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PFT's Week Five picks

For the second straight week, I held a one-game lead over Rosenthal entering the Monday night game.

And, for the second straight week, Rosenthal got the Monday night game right and I got it wrong, forcing a tie.

We both finished 9-5 in the first 14-game weekend.  Rosenthal won Week One and Week Two; in Week Three and Week Four, we tied.

Overall, Rosenthal is 43-19.  I’m two games back, at 41-21.

For this week’s picks and explanations, read on.


Jaguars at Bills

Florio’s take:  The Bills are bad, but in this season of parity they’re not bad enough to lose all 16.  Even with former Bills quarterback Trent Edwards feeding the Jags with the Buffalo state secrets, Jacksonville is prime for a letdown after unexpectedly toppling the Colts.  

Florio’s pick:  Bills 20, Jags 19.

Rosenthal’s take: The Bills have no chance to move the ball against superior defenses.  The Jaguars do not have a superior defense.  In fact, the Jaguars’ secondary is one of the few groups in the league struggling as much as Buffalo during their transition to the 3-4 defense.  The Bills aren’t going 0-16, and this looks like one of their most winnable games of the year.  Bad David Garrard shows up this week.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Bills 23, Jaguars 21.

Broncos at Ravens

Florio’s take:  The Broncos pulled off an unlikely road win against a one-loss team on Sunday, but the Ravens has a few more horses than the Titans.  Despite Baltimore’s so-so secondary, Denver quarterback Kyle Orton won’t have time to find an open receiver if he’s being chased and/or pummeled by the Ravens’ front seven.  Meanwhile, the Baltimore offense finally is emerging from its vegetative state, with Joe Flacco looking more like Joe Flacco and less like Stoney Case.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Broncos 10.

Rosenthal’s take: The Ravens and Broncos both have the records you’d expect, but they’ve arrived there in surprising ways.  Kyle Orton and his band of hodgepodge receivers are racking up passing yards like the ’99 Rams.  Baltimore’s secondary has played great, but their run defense has been soft.  Luckily, the Broncos don’t try to run.  When they do, it doesn’t work.  Denver is a tough out, but asking for back-to-back wins in Tennessee and Baltimore is asking too much.  

Rosenthal’s pick: Ravens 28, Broncos 24.

Chiefs at Colts

Florio’s take:  Scratch a little at the word “Chiefs” and a faint “Patriots” emerges, with the presence of Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Mike Vrabel, and Matt Cassel making this one a kinda-sorta renewal of one of the most compelling inter-division rivalries of the past decade.  The Chiefs have nothing to lose, and the Colts have no easy answers for their lackluster start.  It adds up to an upset.  In a PFTV video previewing what we regard to be the game of the week, I picked the Colts, but I left a little wiggle room.  I’m tempted to pick the Chiefs here, primarily because a win over the defending AFC champs would make this Chiefs team even more compelling.  (Besides, what’s the point of having wiggle room if you don’t, you know, wiggle?)  I’ll stick the home team, but I’ll gladly accept the “L” if I’m wrong.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Chiefs 20.

Rosenthal’s take:  Chiefs fans are making too much out of this game.  It’s not a litmus test for the rest of the season.  It’s Week Five. There aren’t many teams that could go into Lucas Oil Stadium and win against an angry Peyton Manning.  I’m most interested to see how Kansas City’s young secondary holds up.  They have potential to carry this team, because Matt Cassel isn’t going to.  A mismatch in special teams should keep the Chiefs close, but they will only get a moral victory here.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Colts 27, Chiefs 21.

Packers at Redskins

Florio’s take:  But for a fast start against the Eagles from quarterback Donovan McNabb, in no doubt fueled by the enthusiastic response that Philly fans gave to a guy about whom they had been ambivalent at best, the Redskins would be 1-3.  Though the Packers have yet to develop a killer instinct, they suddenly feel the hot, stinky breath of the Vikings on their necks — and so the Packers can’t afford to lose games that they easily should win.  

Florio’s pick:  Packers 31, Redskins 21.

Rosenthal’s take: No one knows how good the Packers are because they’ve faced one of the easiest schedules in the league.  No one knows how good the Redskins are because a wildly different team shows up every week.  I know this much:  The Redskins aren’t worse off with Ryan Torain starting at running back, but the Packers are much worse off without Nick Barnett at linebacker.  Washington doesn’t have the passing attack to take advantage, though.

Rosenthal’s pick: Packers 27, Redskins 20.

Rams at Lions

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Rams’ only win of the season came against the Lions, who eventually won only two.  This year, both teams are better, even though the Lions are 0-4.  In fact, the Lions are good enough to win, even though the Rams are good enough to win the NFC West.

Florio’s prediction:  Lions 20, Rams 16.

Rosenthal’s take:  Due to a forgiving schedule and a surprising pass rush from James Hall and Chris Long, the Rams defense has been impressive this year.  They haven’t allowed more than 17 points yet.  The Lions offense has played well with Shaun Hill, which makes you wonder what they’ll do with Matthew Stafford.  Detroit has lost three games by one score and played three games on the road. Like Cleveland last week, they are overdue for a victory.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Lions 21, Rams 14.

Bears at Panthers

Florio’s take:  A loss would send the Panthers to 0-5 at their bye, putting coach John Fox at risk of possible termination.  Last week, Carolina showed progress against the Saints, and the Panthers have a blueprint for turning the Jay Cutler (or, as it turns out, Todd Collins) black and blue, courtesy of Big Blue.  The correction for Chicago continues, and Carolina gets in the win column by sticking it former Panther and Tar Heel Julius Peppers.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 14, Bears 12.

Rosenthal’s take:  A lot of fun questions can be answered here.  What does the worst passing attack in football look like after Carolina loses Steve Smith?  How many forward passes will John Fox call with a rookie quarterback and three rookie wide receivers?   Would you rather have a wobbly Jay Cutler (or, as it turns out, Todd Collins) or a healthy Jimmy Clausen?  I’ll take Cutler (or, as it turns out, Todd Collins), especially since the Bears rush defense can stop Carolina’s one strength.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Bears 17, Panthers 10.

Buccaneers at Bengals

Florio’s take:  The Bucs beat the Browns and the Browns beat the Bengals so the Bucs should beat the Bengals, right?  Even though Tampa has had the benefit of the bye week, the Bengals are a better team at home than on the road and the Bucs are still learning how to become a good team anywhere.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 21, Buccaneers 13.

Rosenthal’s take:  When the Bengals win, they don’t seem happy.  When they lose, Carson Palmer keeps his fantasy owners happy.  It’s a wobbly team [editor's note:  Rosenthal uses "wobbly" almost as much as Steve Young uses "leaking oil"], which makes this a huge game for Cincinnati.  Despite all the offensive concerns, they can enter their bye week at 3-2, and then re-group.  In the end, the veteran Bengals defense should be the best unit in this game.

Rosenthal’s pick: Bengals 17, Bucs 14.

Falcons at Browns

Florio’s take:  The Browns have been competitive in every game, and they’re riding the momentum of a big win over the Bengals.  The Falcons struggle

d with the 49ers last week, one game after stealing a win from the Saints.  These two teams are more evenly matched than their records suggest; as a result, I’m giving the edge to the home team.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 17, Falcons 16.

Rosenthal’s take:  Falcons coach Mike Smith raised a good point this week.  His team could be 1-3 just as easily as 3-1 after Garrett Hartley’s gaffe and Nate Clements’ fumble.  The Browns are similarly incapable of playing in a blowout.  These two teams have played eight games this year, with seven decided by an average of three points.  Jake Delhomme’s likely return breaks the tie.

Rosenthal’s pick: Falcons 23, Browns 21.

Giants at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Giants played well with their backs against the wall, and now that their backs are a little bit off the wall, the Giants can dial up another lackluster effort.  The Texans, though not dominant, have been solid, and they can sense that a playoff appearance could be coming.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 24, Giants 20.

Rosenthal’s take:  Outside of the embarrassment in Indianapolis, the Giants defense has shown steady improvement this year.  Of course, that game against the Colts was their only road test yet.  Houston’s wideouts are banged-up, but the offensive line is coming off its best performance of the year.  They won’t let Matt Schaub get assaulted like Jay Cutler was last week.

Rosenthal’s pick:  Texans 28, Giants 17.

Saints at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The current Drew Brees meets up with the guy who eventually could be the next Drew Brees, Cardinals rookie Max Hall.  But Hall gets a tough draw in his first start, and it will likely be a long day for the 2008 NFC champs when the 2009 NFC champs come to town.  The only question is whether the Saints can display some of the same dominance from 2009, or whether they’ll continue to eke out narrow wins.  For one week at least, I envision dominance.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 34, Cardinals 13.

Rosenthal’s take: The Cardinals are the most depressed 2-2 team in the land because they’ve played worse than some 0-4 squads.  Derek Anderson has taken all the heat, but the offensive line is in shambles, there’s no running game, Larry Fitzgerald is hurt, Joey Porter looks his age, Darnell Dockett has been inconsistent, and they don’t have a second cornerback.  Other than that, they look great.

Rosenthal’s pick: Saints 28, Cardinals 14.

Titans at Cowboys

Florio’s take:  Two weeks after beating the team that currently plays in Houston, the Cowboys host the team that used to play in Houston.  With a bye week to prepare and the Titans simply not as good as initially believed, the Cowboys will welcome the Titans back to the Lone Star State with a Texas-sized butt whipping.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 35, Titans 17.

Rosenthal’s take:  I picked both these teams to win their division in the PFT Season Preview.  One of them will fall into a major hole after this game.  Tennessee may be getting called dirty, but where’s the toughness on offense?  Their run-blocking has been abysmal.  Chris Johnson is often breaking two tackles to get back to the line of scrimmage.  The Titans need to air it out more, especially to Kenny Britt.  The Cowboys are a tough defense to play when you are searching for answers.

Rosenthal’s pick: Cowboys 23, Titans 17. 

Chargers at Raiders

Florio’s take:  The Chargers are continuing to dig out of their funk, just as the Raiders are settling in to theirs.  The only question about this one is whether it will be the last one of Tom Cable’s career.  

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 35, Raiders 19.

Rosenthal’s take: Where did all that offseason optimism about the Raiders go?  This looks like the same old team.  The defense was supposed to carry the day, but they’ve been among the league’s worst.  Bruce Gradkowski has improved the passing attack, but the offensive line still struggles.  This is a game Oakland desperately needs to stay relevant, and they usually play the Chargers tough at home.  They also usually find a way to lose.  Mike Tolbert Fever: Catch it!

Rosenthal’s pick:  Chargers 24, Raiders 20.

Eagles at 49ers

Florio’s take:  Though 0-4, the 49ers remain in contention to win the NFC West, especially since the three teams in front of them are 2-2 each.  The 2-2 Eagles enter the game without the NFC’s offensive player of the month for September, and there are real concerns that quarterback Kevin Kolb won’t be able to perform as well as he can, given the problems with the team’s offensive line.  With a national audience, an increasingly restless home crowd, and the ability to put together a string of four wins before their bye (the next opponents are the Raiders, Panthers, and Broncos), the 49ers have every incentive to put together a powerful performance.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 28, Eagles 22.

Rosenthal’s take: How little respect is there for Kevin Kolb nationwide?  The winless 49ers are favored in this game by 3.5.  With Oakland and Carolina on the schedule next, San Francisco has a real opportunity to turn their season around. There’s just very little reason to believe they’ll do so.  I’m taking the Eagles, if only for organizational superiority.  They are a team that finds ways to win over the years, while Mike Singletary’s squad searches for new and painful ways to lose each week.

Rosenthal’s pick: Eagles 24, 49ers 21.

Vikings at Jets

Florio’s take:  Suddenly, the Monday night game at the New Meadowlands Stadium becomes as compelling as the Thursday night season opener.  The Jets have won three in a row since losing on their home field to open the season, and the Vikings are desperately trying to keep pace with the Packers and the Bears.  The Jets are 7-1 against the Vikings; even with Randy Moss, win No. 2 isn’t likely to come on Monday night.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 23, Vikings 21.

Rosenthal’s take:  Randy Moss can’t pass protect.  He can’t make Brett Favre turn back the clock a year, and Moss definitely can’t re-arrange a challenging schedule that even the ’09 Vikings would struggle to win 11 games against.  The Jets have lived up to the hype so far. The offense is playing better than the defense.  Don’t expect that to continue with Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis likely returning Monday night.

Rosenthal’s pick: Jets 20, Vikings 13.

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Seahawks assistant Pat Ruel returns to Seattle following hospital stay for irregular heartbeat

Seattle Seahawks 2011 Headshots Getty Images

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Monday that assistant offensive line coach Pat Ruel was returning to Seattle after an overnight stay at a San Diego hospital due to an irregular heartbeat.

Ruel was taken to the hospital following Seattle’s 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon. Temperatures at Qualcomm Stadium were approaches 120 degrees on the field during the game. Though Ruel coaches from the press box during games, the ambient temperature was well into the 90s as well.

Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell all had to leave the game due to cramps at various stages of the game. The heat could also have contributed to Ruel’s condition.

After an overnight evaluation, Ruel was released and boarded a return flight to Seattle Monday afternoon.

“Everything went well this morning so he’s in good shape,” Carroll said. “Easy for me to say but that’s the report he sent me.”

After coaching with Carroll at USC, Ruel joined the Seahawks as an offensive line coach after Alex Gibbs quit on the team following training camp in 2010. He had previous NFL coaching stints with the Giants, Bills, Packers and Lions.

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Eagles ride second half rally for second straight week to earn 30-27 win over Colts

Philadelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

Cory Parkey converted a 36-yard field goal as time expired to give the Philadelphia Eagles a come-from-behind victory for the second straight week in a 30-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Eagles rallied from a 17-0 deficit against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 and again rallied from a double-digit second half deficit to sing the Colts Monday night. The Eagles move to 2-0 with the victory while the Colts fall to 0-2.

With the Colts leading 27-20 and deep in Eagles territory in search of a score to put the game away, Malcolm Jenkins intercepted Andrew Luck to give Philadelphia renewed life. However, the manner in which the interception occurred was questionable. Brandon Boykin appeared to hold T.Y. Hilton and Hilton fell down on the play. The pass was then easily snagged by Jenkins to give the Eagles possession.

The Eagles then overcame a bad horse-collar tackle call by the officials with a 51-yard screen pass to Darren Sproles to advance to the Indianapolis 6-yard line. After a timeout, Nick Foles hit Jeremy Maclin for a touchdown to tie the game at 27-all with 3:25 left to play.

Foles finished 21 of 37 for 331 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Colts went three-and-out on their ensuing possession and punted back to Philadelphia.

Sproles’ career-high 152 receiving yards led the Eagles. He also scored on a 19-yard touchdown run..

A 2-yard touchdown pass from Luck to Jack Doyle gave the Colts a 17-6 lead at halftime.

After an Adam Vinatieri field goal extended the lead to 20-6, the Eagles began to rally. A pass interference call on Vontae Davis set up a 1-yard touchdown run by LeSean McCoy to pull within a score.

Sproles’ touchdown tied the game at 20-all late in the third quarter.

Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Luck to again give the Colts the lead. Indianapolis had moved to the edge of the Eagles red zone before Luck’s interception gave the Eagles their chance to rally late.

Trent Richardson had his best performance in a Colts uniform since being acquired via trade last year. Richardson carried 21 times for 79 yards for Indianapolis, surpassing his previous team high of 64 yards from last December. However, he did fumble twice as well.

Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks left the game with a calf injury and did not return.

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Vikings knew of other abuse accusation, reinstated Peterson anyway

Zygi Wilf, Adrian Peterson AP

The Minnesota Vikings were aware when they reinstated Adrian Peterson today that Peterson has been accused of abusing more than one of his children.

Hours after news broke this evening that Peterson has been accused of abusing another one of his sons — in a separate incident from the accusation that led to his indictment last week — the Vikings released a statement admitting that they knew of that accusation and decided to bring Peterson back to the team today anyway.

“As part of the information we have gathered throughout this process, we were made aware of an allegation from 2013 in which authorities took no action against Adrian. We will defer any further questions to Adrian’s attorney Rusty Hardin,” the Vikings’ statement said.

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said nothing about the prior Peterson abuse accusation when he said today that the team would let the legal process play out. The Vikings deactivated Peterson for Sunday’s game after he was indicted on a charge of injuring another one of his sons, but they said today that they will let him play the rest of the season.

The Vikings have already lost a sponsor in this mess, which may put pressure on other sponsors to act as well. If more sponsors pull out, that might be what it takes for the Vikings to take action. Apparently two separate abuse accusations aren’t enough to make the Vikings take action.

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Radisson pulling sponsorship of Vikings “effective immediately”

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptgyyje0odhkymywnjq2nwi5nzuwmmflzwrkngi5y2y5 AP

A Vikings sponsor is ending its corporate support of the club for the time being after Adrian Peterson’s Friday arrest on a charge of recklessly or negligently injuring a child.

The Radisson hotel chain announced Monday night it was “suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.”

Said the hotel in a statement issued on the website of its parent company, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group: “Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children.”

The suspension of the company’s sponsorship is “effective immediately,” Radisson said.

The Radisson logo was present behind the Vikings’ press conference podium on Monday, when G.M. Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer met with the media and were asked about the decision to reinstate Peterson, who was deactivated for Sunday’s game vs. New England.

Peterson’s arrest stems from an incident in which he disciplined his four-year-old son with a switch. In a statement Monday, Peterson said he “never ever intended to harm” his son.

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Adrian Peterson’s lawyer says other abuse accusation is untrue

Peterson Arrested Football AP

The attorney for Adrian Peterson says the latest accusation that Peterson abused one of his children is untrue.

Responding to today’s news that Peterson was investigated last year for causing a head wound to one of his sons, lawyer Rusty Hardin released a statement denying the charge.

“The allegation of another investigation into Adrian Peterson is simply not true. The allegation is more than one year old and authorities took no action. An adult witness admittedly insists Adrian did nothing inappropriate with his son,” Hardin said in a statement.

However, the mere fact that Hardin is admitting there was another allegation against Peterson — in addition to the criminal charge he’s facing for allegedly abusing another son — could be enough to force the NFL to suspend Peterson. In 2010, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Ben Roethlisberger for two allegations of sexual assault, even though Roethlisberger was never arrested or charged in either case. When Goodell made that decision, he said that multiple accusations constitute a pattern of behavior, and that when there’s been a pattern established, the NFL will act.

“The issue here is with respect to a pattern of behavior and bad judgments,” Goodell told Dan Patrick in 2010. “You do not have to be convicted or even charged of a crime to be able to demonstrate that you’ve violated a personal conduct policy.”

Peterson has not been convicted, but he has been charged in one case and accused in another. Based on the precedent Goodell set with the Roethlisberger case, there’s more than enough reason to suspend Peterson now.

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Richardson struggles, Bradshaw gives Colts an early lead

richardson AP

Trent Richardson is the starter, but Ahmad Bradshaw is the Colts’ best running back.

Bradshaw played well after replacing Richardson on the Colts’ second drive tonight, extending the drive with a 29-yard gain on fourth-and-1 and later catching a one-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal to give the Colts an early 7-3 lead.

Richardson looked more or less like he’s always looked since the Colts sent a first-round draft pick to Cleveland to acquire him: Slow and plodding, and prone to fumbling. Richardson did break off a nice 15-yard run, but his other four runs went for a total of five yards. Richardson also got bailed out by Reggie Wayne, who pounced on Richardson’s fumble on the Colts’ second drive.

Eventually, the Colts’ coaches may realize that Bradshaw is better than Richardson, just as they eventually realized last year that Donald Brown was better than Richardson. But Eagles fans should hope that realization does not come tonight. The more carries Richardson gets, the better chance the Eagles have of winning.

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Second Adrian Peterson case involves alleged head wound, scar

AdrianPeterson Reuters

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, revered for years as one of the nicest guys in all of sports, is turning out to be anything but nice or reasonable when it comes to administering discipline to his children.

According to KHOU 11 in Houston, the second case against Peterson, which has not yet resulted in criminal charges, arose after he administered a “whooping” to another four-year-old son by creating a head wound that reportedly left a scar over the boy’s right eye.

In a chain of text messages with the boy’s mother, Peterson admits that the wound occurred as Peterson disciplined the boy for cussing at a sibling.

Per the report, Peterson never admits what he struck the boy with, but Peterson told the boy’s mother, “Be still n take ya whooping he would have saved the [scar].”  No charges were filed, according to the report.  The boy’s mother filed a report with Child Protective Services; the outcome of the investigation is unclear.

The fact that Peterson faces allegations in a separate case compels the league to aggressively investigate both incidents, and to take action against Peterson, if the league determines that Peterson did what he is accused of doing.  Failure to act promptly would suggest a level of indifference to child welfare that justifiably should make fans equally indifferent to the NFL.

UPDATE 9:50 p.m. ET:  Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, says that the allegation against Peterson is “simply not true.”

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Reports: Adrian Peterson investigated for another abuse case

adrianpeterson AP

If, as it appears, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson didn’t see anything wrong with spanking one of his children with a switch until the boy’s flesh ripped open and bled, logic suggests that it wasn’t a one-time occurrence.

According to multiple reports, it may not have been.

KHOU 11 in Houston and FOX 9 in Minneapolis report that Peterson has been investigated for a second abuse case involving another one of his sons.

The Vikings reinstated Peterson on Monday after a one-game deactivation arising from Friday’s indictment on charges of reckless of negligent injury to a child in Texas.  Stay tuned for more details regarding the second case.

Peterson is presumed innocent in a court of law.  The Vikings and the NFL will be presumed inept and immoral in the court of public opinion if either or both continue to hide behind Constitutional protections that relate only to the deprivation of a person’s liberty and not to the privilege to play football in exchange for millions of dollars and worldwide fame.

UPDATE 8:05 p.m. ET:  The full report from KHOU 11 indicates that the boy’s mother made a report of the injury to Child Protective Services, but that no charges were filed against Peterson.

UPDATE 9:50 p.m. ET:  Peterson’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, says that the allegation against Peterson is “simply not true.”

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Khaled Holmes, Marcus Smith II among inactives for Eagles-Colts

Indianapolis Colts v New York Jets Getty Images

The Colts’ starting center will miss another game.

Khaled Holmes (ankle) is inactive for Monday’s matchup against the Eagles, the Colts announced this evening.

A.Q. Shipley is expected to get the call in place of Holmes, who was questionable on the final injury report. He was a limited practice participant all week.

The Colts’ other inactives are outside linebacker Chris Carter, inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, center Jonotthan Harrison, tailback Dion Lewis, offensive guard Joe Reitz and wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers. Josh McNary will reportedly start for Freeman, who had been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

The Eagles made the following players inactive for Monday night: quarterback Matt Barkley, offensive tackle Kevin Graf, defensive end Taylor Hart, wide receiver Josh Huff, linebacker Marcus Smith II, offensive lineman Matt Tobin and defensive back Jaylen Watkins.

Smith, the Eagles’ first-round pick in May, is a healthy scratch. He was active in Week One but did not play.

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Raiders reach one-year deal with Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown AP

The Raiders are adding to their pass catching corps.

The club has reached a one-year contract with ex-Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown, the San Diego Union-Tribune and ESPN reported Monday afternoon.

The deal has yet to be announced, but the club has put a nameplate above a locker for Brown, according to CSN Bay Area.

A fourth-year pro from San Diego State, Brown (5-11, 190) has hauled in 60 passes for 801 yards and three touchdowns in his NFL career, all with San Diego, which drafted him in the third round in 2011.

Brown missed the 2014 preseason with a calf injury and was released with an injury settlement in September. His deal with the Raiders comes after wideout Rod Streater suffered a hip injury in Oakland’s 30-14 loss vs. Houston on Sunday.

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Dennis Allen’s job security already in question in Oakland

dennisallen AP

Raiders coach Dennis Allen was already on the hot seat before the season started. That’s what happens when you go 4-12 in each of your first two seasons.

But after an 0-2 start succinctly summed up by Charles Woodson saying, “We suck,” the question is less whether this will be Allen’s last season in Oakland and more whether Allen will even make it to the end of the season.

Raiders owner Mark Davis is already privately expressing his displeasure, according to CSNBayArea.com, to the point where Allen’s tenure as Raiders coach may come to an end this season. According to the report, the Raiders already have a plan to promote offensive line coach Tony Sparano to head coach if Allen gets fired during the season. Sparano spent four seasons as head coach of the Dolphins and is a more experienced coach than Allen.

Allen knows his team needs to get better.

“We need change,” Allen said after Sunday’s loss to Houston. “We need to do better, because we’re a better football team than what we put out on the field today.”

Allen is running out of time to show he’s a better football coach than what his team has put on the field in his first two-plus seasons.

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Bears place Charles Tillman on injured reserve

Charles Tillman AP

Charles Tillman’s season with Chicago has officially reached a close.

The Bears have placed the 12th-year cornerback on injured reserve with a right triceps injury, the team announced Monday. A similar injury ended his 2013 season.

Tillman, 33, is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He indicated Monday he will work to return from his latest injury, which was suffered in the third quarter of Sunday’s win at San Francisco.

“I know this feeling way too well, but this isn’t the end of the road for me,” Tillman said, according to ChicagoBears.com. “As I rehab my injury, my role will transition to helping coach and support my teammates. I will be at Halas Hall and do everything I can to help our team reach its goals.”

Tillman has played his entire career with Chicago. He was named 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, which recognizes excellence in on-field and community work.

First-round pick Kyle Fuller stepped in for Tillman on Sunday night and starred, intercepting a pair of passes. But losing Tillman’s experience and playmaking ability is certainly a blow to the Bears’ defense. A starter for Chicago since his rookie season of 2003, Tillman has forced 42 fumbles and intercepted 36 passes in regular season play.

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Tom Coughlin: I’m a believer in this team

Arizona Cardinals v New York Giants Getty Images

The Giants piled up another set of mistakes on Sunday during their 25-14 loss to the Cardinals, dropping their record to 0-2 and providing unhappy memories of their start to last season.

Even after opening 0-6, coach Tom Coughlin never stopped selling that 2013 squad as a playoff contender until mathematics made such claims impossible. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Coughlin says he’s “a believer” in this year’s squad and invited his team and the team’s fans to join him as believers with 14 games left to play this season.

“I don’t see this as being a reason for them not to be. Our task and our goal is to toughen up. Let’s go. Come on. Stop beating ourselves. This is professional football,” Coughlin said, via NJ.com. Make the plays necessary to win and do it on a consistent basis. Eliminate these bizarre events which take the heart right out of you. I hope they’ll respond to the fact that I’m counting on them to accept the challenge, to not feel sorry for ourselves and to realize the work that has to be done for us to win. I hope the fans will join in in that exact feeling.”

Coughlin’s passion never fades, but the Giants have faded on the field too often over the last two years to think that they can just flip a switch and start winning again. As Coughlin said, there’s “work that has to be done” and it will have to be done quickly and consistently for the Giants to avoid starting their season in another deep hole.

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Lovie Smith says Doug Martin would have practiced if Bucs practiced

Doug Martin AP

The Buccaneers have a short week this week thanks to their Thursday game against the Falcons and that means they have to produce a simulated practice report for Monday even though they didn’t practice.

Coach Lovie Smith said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, there were three players that wouldn’t have participated in practice and none of them was running back Doug Martin, who missed Sunday’s loss to the Rams with a knee injury. That would suggest he has a chance to get back on the field for this week’s game.

Running the ball wasn’t much of a problem against St. Louis as Bobby Rainey picked up 144 yards on 22 carries. That may work in Martin’s favor when it comes to the decision about dressing him on Thursday since the Bucs wouldn’t need him to be the bell cow in their running game.

Defensive end Michael Johnson was also on the list of Bucs who would have practiced. Johnson missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (broken hand), linebacker Mason Foster (shoulder) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) were the three players who would have been on the sideline at a Monday practice.

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Report: Tavon Austin could miss two weeks with MCL sprain

Tavon Austin AP

The Rams could be without Tavon Austin for the rest of September.

The good news? It’s possible he may miss just one game.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports Austin, the Rams’ 2013 first-round pick, is expected to miss “roughly two weeks” with a sprained MCL suffered in Sunday’s win at Tampa Bay.

The Rams have their bye in Week Four (Sept. 28). In short, if Austin misses just two weeks, the Rams might be without him for just one game. So while this is unwelcome news, the timing couldn’t be much better for St. Louis.

Austin (three catches, 34 yards; five rushes, 26 yards in 2014) is one of the Rams’ primary wide receivers and their top punt returner. Austin Pettis, who made a key 27-yard catch late in the Rams’ 19-17 victory against the Bucs, is listed as the top backup to Tavon Austin both at receiver and on punts.

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