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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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K’Waun Williams wants Browns to pay for surgery on injured ankle

Vince Mayle, K'Waun Williams AP

Just because the Cleveland Browns released cornerback K’Waun Williams doesn’t mean that their disagreement surrounding his ankle injury is going to end any time soon.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Williams is seeking for the Browns to foot the bill for surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankle. He failed a physical with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday after they claimed him off waivers from Cleveland.

“We’re requesting they pay for his medical treatment and hopefully they’ll respond appropriately,” Williams’ agent Evan Krakower said.

The disagreement over the extent of Williams’ injury led to the Browns suspending him for two weeks after being absent from practices. Williams was sitting out due to his ankle. The Browns thought he should be on the practice field.

The Browns ultimately released Williams on Monday. However, Cleveland just starting waived Williams instead of using the waived/injured designation. The latter would have led to the Browns continuing to be responsible for his injuries.

Krakower claims that two independent doctors have both concluded that Williams needs surgery to correct the issues with his ankle. Failing a physical with the Bears would also seem to confirm the notion that Williams is not healthy enough to play football at this point in time.

A grievance filed with the NFLPA would be a likely next step if the Browns don’t agree to taking care of Williams ankle issues. The NFLPA is already been involved as Krakower filed an appeal over Williams’ suspension as well.

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John Spanos doesn’t regret taking Joey Bosa dispute public

SAN DIEGO, CA-OCTOBER-14:  San Diego Chargers football team owner Dean Spanos and his son John Spanos follow the action against Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) Getty Images

San Diego Chargers president of football operations John Spanos was flabbergasted by the continued standoff between the Chargers and defensive end Joey Bosa and unloaded on their first-round draft pick last week.

The public comments from Spanos followed a public statement from the team taking their bargaining position into the open in hopes of turning sentiment against their top pick and nudging him toward signing a contract with the team. Bosa did finally sign his rookie contract with the team five days later.

Despite the poor look it cast on the Chargers for publicly slamming a player they felt worthy of the third overall pick in the draft, Spanos said Wednesday that he doesn’t regret the decision to take the dispute public. He discussed the matter with Judson Richards and Nick Hardwick on XTRA 1360 in San Diego.

Obviously, it was a difficult decision,” Spanos said, via Eric D. Williams of “Any time you’re in a tough negotiation, everything you do is a difficult decision. And let me be clear: It’s certainly never our preference to make any public comments. It’s not how we’ve operated in the past, I would say, and only [on] the rarest of occasions.

“In fact, I’ve probably been involved in hundreds of player negotiations and contract agreements, whether it’s helping out or leading, throughout my lifetime, and that’s the first time I’ve ever said anything public.

“So that shows you how rare that is. It’s not what we prefer to do — only, I would say, when we’re forced to do it. The bottom line is if someone were to tell me that’s why we got it done, then, yeah, I would do it again, because our goal the whole time was we wanted him here. And we were going to do whatever it takes to get him here.”

While presenting actual terms of their offer is a new step for San Diego, it’s not the first time they’ve negotiated in public. They previously threatened to scale back Philip Rivers‘ rookie contract if their offer was not accepted as then-general manager A.J. Smith publicly stated that “negotiations have broken down.

That deal also eventually got done.

Now the process will have to begin of patching up any frayed feelings on both sides that were incurred due to the lengthy – and public – dispute. The two sides will be joined together for at least the next four seasons. They’ll have to learn to get along.

“Joey’s obviously a very talented player,” Spanos said. “You go No. 3 in the draft for a reason. He has a very unique and special skill set.

“I still stand by the fact that I think every player needs training camp to get ready for the season. But I will say this: Now that he’s here, he’s going to work very hard to get ready for the season. I do believe that it’s 100 percent true that he has been working very hard. I think for a player to go through his situation and coming in this late, we’re in probably the best scenario you could be in, given that situation. He’s as ready as a player could be. He’s going to work as hard as a player can work. So I do think he’ll be able to help us this year.”

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Demaryius Thomas believes Denver’s offense will be better

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 11: Demaryius Thomas #88 of the Denver Broncos gets a head tap from teammate Michael Schofield #79 after catching a touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on August 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Broncos prepare to defend their Super Bowl championship, they’ll be moving forward with a second-year seventh-rounder as the starting quarterback and a rookie first-rounder as the primary backup, most likely. And yet the team’s top receiver believes the offensive will be better in 2016 than it was in 2015.

“We got the job done and that’s what it really comes down to at the end of the day,” Demaryius Thomas told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN. “We weren’t perfect, I know of course we wanted our passing game to be better. We were 31st in the passing game but it was something different. Especially in Peyton [Manning’s] offense it was totally different what he did, then Brock [Osweiler] in his appearance he did what he had to do. That’s how he was able to get the contract he did to get on another team.”

This year, there will be one offense at all times.

“It’s just going to be better than what it was,” Thomas said. “I was able to be here this year [for the offseason program]. So everything is going to be better for sure.”

The coaching staff has confidence in starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. Thomas does, too.

“He’s just taken control of the huddle,” Thomas said. “I never even practiced with him, never caught of ball with him when he was here [in 2015]. When he gets in the game he’s in control not shy or stuck up or anything. He’s just ready to go.”

I asked Thomas where Siemian needs to work to improve, and Thomas had a hard time coming up with any specifics.

“There’s not much you can just put your hand on because he’s mobile, he don’t make bad decisions, he knows his plays, he knows everybody on the field, he knows the checks made,” Thomas said. “So it’s just not one thing I can say, ‘Trevor you need to work on this’. Because he delivers the ball well out of your break. The ball is on time. He just took advantage of his chance and he’s doing a great job.”

He’ll need to do a great job when the regular season starts, or he won’t have the job for long. Thomas seems to acknowledge the possibility of a quarterback change at some point, but he’s not worried it will become an issue in the locker room.

“I don’t think there will be concerns,” Thomas said. “You know, we had a little rocky start last year, rocky road last year. We know we’re gonna be in a situation where we aren’t going to be the best but we will be better than what we were last year. I think Trevor will be fine and whoever will have to play at the time will be fine. Guys are just going to jump on the bandwagon and we’re going to go with it, we’re going to make something happen.”

It will be easier for the offense to make something happen if the defense continues to keep the opposing offense from making things happen. Thomas thinks the defense can be better, which definitely will help the offense, regardless of who the quarterback may be.

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Consider, if you will, the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide

johnny-manziel.vresize.1200.675.high.90 Getty Images

The PFT-NBC relationship began with a joint effort to market and sell Rotoworld fantasy football draft guides. So in honor of the tiny seed that grew into, well, something large and green and possibly legal for consumption in Colorado and Washington, we’re doing our friends at Rotoworld a favor and pointing out that the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide is now available.

Here’s the link to the low-cost product that can help you dominate fantasy draft.

The package includes analysis, customized rankings and projections, a total of 23 cheat sheets, sleepers and busts, team profiles, player profiles of all relevant players, mock drafts for standard leagues, IDP, PPR, and more.

So check it out and give it a try and get ready to make the decisions that make the difference between winning your league or having to get a tattoo of Johnny Manziel doing the money sign on your bicep because you came in last place. Again.

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Report: Karlos Williams works out for Steelers

Karlos Williams Getty Images

Free agent running back Karlos Williams recently worked out for the Steelers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Williams was cut by the Bills earlier this summer. He had a difficult summer during which he gained weight and was suspended for the season’s first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

A fifth-round pick of the Bills in 2015, Williams ran for 517 yards and seven touchdowns last season in 11 games. He worked out for the Jets last weekend.

Steelers star running back is Le’Veon Bell suspended for the first three games of the season. The team looking at Williams, who’s also suspended during that time, was probably about getting a feel for what kind of shape he’s in and having a backup plan in place in case DeAngelo Williams or Fitzgerald Toussaint suffer an injury.

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Washington leaves 26 players at home for preseason finale

home-sweet-home-Getty-Images-Steven-Taylor Getty Images

Few teams play starters in the preseason finale. Washington didn’t even bring them to Tampa for Wednesday night’s game against the Buccaneers.

The team has announced that 26 players not only won’t play but also aren’t in Florida.

With the roster at 75, that leaves 49 players total for the game, which means that there will be plenty of opportunities for the backups to prove themselves as coach Jay Gruden tries to identify the next 22 players to go, by Saturday.

The only downside is that any players destined to be cut but who suffer season-ending injuries will land on injured reserve, either at full pay or the “split salary” that often is used to protect the team against a likely roster cut suffering a serious injury in training camp or the preseason.

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After being cleared, James Harrison takes social media victory lap

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Steelers linebacker James Harrison said he’d done nothing wrong and insisted he would be cleared.

Wednesday, he was. The NFL announced that its investigation and interviews regarding an Al-Jazeera report on players allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs revealed no credible evidence they had.

On Wednesday evening, Harrison posted a collage (see the picture to the right) on his Instagram account of headlines and screenshots from stories about his being cleared. He tagged it, “It’s only breaking news because you thought I was guilty” and added an all-caps reminder that he’s worked for everything he has “since Day One.”

Now, the Harrison-Roger Goodell friendship can continue.

Harrison and Packers defensive standouts Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, all of whom interviewed with league investigators last week, were cleared. The NFL did not name free agent linebacker Mike Neal, who also interviewed last week, in its release on the investigation’s findings.

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College football at Lambeau Field won’t include Lambeau Leap, by LSU players

104273030 Getty Images

When Wisconsin hosts Louisiana State at historic Lambeau Field this weekend, players who score touchdowns may be tempted to do the thing that Packers players do when they score there.

On Wednesday, LSU coach Les Miles made his position that Lambeau Leaping will result in hitchhiking home.

“I promise you that if anybody jumps [for] the Lambeau Leap, they’ll end up with their thumb out to see if they can get a ride home,” Miles said Wednesday, via CFT. “It’s college football, and we’ll play it that way, and I think our guys understand. We’ll do it right.”

The NFL allows the Lambeau Leap, even though it technically violates league rules regarding celebrations. College football has a similar rule but no similar exception.

Wisconsin players have yet to receive a similar warning. Then again, they’ll have a much shorter trip home.

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Jimmy Graham’s status for Week One to be determined “late next week”

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Tight end Jimmy Graham #88 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field on September 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tight end Jimmy Graham won’t be in the lineup for the Seahawks on Thursday when they close the preseason against the Raiders, but the fourth week of the preseason has never been the date on people’s minds when it comes to Graham’s return to game action.

Week One against the Dolphins is the date that everyone has been watching and there’s still no answer from the team about whether Graham will play. Coach Pete Carroll was typically upbeat on Wednesday, but said a determination won’t be made for another week or so.

“Jimmy has been practicing full-go, and we’re thrilled about it,” Carroll said, via the team’s website. “He is too, he has had a lot of fun being back out with the fellas and all. He had a full week of practice, he’ll have another full week of practice, and we’ll just keep taking it day-to-day. … We won’t know until late next week.”

Taking Graham off the physically unable to perform list is a good sign that the Seahawks expect to have Graham in the lineup in the first few weeks of the season, but there’s not much to gain from pushing for the first of 16 games if it creates undue risk about the next 15 on the schedule.

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Vikings officially place Teddy Bridgewater on injured reserve

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 12:  Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Vikings announced the extent of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury on Tuesday, they didn’t say that Bridgewater’s season was over even though his torn ACL and dislocated knee made it all but certain.

The Vikings have now gone ahead and made it official. The team announced on Wednesday afternoon that Bridgewater has been placed on injured reserve. While teams can hold off on designating a player to return thanks to a rule change this season, the player must be placed on IR after the cut to 53 players so Bridgewater will spend the foreseeable future rehabbing with 2017 in his sights.

Minnesota also formally announced the expected return of Brad Sorensen to the quarterback room. Sorensen was waived this week, but reports after Tuesday’s injury indicated he would come back if he cleared waivers.

Sorensen joins Shaun Hill and rookie Joel Stave on the active roster while Taylor Heinicke remains on the non-football injury list after hurting his foot while kicking a door.

The Vikings also placed defensive lineman Scott Crichton and defensive back Antone Exum on injured reserve after they passed through waivers unclaimed.

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Exclusive video of the Tim Tebow baseball showcase!

Former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow does a 60-yard run for baseball scouts and the media during a showcase on the campus of the University of Southern California, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 in Los Angeles. The Heisman Trophy winner works out for a big gathering of scouts on USC's campus in an attempt to start a career in a sport he hasn't played regularly since high school. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) AP

So with two hours of radio on NBCSN every day, we’ve got four break segments per hour that require a little filler. One of today’s segments was supposed to include highlights from the Tim Tebow baseball showcase a/k/a one-man fantasy camp.

And so when we came back to air the folks in the control room rolled the footage. But it wasn’t the footage that we’ve now seen ad nauseum of Tebow shagging flies like a non-alcholic-beer-league softball player or running 60 yards in a straight line with the form of the Oregon mascot or swinging a bat but never seeing where the ball goes.

No, they tricked me with something I didn’t expect. It made me laugh. It possibly will make you laugh, too.

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Justin Forsett is back to 100 percent

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 1: Running back Justin Forsett #29 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on prior to a game against the San Diego Chargers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ravens running back Justin Forsett became a late bloomer in NFL circles two years ago, when he rushed for 1,266 yards during his first season in Baltimore. Now approaching 31 and coming back from a broken arm that shortened his 2015 campaign, Forsett is ready to build on what he did in 2014.

Appearing Wednesday on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio and NBCSN, Forsett said he’s 100 percent again. He also said that he’s feeling great and fresh because, for most of his early years, he didn’t have the same wear and tear that other running backs experience. He also has noticed something positive about being an experience (i.e., older) player in the NFL.

“The game is just so much slower than it was when I was 24,” Forsett said. “Coming into the league, your head’s kinda spinning and things are happening fast on and off the field. Now I kind of got a little more wisdom underneath me and the game has slowed down and I can anticipate things before they happen.”

He said that he noticed the change in his third or fourth year, “where you really start to understand not only what you do as a professional, as a running back, but you start understanding schemes [and] you start understanding what the guys around you are doing and it kind of makes your job easier.”

Forsett pays plenty of attention to what one guy around him (his quarterback) does, and Forsett thinks Joe Flacco looks the same following a torn ACL suffered last season.

“I haven’t noticed any difference as of late,” Forsett said. “I mean he’s been in the pocket, standing strong, getting the ball out, he’s been leading the same way. Joe is Joe, man, I mean there’s no high or low he’s even keeled in all situations. So even after the injury Joe’s remained the same.”

Steve Smith is still the same guy he’s always been. For a story from Justin Forsett about the intensity and competitive nature of Smith, check out the video accompanying this blurb.

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NFL to announce Philadelphia as 2017 draft host city

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 18:  A detailed photo of the football on the tee prior to the start between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFC championship game on January 18, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 2017 NFL draft will be in Philadelphia.

The league announced today that Philadelphia and NFL officials will have a joint announcement at City Hall tomorrow. Although the league hasn’t officially announced that Philly is the draft host, it’s obvious that is what will be announced, after months of reports that Philadelphia was the front-runner for the 2017 draft.

After hosting the draft in New York City for decades, the NFL moved it to Chicago for the last two years. Now the league is looking to turn the draft into a traveling road show that will draw big crowds across the country. Several NFL teams have said they want to host the draft in their towns.

One drawback to Philadelphia as the 2017 host is that the Eagles don’t have a first-round pick, after sending their 2017 first-rounder to Cleveland in the Carson Wentz trade. That might dampen some local interest in the draft, but the NFL still thinks Philadelphia will be a good host.

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Report: Bills claim Patrick Lewis

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) passes as center Patrick Lewis (65) blocks Arizona Cardinals' Calais Campbell (93) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

The Bills have claimed center Patrick Lewis via waivers, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The Seahawks waived Lewis Tuesday. He started nine games at center last season but this summer had fallen to second on the depth chart behind Justin Britt.

With the Bills, Lewis will presumably compete with Fernando Velasco for the backup center job behind Eric Wood.

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Pete Carroll: “Many scenarios” where Brandon Browner could return

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 08:  Brandon Browner #39 of the Seattle Seahawks lines up against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on August 8, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks ended Brandon Browner’s second stint with the team when they released him this week, but coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that there could be a third tour of duty at some point.

Seattle was working to convert Browner from cornerback to safety after bringing him back this offseason. Carroll said Wednesday that the team “ran out of time getting him ready” and that it was tough to keep him on the roster given the presence of other players who were ready to fill the safety jobs.

“He could play for us, which he did in games,” Carroll said, via the Seattle Times. “But I think there was still aways to go and I thought in respect to him, give him more time to find a place with somebody else. There are many scenarios where we would ask him to come back, so we left with that exchange. I love that guy and his competitiveness and toughness and all of that. But it was a big request. We weren’t making him play safety and faking it we needed him to play to be on the roster and help us and the other guys were just ahead of him.”

Browner didn’t look too good at cornerback in New Orleans last season, which is a stumbling block to finding work at that position with another team and, given where we are in the calendar, a continued transition to safety is going to be difficult. That may leave him available should the Seahawks’ needs change, although it seems clear they think they’re better off without Browner in the secondary this year.

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