Rams, Jaguars take top 2 spots in latest AP Pro32 poll

NEW YORK (AP) — And the winner is …. the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams, who have looked dominant in the first two weeks of the regular season, have grabbed the top spot from the New England Patriots in the latest AP Pro32 poll on Tuesday.

The Rams received nine of the 12 first-place votes and 380 points in balloting by media members who regularly cover the NFL.

The Rams are coming off a 34-0 rout of the listless Arizona Cardinals and will host the Chargers at the Coliseum on Sunday in an All-LA matchup.

“(Coach) Sean McVay rested most of his starters in the preseason, but the Rams already look like they’re in midseason form after another dominating win, albeit over a woeful Cardinals team,” Newsday’s Bob Glauber said.

The Jacksonville Jaguars earned the remaining three first-place votes for 375 points. The Jaguars moved up three spots after their impressive 31-20 win over the Patriots, who fell to No. 5.

“At least for now, the AFC’s early season torch has been passed to the Jaguars after last Sunday’s thumping of New England,” said Alex Marvez of The Sporting News.

The Minnesota Vikings stayed at No. 3 after rallying to tie the rival Green Bay Packers 29-29 at Lambeau Field.

“The Vikings got better when they signed (kicker) Dan Bailey,” said Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

Bailey was signed after the Vikings waived Daniel Carlson following his missed three field-goal attempts. The fifth-round draft pick from Auburn missed field goals of 48, 49 and 35 yards, with the last two failed tries coming in overtime.

The Packers also kept their spot at No. 6 after the league’s second consecutive week with a tie.

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, who are off to a 2-0 start, moved up three places to No. 4.

Mahomes had six touchdown passes for the Chiefs, who are coming off a 42-37 victory over Pittsburgh and will face the San Francisco 49ers in their home opener on Sunday.

“The thrilling Pat Mahomes Show is covering up some serious defensive deficiencies at the moment,” said Ira Kaufman of Fox 13 in Tampa, Florida.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by a resurgent Ryan Fitzpatrick, vaulted seven spots to No. 8 after topping the Philadelphia Eagles 27-21.

The Buccaneers will face another challenge when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

“Need to beat Steelers now,” Fox Sports’ John Czarnecki said of the Bucs.

The Eagles, who will get back quarterback Carson Wentz following his knee injury when they host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, dropped five spots to No. 7.

The Atlanta Falcons inched up a spot to No. 9 after earning their first win of the season with a 31-24 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

And the surprising Cincinnati Bengals rounded out the top 10 after topping Baltimore 34-23. The Bengals will be without running Joe Mixon for a few weeks following his knee surgery. They will face the Panthers and Falcons on the road in the next two weeks.

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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.

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Giants WR Beckham misses practice Wednesday

Giants WR Beckham misses practice Wednesday

Giants WR Beckham misses practice Wednesday

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did not practice Wednesday due to the quadriceps strain that forced him to miss New York’s win over the Washington Redskins last week.

Beckham caught a touchdown pass and threw another against the Chicago Bears in the Giants’ overtime win in Week 13. New York won without him, 40-16, over the Redskins last Sunday when Beckham was ruled out due to the leg muscle issue.

“We’ll try and get him back as quickly as possible,” Shurmur said Wednesday on a conference call with Tennessee media. “He is feeling better each day. I don’t think he is going to practice today, but we’ll see as the week progresses.”

Beckham has 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns in 2018, a bounceback year from his injury-shortened 2017 season during which he played four games and recorded 25 catches due to an ankle injury.

–Field Level Media

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Bills’ RB McCoy misses practice Wednesday

Bills' RB McCoy misses practice Wednesday

Bills’ RB McCoy misses practice Wednesday

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy won’t practice Wednesday and his status is uncertain for Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Lions.

“We’ll just take it one day at a time right now,” said head coach Sean McDermott when asked if he expects McCoy will be able to practice this week.

McCoy hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets. The 30-year-old running back left the game after nine plays — he had one yard on two carries — on Buffalo’s opening drive and has struggled with leg muscle strains in recent seasons.

Chris Ivory served as the Bills’ primary ballcarrier and finished the game with 42 yards on 12 carries.

McDermott said Ivory will practice Wednesday, and also the team signed running back Keith Ford from the practice squad, indicating the Bills aren’t certain whether McCoy will see action Sunday.

“Keith, for a rookie, has worked extremely hard since Day 1. He continues to earn the right,” said McDermott.

–Field Level Media

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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

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Flacco returns, Ravens stick with QB Jackson

Flacco returns, Ravens stick with QB Jackson

Baltimore Ravens

Flacco returns, Ravens stick with QB Jackson

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday that quarterback Lamar Jackson will be the starter vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, with veteran starter Joe Flacco dressing as his backup.

“The starting quarterback will be Lamar (Jackson). Joe (Flacco) will be the No. 2 quarterback,” Harbaugh said Wednesday.

Jackson missed the final two plays of Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after hurting his ankle but X-rays taken at the stadium postgame were negative.

“My brain, and my heart, and my experience says this is the way to go,” Harbaugh said.

Robert Griffin III was the backup and finished out the game as Flacco was inactive, but Harbaugh said afterward that Flacco was medically cleared from his hip injury and could have played.

Harbaugh has been cagey about his plans at quarterback once Flacco is healthy enough and prepared to play. He has repeatedly declined to answer questions about who will start moving forward, though he has not ruled out the possibility of Flacco and Jackson playing for stretches.

For his part, Flacco has been supportive of Jackson and said Wednesday he would embrace the role of backup. Flacco declined to delve further into his future plans, or what this decision means for him or the Ravens.

“I thought Lamar has done a great job,” Flacco said.

Sunday’s game will be the first time Flacco has ever dressed as the backup for an NFL game.

Jackson finished 13 of 24 for 147 yards and two scores while rushing 13 times for 71 yards in Sunday’s loss.

He is now 59 of 101 for 687 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions this season in four starts and other scattered snaps, while rushing 95 times for 475 yards and three scores on the ground.

However, Jackson has fumbled eight times (six as a rusher), including a strip-sack that set up the Chiefs for a would-be game-winning field goal late in regulation Sunday. Harrison Butker missed from 43 yards, leading to overtime.

–Field Level Media

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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

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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

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Broncos, Browns on playoff fringe ahead of matchup

Broncos, Browns on playoff fringe ahead of matchup

Broncos, Browns on playoff fringe ahead of matchup

The Denver Broncos were high on quarterback Baker Mayfield long before he was taken first overall in the NFL draft in April.

They plan to keep him from beating them on Saturday night.

Mayfield, the brash, outspoken Cleveland Browns rookie, visits Denver for a Week 15 showdown with both teams clinging to their slim postseason hopes. The Browns (5-7-1) are having their best season in years and are coming off a 26-20 win over Carolina.

The Broncos (6-7) had their three-game winning streak ended at San Francisco on Sunday in a game they desperately needed. Denver was feeling good after getting back to .500 and into the thick of the wild-card race, but as has been the case this season, it struggled against a young quarterback.

The Broncos have lost to rookies Sam Darnold (New York Jets), Nick Mullens (49ers) and second-year star Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City). They did they beat Josh Rosen of Arizona and Jeff Driskel of Cincinnati, and they have another chance against Mayfield on Saturday.

“He’s got a neat personality,” Denver coach Vance Joseph said after practice Tuesday. “It’s kind of a — it’s loose, but it’s tight. Very, very intelligent, but a very, very confident person.”

Mayfield could find success against a banged-up secondary that will be without Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who suffered a fractured left fibula against the Bengals on Dec. 2. Harris said he is improving, but he won’t be ready for Saturday.

Without him, and the status of Tramaine Brock (ribs) and Isaac Yiadom (separated right shoulder) in question, Denver is vulnerable on the back end. The Broncos signed rookie safety Trey Marshall off the practice squad Tuesday to add to the depth.

The Browns have the weapons to take advantage, with Mayfield showing plenty of poise and wide receiver Jarvis Landry running routes. They can mix things up with running back Nick Chubb.

The biggest turnaround for Cleveland has come after the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Gregg Williams is now the interim head coach, and Freddie Kitchens was promoted to offensive coordinator.

With Kitchens calling plays, Mayfield has thrown 11 touchdown passes in five games, and his quarterback rating is 114.4 compared to from 78.9 under Haley.

With the short week, both teams practiced Tuesday instead of having a regular day off. For Denver, linebacker Shaquil Barrett (hip), Harris, wide receiver Courtland Sutton (quadriceps), Yiadom and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe (concussion) did not practice.

Joseph said Sutton should play Saturday but didn’t have an update on Wolfe.

Tight end Orson Charles (ankle), tackle Austin Corbett (foot), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (biceps), cornerback Denzel Ward (concussion) and center J.C. Tretter (ankle) did not practice for Cleveland. Tretter has been dealing with the ankle injury for two months but has battled through the last seven games. He is normally held out of practice to stay ready for games.

“From a guy who barely practices all week to have the game plan down and then fight through it on Sundays for everybody else, it is great to have,” Mayfield told The Cleveland Plain Dealer after Sunday’s game. “He is a very, very important piece out there to have to be able to make calls and direct guys the right way and lead.”

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Roethlisberger expects to start Sunday

NFL notebook: Roethlisberger expects to start Sunday

Pittsburgh

NFL notebook: Roethlisberger expects to start Sunday

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up, but sore ribs won’t keep him out of action when the Steelers play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

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

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger is dealing with bruised ribs. Roethlisberger said during his weekly radio spot on Tuesday that he required X-rays in the locker room, but the tests were inconclusive.

–The Minnesota Vikings fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo.

The move comes after the Vikings’ 21-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, the team’s third defeat in its past four games. Minnesota has finished with fewer than 300 yards of total offense four times in the past five games.

Quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski has been elevated to interim offensive coordinator and will take over play-calling duties.

–Injured running back Melvin Gordon is not expected to be in uniform Thursday when the Los Angeles Chargers visit the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL Network reported.

However, Gordon was officially limited in Tuesday’s practice, noteworthy progress considering he was unavailable entirely since the original knee injury.

NFL Network reported that Gordon and his primary backup, Austin Ekeler (neck, concussion), likely would miss the showdown at Arrowhead Stadium. Specifically, coach Anthony Lynn told the network that the team isn’t optimistic either player would suit up.

–The Titans placed right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith on injured reserve due to knee injuries. Both starters were hurt during Tennessee’s 30-9 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Thursday.

Veteran Dennis Kelly is expected to replace Conklin, and Anthony Firkser will step in for Smith.

–The Detroit Lions placed veteran defensive end Ziggy Ansah on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury. The team did the same with tight end Michael Roberts, who also has an injured shoulder.

To replace them on the roster, the Lions signed tight end Jerome Cunningham and offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi from their practice squad.

Ansah, 29, has had a lost season while playing on the franchise tag. He hurt his shoulder after 19 snaps in Week 1 and did not play again until Week 9.

–The Los Angeles Rams placed running back Malcolm Brown and cornerback Dominique Hatfield on injured reserve.

Brown injured his collarbone earlier this month. Hatfield, primarily a special teams player, needs surgery after injuring his left ankle Sunday.

–The Philadelphia Eagles’ pursuit of a playoff spot grew more difficult when they placed running back Corey Clement (knee) and defensive end Josh Sweat (ankle) on injured reserve.

The Eagles signed running back Boston Scott and defensive end Daeshon Hall to fill the voids on the roster, and they added cornerback Josh Hawkins to the practice squad.

–Two years after tearing both patellar tendons on the same play, former Houston Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton is back in the NFL after signing a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.

Newton, 31, spent the entire 2017 season on the Texans’ physically unable to perform list and was released by Houston eight months ago after failing a physical. With the Saints, he replaces tackle Michael Ola, who went on injured reserve due to a high ankle sprain.

–The Buffalo Bills placed starting linebacker Matt Milano and rookie cornerback Taron Johnson on season-ending injured reserve. Milano had surgery Monday to repair a broken left fibula. Johnson had surgery last week for a shoulder injury that bothered him most of the season.

–The city of Oakland, Calif., filed a federal lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders, the NFL and all other teams in the league. Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker announced the suit, which alleges antitrust violations and breach of contract.

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 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.

–The NFL announced that the salary cap will rise to about $190 million in 2019, a jump from $177.2 million this season.

The league informed teams that the projected range is from $187 million to $191.1 million. That marks a 40 percent increase since the 2014 season ($133 million) and the sixth consecutive year the cap has climbed by at least $10 million.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles place RB Clement, DE Sweat on IR

Eagles place RB Clement, DE Sweat on IR

Eagles place RB Clement, DE Sweat on IR

The Philadelphia Eagles’ pursuit of a playoff spot grew more difficult Tuesday when they placed a pair of players on injured reserve, including running back Corey Clement.

Both Clement and defensive end Josh Sweat were injured Sunday in Philadelphia’s 29-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Clement hurt his knee, and Sweat sustained an ankle injury.

The Eagles announced that they signed running back Boston Scott and defensive end Daeshon Hall to fill the voids on the roster, and they signed cornerback Josh Hawkins to the practice squad.

Clement went from undrafted rookie to Super Bowl star last season, picking up 100 receiving yards and a touchdown grab in the title game. He has 259 yards and two touchdowns on 68 carries, along with 22 catches for 192 yards, in 11 games this season.

Sweat was a fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft and has one tackle in nine games as a rookie.

The New Orleans Saints drafted Scott in the sixth round this year but cut him just before the season opener. They signed him to their practice squad the following day.

Hall was a third-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2017. He played in one game last season before a knee injury ended his rookie campaign. He was cut before this season began.

The Eagles are 6-7 and two games behind the NFC East-leading Cowboys. The defending champs are still in the thick of the playoff race, however, tied with Carolina and the Washington Redskins, one-half game behind the Minnesota Vikings for the final playoff spot in the conference.

Philadelphia finishes the season with games against the Rams in Los Angeles this weekend, then at home against the Houston Texans and at the Redskins in Week 17.

–Field Level Media

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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

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OL Newton returns to NFL with Saints

OL Newton returns to NFL with Saints

Two years after tearing both patellar

OL Newton returns to NFL with Saints

Two years after tearing both patellar tendons on the same play, former Houston Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton is back in the NFL after signing a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday.

Newton, 31, suffered the devastating double injury while attempting to block All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller during a game against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 24, 2016.

He spent the entire 2017 season on the Texans’ physically unable to perform list and was released by Houston eight months ago after failing a physical.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Newton started 68 of his 82 games with the Texans from 2011-16 after being selected in the seventh round of the 2011 draft out of Arkansas State.

The Saints had a roster vacancy after placing tackle Michael Ola on injured reserve Tuesday with a high-ankle sprain suffered in Sunday’s win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

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Bills place LB Milano, CB Johnson on injured reserve

Bills place LB Milano, CB Johnson on injured reserve

Bills place LB Milano, CB Johnson on injured reserve

The Buffalo Bills placed starting linebacker Matt Milano and rookie cornerback Taron Johnson on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday.

Milano had surgery Monday to repair a broken left fibula, suffered in the final minutes of Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Jets.

The second-year player finished the season with 78 tackles, three interceptions, three fumble recoveries and one sack.

Johnson, a fourth-rounder in 2018, had surgery last week for a shoulder injury that bothered him most of the season. He had 42 tackles and one interception in 11 games.

–Field Level Media

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Lions put Ansah (shoulder) on IR

Lions put Ansah (shoulder) on IR

Lions put Ansah (shoulder) on IR

An injury-plagued season is now an injury-shortened season for Ziggy Ansah.

The Detroit Lions on Tuesday announced they have placed the veteran defensive end on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. The team did the same with tight end Michael Roberts and his injured shoulder.

To replace them on the roster, the Lions signed tight end Jerome Cunningham and offensive lineman Leo Koloamatangi from their practice squad.

Ansah, 29, has had a lost season while playing on the franchise tag. He hurt his shoulder after 19 snaps in Week 1 and did not play again until Week 9, though he has been effective (four sacks, seven quarterback hits) during his seven games on the field. Ansah is scheduled to hit free agency in March.

Roberts, 24, has nine catches for 100 yards and three touchdowns in eight games this season, his second since being drafted in the fourth round in 2017 out of Toledo.

The Lions are 5-8 and in last place in the NFC North. They play at Buffalo this Sunday before closing out the season at home against Minnesota on Dec. 23 and at Green Bay on Dec. 30.

–Field Level Media

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NFL hikes salary cap to $190 million in 2019

NFL hikes salary cap to $190 million in 2019

NFL hikes salary cap to $190 million in 2019

The NFL announced Tuesday that the salary cap will rise to about $190 million in 2019, a jump from $177.2 million this season.

The league informed teams that the projected range is from $187.0 to $191.1 million.

That marks a 40-percent increase since the 2014 season ($133.0 million) and the sixth consecutive year the cap has climbed by at least $10 million.

“Total projected player costs, including benefits, will be more than $7.3 billion in 2019,” the league said in a statement.

The exact salary cap figure will be determined before free agency opens on March 13.

–Field Level Media

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Titans place RT Conklin, TE Smith on injured reserve

Titans place RT Conklin, TE Smith on injured reserve

Titans place RT Conklin, TE Smith on injured reserve

The Tennessee Titans placed right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith on injured reserve with knee injuries on Tuesday.

Both starters were injured during the Titans’ 30-9 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars last Thursday.

Smith, who took over for injured three-time Pro Bowl selection Delanie Walker, finishes his second NFL season with 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games.

Conklin, the Titans’ first-round pick (eighth overall) in 2016, was limited to nine games this season after starting all 16 games in each of his first two campaigns.

Veteran Dennis Kelly is expected to replace Conklin, and Anthony Firkser will step in for Smith. Tennessee also signed free agent offensive lineman Austin Pasztor and added tight end Cole Wick from the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad.

With three games remaining, the Titans are one of four AFC teams tied at 7-6 and chasing a wild-card berth in the playoffs.

–Field Level Media

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Oakland sues Raiders, NFL over Vegas move

Oakland sues Raiders, NFL over Vegas move

Oakland sues Raiders, NFL over Vegas move

The city of Oakland, Calif., gave the Raiders a going-away present on Tuesday.

A federal lawsuit.

Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker announced the suit, which 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.”

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.

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.

“Threats of relocation are a central part of the NFL’s practice of demanding public financing for new stadiums, which significantly increase team revenues and ticket prices,” Parker said in the statement.

“Further, each time an NFL club moves, all NFL teams share in a ‘relocation fee.’ In the last several years, the NFL defendants have shared approximately $1.47 billion in these fees. The Raiders alone have agreed to pay over $370 million to the other NFL defendants for their ‘yes’ vote on the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas.”

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

–Field Level Media

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Steelers’ Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

Steelers' Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

Steelers’ Roethlisberger expects to play vs. Patriots

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is banged up, but sore 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 sustained in the second quarter last week in Pittsburgh’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. He returned to the game late in the fourth quarter.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger is dealing with bruised ribs.

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 Tomlin to be allowed back in the game.

During the game, Tomlin conferred with the team’s medical staff, which told the coach and general manager Kevin Colbert that the antiquated X-ray machine produced results that couldn’t be read.

Roethlisberger said team doctors cleared him to play anyway, and his performance indicated he was fine. Roethlisberger wound up completing 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

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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

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Rams place RB Brown, CB Hatfield on injured reserve

Rams place RB Brown, CB Hatfield on injured reserve

Rams place RB Brown, CB Hatfield on injured reserve

The Los Angeles Rams placed running back Malcolm Brown and cornerback Dominique Hatfield on injured reserve Tuesday.

Brown injured his collarbone during the NFC West champions’ 30-16 win at Detroit earlier this month. He has rushed for 514 yards in four seasons as Todd Gurley’s backup, including 43 carries for 212 yards and five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

Hatfield needs surgery after injuring his left ankle in Sunday’s 15-6 loss at Chicago. The second-year player and Los Angeles native saw most of his action on special teams this season.

The Rams also promoted rookie linebacker Trevon Young from the practice squad. Young, a sixth-round pick out of Louisville, has played in two games this season.

Los Angeles (11-2) hosts Philadelphia (6-7) on Sunday night.

–Field Level Media

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