Lions coach Patricia chastises reporter

Lions coach Patricia chastises reporter

Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia chastised a reporter for what he deemed a lack of respect after the reporter asked a question during a press conference on Wednesday.

After Patricia finished answering a question about Tuesday’s trade of wide receiver Golden Tate, a reporter asked, “Why do you think this move makes your franchise better?”

Patricia paused for a moment before saying, “Ah, well, you know — do me a favor just kinda sit up. Just like, have a little respect for the process. Every day you come and ask me questions and you’re just kinda like you know, ‘Gimme this,’ but I mean –”

The reporter responded, “I’m sitting,” and Patricia continued, “I’m asking just to be a little respectful in this whole process.”

The reporter replied, “Okay, that’s fine,” and Patricia continued, “So ask me a question professionally and I’ll answer it for you.”

“Okay,” the reporter said. “Why do you feel like this move makes your franchise better?”

Patricia then answered the question, citing the value the team was able to get for Tate, and referring to the “bigger picture” of building a team.

In the final year of his deal, Tate was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a third-round pick, a move many saw as a sign that the Lions don’t expect to compete this season and are instead planning for the future. It came a week after the Lions made what many saw as a win-now move in acquiring defensive tackle Damon Harrison for a fifth-round pick from the New York Giants.

Patricia is in his first year as head coach of the Lions after a long tenure with the New England Patriots.

–Field Level Media

History on the line: Porous Bengals try to stop Saints

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

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

No defense has allowed three straight 500-yard games. In order to avoid the ignominy, the

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

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

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

Hello, Drew Brees.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some things to watch Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium:

THE NEW GUY

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

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

THOMAS’ TIME

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

BIGGEST BLEMISH

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

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

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

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

OH THAT HISTORY

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

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

MISSING GREEN

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

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

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

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Vrabel gets 1st crack coaching against Belichick, Patriots

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel won three Super Bowl rings over eight seasons with the New England Patriots. He even caught eight passes — all for touchdowns and all thrown by Tom Brady.

Then Bill Belichick traded the linebacker away to Kansas City in 2009.

"We didn't talk for a couple months,

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel won three Super Bowl rings over eight seasons with the New England Patriots. He even caught eight passes — all for touchdowns and all thrown by Tom Brady.

Then Bill Belichick traded the linebacker away to Kansas City in 2009.

“We didn’t talk for a couple months, maybe a year,” Vrabel said. “Then we became friends, and I used him as a resource when I started my coaching career, and still talk to him a lot now. This week we’re competitors.”

In his first season as an NFL head coach with Tennessee, Vrabel gets his first crack at both his old coach and former team Sunday when the Titans (4-4) host the Patriots (7-2).

The men share some of the same philosophies about football, though not personalities.

Titans cornerback Logan Ryan, who spent his first four seasons in New England, says Vrabel’s also younger and taller than Belichick. Vrabel may dress a bit better too during games, and Ryan sees some other similarities.

“They’re hard-nosed. They care about the fundamentals,” Ryan said.

For his part, Belichick says Vrabel will be a great coach with his passion and football knowledge as a player easily carrying over. Belichick also believes Vrabel deserves to be recognized in the Patriots Hall of Fame and yes, the Nashville native cheers for Vrabel and the Titans every game except this one.

“It will be the Patriots against the Titans,” Belichick said. “That’s what it will be.”

The Patriots have won six straight after beating Green Bay 31-17 last week. They also have won the past seven against the Titans, including playoffs, with the most recent a 35-14 romp in the divisional round last January. The Titans snapped a three-game skid Monday night with a 28-14 win in Dallas.

Some things to know about the Patriots and Titans:

LAST THREE

Only a trio remains of those who played alongside Vrabel during his tenure in New England: Brady, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and special teams captain Matt Slater. Brady spent eight seasons with Vrabel from 2001 to 2008. Gostkowski arrived in 2006, and Slater was a rookie during Vrabel’s final season in 2008 before being traded.

“His body can do it longer than mine could at the position that he plays,” Vrabel said of Brady.

NEW ENGLAND TIES

Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty spent his first eight seasons with the Titans and now plays alongside twin brother, Devin, in New England. Trying to rebuild, Tennessee has stocked up on former Patriots including general manager Jon Robinson, Vrabel, Ryan, right guard Josh Kline. Robinson signed cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back Dion Lewis this offseason. Also, Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees was an assistant and coordinator with the Patriots. He was the linebackers coach in 2004-05 and defensive coordinator in New England from 2006-2009.

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman called Lewis a fiery jitterbug.

“He meant a lot to me when he was here. Now I hate him,” Edelman said with a smile.

DEFENDING BRADY: Brady enters this game having won five straight against the Titans. His lone loss came in 2002 in a 24-7 setback during Brady’s third year in the league. That also was his only meeting with the Titans in which he didn’t have a touchdown pass and the only time he threw an interception.

In six regular-season meetings with Tennessee, Brady has thrown for 1,561 yards, 12 touchdowns and the one interception, while completing 66 percent of his passes.

“He’s seen every look in the book, and even ones that haven’t been in the book,” Vrabel said of Brady. “Anytime that somebody’s open, they get the football. Anytime you make a mistake, he’s always going to find the guy that you make a mistake on and get them ball really quickly.”

MORE BRADY

The three-time MVP will play his 300th game, including the postseason, Sunday. Brady will join Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks to reach that mark, and the Patriots quarterback needs four TD passes to pass Peyton Manning (579) for most TD passes in NFL history for regular season and postseason combined. The Titans, the NFL’s top scoring defense and also best in the red zone, are allowing only 17.6 points per game and have allowed three TDs in a game only twice this season.

MERRY-GO-ROUND

Tennessee has to be ready for an unconventional look in the Patriots’ backfield. With rookie Sony Michel nursing a knee injury the past two weeks, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has emerged as New England’s go-to threat at running back. Patterson led the Patriots in rushing each of the past two games, including 61 yards and a 5-yard touchdown last week.

Both Michel (knee) and Patterson (neck) started this week limited in practice. Belichick currently has just two healthy running backs: James White and Kenjon Barner.

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

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

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Harbaugh, Flacco seek strong finish in 11th year with Ravens

BALTIMORE (AP) — Having worked in unison for 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco are under pressure to extend their extraordinary bond to an even dozen years.

The emergence of first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson and a three-game losing streak have raised questions about the future of a

BALTIMORE (AP) — Having worked in unison for 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco are under pressure to extend their extraordinary bond to an even dozen years.

The emergence of first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson and a three-game losing streak have raised questions about the future of a coach and quarterback who reached the postseason in each of their first five seasons together and capped the run with a Super Bowl victory.

Recently, however, the Ravens have stumbled. They’ve missed the postseason for three consecutive years and entered their bye week with a 4-5 record.

General manager Ozzie Newsome will step down after this season, and Baltimore’s performance over the last seven games could go a long way toward determining if the transition will extend to a change at head coach and/or quarterback.

Following a lackluster 2017 season that could be attributed in part to a slow-healing back injury, Flacco has been solid this year. He’s thrown for 2,465 yards and has 12 touchdown passes with only six interceptions.

Though Harbaugh has allowed the fleet-footed and elusive Jackson to receive several snaps each game, he’s not about to make a quarterback change at this pivotal point in the season.

“Joe has played well, so I don’t want to get into all of that,” Harbaugh said. “We’re rolling right now with what we have.”

Harbaugh took the job as Ravens coach in 2008 with Flacco as a rookie quarterback. Flacco started the opener, the first of his 163 regular-season games under Harbaugh — second-most in NFL history by a quarterback who’s spent his entire career with the same head coach. Only Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have more (260).

But the Ravens didn’t trade up to get Jackson just to keep the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner on the sideline. The former Louisville star ranks second on the team with 139 yards rushing and has completed seven of 12 passes, most of them during mop-up duty.

The challenge for Harbaugh is to determine when, and how often, to use the rookie. It’s a tricky problem, in part because the Ravens often keep Flacco in the game when Jackson enters so the defense won’t know who will take the snap when the huddle breaks. If Jackson is the quarterback, then Flacco lines up as a receiver who almost certainly won’t be a target.

“I sure hope not,” Flacco said with a grin.

Jackson ran for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns at Louisville. He’s far more of a threat with his legs than the 33-year-old Flacco, leaving the opposition to guess whether Jackson will keep the ball, hand it off or pass.

“The stats say we’re over twice as effective running the ball with Lamar on the field. That’s even with the 10-man football that people say we’re playing,” Harbaugh said. “The numbers don’t lie there. That’s probably why I say I’d like to get him on the field more, because you always want to do things that are effective more.”

Though unyieldingly loyal to Flacco, Harbaugh didn’t dismiss the possibility of using Jackson for an entire series.

“I would say that’s an option, yes,” Harbaugh said.

The strange thing about all this is that the Ravens have not made use of another quarterback who has started in 41 NFL games, including the playoffs. Retained as part of the 53-man roster in case Flacco or Jackson gets hurt, Robert Griffin III has been inactive every game this season.

Whether Griffin gets to play remains to be seen. For now, the Ravens are focused on finding the right mix between Flacco and Jackson.

Jackson enjoys contributing, though he would prefer better results.

“It’s very cool, but I feel like I need to do more,” he said. “We need to score more points. I’ve got to help my team move the ball.”

The Ravens planned to use the bye week to rest and get healthy. Starting tackles James Hurst (back) and Ronnie Stanley (ankle) missed a 23-16 loss to Pittsburgh last Sunday, and it’s essential that Baltimore have a full offensive line against Cincinnati at home next week.

The defense has to get better, too. After getting 11 sacks in a 21-0 rout of Tennessee on Oct. 14, the Ravens have yielded 83 points during a skid that has put their postseason chances in jeopardy.

“We’re not eliminated yet. We’re in a hole, and now we have to dig ourselves out,” safety Eric Weddle said. “We just have to get our minds refreshed and refocused, then come back and get after it.”

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Texans shake off terrible start with 6-game winning streak

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

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

While the 2013 Drake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Patriots put win streak on line vs. Vrabel’s Titans

Patriots put win streak on line vs. Vrabel's Titans

Patriots put win streak on line vs. Vrabel’s Titans

The New England Patriots have won six straight games since a former team insider engineered a stunning upset on Sept. 23.

Don’t look now but another head coach intimately familiar with the Patriot Way is itching for a similar triumph on Sunday.

Former Patriots defensive star Mike Vrabel matches wits with Bill Belichick for the first time and looks to post a much-needed victory when the Tennessee Titans host the red-hot Patriots in Nashville.

New England (7-2) has won four games by two touchdowns or more since former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia coached the Detroit Lions to a convincing 26-10 win in Week 3. The latest victory was a solid 31-17 performance against the Green Bay Packers.

“I still don’t think we’ve played our best football yet,” Patriots running back James White said. “We’re still working, still trying to improve, especially as an offense. We can be better.”

New England may have to be in top form against the Titans (4-4), who lead the league in scoring defense (17.6 points per game) and rank eighth in total defense (333.5 yards per game).

Tennessee’s defensive success isn’t a surprise to Belichick, who always was impressed by Vrabel’s intelligence and tenacity during the eight seasons he coached him.

“Mike’s got a lot of great qualities — great player, tough mentally and physically, smart, had a real passion for the game, was in great condition, could go all day, loved to play, loved to practice, great leadership,” Belichick told reporters of the first-year Tennessee coach. “So I have a ton of respect for Mike and I think he’s been a great (assistant) coach. I think he’ll be a great head coach.”

Vrabel initially had hard feelings after the Patriots traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs following the 2008 season but credits Belichick for having a huge impact on why he became a coach — first at Ohio State and later with the Houston Texans.

“I used him as a resource when I started my coaching career and still talk to him a lot now,” Vrabel told reporters. “This week we are competitors — we are always competitors, as I am still coaching and so is he.

“… I think that spending time there, there are some similarities that I believe in and you grow up as a player believing in. But we have a different personality. … I respect his friendship and respect his guidance and leadership when I played there.”

The Patriots are averaging 30 points per game — fourth in the NFL — but could be without tight end Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back) and impressive rookie running back Sony Michel (knee). The status of both will be determined later in the week. Gronkowski (29 receptions for 448 yards and one touchdown) missed the victory over the Packers and Michel (422 yards) has sat out the last two games. Michel is expected to play barring a setback in practice.

Quarterback Tom Brady continues to perform well no matter who is on the field. The 41-year-old has thrown for 2,494 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

Titans signal caller Marcos Mariota is impressed with Brady’s continued dominance.

“He’s done an incredible job and I think he has kind of laid the blueprint out for a lot of young guys,” Mariota told reporters. “When you are playing into your 40s, I think it says a lot about how he is taking care of his body, how he has done it. Because the lifespan in the NFL is so short, so for him to exceed that and more says a lot about what he has done.”

Tennessee cornerback Malcolm Butler gets to play against his former team of four seasons for the first time. Butler was infamously benched for the Super Bowl last February when the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Belichick had no interest in fielding a question about Butler and instead discussed the Tennessee defense.

Butler didn’t have a lot to say.

“It’s just a game,” Butler said. “I know I used to play for New England and all of that. I’m not over-hyped, I’m not very pumped. It’s just another game. I’ve got to be ready to play no matter who I play.”

–Field Level Media

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Bryant joins Brees, Saints for date with Bengals

Bryant joins Brees, Saints for date with Bengals

As if Drew Brees didn't

Bryant joins Brees, Saints for date with Bengals

As if Drew Brees didn’t have enough offensive weapons in his multi-faceted arsenal, the New Orleans Saints added yet another – free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant – just before they take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

In the latest sign that the 7-1 Saints are going all-in to win a Super Bowl this season behind the leadership and veteran skills of the 39-year-old Brees, New Orleans signed Bryant to a one-year deal on Thursday. Bryant was released in the spring after playing for eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, averaging 66.4 catches per season, 14.0 yards per catch and 73 touchdowns.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about him,” said Brees, who has led the Saints to seven consecutive victories and is averaging 292 passing yards per game with a league-best 76.3 completion percentage, 18 touchdown passes and only one interception. “I think he’ll add a good element to already a pretty good cast of skill players. I look forward to getting to work with him.”

Saints coach Sean Payton did not indicate if or how much Bryant would play against the Bengals — his first practice was Thursday and his knowledge of the playbook would be limited – but it is clear Payton wants a complement to second-year receiver Michael Thomas, who has 70 catches for 880 yards and five scores. The Saints’ next most productive wide receiver, rookie Tre’Quan Smith, has just 12 catches.

“Dez has been a really good player in this league for a very long time,” Brees said. “There’s certainly a skill set that he has that’s going to be very beneficial. I think he’ll be a great addition.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, whose 5-3 team is coming off a bye week, said it was hard to guess how much of an impact Bryant would have on the Saints’ game plan.

“I don’t need to speculate,” Lewis said. “I’ve not seen Dez play football this season. Dez was a good player with the Cowboys and had a lot of production. But he’s going to a new team, and we’d be wasting time speculating whether or not he’s going to be up and part of that (active gameday roster of) 46.”

The Bengals likely will be without one of their most important offensive weapons. Wide receiver A.J. Green, who has caught 45 passes for 687 yards (15.3-yard average) and scored six touchdowns, has a toe injury.

“It’s just a tough loss seeing our best player go down,” said receiver Tyler Boyd. “It’s just more opportunities for the rest of our guys to make plays.”

“It is a huge impact,” Payton said of not having to face Green. “He is someone that commands a ton of coverage respect. He is one of their better players. That is always difficult.”

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (hip), linebacker Nick Vigil (knee), cornerback Darqueze Dennard (strernoclavicular), tight end Tyler Kroft (foot) and guard Alex Redmond (hamstring) also did not practice Wednesday.

The Saints are battling injuries on their offensive line. Starting tackles Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk and center Max Unger practiced on a limited basis because of sore knees, as did left guard Andrus Peat (hip).

–Field Level Media

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Bears expect Mack back when Lions visit

Bears expect Mack back when Lions visit

A couple of first-year head coaches will meet when the

Bears expect Mack back when Lions visit

A couple of first-year head coaches will meet when the Chicago Bears host the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

But the early results have been much different for Chicago’s Matt Nagy and Detroit’s Matt Patricia.

The Bears are 5-3 and sit in first place in the NFC North as they pursue their first playoff appearance since 2010. Alternatively, the Lions are in last place at 3-5 and hope to avoid a three-game skid this weekend.

Just don’t bring up any playoff chatter with Nagy. Not yet, at least.

“Never,” Nagy said in comments published by the Chicago Daily Herald. “You’ll never hear that from me. You’ll never hear the word ‘playoffs’ from me. Because we’re worried about (Game) 9. If we worry about playoffs, then we’re worrying about the wrong thing. We have a lot of season left.”

That includes home-and-home games against the rival Lions, who have won three straight games against the Bears and nine of the previous 10. This is the 177th all-time meeting between the clubs, with Chicago holding an all-time advantage of 97-74-5.

The Bears enter the weekend fifth in the NFL with an average of 29.4 points per game. The Lions are 20th with 22.5 points per game.

On defense, the Bears are No. 4 with an average of 19.1 points allowed. Detroit has let up 26.3 points per game, which is 23rd in the league.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has a 96.1 passer rating in his second season. He has passed for 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Trubisky’s counterpart on the opposite sideline will be Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, now in his 10th season. The Georgia alum has a nearly identical passer rating at 96.5 and has passed for 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

A sprained right ankle has sidelined Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack for the past two games, and his status is uncertain for Sunday. In a likely positive sign, Mack was available for a Wednesday practice for the first time since Week 6.

That might not be viewed as a positive for the Lions, who allowed Stafford to be hit 17 times with 10 sacks against Minnesota last week.

Chicago also expects to welcome back tight end Adam Shaheen, who has not played since injuring his right foot and ankle in the preseason.

For the Lions, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah told reporters “I feel amazing” after his first game back from a shoulder injury that kept him out for two months.

Ansah registered a sack last week against the Minnesota Vikings and has a four-game sack streak in games in which he has played. That is tied for the longest sack streak in franchise history.

This will be the first game for Detroit since it fired special-teams coordinator Joe Marciano. The team has struggled in many facets of special teams this season, including a No. 24 ranking in kick return yards allowed and a last-place No. 32 ranking in punt return yards allowed.

“It’s never really an easy decision when you have to try to make a move in the middle of the season,” Patricia said. “But just kind of taking a look at the evaluation of everything so far, from what we’ve done so far in the season and moving forward, I just thought it was the best thing right now to make that move and kind of go forward without Joe. …

“He’s a great man, a good person. Just thought the move was necessary.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Steelers WR Brown ticketed for driving over 100 mph

Report: Steelers WR Brown ticketed for driving over 100 mph

Report: Steelers WR Brown ticketed for driving over 100 mph

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was reportedly cited for driving in excess of 100 mph at 10 a.m. on Thursday morning.

CBS-TV (KDKA) in Pittsburgh reported police responding to a nearby bank robbery caught Brown going over 100 mph in a 45 mph zone. Brown is not a suspect in the bank robbery.

The Steelers play Thursday night at Heinz Field.

Brown, per the report, was driving a black Porsche. Police ticketed Brown for reckless driving.

The Steelers have not commented on the report.

–Field Level Media

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Browns owner Haslam yields to GM Dorsey in coaching search

Browns owner Haslam yields to GM Dorsey in coaching search

Browns owner Haslam yields to GM Dorsey in coaching search

Owner Jimmy Haslam plans to yield to a general manager in the team’s search for a new head coach for the first time.

General manager John Dorsey, hired in December 2017, agreed to retain Hue Jackson after the Cleveland Browns went 0-16 last season. Jackson was fired Oct. 29.

ESPN reported Dorsey will lead the search for Jackson’s replacement with Haslam and his wife Dee signing off on the finalists.

Previous searches were engineered by Haslam, who hired Jackson, and teamed with Joe Banner to find the franchise’s two previous coaches: Mike Pettine and Rob Chudzinski.

Dorsey said at the press conference announcing Jackson’s firing that he appreciated the chain of command put in place by Haslam.

Haslam is expected to consider interim coach Gregg Williams if the team does well in the final seven games.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles RB Sproles injures hamstring

Eagles RB Sproles injures hamstring

Eagles running back Darren

Eagles RB Sproles injures hamstring

Eagles running back Darren Sproles, set to return from a hamstring injury for the first time since Week 1, was sidelined during Wednesday’s practice by another hamstring injury.

Philadelphia expected Sproles back in the lineup, primarily as a kick returner, for Sunday’s NFC East game with the Dallas Cowboys.

Offensive tackle Lane Johnson also returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday.

Sproles has been idle since injuring his hamstring in the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

With Sproles returning, the Eagles released DeAndre Carter, who has served as the team’s punt returner.

Newly acquired wide receiver Golden Tate could be thrust into return duty.

–Field Level Media

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Saints sign WR Bryant, place Meredith on IR

Saints sign WR Bryant, place Meredith on IR

Dez

Saints sign WR Bryant, place Meredith on IR

Dez Bryant joined the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, taking the No. 88 and a roster spot vacated by wide receiver Cam Meredith.

Meredith was placed on injured reserve and will undergo knee surgery, head coach Sean Payton said.

Bryant’s deal is for the remainder of the season and is worth $600,000.

Meredith, 26, missed the 2017 season with a knee injury and was signed away from the Chicago Bears as a restricted free agent in the offseason. Meredith signed a two-year, $10 million deal.

Bryant, 30, worked out for the team and quickly agreed to a deal after being a free agent since April.

The Saints previously placed wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on injured reserve.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins-Buccaneers Preview Capsule

WASHINGTON (5-3) at TAMPA BAY (3-5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Buccaneers by 2

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Washington 5-3, Tampa Bay 3-5

SERIES RECORD - Tied 11-11

LAST MEETING - Redskins beat Buccaneers 31-30, Oct. 25, 2015

LAST WEEK - Redskins lost to Falcons 38-14; Buccaneers lost to Panthers

WASHINGTON (5-3) at TAMPA BAY (3-5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE – Buccaneers by 2

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Washington 5-3, Tampa Bay 3-5

SERIES RECORD – Tied 11-11

LAST MEETING – Redskins beat Buccaneers 31-30, Oct. 25, 2015

LAST WEEK – Redskins lost to Falcons 38-14; Buccaneers lost to Panthers 42-28

AP PRO32 RANKING – Redskins No. 15, Buccaneers No. 25

REDSKINS OFFENSE – OVERALL (25), RUSH (10), PASS (25).

REDSKINS DEFENSE – OVERALL (10), RUSH (5), PASS (20).

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (2), RUSH (30), PASS (1).

BUCCANEERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (29), RUSH (15), PASS (30).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — These franchises have split 20 regular-season meetings, as well as pair of postseason matchups: Bucs won 1999 NFC divisional playoff game 14-13, and Redskins took 2005 NFC wild card game 17-10. … QBs Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick both entered NFL in 2005, Smith as No. 1 overall pick in draft and Fitzpatrick as seventh-round selection, No. 250 overall. … Smith coming off passing for season-high 306 yards and one touchdown in loss to Falcons. In two career games vs. Bucs, 14th-year pro has thrown for 431 yards with four TDs and one interception for 114.7 rating. … Redskins RB Adrian Peterson has three consecutive 100-yard games, including last year with Cardinals, against Tampa Bay. … Washington lost WR Paul Richardson (shoulder), LG Brandon Scherff (pectoral muscle) and LG Shawn Lauvao (knee) to season-ending injuries against Falcons. They signed T Austin Howards and Gs Jonathan Cooper and Luke Bowanko. … Fitzpatrick making sixth start of season for Bucs, second since Jameis Winston was benched. He threw for 243 yards, four TDs and two interceptions in last week’s 42-28 loss at Carolina. Bucs have been outscored 103-27 in first half of Fitzpatrick’s last three starts, all losses. … Fitzpatrick has three games with four or more TD passes, most in NFC this season. … Bucs WR Mike Evans has five games with 150-plus receiving yards since 2015, second most in NFC behind Julio Jones. … Bucs WR Adam Humphries and TE O.J. Howard each had two TD receptions last week. … Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul has sack in six of past seven games. He’s third in NFC with eight. … Fantasy tip: WR DeSean Jackson, who spent three seasons with Redskins before signing with Bucs as free agent in 2017, is averaging 22.4 yards per catch and has five TDs: four receiving and one rushing. Jackson stands second all-time with 29 TDs of 50-plus yards, including three this year.

___

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Giants-49ers Preview Capsule

NEW YORK GIANTS (1-7) at SAN FRANCISCO (2-7)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

OPENING LINE - 49ers by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD - New York 3-5, San Francisco 3-6

SERIES RECORD - Tied 20-20

LAST MEETING - 49ers beat Giants 31-21, Nov. 12, 2017

LAST WEEK - Giants had bye, lost to Redskins

NEW YORK GIANTS (1-7) at SAN FRANCISCO (2-7)

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

OPENING LINE – 49ers by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD – New York 3-5, San Francisco 3-6

SERIES RECORD – Tied 20-20

LAST MEETING – 49ers beat Giants 31-21, Nov. 12, 2017

LAST WEEK – Giants had bye, lost to Redskins 20-13 on Oct. 28; 49ers beat Raiders 34-3

AP PRO32 RANKING – Giants No. 30, 49ers No. 28

GIANTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (20), RUSH (31), PASS (9).

GIANTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (21), RUSH (23), PASS (16).

49ERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (18), RUSH (4), PASS (25).

49ERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (14), RUSH (12), PASS (17).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Teams have second-lowest combined winning percentage (.176) for “Monday Night Football” game played Nov. 1 or later. Lowest is .167 for 3-9 Jets vs. 1-11 Chargers in 1975 that featured Hall of Fame QBs Joe Namath, Dan Fouts. … Giants started 1-7 for second straight year. New York only had two seasons that bad after eight games before last season: 0-8 in 1976, 1-7 in 1980. … Giants QB Eli Manning seeks third straight outing with at least 300 yards passing. … New York WR Odell Beckham Jr. has two straight and three of four games with at least eight catches, 130 yards receiving. … Giants rank second worst with 10 sacks. … New York has TDs on 40 percent of red-zone trips, second-worst in NFL. … QB Nick Mullens makes second start for 49ers. Mullens joined Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton as only players with at least 250 yards passing, three TDs, no INTs in first career game. … Mullens’ 151.9 rating was highest by QB in debut with at least 20 attempts since merger. … San Francisco’s George Kittle had 71-yard catch last week, becoming first TE with two 70-yard catches in same season since 1972. … Niners DE Cassius Marsh had career-high 2 1/2 sacks last week. … San Francisco had eight sacks as team vs. Raiders, most in game since 2009. … Fantasy tip: Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley has at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven of eight games, ranks third overall with 1,016 yards from scrimmage on season.

___

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Falcons-Browns Preview Capsule

ATLANTA (4-4) at CLEVEAND (2-6-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE — Falcons by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Atlanta 3-5, Cleveland 4-4

SERIES RECORD — Browns lead 11-3

LAST MEETING — Browns beat Falcons 26-24, Nov. 23, 2014

LAST WEEK — Falcons beat Redskins 38-14; Browns lost 37-21 to Chiefs

AP

ATLANTA (4-4) at CLEVEAND (2-6-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE — Falcons by 3

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Atlanta 3-5, Cleveland 4-4

SERIES RECORD — Browns lead 11-3

LAST MEETING — Browns beat Falcons 26-24, Nov. 23, 2014

LAST WEEK — Falcons beat Redskins 38-14; Browns lost 37-21 to Chiefs

AP PRO32 RANKING — Falcons No. 14, Browns No. 27

FALCONS OFFENSE — OVERALL (5), RUSH (28), PASS (2).

FALCONS DEFENSE — OVERALL (28), RUSH (17), PASS (29).

BROWNS OFFENSE — OVERALL (23), RUSH (9), PASS (23).

BROWNS DEFENSE — OVERALL (30), RUSH (29), PASS (27).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES __ Falcons have overcome numerous injures to win three straight and crawl back to contention. Atlanta has placed six players on injured reserve. … QB Matt Ryan completed 26 of 38 passes for 350 yards and four TDs last week. Ryan completing 71 percent of passes, has 19 TDs, three INTs. … WR Julio Jones had seven catches for 121 yards and one TD — his first in 12 games. With 13 yards Sunday, Jones will reach 10,000 in career and become fastest player to reach milestone, in 104 games. … Rookie WR Calvin Ridley had six catches for 71 yards and TD last week. … Falcons have converted league-high 53.3 percent on third downs. Only one other team (Indianapolis, 52.2) over 50 percent. … Falcons rushed for 154 yards at Washington. … Atlanta bolstered lackluster pass rush this week, signing free agent Bruce Irvin. Falcons have only 17 sacks. … Falcons limited Redskins to 79 yards rushing last week. … K Matt Bryant has missed past two games with hamstring injury. Giorgio Tavecchio is 11 for 11 on field goals and extra points. … Browns have dropped four straight, and are 0-1 under interim coach Gregg Williams. … Browns’ .786 winning percentage against Falcons is team’s highest against any opponent. … Rookie QB Baker Mayfield completed season-high 29 passes last week and had two TDs for third straight game. … Mayfield leads rookie QBs in average yards, completions, attempts, percentage. … Browns RB Duke Johnson had best game last week with nine receptions for 78 yards and two TDs. … Browns still lead league with 23 takeaways — 10 more than last season. … Browns DE Myles Garrett leads team with nine sacks and has 16 in first 20 NFL games. … Fantasy tip: Johnson had breakout last week and figures to get more touches under coordinator Freddie Kitchens, his running backs coach who took over when Todd Haley got fired.

___

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Cowboys-Eagles Preview Capsule

DALLAS (3-5) at PHILADELPHIA (4-4)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

OPENING LINE — Eagles by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Cowboys 3-5, Eagles 3-5

SERIES RECORD — Cowboys lead 66-52

LAST MEETING — Cowboys beat Eagles 6-0, Dec. 31, 2017

LAST WEEK — Cowboys lost to Titans 28-14; Eagles had bye, beat Jaguars

DALLAS (3-5) at PHILADELPHIA (4-4)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

OPENING LINE — Eagles by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Cowboys 3-5, Eagles 3-5

SERIES RECORD — Cowboys lead 66-52

LAST MEETING — Cowboys beat Eagles 6-0, Dec. 31, 2017

LAST WEEK — Cowboys lost to Titans 28-14; Eagles had bye, beat Jaguars 24-18 on Oct. 28

AP PRO32 RANKING — Cowboys No. 20; Eagles No. 11

COWBOYS OFFENSE — OVERALL (27), RUSH (6), PASS (29)

COWBOYS DEFENSE — OVERALL (4), RUSH (10), PASS (5)

EAGLES OFFENSE — OVERALL (15), RUSH (18), PASS (14)

EAGLES DEFENSE — OVERALL (17), RUSH (2), PASS (25)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Teams meet on “Sunday Night Football” for 10th consecutive season and 12th time overall. … Cowboys are 0-4 on road this year. … QB Dak Prescott has eight TDs, no INTs in last five games vs. division. … RB Ezekiel Elliott has 289 scrimmage yards in two games vs. Eagles. … WR Amari Cooper scored TD in his Dallas debut last week after trade from Oakland. … WR Cole Beasley has team-high 366 yards receiving, only 64th most in NFL. … DE DeMarcus Lawrence had sack and forced fumble last week after three straight games without sacks. … LB Jaylon Smith had first career fumble recovery against Titans. … LB Sean Lee reinjured his hamstring and is out. … Cowboys have allowed 24 plays of 20-plus yards, fewest in league. … Cowboys have allowed second-fewest points in NFL. … Eagles are 17-5 at home under coach Doug Pederson. … QB Carson Wentz has thrown at least one TD with no more than one INT in 21 straight games, tied with Matt Ryan for longest streak in NFL history. … Wentz has attempted at least 30 passes and had a 115.0 passer rating in four straight games, tied with Peyton Manning for longest such streak. … WR Golden Tate makes Eagles debut after trade from Detroit. Tate had eight catches for 132 yards, two TDs vs. Cowboys on Sept. 30. … TE Zach Ertz is fourth in league with 61 catches. … WR Alshon Jeffery has 14 TDs in last 17 games. … Rookie RB Josh Adams had career-best 61 yards vs. Jaguars. … LB Jordan Hicks has 71 tackles and three sacks. … Fantasy tip: Cooper had 66 yards receiving and TD last year vs. Eagles and faces banged-up secondary.

___

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Patriots-Titans Preview Capsule

NEW ENGLAND (7-2) at TENNESSEE (4-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE — Patriots by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — New England 6-3, Tennessee 5-3

SERIES RECORD — Patriots lead 25-16-1

LAST MEETING — Patriots beat Titans 35-14, Jan. 13

LAST WEEK — Patriots beat Packers 31-17; Titans beat Cowboys 28-14

AP

NEW ENGLAND (7-2) at TENNESSEE (4-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE — Patriots by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — New England 6-3, Tennessee 5-3

SERIES RECORD — Patriots lead 25-16-1

LAST MEETING — Patriots beat Titans 35-14, Jan. 13

LAST WEEK — Patriots beat Packers 31-17; Titans beat Cowboys 28-14

AP PRO32 RANKING — Patriots No. 2, Titans No. 17

PATRIOTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (9), RUSH (14), PASS (11)

PATRIOTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (24), RUSH (14), PASS (26)

TITANS OFFENSE — OVERALL (30), RUSH (t-16), PASS (30)

TITANS DEFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (16), PASS (8)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Patriots QB Tom Brady will play 300th career game, including postseason, and join Brett Favre (326) as only NFL QBs to appear in 300 career games. … Brady needs three TD passes to tie Peyton Manning (579) for most in NFL history, also including playoffs. … Patriots have won seven straight vs. Titans and Brady is 7-1 all-time vs. Titans, including playoffs. … Patriots need win to guarantee 18th straight season with .500 record or better, which would be second only to Dallas’ streak of 21 straight between 1965-85. … Patriots have won six straight. … Brady has 10 TD passes with no interceptions and 134.7 passer rating in past three vs. Tennessee. Brady is fifth in NFL with 221 completions. … Patriots RB James White has TD in seven games this season and is tied for fourth in NFL with 10 total TDs. … Patriots WR Josh Gordon had five catches for team-high 130 yards last week. … Patriots WR Cordarrelle Patterson had career-high 11 carries for 61 yards and TD run last week operating out of backfield. … Patriots CB Jason McCourty had 13 interceptions in eight seasons with Titans between 2009 and 2016. … Patriots have had at least one takeaway in each game this season. … This is Titans’ lone home game in November. Titans have won 12 of last 15 home games. … Titans allowing NFL-low 17.6 points per game. … Tennessee leads NFL in red-zone defense, allowing seven TDs on 22 trips (31.8 percent). … Five different Titans had sack in last game. … Titans S Kevin Byard tied for NFL lead with 10 interceptions since start of 2017 season. … Tennessee is least-penalized team in NFL. … Titans QB Marcus Mariota is 0-2 vs. Patriots. … Mariota had season-high 119.9 passer rating last week, throwing for 240 yards and two TDs. He also ran for 32 yards and TD. … Fantasy tip: Mariota. Titans QB completed passes to nine receivers in last game and is growing more comfortable with new offense each week.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Jaguars-Colts Preview Capsule

JACKSONVILLE (3-5) at INDIANAPOLIS (3-5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE - Colts by 1½

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Jacksonville 3-5, Indianapolis 4-4

SERIES RECORD - Colts lead 22-12

LAST MEETING - Jaguars beat Colts 30-10, Dec. 3, 2017

LAST WEEK — Jaguars had bye; Colts had bye, beat Raiders 42-28 on

JACKSONVILLE (3-5) at INDIANAPOLIS (3-5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE – Colts by 1½

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Jacksonville 3-5, Indianapolis 4-4

SERIES RECORD – Colts lead 22-12

LAST MEETING – Jaguars beat Colts 30-10, Dec. 3, 2017

LAST WEEK — Jaguars had bye; Colts had bye, beat Raiders 42-28 on Oct. 28

AP PRO32 RANKING – Jaguars No. 21, Colts No. 23.

JAGUARS OFFENSE – OVERALL (22), RUSH (24T), PASS (26).

JAGUARS DEFENSE – OVERALL (2), RUSH (24), PASS (1).

COLTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (10), RUSH (12), PASS (13).

COLTS DEFENSE – OVERALL (23), RUSH (19), PASS (23).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Jaguars have lost four straight overall and five of six since starting 2-0. … Jacksonville has won two straight and four of last five in series. … Sunday’s game is first of two between division rivals over next four weeks. … Jags’ defense had 14 sacks in two games vs. Colts last season. … Blake Bortles’ QB rating (95.9) against Colts is second-highest total against any team he’s faced more than once. … Bortles has started 69 consecutive games. … RB Leonard Fournette expected to return after missing six of last seven games with strained right hamstring. … RB T.J. Yeldon ran for career high 122 yards against Colts in Indy last year. … DE Calais Campbell has 11 sacks in eight games against AFC South foes. … Jags are only team in NFL with perfect mark on field goals (12 of 12), thanks to Josh Lambo. … WR Donte Moncrief makes first appearance against Colts after signing with Jaguars in free agency. … Jags are allowing league-low 190.0 yards passing per game. … Jacksonville had 14 sacks in two games vs. Colts in 2017. … Indianapolis has won two straight and hasn’t won three in row since November 2015. … Five of Colts’ final eight games are against AFC South foes. … QB Andrew Luck has not been sacked in last 154 pass attempts dating to second offensive play against New England on Oct. 4. It’s longest stretch of pro career. … RB Marlon Mack had career highs for yards rushing in last two games and is first Indy back with consecutive 100-yard games since Joseph Addai in 2007. … K Adam Vinatieri will be honored in pregame ceremony for breaking NFL’s career scoring record two weeks ago at Oakland. Vinatieri needs one win to tie George Blanda (209) for most regular-season wins in league history. … Rookie LB Darius Leonard continues to lead league in tackles (88) and solo tackles (58). Fantasy tip: Vinatieri is always good bet against usually stingy Jaguars. But TE Eric Ebron (seven TD catches) might be even better pick after making TD reception in four of last five games.

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Chargers-Raiders Preview Capsule

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-2) at OAKLAND (1-7)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE - Chargers by 10

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Los Angeles 4-4, Oakland 2-6

SERIES RECORD - Raiders lead 63-53-2

LAST MEETING - Chargers beat 26-10, Oct. 7

LAST WEEK - Chargers beat Seahawks, 25-17; Raiders lost to 49ers, 34-3

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-2) at OAKLAND (1-7)

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE – Chargers by 10

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Los Angeles 4-4, Oakland 2-6

SERIES RECORD – Raiders lead 63-53-2

LAST MEETING – Chargers beat 26-10, Oct. 7

LAST WEEK – Chargers beat Seahawks, 25-17; Raiders lost to 49ers, 34-3

AP PRO32 RANKING – Chargers No. 6, Raiders No. 32

CHARGERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (8), RUSH (5), PASS (12).

CHARGERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (19), RUSH (20), PASS (18).

RAIDERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (19), RUSH (24), PASS (15).

RAIDERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (27), RUSH (32), PASS (24).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Chargers have won three straight in series. … Los Angeles QB Philip Rivers completed 75 of 100 passes for 994 yards, six TDs, no INTs, 126.0 rating in last three vs. Oakland. … Chargers won five straight overall and have best record at midpoint since 2006. … Chargers activated K Michael Badgley from practice squad after Caleb Sturgis released following two missed PATs, one missed FG last week. Badgley made all three FGs and seven PATs in two games earlier this year. … Chargers averaging league-high 7.72 yards per play on first down. … Los Angeles has 14 sacks past four games; Oakland allowed 14 sacks in last three games. … Raiders allowed second most points as a franchise through eight games (252), tied for second-fewest takeaways (6). … Oakland allowing 6.76 yards per play, most for any team since merger through eight games. … Raiders lost four straight by at least 14 points for first time in franchise history. Longest single-season streak in the NFL since merger is six. … Oakland’s 31-point loss last week was most lopsided in coach Jon Gruden’s career. … Raiders have been outscored 55-3 in last five quarters. … Oakland allowing 113.9 passer rating, on pace for worst in franchise history. Worst for any team over full season is 116.2 for Saints in 2015. … Raiders QB Derek Carr sacked 24 times, tied for second most in career over full season. … Raiders stand last in NFL with seven sacks. Oakland released leading pass rusher Bruce Irvin two months after trading star LB Khalil Mack. … Fantasy tip: Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has 394 yards from scrimmage, three TDs in last three meetings with Raiders. Gordon has three 100-yard rushing games in last four overall.

___

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Bills-Jets Preview Capsule

BUFFALO (2-7) at NEW YORK JETS (3-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE — Jets by 7½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Buffalo 3-6, New York 3-6

SERIES RECORD — Bills lead 61-54

LAST MEETING — Jets beat Bills 34-21, Nov. 2, 2017

LAST WEEK — Bills lost to Bears 41-9; Jets lost

BUFFALO (2-7) at NEW YORK JETS (3-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE — Jets by 7½

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Buffalo 3-6, New York 3-6

SERIES RECORD — Bills lead 61-54

LAST MEETING — Jets beat Bills 34-21, Nov. 2, 2017

LAST WEEK — Bills lost to Bears 41-9; Jets lost to Dolphins 13-6

AP PRO32 RANKING — Bills No. 31, Jets No. 26

BILLS OFFENSE — OVERALL (31), RUSH (23), PASS (32).

BILLS DEFENSE — OVERALL (3), RUSH (11), PASS (3).

JETS OFFENSE — OVERALL (29), RUSH (16t), PASS (28).

JETS DEFENSE — OVERALL (14t), RUSH (18), PASS (13).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Jets having won three of last four in AFC East rivalry. … Bills have lost four straight and five of six. Looking to avoid first five-game losing streak since 2011, when they dropped seven in row. … Bills uncertain who’ll start at quarterback. Rookie Josh Allen has missed three games with sprained right throwing elbow, but practiced on limited basis Wednesday. Veteran Derek Anderson was in concussion protocol. Nathan Peterman completed career-high 31 passes last week, but also had three interceptions and has 12 INTs in first 130 passes. … Bills have just three TD passes. According to Pro Football Reference, Buffalo is 20th team since 1940 with three or fewer TD passes through nine games, and fourth since 2000 — joining 2009 Raiders (3), 2009 Browns (3) and 2000 Bengals (2). … Bills have scored just two TDs in last four games, while opponents have returned four turnovers for TDs. Buffalo has been outscored 103-20 in last three games, and has trailed by 22 or more after first half four times this season. Bills have been outscored 147-43 in first half. … RB LeSean McCoy off to worst start of career with 267 yards rushing and has yet to score. McCoy had 10 yards on 10 carries vs. Bears. He needs 77 yards from scrimmage to reach 14,000 for career. … WR Terrelle Pryor had two catches for 17 yards in Bills debut last week after being cut by Jets two weeks before with injury settlement while dealing with groin ailment. He had two TD catches in six games with New York. … TE Logan Thomas had career-high seven catches last week. … LB Julian Stanford, with Jets from 2015-17, had career-high eight tackles and first career sack and forced fumble last week. … K Stephen Hauschka has 233 career field goals and needs one to tie Hall of Famer Lou Groza for 50th on NFL’s all-time list. … Jets on three-game losing streak, second such skid this season. Last lost four straight to close out last season. … Rookie QB Sam Darnold unlikely to start because of strained right foot that kept him out of practice. Backup Josh McCown expected to replace him. McCown hasn’t thrown pass this season, and last appeared in regular-season game in Week 14 of 2017 in Denver when he broke left hand. … RB Isaiah Crowell ranks eighth in NFL and fifth in AFC with 533 yards rushing. … RB Elijah McGuire had 30 yards on seven carries and three catches for 37 yards in season debut after spending first eight games on IR with broken foot. … WR Rishard Matthews, who replaced Pryor on Jets, has no catches in two games. He played no snaps on offense last week at Miami. … TE Chris Herndon had three-game TD streak ended vs. Dolphins, but had career-best 62 yards receiving. … LB Jordan Jenkins had two sacks last week and leads Jets with 4 1/2. … S Jamal Adams only player in NFL with seven or more passes defensed (eight) and seven tackles for loss (seven) this season. … K Jason Myers leads NFL with 20 field goals and tied for fourth in league among all players with 78 points scored. … Fantasy tip: McGuire has stepped into injured Bilal Powell’s dual-threat role out of backfield for Jets and could make for solid play in points-per-reception leagues.

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Dolphins-Packers Preview Capsule

MIAM (5-4) at GREEN BAY (3-4-1)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE - Packers by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Miami 5-4, Green Bay 3-5

SERIES RECORD - Dolphins lead 10-4

LAST MEETING - Packers beat Dolphins 27-24, Oct. 12, 2014

LAST WEEK - Dolphins beat Jets 13-6; Packers lost to Patriots

MIAM (5-4) at GREEN BAY (3-4-1)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

OPENING LINE – Packers by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD – Miami 5-4, Green Bay 3-5

SERIES RECORD – Dolphins lead 10-4

LAST MEETING – Packers beat Dolphins 27-24, Oct. 12, 2014

LAST WEEK – Dolphins beat Jets 13-6; Packers lost to Patriots 31-17

AP PRO32 RANKING – Dolphins No. 19, Packers No. 16

DOLPHINS OFFENSE – OVERALL (28), RUSH (21), PASS (26).

DOLPHINS DEFENSE – OVERALL (26), RUSH (28), PASS (22).

PACKERS OFFENSE – OVERALL (6), RUSH (19), PASS (6).

PACKERS DEFENSE – OVERALL (16), RUSH (22), PASS (10).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Dolphins won last matchup at Lambeau Field, 23-20 in OT in 2010. … Dolphins have lost past three road games while being outscored 107-47. … Miami is above .500 despite being outgained by 704 yards and outscored by 38 points. … QB Brock Osweiler makes fifth start for injured Ryan Tannehill (shoulder). . Osweiler threw for 202 yards and score in last game against Packers while with Texans in 2016. … RB Kenyan Drake averaging 4.8 yards per carry, but has had six or fewer in five of Miami’s nine games. Drake’s 73 carries trail 104 for 35-year-old Frank Gore. … Miami is fourth worst in third-down conversions (34 percent). … Miami ranks first with 15 interceptions, including four last week against Jets. … Dolphins rank third in both punt return and kickoff return average, but last in kickoff return coverage. … P Matt Haack had seven punts inside 20 last week, tied for third most in NFL game since 1991. Haack’s tied for NFL lead with 26 punts inside 20 this season. … Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ 60.6 completion percentage is below career 64.8 percentage. Rodgers has thrown 15 touchdowns to one interception, leading league with 0.3 percent interception percentage. … RB Aaron Jones leads NFL at 6.03 yards per carry. … WR Davante Adams first player in franchise history with at least five catches in first eight games of season. … LB Blake Martinez, who has ankle injury, has 46 tackles and four sacks in last five games. … Rookie CB Jaire Alexander has INT and six passes defended in past three games. … Defense ranked 21st in red zone (61.5 percent). … Fantasy tip: Rookie WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling poised for more playing time with WR Geronimo Allison (groin) going on injured reserve. Valdes-Scantling has 15 catches for 317 yards and two scores in last three games. Dolphins rank 28th while allowing 8.2 yards per catch.

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