Skip to content

PFT’s Week One picks

hi-res-136326334_crop_exact Getty Images

With the start of the NFL regular season comes the start of a new picks competition.  This year, MDS will pit his prognostication skills against the proprietor of this portal.  At least I can proudly say I’m currently tied for the lead at 0-0.

And given that we disagree on only one game, I’m guaranteed to be no more than one game back after one week.

Cowboys at Giants

Florio’s take:  That Dallas playoff win by the Giants in 2007 not only fueled a Super Bowl run but also sparked the first of seven wins by New York in nine games against their NFC East rivals.  Underestimated by many (not me) as they try to become the first team to repeat in nearly a decade, the Giants should be able to continue the string of eight straight defending champs who launch the ensuing season with a win.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 30, Cowboys 24.

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the upset in an attempt to put some distance between myself and Florio right off the bat, but this looks like a tough game for the Cowboys to win. The Giants’ pass rush is going to give Tony Romo fits, and Romo likely won’t have his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten. The Super Bowl champions will begin the 2012 regular season the way they ended the 2011 regular season, by beating the Cowboys.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Cowboys 14.

Colts at Bears

Florio’s take:  In 1961, a far less heralded rookie quarterback who would become a Hall of Famer launched his career with the Vikings (and the life of an expansion team) with a win over the Bears.  Though the Colts in many ways feel like a first-year franchise, lightning likely won’t be striking again, 51 years later.  Andrew Luck looks to be the real thing, but he’ll have to wait for a Week Two visit from the Vikings to get his first NFL win.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 27, Colts 13.

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck has looked outstanding in the preseason, but I’m not falling into the trap of thinking a new franchise quarterback means the Colts are going to pick up right where they left off when Peyton Manning was healthy. Even if Luck is outstanding when the games count for real, the Colts have all kinds of problems on defense, and I like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte to have big games on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Colts 17.

Eagles at Browns

Florio’s take:  A reunion of the Green Bay mafia will be conducted on Sunday, with various branches of the Mike Holmgren tree coming together in Cleveland.  But the Factory of Sadness will likely continue to churn out chagrin for the denizens of the Dawg Pound.  Though Mike Vick may not be able to stay healthy all season, he’ll be ready go to in Week One.  And so will the rest of his teammates.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 35, Browns 20.

MDS’s take: I’m not sold on the Eagles, but I am sold on the Browns — sold on the idea that they’re the worst team in the league this year. It’s going to be a rough season in Cleveland.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Browns 7.

Rams at Lions

Florio’s take:  Even when the Rams won the Super Bowl, they couldn’t win in Detroit.  Now that the Lions are moving closer to a Super Bowl berth of their own, this one could get ugly.  Quickly.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Rams 10.

MDS’s take: Jeff Fisher is going to turn the Rams around, and they’re going to be a much better team this season than they were last season. An upset over the team coached by Fisher’s old protege Jim Schwartz wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll pick Detroit in a nail-biter.

MDS’s pick: Lions 21, Rams 20.

Dolphins at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins won’t truly experience Hard Knocks until they get a look at the Texans’ defense.  I rarely predict a shutout.  It’s not really all that much of a stretch on this one.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 20, Dolphins 0.

MDS’s take: This looks like Week One’s biggest mismatch. Ryan Tannehill will have a steep learning curve adjusting to the NFL, while Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and the Texans’ offense will be in midseason form. This is a beatdown.

MDS’s pick: Texans 34, Dolphins 7.

Falcons at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Last year, I had a feeling that the much-hyped Falcons wouldn’t fare well on a Week One trip to the Midwest, against the Bears.  This year, the Falcons are on the road to the Heartland again, against the Chiefs.  But they’ve got too much firepower, notwithstanding the firewater-influenced fanatics at Arrowhead.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 28, Chiefs 24.

MDS’s take: Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has expressed disappointment with his team’s performance in the preseason, and with good reason.  The Chiefs have looked shaky on both sides of the ball. Kansas City
got off to a very rough start last season and never recovered, and the start of this season could be rough as well.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Chiefs 10.

Jaguars at Vikings

Florio’s take:  The battle for Matt Barkley would have been a hell of a lot more compelling in Week 17.  When the talent level is equally suspect, the home team gets the edge.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Jaguars 17.

MDS’s take: Who’s more likely to play and play well in this one, Maurice Jones-Drew or Adrian Peterson? Jones-Drew is healthy and says he’s been staying in shape, but one week isn’t enough to completely learn an offense after a lengthy holdout, and I see Jones-Drew struggling early this season in much the same way Chris Johnson did last season. Peterson didn’t play at all in the preseason, but from all accounts he has recovered from last year’s season-ending torn ACL, and I like him to have a big game in Week One.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 23, Jaguars 16.

Redskins at Saints

Florio’s take:  In a May appearance on PFT Live, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan joked that he hoped Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be suspended for Week One.  That would have been Washington’s only chance to steal a win in a Superdome that will be rocking almost as loud as it was the night they reopened the place in 2006.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 38, Redskins 22.

MDS’s take: The Saints feel like they have a point to prove, and they’ll be motivated, and the Superdome will be a hostile environment for Robert Griffin III. I think the Redskins’ offense is going to be better than most people expect, and they’ll put some points on the board against the Saints, but Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense will score more.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Redskins 24.

Bills at Jets

Florio’s take:  Lost in the hand-wringing regarding the Jets’ offense is the fact that the defense is still pretty good.  Good enough to outscore a Bills team that, while improving, isn’t ready to steal one on the road to start the season.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 15, Bills 10.

MDS’s take: This looks to me like one of the most interesting matchups of Week One, because the Jets are desperate to show that their terrible offensive showing in the preseason didn’t mean anything. Unfortunately for the Jets, I think the Bills, bolstered by the addition of Mario Williams, have exactly the kind of defense that can pressure Mark Sanchez and force him into a multiple-turnover game. The
chants for Tim Tebow be deafening by the end of this game.

MDS’s pick: Bills 10, Jets 3.

Patriots at Titans

Florio’s take:  The last time these two teams got together, the Patriots scored 59, and the Titans scored nothing.  While much has changed in Tennessee since 2009, enough players are still there to remind the teammates and the coaches of that day.  And it would matter if the Titans had the horses of defense to keep up with New England’s offense.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Titans 26.

MDS’s take: The consistency of the Patriots in the salary-cap era in the NFL is nothing short of remarkable. The Patriots look, once again, like one of the best teams in the NFL, and Bill Belichick’s defense will give fits to Titans quarterback Jake Locker, making his first NFL start.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Titans 17.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals didn’t have a shot at quarterback Russell Wilson, given that they sent their second-round pick to Philadelphia for a quarterback who is now second string.  But coach Ken Whisenhunt may be wishing that the team had traded up six spots to get the Seahawks’ new starter; Wilson looks to be better than anything the Cardinals have at the position, which may be enough to pull off a Week One division road win.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Cardinals 21.

MDS’s take: Russell Wilson emerged as the starter in Seattle after one of the most impressive performances in the NFL preseason, while John Skelton became the starter by default in Arizona because Kevin Kolb was one of the least impressive players in the NFL preseason. Advantage: Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Cardinals 20.

49ers at Packers

Florio’s take:  When one of the best offenses meets one of the best defenses, the game will turn on how the other offense fares against the other defense.  The Packers defense has improved just enough to hold serve at Lambeau Field in the season opener.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, 49ers 27.

MDS’s take: The NFL schedule makers gave us a potential NFC Championship Game preview in Week One, and I see the Packers’ offense picking right up where they left off last year — and the Packers’ defense looking better.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, 49ers 14.

Panthers at Buccaneers

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are laying the foundation for a very good team.  The Panthers are on the brink of being a very good team.  Cam Newton will be out to prove last year was no fluke, and an improved defense will keep it from turning into a shootout.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.

MDS’s take: Cam Newton won’t have a sophomore slump — he’ll be every bit the player this year that he as a rookie, and the Panthers will have a better team around him. Greg Schiano will turn the Bucs around, but there are going to be growing pains along the way, and they’ll struggle against the Panthers’ offense. This will be the Panthers’ first statement that they’re a team to be reckoned with in the NFC.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 14.

Steelers at Broncos

Florio’s take:  Some say this could be the highest-rated regular-season game in NFL history.  Though the 1985 Bears-Dolphins game ultimately may keep the crown, the return of Peyton Manning could set the high-water mark for the entire 2012 season.  He wouldn’t have come back if he couldn’t get it done, and the Steelers have too many issues to come out of the gates with a road win.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

MDS’s take: This is a rematch of last year’s playoff meeting, but it’s a very different game with Peyton Manning at the helm in Denver and Tim Tebow off running the wildcat with the Jets. The result, however, will be similar: In a close, competitive game, the Broncos’ offense will get a late score to win it.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

Bengals at Ravens

Florio’s take:  Cincinnati gets its first chance in 2012 to win a game that it shouldn’t.  Though in time those wins will come, the Ravens have too much talent on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 31, Bengals 24.

MDS’s take: The Bengals took a big step forward last year with the emergence of a young offense led by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. This is an opportunity for them to make a very big statement about re-ordering the AFC North, but I see the Ravens’ defense making a big statement that they’re not going to let their young rivals get the best of them just yet.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 16, Bengals 13.

Chargers at Raiders

Florio’s take:  Oakland is taking a step back in the hopes of eventually taking a giant leap forward.  The Chargers are trying to finally put the pieces together.  For now, advantage Chargers.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

MDS’s take: In the game that will have those in the Eastern time zone drinking coffee late into Monday night and showing up to work bleary-eyed on Tuesday morning, the Chargers will get a big game from Philip Rivers and get a leg up on the Raiders in the AFC West.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

Permalink 84 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories

Report: Bailey out of surgery, will spend 3-5 days in ICU

Stedman Bailey, David Hawthorne AP

Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey is out of surgery and will spend the next 3-5 days in intensive care, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Rapoport’s tweet said Bailey’s “doctors are hopeful.” Bailey was shot in the head and shoulder Tuesday night in Miami.

Rams Coach Jeff Fisher announced later Wednesday that Bailey is in stable condition after 4-6 hours of surgery.

A Rams statement released early Wednesday morning said Bailey was in critical but stable condition. Rapoport reported Tuesday night that the driver of the car in which Bailey was riding was shot multiple times.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Corey Linsley questionable for Thanksgiving nightcap

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 13:  at Soldier Field on September 13, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Getty Images

The Packers had to turn to JC Tretter at center after Corey Linsley left last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and they may be turning to him from the opening snap against the Bears on Thursday night.

Linsley did not practice at all during this abbreviated week of work for the Packers and has been listed as questionable for Thursday night’s game. On Wednesday, coach Mike McCarthy sounded comfortable going with Tretter if that’s the way things play out.

“[Tretter] was one of the offensive game ball winners for his performance in Minnesota,” McCarthy said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think any time you lose a center or a quarterback, those guys handle the football on every single play, and for the player caller, for Tom Clements to be able to just keep calling the ball and for Aaron to be able to get in and out of the plays that he needed to and not even blink, I think it says a lot about JC Tretter and his preparation and our ability just to stay the course.”

The Packers have ruled out wide receivers Jared Abbrederis and Ty Montgomery while defensive backs Micah Hyde and Damarious Randall join Linsley and defensive tackle Mike Pennell with questionable tags.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Calvin Johnson, Darius Slay questionable for Thursday

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 22: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions runs his 700th reception in the second quarter while playing the Oakland Raiders, becoming the first in franchise history to reach 700 receptions  at Ford Field on November 22, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Lions didn’t rule anyone out of Thursday’s game against the Eagles, but they did list a couple of key players as questionable for their effort to extend their winning streak to three games.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson drew the listing due to the ankle injury that he’s been dealing with for the last few weeks. There hasn’t been any indication out of Detroit that he could miss the game and he’s been listed as questionable the last two weeks before playing against the Packers and Raiders.

Cornerback Darius Slay is also questionable. He has a neck injury, but was a limited participant on Tuesday and practiced without limitations on Wednesday. Slay is coming off a very strong game against Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper and has been a big part of the improved defensive play in Detroit’s recent victories.

Safety Don Carey is questionable with a back injury and defensive tackles Caraun Reid and Gabe Wright drew the same tag due to ankle issues. All three were limited participants in practice all week.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tyrann Mathieu: 49ers better off with Blaine Gabbert at QB

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu called it early on, identifying the problems Colin Kaepernick was having in the 49ers passing game after his two-pick game.

But he doubled down Wednesday, saying the 49ers are in better hands with Blaine Gabbert on the field.

“That’s not to take anything away from Kaepernick, but it seems like Gabbert has a little bit better grip on what’s going on,” Mathieu said, via Matt Maiocco of “If he gets in a situation, he knows where the ball needs to go. He’s a hell of a passer. I think he’s underrated when you talk about how well he can throw the football.

“I think he gives them a better option going forward. It seems like the wide receivers are more involved. So it looks like they’re doing all right.”

While it seems strong considering it’s Blaine Gabbert, Real American we’re talking about, Mathieu touched on some valid points.

Gabbert has completed 62.7 percent of his passes in two games, has only thrown two interceptions, and put up a passer rating of 88.9. Kaepernick completed 59.0 percent of his passes, and was carrying a 78.5 rating when he was benched.

Kaepernick was clearly struggling this year, and Mathieu said it doesn’t appear it will be as easy to bait Gabbert into making bad throws.

“No, I don’t think so,” Mathieu said. “[It] seems like he takes care of the football way better. If he gets into a situation where he feels pressure, he’s not just going to give the defense an opportunity to make a play. . . .

“You don’t pick up those same things with Gabbert. He’s better in the pocket. He has a better feel for coverages. It seems like he can get to the line and see a coverage and then go to a different play. Or, see a coverage and not throw the ball. You can see Gabbert’s maturity and the different things he does well that Kaepernick doesn’t do well.”

While Gabbert has done some good things, it’s probably too soon to put too fine a point on what his better-than-Kaepernick play means on the whole.

But the fact that an opponent is so open about the difference speaks to how far Kaepernick has fallen, and how fast.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ryan Fitzpatrick shears beard “to switch up the mojo”

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets on the sidelines against the Houston Texans in the second quarter on November 22, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets have lost four of their last five games, hurting their position in the race for an AFC Wild Card spot with six games left to play in the season.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has played poorly in their last two losses to the Bills and Texans, which led to questions for coach Todd Bowles about a potential quarterback change for this week’s game against the Dolphins. Bowles is sticking with Fitzpatrick, but the quarterback did something this week in hopes of changing his fortunes.

It’s not an on-field tweak, however. Fitzpatrick reported to work on Wednesday without the familiar beard — best described as the look of someone trapped in a well for several weeks — he’s sported all season.

“Just seemed like it was time to switch up the mojo a little bit,” Fitzpatrick said, via the team.

We’ll see whether it has the desired effect on the field, but one upside is that Fitzpatrick is unlikely to wind up finding Thanksgiving leftovers under his facial hair while trying to call a play against the Dolphins on Sunday.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Josh McCown hates getting Browns starting job back this way

Josh McCown AP

Josh McCown has had a long NFL career and been signed by a number of teams because he’s athletic enough and smart enough to make a few plays, as he showed in his successful stint in Chicago.

But he’s been able to hang around because he’s great in the locker room, and the kind of leader teams want in the organization regardless of his role.

And now that his role has changed again, he showed it again.

McCown sounded practically chagrined to be back in the starting role for the Browns, because he got the job back because of the team’s disappointment with Johnny Manziel’s bye-week partying.

You never want to regain a job this way,” McCown said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Any teammate, you’d be disappointed for them. You want the best for people.”

At this stage, the question will become whether Manziel himself is willing to take the steps necessary to earn the team’s trust back. But McCown said he was encouraged by what he saw from Manziel this morning in meetings.

“It’s a credit to Johnny,” McCown said. “He came to work this morning and took notes and did everything he was supposed to do.”

If Manziel wants an example of the way he needs to handle himself moving forward, he can also look across that quarterback meeting room at McCown, who has stayed in the league 13 years by being mature and responsible as much as able to make plays.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

49ers claim Ray-Ray Armstrong off waivers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 22: Ray-Ray Armstrong #57 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during the preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on August 22, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 20-12. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders signed linebacker Aldon Smith after he was released by the 49ers and now the 49ers have added a former Raiders linebacker to their roster.

The team announced Wednesday that they have claimed Ray-Ray Armstrong off of waivers a day after the Raiders parted ways with the three-year veteran. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, who tore his ACL last Sunday, was placed on injured reserve in a corresponding move.

Armstrong played in all 10 Raiders games this season and started the first two weeks of the season before moving into a reserve role. He had 21 tackles and a sack.

Armstrong also landed in the news this season in relation to a law enforcement investigation into taunting a police dog in Pittsburgh. Armstrong allegedly lifted his shirt, pounded his chest and barked at the dog before telling the dog’s handler to let it off the leash, but authorities found his actions were not malicious.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Andrew Luck “very confident” he’ll play again this year

during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at the Georgia Dome on November 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images

The Colts won without Andrew Luck last week and they’ll try to do it again against the Buccaneers this week, but Luck said Wednesday that he doesn’t think they’ll have to play without him for the rest of the 2015 season.

In his first meeting with the media since suffering a lacerated kidney and abdominal tear against the Broncos earlier this month, Luck said he was “very confident” that he will return to action this year. Word at the time of the injury was that Luck would miss between two and six weeks and Sunday will mark three weeks since he was injured, but there was no word from the quarterback about a timetable for return.

Luck also weighed in on coach Chuck Pagano’s belief that he can’t keep playing quarterback as if he’s a linebacker. Luck was injured on a run against the Broncos that ended with linebacker Danny Trevathan and defensive end Vance Walker hitting him and agreed that he needs to work on getting down to the turf to avoid such hits in the future.

“Part of it I brought upon myself by not sliding in certain situations,” Luck said, via the Indianapolis Star. “There’s a time and place for taking a hit. I’m not going to apologize in that sense because sometimes it is appropriate. But sliding is something I need to improve on, we’ve talked about that before. It’s no secret.”

For now, though, he’ll be resting and waiting for his organs to recover so that he can return to the field for what the Colts hope will be a fourth playoff trip in a row.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Judge says New York DFS ruling will come “very soon”

david-boies Getty Images

[Editor’s note: FanDuel is an advertiser of PFT and PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Also, NBC Sports has an equity stake in FanDuel.]

On Wednesday, Judge Manuel Mendez heard arguments in the effort to secure a finding that daily fantasy violates New York law. According to Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Daily, Judge Mendez said a decision will come “very soon.”

The question is whether Judge Mendez will issue a preliminary injunction banning daily fantasy in New York pending the resolution of the litigation regarding whether daily fantasy violates New York law. Via Fisher, the New York Attorney General’s office argued (while reading exclusively from a script) that daily fantasy is gambling because the players have no control over the outcome of the game, and that it’s essentially an alternative method for betting on sports.

Well-known attorney David Boies, who represents DraftKings, argued that the Attorney General’s office made a fatal error by targeting daily fantasy only and not season-long fantasy, given the similarity of the games. He also argued that daily fantasy requires even more skill than season-long fantasy, that the Attorney General’s office is essentially trying to “destroy” DraftKings’ business, and that it would be extraordinary to shut down daily fantasy without giving DraftKings and FanDuel a full day in court to develop evidence and to make arguments.

Via Fisher, the Attorney General’s office also pointed to the prevalence of DFS ads and the social ills that can arise from wagering money on these activities. FanDuel’s counsel responded by pointing out that state-sponsored lotteries create the same potential problems.

The hearing comes only a few days after Commissioner Roger Goodell explained that the NFL sees a “big distinction” between season-long fantasy and DFS, and that “[s]eason-long fantasy is [what] many people probably play in this room and it’s fun, it’s social, it’s an opportunity to enjoy the game,” via USA Today. “We encourage our kids to do it and they have clubs at school and it’s a way to connect people. And we think that’s a wonderful way. Daily fantasy’s taken a little different approach, and it’s one that we have not been as active in that. We want to make sure that we understand how it’s going to be done.”

The first question is whether it will be done, as in finished. If outlawed in New York, other stats could follow suit — and the entire industry could disappear.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Family says Frank Gifford had CTE

Frank Gifford AP

Earlier this year, Hall of Famer Frank Gifford died at the age of 84. His family has now announced that a team of pathologists has determined that Gifford suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy.

“While Frank passed away from natural causes this past August at the age of 84, our suspicions that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma were confirmed,” says the statement from the Gifford family.

“During the last years life Frank dedicated himself to understanding the recent revelations concerning the connection between repetitive head trauma and its associated cognitive and behavioral symptoms — which he experienced firsthand,” the statement adds.

Gifford played decades before the NFL acknowledged the potential problems arising from concussions and subconcussive hit. Gifford once missed more than a full season after being knocked out by Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik.

Under the pending NFL concussion settlement, the posthumous diagnosis makes Gifford’s estate eligible for compensation from a pool that the league has agreed to fund without limitation.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Malcom Floyd returns to practice

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 1: Wide receiver Malcom Floyd #80 of the San Diego Chargers scores a second quarter touchdown past cornerback Lardarius Webb #21 of the Baltimore Ravens during a game at M&T Bank Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chargers have had more bad injury news this season than they’d care to think about, but they got some good news on Wednesday with wide receiver Malcom Floyd’s return to the field.

Floyd suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder while trying to catch a pass in a game against the Bears earlier this month, but has been rehabbing it in hopes of making it back this season. Floyd announced early in the season that this would be his final NFL season and said the plan remains in place after being injured.

It would make for a nice ending for Floyd to be on the field for the final weeks of his career and the Chargers could definitely use all the help they can find for their injury-riddled roster as they try to pull themselves out of a six-game losing skid that has all but guaranteed them an early draft pick next year.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports that defensive end Corey Liuget, safety Eric Weddle and guard D.J. Fluker are all out of practice for the Chargers, who will be in Jacksonville on Sunday.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Martellus Bennett won’t play on Thursday night

at Qualcomm Stadium on November 9, 2015 in San Diego, California. Getty Images

Running back Matt Forte said that he expects to be in the Bears lineup against the Packers on Thursday night, but tight end Martellus Bennett won’t be joining him.

The Bears ruled Bennett out of the game on Wednesday because of injured ribs. Bennett was listed as a non-participant in Monday’s practice and limited in Tuesday’s session. Zach Miller and Khari Lee are the other tight ends on Chicago’s 53-man roster.

Forte was listed as questionable, as was wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Jeffery missed last week’s game with a groin injury and said Tuesday that he hopes to make it back to the lineup on Thanksgiving, although he knows he won’t play “if the training staff sees how I feel and I don’t feel too well.”

Linebacker Pernell McPhee and safety Antrel Rolle are also questionable due to knee injuries. Rolle did not play last week while McPhee returned to the lineup after missing Week 10. Wide receiver Eddie Royal and running back Ka’Deem Carey have been ruled out.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

No practice for Charcandrick West on Wednesday

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 22: Charcandrick West #35 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs with the ball during the second half of a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on November 22, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs will try to keep their four-game winning streak going against the Bills this weekend in a game that looms large for the playoff hopes for both teams.

It doesn’t sound like running back Charcandrick West has a high likelihood of helping the Chiefs in their effort. West, who took over the lead role in the run game after Jamaal Charles was lost for the season, injured his hamstring in last Sunday’s rout of the Chargers, didn’t return to the game and didn’t take part in the team’s practice on Wednesday.

Coach Andy Reid said, via Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, that West has “a chance” of playing against Buffalo while adding that he has full confidence in Spencer Ware and Knile Davis handling the workload in the backfield. Ware did a lot to create that confidence by running 11 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday.

Guard Ben Grubbs, defensive end Allen Bailey, linebacker Dee Ford and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas also missed Wednesday’s practice.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

AFC playoff picture: Patriots closing in on clinching

Bill Belichick AP

The Patriots haven’t clinched a playoff berth just yet, but they may do it as soon as Sunday. And they may clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs soon after that.

At 10-0, the Patriots have a whopping five-game lead in the AFC East, and a two-game lead over the rest of the conference. New England can clinch the AFC East with a win and a Jets loss on Sunday, and New England can also open up a three-game lead in the conference with only five games to play, if the Patriots beat the Broncos and the Bengals get upset by the Rams.

So barring something unforeseen, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC will go through New England. Here’s how the whole conference shapes up:

1. Patriots (10-0): They may not go 16-0, but they’ll be heavy favorites in all of their remaining games.

2. Bengals (8-2): Cincinnati owns the conference record tiebreaker with the Broncos for now, but the real tiebreaker between the two will be settled when they meet on December 28.

3. Broncos (8-2): The Broncos’ schedule isn’t easy, with remaining games against the Patriots, Bengals and Steelers.

4. Colts (5-5): Indianapolis has the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Houston in the AFC South.

5. Steelers (6-4): Pittsburgh probably can’t catch Cincinnati in the AFC North, but the Steelers have the inside track on the wild card race.

6. Chiefs (5-5): Kansas City wins the tiebreaker over Houston and Buffalo based on winning percentage in conference games.

7. Texans (5-5): Houston has looked like a mess for much of this season, but the Texans still have a real shot at winning the AFC South.

8. Bills (5-5): Buffalo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Jets.

9. Jets (5-5): After winning four of their first five, the Jets have now lost four of their last five.

10. Raiders (4-6): A three-game losing streak has Oakland looking like a long shot.

11. Jaguars (4-6): Jacksonville is only a game out in the AFC South and has an easy schedule the rest of the way. It wouldn’t be a shock to see a playoff game in Jacksonville.

12. Dolphins (4-6): Their brief turnaround under interim head coach Dan Campbell now feels like a long time ago.

13. Ravens (3-7): The Joe Flacco injury ends any glimmer of hope they had of a late-season playoff push.

14. Browns (2-8): Just playing out the string, and now they won’t even get a long look at Johnny Manziel.

15. Chargers (2-8): At this point San Diego is just trying to get enough healthy players to finish the season.

16. Titans (2-8): Tennessee is only three games out in the AFC South, but there’s no realistic chance of the Titans making the playoffs.

Permalink 76 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ernie Accorsi will consult on Lions G.M. search

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: The Detroit Lions helmet on the field before their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

In a press conference last week, new Lions president Rod Wood said that the team would bring in an outside advisor to help them in their search for a new General Manager.

The team revealed their choice for that role on Wednesday. Former Colts, Browns and Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi will consult with the team about the hire, something he has also done for the Panthers and Bears in recent years. Accorsi also serves on the NFL’s career development advisory board.

“We are most pleased that Ernie Accorsi will serve as consultant for our G.M. search,” Wood said in a statement. “Ernie’s reputation is impeccable. Not only did he succeed as a General Manager in the NFL, but his work as a consultant with teams like Chicago and Carolina is well documented.”

Accorsi will be charged with leading a search for a new head of the Lions personnel department. Interim General Manager Sheldon White will be part of the group under consideration for the job and the Lions could also bring in execs like Marc Ross, Chris Ballard, Brian Gaine and Lake Dawson as they’ve been up for other G.M. jobs in recent years.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top