.

 

On Newton’s left cleat was nod to Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, who sent the quarterback a bottle of wine after the sweep. The message on the shoe read, “Get Back, Vineyards of N.C. #1 Reserve.”

 

The Panthers posted pictures of Newton’s cleats on Twitter with the message, “Our QB has spoken #KeepPounding.”

 

The Saints beat the Panthers 12-9.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 422 Words

Seven From Sunday – Week 15

Press Release

Seven From Sunday - Week 15

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 16, the 15th week of the 2018 season.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS defeated Green Bay,

Press Release

Seven From Sunday – Week 15

A look at seven statistical highlights from games played at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 16, the 15th week of the 2018 season.

  • The CHICAGO BEARS defeated Green Bay, 24-17, and clinched the NFC North division title for the first time since 2010.

    The Bears, who finished in fourth place in the NFC North last season, completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround in 2018. In 15 of the past 16 seasons, at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place.
     
    The LOS ANGELES CHARGERS, who defeated Kansas City 29-28 on Thursday night, clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 2013.
     

  • Tennessee running back DERRICK HENRY rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the Titans’ 17-0 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

    Henry, who rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in Week 14, is the fifth player since 2002 to record at least 170 rushing yards and two touchdown runs in consecutive games, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006), DEUCE MC ALLISTER (2003), CLINTON PORTIS (2003) and RICKY WILLIAMS (2002).

    Henry’s 408 rushing yards since Week 14 are the most by a player over a two-game span in franchise history, surpassing the previous high of 405 yards set by Pro Football Hall of Famer EARL CAMPBELL in Weeks 7-8 for the 1980 Houston Oilers. His six rushing touchdowns are the most by a player in team history over any two-game span.
     

  • Chicago quarterback MITCHELL TRUBISKY completed 20 of 28 passes (71.4 percent) for 235 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 120.4 passer rating in the Bears’ 24-17 victory over Green Bay.
     
    Trubisky has recorded a passer rating of at least 120 (minimum 15 attempts) in four games this season, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer SID LUCKMAN (three games in 1943), RUDY BUKICH (three in 1965) and ERIK KRAMER (three in 1995) for the most such games by a quarterback in a single season in franchise history.
     
  • Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES had 82 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 40-14 victory over Arizona.

    Jones, who leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards, is the fifth player in NFL history with at least three career seasons with 1,500+ receiving yards, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers JERRY RICE (four seasons) and MARVIN HARRISON (three), and ANTONIO BROWN (three) and ANDRE JOHNSON (three).

    Jones, who also has 100 receptions this season, joined Harrison (three), Brown (three) and Johnson (three) as the only players in NFL history with at least 100 catches and 1,500 receiving yards in three career seasons.
                                                      

  • The BALTIMORE RAVENS, led by rookie running back GUS EDWARDS (104 rushing yards) and rookie quarterback LAMAR JACKSON (95 rushing yards), recorded 242 rushing yards in the Ravens’ 20-12 victory over Tampa Bay.

    Baltimore has rushed for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games and is the first team to accomplish the feat since the 1976 PITTSBURGH STEELERS (five consecutive games from October 17 to November 14).
     

  • Indianapolis running back MARLON MACK rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts’ 23-0 victory over Dallas. 

    Mack, who also rushed for 132 yards and two scores in the Colts’ Week 8 victory over Oakland, is the third player in franchise history to record multiple games with at least 125 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns in a single season, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (two games in 1987) and EDGERRIN JAMES (two games in both 1999 and 2005).
     

  • The MINNESOTA VIKINGS recorded nine sacks, including two sacks each from defensive end DANIELLE HUNTER and linebacker ANTHONY BARR, in the team’s 41-17 victory over Miami. 

    Minnesota, which recorded 10 sacks in the team’s Week 9 victory over Detroit, are the second team since 1990 to register at least nine sacks in multiple games in a single season, joining the 2017 JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (two games). The Vikings are the seventh team since the 1970 merger to record multiple such games in a single season.

 

 

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 586 Words

NFL roundup: Steelers knock off Brady, Patriots

 

 

Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes, and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense stopped Tom Brady and the visiting New England Patriots twice in the red zone in the fourth quarter to seal a 17-10 win Sunday.

 

The Steelers (8-5-1) ended a three-game losing streak. New England (9-5) lost its second straight and missed a chance to clinch the AFC East title. It was Pittsburgh’s first win against New England since October of 2011, with the Patriots winning the previous five meetings (including playoffs).

 

Roethlisberger threw for 235 yards, with scoring passes to Vance McDonald and Antonio Brown, and was intercepted twice by Duron Harmon. Rookie Jaylen Samuels ran for 142 yards on 19 carries (7.5 average).

 

Brady threw for 279 yards, including a touchdown to Chris Hogan, and one interception. Rob Gronkowski, who has been a Steelers-killer, was held to two catches for 21 yards.

 

Bears 24, Packers 17

 

Mitchell Trubisky completed 20 of 28 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns, and Chicago clinched its first NFC North division title since 2010 with a win over visiting Green Bay.

 

Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton each hauled in touchdowns for the Bears, and Jordan Howard scored on the ground. Chicago (10-4) snapped a five-game skid against Green Bay and clinched its first division crown at home since 2006.

 

Aaron Rodgers completed 25 of 42 passes for 274 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Jamaal Williams scored the lone touchdown for Green Bay (5-8-1), which dropped to 1-1 under interim head coach Joe Philbin and was eliminated from postseason contention.

 

Colts 23, Cowboys 0

 

Marlon Mack rushed 27 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns as host Indianapolis ended Dallas’ five-game winning streak in emphatic fashion with a shutout at Lucas Oil Stadium.

 

Adam Vinatieri added three field goals for Indianapolis (8-6), which remains in contention for the AFC’s second wild-card spot. The Colts, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans are tied at 8-6.

 

Dallas (8-6) could have wrapped up the NFC East title with a win but will have to wait for a Week 16 home game with Tampa Bay. The Cowboys were shut out for the first time since Nov. 16, 2003, when they fell 12-0 at New England.

 

Ravens 20, Buccaneers 12

 

Gus Edwards rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown as Baltimore topped Tampa Bay on a cold and rainy afternoon in Baltimore.

 

The Ravens (8-6) remain in control of the second AFC wild-card spot and in contention for the AFC North crown, rushing for 242 yards to become the first team since the 1976 Steelers with five straight games with 190 or more rushing yards.

 

Jameis Winston completed 13 of 25 passes for 157 yards and one interception for Tampa Bay (5-9). Peyton Barber rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans had four catches for 121 yards.

 

49ers 26, Seahawks 23 (OT)

 

Robbie Gould’s fourth field goal of the day, a 36-yard kick with 3:06 remaining in overtime, gave San Francisco the victory over Seattle in rainy Santa Clara, Calif., denying the Seahawks an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot.

 

Doug Baldwin caught two touchdown passes for Seattle (8-6), which can clinch a playoff spot with a win against Kansas City or Arizona in the next two weeks. It would be the Seahawks’ sixth playoff berth in the last seven seasons.

 

The win was the first for the 49ers (4-10) over their NFC West rival since December of 2013, snapping a nine-game, regular-season losing streak against Seattle. San Francisco, which surprised Denver 20-14 last week, won its second straight.

 

Titans 17, Giants 0

 

Derrick Henry followed up a record-setting performance with 170 yards and a pair of short touchdown runs as Tennessee eliminated New York from postseason contention with a shutout in East Rutherford, N.J.

 

A week after setting a franchise record with 238 yards in a Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Henry recorded his second 100-yard game of the season and fourth of his career as the Titans (8-6) are tied for the sixth seed along with Baltimore and Indianapolis.

 

The Giants (5-9) had won four of their last five games but could never develop a consistent rhythm while playing without Odell Beckham Jr., who missed his second straight game with a quadriceps injury. New York was shut out at home for the first time since Dec. 15, 2013, against Seattle.

 

Vikings 41, Dolphins 17

 

Minnesota set the tone in the first quarter with a three-touchdown outburst on the way to an easy win over visiting Miami.

 

Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to Stefon Diggs and Aldrick Robinson, and Dalvin Cook rushed for two scores and Latavius Murray ran for another as the Vikings (7-6-1) set a season high in points scored.

 

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kalen Ballage scored touchdowns, and Jason Sanders added a 25-yard field goal for Miami (7-7), which lost for the sixth time in seven road games.

 

Redskins 16, Jaguars 13

 

In a game lacking offense, visiting Washington put together two late scoring drives and got a Dustin Hopkins field goal as time expired to earn a win over disappointing Jacksonville.

 

The win ended a four-game losing streak for Washington (7-7) and keeps the Redskins alive in the NFC playoff picture.

 

In his first NFL start since 2011, Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson was 16-of-25 passing for 151 yards and a touchdown. Cody Kessler had just 57 yards passing as the Jaguars (4-10) lost for the ninth time in the past 10 games.

 

Falcons 40, Cardinals 14

 

Linebacker Deion Jones began a 26-point first-half outburst with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown and Atlanta ended its five-game losing streak with a blowout over visiting Arizona.

 

Atlanta (5-9) was led by quarterback Matt Ryan, who was 22 for 36 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran three times for 18 yards and one touchdown. Tailback Tevin Coleman rushed 11 times for a career-best 145 yards and one touchdown. He had a career-long 65-yard run.

 

Rookie Josh Rosen suffered a long afternoon for the Cardinals (3-11). He was 13 for 22 for 132 yards and two interceptions, getting lifted midway in the fourth quarter for backup Mike Glennon.

 

Bills 14, Lions 13

 

Josh Allen threw for 204 yards and accounted for a touchdown with his arm and another with his legs to help Buffalo squeak by Detroit in Orchard Park, N.Y.

 

The Bills rookie quarterback completed 13 of 26 passes without a turnover and notched his second fourth-quarter comeback. He gained 16 yards on nine carries, giving him 351 rushing yards over his past four games as the Bills (5-9) snapped a two-game losing streak.

 

Matt Stafford threw for 208 yards and a touchdown, Kenny Golladay caught seven passes for a career-high 146 yards, Theo Riddick rushed for 47 yards and Zach Zenner contributed for 45 yards and a rushing touchdown, but Detroit (5-9) still lost for the third time in four games and was officially eliminated from playoff contention.

 

Bengals 30, Raiders 16

 

Joe Mixon ran for two touchdowns, Cincinnati converted two fourth-down conversions that led to two first-half touchdowns, and the Bengals defeated Oakland in the Bengals’ final home game of the season, and perhaps Marvin Lewis’ final home game as head coach.

 

Rumors have circulated for weeks that Lewis’ 16th season as head coach of the Bengals will be his last. Cincinnati (6-8) has been hurt by injuries, with 14 players — including Andy Dalton and A.J. Green — on injured reserve.

 

The Raiders (3-11) couldn’t get their offense on track. In their first five possessions, they punted three times and fumbled twice. Not having starting guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson didn’t help quarterback Derek Carr, as Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins had three sacks.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 1205 Words

What to Look For – Week 15

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO

PRESS RELEASE

​​​​​​WHAT TO LOOK FOR – WEEK 15

WORST TO FIRST: Entering Week 15, two teams have clinched division titles – the NFC West champion LOS ANGELES RAMS and the NFC South champion NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – and five additional teams can clinch their respective divisions this week: the CHICAGO BEARS (9-4), DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5), HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4), KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2), and NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4).

For the 2018 NFL Playoff Scenarios for Week 15, click here.

As the league enters Week 15, there are 20 teams either in or within one game of a playoff spot, including 11 teams that did not advance to the postseason in 2017. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

Two teams that finished in or tied for last place in their division in 2017 – Chicago (NFC North) and Houston (AFC South) – are currently in first place in their respective divisions this season. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. Of the 46 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 23 of them have done so in the past 15 years (2003-17), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.​

HISTORY IN KC: Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES leads the NFL with 43 touchdown passes this season.

With three touchdown passes against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon Prime), Mahomes would tie DREW BREES (46 touchdown passes in 2011) for the fifth-most passing touchdowns in a single season in NFL history.

The players with the most touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Peyton Manning#

Denver

2013

55

Tom Brady#

New England

2007

50

Peyton Manning#

Indianapolis

2004

49

Dan Marino^#

Miami

1984

48

Drew Brees

New Orleans

2011

46

 

 

 

 

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City

2018

43*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Most Valuable Player

*Entering Week 15

 

HEY, ROOKIE: Denver rookie linebacker BRADLEY CHUBB leads all rookies and is tied for sixth in the NFL with 12 sacks this season.

With a sack against Cleveland on Saturday night (8:20 PM ET, NFL Network), Chubb would tie DWIGHT FREENEY (13 sacks in 2002) for the third-most sacks by a rookie in a single season since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.​

The rookies with the most sacks in a single season since 1982:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

YEAR

SACKS

Jevon Kearse#

Tennessee

1999

14.5

Aldon Smith

San Francisco

2011

14

Dwight Freeney

Indianapolis

2002

13

 

 

 

 

Bradley Chubb

Denver

2018

12*

#Named Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

JULIO ON THE RISE: Atlanta wide receiver JULIO JONES leads the NFL with 1,429 receiving yards this season. In Week 13, Jones became the first player in NFL history to record at least 1,400 receiving yards in five consecutive seasons.

Jones, who had 1,593 receiving yards in 2014 and 1,871 receiving yards in 2015, needs 71 receiving yards on Sunday against Arizona (1:00 PM ET, FOX), to become the fifth player in NFL history with three career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards.

The players with the most career seasons with at least 1,500 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS WITH 1,500+ RECEIVING YARDS

Jerry Rice^

San Francisco

4

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

3

Marvin Harrison^

Indianapolis

3

Andre Johnson

Houston

3

 

 

 

Julio Jones

Atlanta

2*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Has 1,429 receiving yards this season

 

STARS FROM SCRIMMAGE: Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT leads the NFL with 1,262 rushing yards this season.

Elliott, who has 3,876 rushing yards and 1,134 receiving yards since entering the league in 2016, needs 124 rushing yards on Sunday at Indianapolis (1:00 PM ET, FOX) to become the fifth player in NFL history with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in his first three seasons. ​

The players with at least 4,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards in their first three seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Chris Johnson

Tennessee

2008-2010

4,598

1,008

LaDainian Tomlinson^

San Diego

2001-2003

4,564

1,581

Ottis Anderson

St. Louis Cardinals

1979-1981

4,333

1,003

Barry Sanders

Detroit

1989-1991

4,322

1,069

 

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016-2018

3,876*

1,134*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*In third season

 

BRILLIANT BARKLEY: New York Giants rookie running back SAQUON BARKLEY leads all rookies with 1,753 scrimmage yards and has 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving) this season.

With 147 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns on Sunday against Tennessee (1:00 PM ET, CBS), Barkley, can become the fifth rookie with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history. ​

The rookies with at least 1,900 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns in a single season in NFL history:​​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASON

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

TOUCHDOWNS

Eric Dickerson^#

Los Angeles Rams

1983

2,212

20

Edgerrin James#

Indianapolis

1999

2,139

17

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

2016

1,994

16

Billy Sims#

Detroit

1980

1,924

16

 

 

 

 

 

Saquon Barkley

New York Giants

2018

1,753*

13*

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

#Named Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year

*Entering Week 15

 

LIGHTS, KAMARA, ACTION: New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,384 scrimmage yards this season.

Kamara, who had 1,554 scrimmage yards as a rookie in 2017, needs 83 receiving yards at Carolina on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), to join HERSCHEL WALKER (1986-87) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history. ​

The players with at least 1,500 rushing and 1,500 receiving yards in their first two seasons in league history:​

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

RUSHING YARDS

RECEIVING YARDS

Herschel Walker

Dallas

1986-87

1,628

1,552

 

 

 

 

 

Alvin Kamara

New Orleans

2017-18

1,521*

1,417*

*In second season

 

SUPERCAM: Carolina quarterback CAM NEWTON ranks third among NFL quarterbacks with 473 rushing yards this season. Newton has rushed for at least 500 rushing yards in six of his first seven seasons in the league.

With 27 rushing yards against New Orleans on Monday Night Football (8:15 PM ET, ESPN), Newton can become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in seven seasons.​

The quarterbacks with the most seasons with at least 500 rushing yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS WITH 500+ RUSHING YARDS

Randall Cunningham

Philadelphia

6

Cam Newton

Carolina

6*

Michael Vick

Atlanta, Philadelphia

6

*Has 473 rushing yards this season

Courtesy of NFL Communications

Read More 952 Words

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 15

Key takeaways from week 14:

  • New Orleans is the favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • The Cardinals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, and 49ers will not make the playoffs
  • Biggest jump: Chicago Bears (+80%)
  • Biggest drop: New England Patriots (-1300%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

{{CODE_SB_ODDS_AFTER_WEEK_14}}

Key takeaways from week 14:

  • New Orleans is the favorites to win Super Bowl 53
  • The Cardinals, Bills, Jets, Jaguars, Raiders, and 49ers will not make the playoffs
  • Biggest jump: Chicago Bears (+80%)
  • Biggest drop: New England Patriots (-1300%)

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 -16 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 15 Picks

With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we've given you winning picks consistently. We'll look to keep that going this week

With just three weeks left in the season, we have just enough time to hit our goal of 60 percent completion percentage and 10 percent return on investment. This year has been really steady minus a couple weeks as we’ve given you winning picks consistently. We’ll look to keep that going this week as the playoff race heats up and we have to consider the almighty question of “who wants it more?” You’d be surprised how many times that seems to factor into the outcome of games this late in the season. Since our only losses last week were over/unders, we’re gonna stick with straight spread picks this week.

Texans -6.5 at Jets (-105)

Coming off their first loss in months, the Texans will be out for blood against the Jets. This might be a road game, but New York has no reason to want to win this game. In fact, they’d be better off not winning it in order to get a better draft pick. That doesn’t mean they won’t try, but if they get down early, the game might be over by halftime. Houston’s defense shouldn’t allow more than 17 points to this Jets offense and that means the Texans just would have to put up 24 to cover the spread.

As Houston tries to keep its hopes alive at a first-round bye come playoff time, they’re going to have a sense of urgency in this game. The fact the spread is under a touchdown makes it a must-bet in my eyes as one of these teams has everything to play for and the other really couldn’t care less about the outcome. The bet: $5 for total payout of $9.76.

Browns +3 at Broncos (-110)

Cleveland is red hot and the Broncos are coming off a loss to the 49ers, a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Still, each of these teams has something to play for with a loss meaning they’re just about mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. With the momentum they have, it actually feels like the Browns might win this game straight up, but we will use those three points as a security blanket in case they lose a close game.

Denver has been so inconsistent this season that it feels dangerous picking any game they’re involved in, but we’re picking this game based on momentum, season-long momentum. Cleveland has a ton of it and Denver has none of it. Loser leaves town in this one and this should actually be one of the better games of the weekend. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Dolphins +7 at Vikings (-110)

I just really like road underdogs this week apparently. Miami is coming off their stunning, last-second victory over the Patriots, so you could say they’re primed for a letdown. However, they’re still very much alive in the wild AFC playoff picture. They’re also visiting a Vikings team that is spiraling out of control. Miami could very easily be the team to provide a knockout punch to Minnesota’s championship hopes, especially after the team fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo following their embarrassing showing against the Seahawks.

Minnesota is still very talented on defense, but that offense has really struggled to put anything together lately. Kirk Cousins’ confidence is at an all-time low and in a dome, the warm-weather Dolphins aren’t going to be affected by the elements. Expect Miami to give Minnesota a run for its money while the Vikings, in the end, will be able to do just enough to win a close game, giving us a Dolphins +7 victory. The bet: $3 for total payout of $5.70.

Cowboys over Colts (+130)

It is curious to me how the Cowboys could be underdogs against the Colts, even if Indy did just hand the Texans their first loss in their last 10 games. The Colts offense has been great at times, but it’s been extremely inconsistent. Against a talented and red-hot Cowboys defense, they aren’t going to be able to do a whole lot. Dallas is slowly becoming that team you don’t want to play in the playoffs, simply because their defense is capable of shutting you down for 60 minutes.

They also bleed the clock with Ezekiel Elliott when they need to control time of possession. When they’ve needed to throw the ball over the last month or so, Dak Prescott has actually looked like a competent quarterback too. The Cowboys might find a way to screw up come playoff time, but they’re one of the hottest teams in the league and as three-point underdogs, the value here is to pick them straight up to win. The bet: $5 for total payout of $11.50.

Seahawks -4.5 at 49ers (-110)

I hesitated to pick this game, because these two teams tend to play each other close no matter what. That didn’t happen in their first meeting, but that game was in Seattle. This comes down to, again, which team needs it more, though. San Francisco showed that’s not the greatest strategy for picking games as they upset the Broncos last weekend, but it should hold here. Seattle’s offense struggled against a good Minnesota defense, but the floodgates should open up against the Niners.

I have a hard time believing Nick Mullens will be able to hang with Russell Wilson for four quarters. I don’t expect this to be a blowout, but I do expect the Seahawks to win by a touchdown or so, which gives us plenty of cushion on this 4.5-point spread. The bet: $4 for total payout of $7.60.

Back to our dream scenario, which we’ve been close to several times this season with 4-1 weeks: if all five of these games hit, on a $20 parlay, we would stand to make $598.44. That would be a good way to start wrapping the season up, huh? Fingers crossed and good luck betting this weekend.

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 905 Words

Eagles QB Wentz won’t practice Wednesday, could miss Rams matchup

The Philadelphia Eagles could be without quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

 

Head coach Doug Pederson announced Wednesday morning that Wentz would miss practice due to back soreness.

 

"Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight, so we're just going to rest him

The Philadelphia Eagles could be without quarterback Carson Wentz on Sunday when they travel to face the Los Angeles Rams.

 

Head coach Doug Pederson announced Wednesday morning that Wentz would miss practice due to back soreness.

 

“Sometimes he just gets a little sore, a little tight, so we’re just going to rest him today and evaluate him further,” said Pederson. “Nothing game-related. He’s dealt with it so we’re just going to evaluate him further.”

 

Pederson did not confirm if Wentz would play Sunday at Los Angeles.

 

“Again, we’re going to focus on today, get through today, and see where he’s at at the end of the day,” he said.

 

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wentz is not likely to play Sunday and may not play again in 2018 as the team continues to gather information on his health.

 

Without Wentz, Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles would take over for the 6-7 Eagles. Foles started the first two games of the season as Wentz recovered from ACL surgery. He completed 65 percent of his passes with one touchdown and one interception in the Eagles’ 1-1 start.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 134 Words

Raiders owner responds to city’s lawsuit

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis called a lawsuit filed against the team by the city of Oakland, Calif., "meritless and malicious" at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday night, according to ESPN.

 

The federal lawsuit, announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders,

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis called a lawsuit filed against the team by the city of Oakland, Calif., “meritless and malicious” at the NFL owners meetings on Tuesday night, according to ESPN.

 

The federal lawsuit, announced by Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker, alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract, and names the Raiders, the NFL and every other team in the league.

 

While the city does not demand that the Raiders be forced to remain in Oakland, the seven-count filing in district court does seek restitution in the form of lost revenue, remaining debt on renovations to the Oakland Coliseum, court costs and fees, plus punitive damages.

 

“The City will seek a resolution for the maximum amount of damages available,” Parker said in a news release shortly before filing the lawsuit. “The lawsuit will not ask the court to prevent the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas or keep the team in Oakland.”

 

Davis told ESPN he’d leave further comment to lawyers.

 

“My feeling is we’re 3-10 and we’re still relevant,” said Davis. “It’s a legal issue, and I’ll let the attorneys make any further comment.”

 

The Raiders received league approval to relocate to Las Vegas in March 2017. They are expected to begin playing in Las Vegas when a new stadium opens in 2020. The team still does not know where it will play in 2019, though it has proposed a lease to remain in the Oakland Coliseum for one more season.

 

One of the main cruxes of the city’s argument is that the NFL’s relocation policy is “skewed” in the favor of cities looking to get a team and biased against current host cities because each team shares a part of the moving team’s relocation fee.

 

The suit also alleges the NFL uses its relocation policy to in essence strong-arm host cities into ponying up money for a new stadium, threatening to move a team out of that city should the funds not be raised.

 

The city is seeking a jury trial but makes no specific monetary demand other than amounts to be determined at trial.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 298 Words

NFL Week 15: 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: Tennessee Titans at New York Giants

Total: 43.5

The Titans and Giants don’t scream OFFENSE, which is why this total remains below the season average. But look closely.

The Titans have scored 56 points in their last two games, and they’re well-rested following a Thursday Night Football romp in Week 14. Those two high-scoring performances came at home, but if we’re considering sites it should be noted that Tennessee has also allowed 72 points on defense in its last two road games.

Meanwhile, the Giants offense has exploded since their Week 9 bye. Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. have often been unstoppable for a team that has averaged 31.4 points per game dating back to Week 10. Sure, they surrendered just 16 points last Sunday in Washington, but that was more about the Redskins’ problems than New York’s defensive prowess. The Giants have still allowed 25.1 points per game during that post-bye run.

And they scored 40 in D.C. despite not having Beckham, who should be good to return from a quad injury on Sunday.

Look for both teams to easily hit the 20-point mark in Week 15.

Predicted score: Giants 30, Titans 27

Under of the week: Dallas Cowboys at Indianapolis Colts

Total: 47

Why in the world do oddsmakers think the Cowboys and Colts will combine for 47 points Sunday in Indianapolis? Both defenses have been stout, while both offenses have lacked consistency.

The Dallas D hasn’t surrendered more than 23 points in five consecutive weeks, and that’s a stretch that includes matchups with talented offenses like Philadelphia, New Orleans and Atlanta.

Meanwhile, the Colts D has allowed just 17.1 points per game in their last seven outings, with Jabaal Sheard, Darius Leonard and Margus Hunt killing it.

It’s true that both offenses have the ability to explode at any moment, but this doesn’t look like the time or place. Both teams should be tight for an important game, the Colts are two weeks removed from a zero-point performance in Jacksonville, and the Cowboys’ bread-and-butter offensive line is dealing with multiple injuries to key players.

This should be a tense, low-scoring battle.

Predicted score: Colts 20, Cowboys 17

Good luck, we’re all counting on you. 

Previous results
Last week: 1-1
2018 season: 18-9-1

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 360 Words

Chiefs can lock up West with win over Chargers

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and -- most importantly -- a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and — most importantly — a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback must be on top of his game again Thursday night when the streaking Los Angeles Chargers look to tighten the AFC West division race.

 

Kansas City (11-2) last weekend qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time under sixth-year coach Andy Reid, using a madcap rally Mahomes engineered Sunday to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. But after burning the NFL’s top defense entering the game for 377 yards passing and two touchdowns, the no-look pass was all the rage.

 

Hey, it’s always something radical with Mahomes.

 

“I worked with him real hard on that. I built that right into the offense,” Reid cracked. “He has a knack for that. He is comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he is doing it. That’s something to do it in practice, but when you start throwing it in a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that is a little different.”

 

Confidence oozes from Mahomes, whose plus-32 touchdown-to-interception mark leads the NFL, as do his 43 touchdown passes and 45 completions of 25-plus yards. The Chiefs average 437.5 yards and 36.2 points per game, along with 6.86 yards per play, all of which lead the league.

 

“I have built that chemistry with guys like D-Rob,” Mahomes said of Demarcus Robinson, recipient of the no-look pass, “through training camp and through last year. I know that the guys are going to know what I’m thinking and trust that they are going to keep running the route the same way. Then, I put the ball out there for them.”

 

Los Angeles (10-3) will counter with pressure off both edges from defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Bosa was injured and missed the first matchup, a 38-28 Week 1 win for the Chiefs to account for Kansas City’s one-game lead over the Chargers.

 

Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games, including three straight. Its only road defeat was against the crosstown Rams.

 

Kansas City, however, has won 20 of its last 21 against AFC West rivals and is looking to secure a third consecutive division title. A better divisional record gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Chargers should Los Angeles win Thursday.

 

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is having an exceptional season for the Chargers but may need to come up even bigger against the Chiefs. Running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck) are dealing with injuries. Two rookies who have combined for 32 carries, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, are next in line.

 

“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” said Michael Badgley, a rookie kicker who set a Chargers record with a 59-yard field goal while going 4-for-4 Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be a short week, so a big mental week.”

 

The Chiefs also must deal with injuries to offensive threats.

 

Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill limped through a heel injury against the Ravens but is expected to be available. Another receiver, Sammy Watkins (foot) is likely out. Running back Spencer Ware (shoulder) is also hobbled.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 522 Words

Chiefs, Mahomes can lock up West with win over Chargers

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and -- most importantly -- a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback

An unexpected toss with his left hand, a no-look pass to a crossing receiver and — most importantly — a run toward home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs.

 

All that and so much more has defined record-setting Patrick Mahomes as a first-year starter in the NFL this season. Yet the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback must be on top of his game again Thursday night when the streaking Los Angeles Chargers look to tighten the West Division race.

 

Kansas City (11-2) last weekend qualified for the playoffs for the fifth time under sixth-year coach Andy Reid, using a madcap rally Mahomes engineered Sunday to hold off the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime. But after burning the NFL’s top defense entering the game for 377 yards passing and two touchdowns, the no-look pass was all the rage.

 

Hey, it’s always something radical with Mahomes.

 

“I worked with him real hard on that. I built that right into the offense,” Reid cracked. “He has a knack for that. He is comfortable doing it. This is the NFL and he is doing it. That’s something to do it in practice, but when you start throwing it in a game against the No. 1 defense in the National Football League, that is a little different.”

 

Confidence oozes from Mahomes, whose plus-32 touchdown-to-interception mark leads the NFL along, as do his 43 touchdown passes and 45 completions of 25-plus yards. The Chiefs average 437.5 yards and 36.2 points per game, along with 6.86 yards per play, all of which lead the league.

 

“I have built that chemistry with guys like D-Rob,” Mahomes said of Demarcus Robinson, recipient of the no-look pass, “through training camp and through last year. I know that the guys are going to know what I’m thinking and trust that they are going to keep running the route the same way. Then, I put the ball out there for them.”

 

Los Angeles (10-3) will counter with pressure off both edges from defensive ends Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Bosa was injured and missed the first matchup, a 38-28 Week 1 win for the Chiefs to account for Kansas City’s one-game lead over the Chargers.

 

Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games, including three straight. Its only road defeat was against the crosstown Rams.

 

Kansas City, however, has won 20 of its last 21 against AFC West rivals and is looking to secure a third consecutive division title. A better divisional record gives the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Chargers should Los Angeles win Thursday.

 

Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is having an exceptional season for the Chargers but may need to come up even bigger against the Chiefs. Running backs Melvin Gordon (knee) and Austin Ekeler (neck) are dealing with injuries. Two rookies who have combined for 32 carries, Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome, are next in line.

 

“It’s important to just get back to being healthy,” said Michael Badgley, a rookie kicker who set a Chargers record with a 59-yard field goal while going 4 for 4 Sunday in a win over Cincinnati. “Get back in there, go through all of our recovery, and it will be a short week, so a big mental week.”

 

The Chiefs also must deal with injuries to offensive threats.

 

Speedy receiver Tyreek Hill limped through a heel injury against the Ravens but is expected to be available. Another receiver, Sammy Watkins (foot) is likely out. Running back Spencer Ware (shoulder) is also hobbled.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 522 Words

Texans look to bounce back vs. Jets, Darnold

The Houston Texans went from 0-3 to first place in the AFC South Division, a nine-game winning streak making them one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

 

That streak came to a crashing halt in a three-point loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.

 

Now Houston gets a chance to

The Houston Texans went from 0-3 to first place in the AFC South Division, a nine-game winning streak making them one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

 

That streak came to a crashing halt in a three-point loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend.

 

Now Houston gets a chance to rebound from its first loss in two-and-a-half months Saturday afternoon when it visits the New York Jets.

 

The Texans head to East Rutherford still holding a two-game division lead over the Colts and Tennessee Titans with three weeks remaining. While Houston visits the 4-9 Jets, the Colts host the Dallas Cowboys — owners of the NFL’s longest current winning streak at five games — while the Titans visit the New York Giants.

 

During their winning streak, the Texans won five games by a touchdown or less and led at halftime of each game. On Sunday, they spent much of the game trying to rally only to come up short.

 

DeShaun Watson finished 27 of 38 for 267 yards with a touchdown pass, his 7-yard strike to DeAndre Hopkins with 2:37 left moving the Texans to within 24-21. But an offside penalty against Jadeveon Clowney on third-and-1 with two minutes remaining gave the Colts a first down and killed the Texans’ chances at completing the comeback.

 

In reality, the Texans’ inability to protect Watson (five sacks) did them in. Pass protection has been one of Houston’s biggest issues of late with opponents sacking Watson 20 times in his last five games.

 

“We didn’t play well as an offense, it is always going to be the quarterback, the head coach,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien told the media after his team’s first loss since a 27-22 setback against the Giants on Sept. 23. “I totally understand that but it just wasn’t very good as an offense. We were not able to get into a rhythm; our first-down offense was terrible. It was awful.”

 

Now the Texans will hope to correct everything against a team coming off a rare win thanks to some late-game clutch plays by rookie quarterback Sam Darnold.

 

“You let him escape, you let him start making plays, you’re going to be in a bind,” O’Brien said of the Jets’ first-round pick. “You got to stop the run. So, it’s a big challenge, but I know our guys are excited for it and we’ve got to have a good week here.”

 

The Jets were eliminated from the playoffs before taking the field in Buffalo last week but halted a six-game losing streak with a thrilling 27-23 victory thanks to Darnold’s first game-winning, fourth-quarter drive.

 

Darnold missed the previous three games because of foot sprain sustained Nov. 4 in Miami — a 13-6 loss in which he was intercepted four times. He briefly left the game against the Bills in the first half but returned and capped the comeback with a nine-play, 61-yard drive culminating in Elijah McGuire’s 1-yard run on fourth down with 1:17 remaining.

 

“It’s great for his first game back,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said on a conference call Monday. “Obviously, he was confident before the fourth-quarter comeback. But it just helps him, it just helps him be himself a little more, which he’s comfortable with being anyway, but that’s really all it does for him.”

 

Darnold finished 16 of 24 for 170 yards and highlighted by his first game-winning drive with a 37-yard pass to Robby Anderson that put the ball on the Buffalo 5-yard line.

 

“As a kid, you dream of converting two-minute drives and going down there and scoring,” Darnold told the media after the game. “To be able to score a touchdown and put the ball in their hands at the end of the game was awesome.”

 

Darnold actually nicked up his foot again at Buffalo and was limping on the game-winning drive. Bowles said he expects Darnold to play Sunday.

 

The Jets are 5-2 in seven all-time meetings with the Texans.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 609 Words

Steelers QB Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

 

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up but hurting ribs won't keep him from playing when the Steelers play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

 

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury suffered in the second quarter last week in Pittsburgh's loss to the Oakland Raiders.

 

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up but hurting ribs won’t keep him from playing when the Steelers play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

 

Roethlisberger required a pain-killing injection to deal with a rib injury suffered in the second quarter last week in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. He returned to the game in the third quarter.

 

Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio spot on Tuesday that he required X-rays in the locker room, but the tests were inconclusive. He said he was not confident he would be helping the team by returning, but opted to play.

 

“Let’s see how this plays out,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday of what he told head coach Mike Tomlin to be allowed back in the game.

 

Roethlisberger said team doctors cleared him to play, and his performance indicated he was fine. Roethlisberger completed 25 of 29 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Asked if there’s any reason to think he wouldn’t play against the Patriots, Roethlisberger said, “No, no, I don’t think so.”

 

The Steelers have lost three consecutive games and at 7-5-1 hold a slim lead over the 7-6 Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.

 

–Field Level Media

Read More 144 Words

Ballin’ on a Budget Week 14 Results

For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren't for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would've looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer

For the second straight week, we won more bets than we lost and we can be happy about that. However, if it weren’t for a Chargers strategic blunder, we would’ve looked even better, going to 4-1 for the second straight week. Nonetheless, it was another week in the black, pushing us ever closer to our end-of-year goal to have a 60 percent pick percentage and 10 percent return on investment.

WIN: Jets +3.5 at Bills (-115): Jets 27, Bills 23.

New York seemed in big trouble early in this game, but Sam Darnold and the offense turned things around in the second half. We knew this three-and-a-half-point spread was juicy since neither team is very good and it turns out we were right. For the second straight week, the Jets covered for us and this time, they even won the game straight up.

This really goes to pound the point home that if there are two teams you perceive as of equal ability, regardless of one of them being at home, taking 3.5 or more points on a spread is the way to go. Gang Green comes through again. Total payout: $7.48.

LOSS: Patriots-Dolphins UNDER 47 points (-110): Dolphins 34, Patriots 31.

Well, we were way off on this one. We didn’t take into account the weather would be beautiful in Miami and the Patriots struggle historically against the Dolphins in the month of December on the road. Of course, they still would have won if it weren’t for Miami’s miraculous lateral play on their final attempt from scrimmage, but the over/under was gone at half time. Whether you believe in Ryan Tannehill or not, the Dolphins are a different team with him on the field.

Sometimes, with bets like this, which are over before the second half, it’s better to just lick your wounds and move on. That same logic doesn’t hold for our second unsuccessful over/under of the week, which was the biggest heartbreaker you could imagine. Total payout: $0.

LOSS: Chargers-Bengals OVER 47.5 points (-110): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.

So, we lost it by half a point. Oh, by the way, the Bengals screwed up down the stretch. Cincinnati stormed all the way back and was a two-point conversion away from tying the game at 23 after a Joe Mixon one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. They didn’t get it and it kept us from hitting the over. L.A. eventually drove down and drilled a field goal with less than a minute left to extend the lead to five.

Had Cincy made that field goal, this game would have ended 26-23, with the over hitting and all of us going home happy. If it’s any consolation, the Bengals did help us in another department by keeping things close, so we owe them for that. Total payout: $0.

WIN: Bengals +14.5 vs. Chargers (-120): Chargers 26, Bengals 21.

So, we can be mad at the Bengals for not getting that two-point conversion and helping us with the over, but we can’t be mad at their overall effort in this game. We have a proven track record picking with underdogs of 14 points or more this season, but with Jeff Driskell at quarterback for Cincinnati, we were taking a chance. He actually played fairly well and rewarded our confidence in the team.

That now makes us 3-for-3 this season in picking big-time underdogs, so let’s keep an eye out for those down the stretch. That could be tricky with many good teams clinching playoff spots, but with the the race for home field in the AFC and NFC heating up, we should be able to rely on this method for at least the next couple weeks. Total payout: $7.33.

WIN: Lions -2.5 vs. Cardinals (-115): Lions 17, Cardinals 3.

This was a really gross game, but hey, the Lions covered and that’s all we care about. It was 3-0 Lions at halftime and it barely got more entertaining in the second half. Matthew Stafford had one of the worst games of his career, barely managing 100 yards, but his defense got the job done. Arizona, which looked decent against the Packers, wasn’t able to muster anything against Detroit’s D.

If you didn’t watch this game, but bet it and collected your winnings, good for you. You got the best of both worlds. This was not a game worth watching, but the fact we won some money doing it made it just a little bit easier on the eyes. Total payout: $7.48.

PIGGY BANK: $309.89 (10.7% return on investment)

PICK PERCENTAGE: 59.7% (40-27-3)

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

Read More 680 Words