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PFT’s Week Two picks

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Getty Images

Last week, MDS and yours truly disagreed on only one pick.  I trusted the J-E-T-S, and he didn’t.

So I finished 11-5, and he’s already in second place with a 10-6 mark.

This week, we’ve doubled our disagreements.  Which means that there’s a good chance I’ll be in second place by next week at this time.

Tune in to PFT Live this Thursday and every Thursday for MDS and yours truly talking about three or four of Sunday’s games.  And, yes, there may be gloating.

Bears at Packers

MDS’s take: This is about as close as a Week Two game can get to being a must-win for the Packers. Lose here and they’re two games behind the Bears, plus the Bears have the tiebreaker edge, plus they’re 0-2 at Lambeau Field, plus they’re behind the Lions and Vikings in the NFC North as well. Jay Cutler will have a good game against the Packers’ suspect pass defense, but Aaron Rodgers will have an even better game, and the Packers will win with their backs to the wall.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Bears 31.

Florio’s take:  The Packers have beaten the Bears in five of their last six games.  And other than the 2010 NFC title game, none has been bigger than Thursday night’s contest at Lambeau Field.  If the Packers lose, the team that was 15-1 in 2011 will fall to 0-2 in 2012, with 25 percent of the home schedule completed.  Look for the Packers’ defense to find something close to their groove — finally — and for Green Bay to get things moving in the right direction with a strong offensive output.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 28, Bears 24.

Chiefs at Bills

MDS’s take: Picking the Bills burned me in Week One, costing me the head-to-head battle with Florio in last week’s picks. Will I learn from that mistake and avoid the Bills this time? Nope. I think the Bills are a better team than they showed against the Jets and should win a close one at home.

MDS’s pick: Bills 14, Chiefs 10.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Bills went to Arrowhead in Week One and spanked the Chiefs.  This year, the Chiefs return the favor in Week Two.  (And as long as MDS keeps picking the Bills, I’ll keep building an edge in the season-long contest.)

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 34, Bills 21.

Saints at Panthers

MDS’s take: Can Cam Newton do to the Saints’ defense what Robert Griffin III did? Or is the Panthers’ offense going to lay an egg for the second week in a row? In a game that will leave the loser in a big hole in the NFC South, I’m picking the Panthers in a home upset.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 27, Saints 24.

Florio’s take:  The loser of this game will fall to 0-2.  For the Panthers, that would be a problem.  For the Saints, it would be grounds for panic.  Caught napping last Sunday against the Redskins, the Saints wake up in a big way.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 42, Panthers 24.

Browns at Bengals

MDS’s take: Both of these teams looked bad in Week One, but the Browns seem to be on a different level of bad, because Brandon Weeden just doesn’t look like he’s ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Joe Flacco showed on Monday night that a good quarterback can beat the Bengals deep, but Weeden is not a good quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals lose the games they’re supposed to lose, and they win the games they’re supposed to win.  That trend held on Monday night, and it’ll hold on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Browns 16.

Vikings at Colts

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck had four turnovers in his debut against the Bears, but what would really concern me about that game if I were a Colts fan is that the Colts’ defense didn’t look any better than it did last year. Christian Ponder will have his second consecutive big game and the Vikings will start a surprising 2-0.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Colts 20.

Florio’s take:  Andrew Luck will always be compared to Peyton Manning.  And Peyton Manning lost the first home game of his career.  So if Luck can pull this one off, he’ll already be ahead of the curve.  Though the Vikings aren’t nearly as good as they were the year that Peyton Manning entered the league, they’re good enough to spoil Luck’s debut at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 24, Colts 20.

Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert looks like he’s taken a big step forward since last season, and Jacksonville should put some points on the board. But the Jaguars won’t be able to keep pace with the loaded Texans offense, and this game could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Texans 35, Jaguars 14.

Florio’s take:  Jaguars owner Shahid Khan wants to remove the tarps at EverBank Field.  His players may want to hide under them when the Texans come to town.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 35, Jaguars 17.

Raiders at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Both of these offenses looked like they leave a lot to be desired in their Week One losses, but I have a lot more faith in Carson Palmer turning things around than I have in Ryan Tannehill turning things around. The Dolphins, who started last season 0-7, will take another step toward another dismal start.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Dolphins 6.

Florio’s take:  The Raiders may need sunglasses to dull the glare of all those empty orange seats.  And it will only get more empty in the second half.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 24, Dolphins 17.

Cardinals at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Cardinals somehow seem to keep playing in close, competitive, exciting games: Last year 13 of their 16 games were decided by a touchdown or less, and they went down to the wire against the Seahawks in Week One as well. So will they be in a close game again? No. The Patriots win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take:  The two hottest teams over the last 10 regular-season games get together in Foxboro, but there’s still a huge gap between the 9-1 Patriots and 8-2 Cardinals.  Actually, there’s a pretty big gap right now between the 9-1 Patriots and 31 other teams.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 31, Cardinals 13.

Buccaneers at Giants

MDS’s take: Greg Schiano had his team playing exactly the kind of tough, physical football he promised they would play in Week One against the Panthers, while the defending champion Giants looked surprisingly out of sorts in their Week One loss to the Cowboys. But the Giants are still the Giants and the Buccaneers are still the Buccaneers, and Week One will look like an anomaly when this game is over.

MDS’s pick: Giants 27, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  This is the kind of game that Giants could have lost, if they’d beaten the Cowboys in Week One.  But since the Giants lost to the Cowboys in Week One, they’ll be guarding against another letdown — and quarterback Eli Manning will do what he has to do to propel the team in an early must-win situation.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Buccaneers 17.

Ravens at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles won ugly in Week One, while the Ravens won big. Much like they did last year, the Eagles look like a team that’s less than the sum of its parts, and I like the Ravens to go to Philadelphia and win.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Eagles 17.

Florio’s take:  A week after barely beating the toothless new Browns, the Eagles get a taste of the old Browns.  By the time it’s over, Mike Vick may need Jeffrey Lurie to push the wheelchair.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 30, Eagles 21.

Redskins at Rams

MDS’s take: I liked the way the Rams’ defense looked in the first game of the Jeff Fisher era: Yes, they gave up 355 passing yards to Matthew Stafford in a loss to the Lions, but they also mixed up their coverages and picked Stafford off three times. The Rams will do a better job of containing Robert Griffin III than the Saints did, but the problem for St. Louis is that the offensive line is a mess, and they’re not going to be able to put many points on the board.

MDS’s pick: Redskins 20, Rams 13.

Florio’s take:  If the Rams had known how RG3 would make his NFL debut, the price for the pick that was sent to the Redskins would have been a lot higher than three ones and a two.  And the Rams may regret sooner rather than later the decision to not simply pick Griffin themselves.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 28, Rams 20.

Cowboys at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Russell Wilson struggled against the Cardinals’ defense, and he’s going to struggle again against an athletic Cowboys defense that can limit Wilson’s mobility. The fans in Seattle may be calling for Matt Flynn soon.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Seahawks 6.

Florio’s takeTony Romo returns to Seattle for the first time since he fumbled the snap on a field goal that would have secured a win in his first career playoff game.  This time around, the defense will be the difference, especially since the Seahawks’ receivers are banged up.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 24, Seahawks 13.

Jets at Steelers

MDS’s take: No one saw the Jets’ offensive explosion coming last week, so maybe I’m underestimating them here, but I just don’t like Mark Sanchez’s chances of moving the ball effectively against the Steelers’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 17, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers saw some Tebowing late in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.  The Steelers will be hoping to see none of it on Sunday.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Jets 10.

Titans at Chargers

MDS’s take: Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips had an excellent game against the Raiders, and he’s going to make Titans quarterback Jake Locker’s life very difficult on Sunday. The Chargers will be off to their first 2-0 start since 2006.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 24, Titans 17.

Florio’s take:  The Chargers begin what could be one of their final seasons in San Diego  in style.  Except for all the empty seats at the stadium.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 21, Titans 17.

Lions at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Lions survived with an unimpressive win over the Rams at home, while the 49ers had an extremely impressive win over the Packers on the road. San Francisco may just have the best team in the NFL.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 27, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The 49ers have gotten better since the last time these two teams met in Detroit.  The Lions haven’t.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 31, Lions 17.

Broncos at Falcons

MDS’s take: The loss of starting cornerback Brent Grimes is a huge blow to the Falcons, and Peyton Manning is the worst quarterback to face for a team trying to adjust to an injury in the secondary: Manning will find places to pick apart the Falcons’ secondary and get a big road win against a good team.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Falcons 28.

Florio’s take:  Last year, Denver’s defense kept games close long enough for the quarterback to do something heroic.  This week, they’ll do the same thing — without having to give up so few points.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 38, Falcons 35.

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Tyler Eifert, Terrelle Pryor expected to play in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 5:  Tyler Eifert #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of the game against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 5, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Cleveland 31-10.(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert declared himself ready to make his 2016 debut this week, although the Bengals stopped short of ruling Eifert into the lineup when they released their final injury report of the week.

Eifert has missed the last couple of games with the back injury he suffered just as it appeared he was ready to get back on the field after offseason ankle surgery. He practiced each day this week, drawing a questionable tag, and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that he is expected to play limited snaps against the Browns.

It wouldn’t be surprising if some of those snaps come in the red zone. Eifert was tough to stop in that area of the field last season and the Bengals have not been as effective on that front as they were with Eifert in the lineup last season.

The Browns had a key pass catcher of their own listed as questionable. Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor has been dealing with an ankle injuy, but is also expected to play in Cincinnati this Sunday.

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Report: LeSean McCoy to play 25-35 snaps

LeSean McCoy, Marcus Peters AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy appears ready to contribute today, if not quite as much as usual.

McCoy is expected to play and get about 25-35 snaps against the Dolphins, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

That would represent a reduction in the normal workload for McCoy, who has averaged 47.5 snaps a game so far this season. But it would still allow him to contribute to the Bills’ offense.

McCoy left practice Wednesday with hamstring tightness, and initial reports had him out for Sunday. But McCoy made the trip to Miami and now appears good to go, if not for quite his usual role in the offense.

McCoy leads the Bills with 104 carries for 587 yards and six touchdowns this season and is also third on the team with 20 catches. If he sees a reduction in playing time today, Mike Gillislee should be expected to get more carries, and that could be a good thing for the Bills: Gillislee is averaging 6.9 yards a carry in limited work so far this season.

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NFL may have to use pre-Ray Rice procedures for other Josh Brown violations

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Brad Wing #9 of the New York Giants comforts teammate Josh Brown #3 as they take on the New Orleans Saints during the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the NFL reopens its investigation of Josh Brown, its hands could be tied by the policies that were in place at the time any other incidents of alleged domestic violence occurred.

The NFL’s new six-game baseline suspension for first-offense domestic violence was adopted after the Ray Rice situation in 2014, as a response to the intense media and fan reaction to the decision to suspend Rice for only two games once video of his conduct finally surfaced. The new procedures don’t apply to anything that happened before the procedures were adopted.

As to Brown, the authorities in King County, Washington identified two potential incidents of domestic violence: One occurred in May 2015, and the other occurred in May 2014. Brown already has been suspended one game for the incident in 2015, which came with the new policies in place.

The other incident predated the changes to the rules, which would force the league to use the prior approach. For a first offense, Brown would be suspended two games.

The next question is whether other incidents of domestic violence could be proven by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., more likely that not) based only on information from Josh Brown, the police report that finally has been issued, and the record and journals created by Brown. Possibly, separate acts of domestic violence could be stacked against Brown, the way they were for Greg Hardy.

At some point, the question becomes whether the NFL would attempt to impose enhanced discipline for the May 2015 incident, based on supposedly aggravating factors of past misconduct or the argument that the May 2015 incident was a second (or third, or fourth, etc.) offense. That will be harder for the league to pull off, because Brown already has been disciplined for the May 2015 incident.

Ultimately, none of it may matter. Josh Brown quickly has become synonymous with Ray Rice, and there are plenty of men who can do what Brown does. Whatever the official punishment eventually imposed by the NFL, Brown likely will become a pariah, with his only remaining NFL paychecks coming for however long he remains on the Commissioner-Exempt list.

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Brandon Marshall touts his maturity

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Wide receiver Brandon Marshall #15 of the New York Jets reacts after a reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

If there’s a silver lining in the ongoing free fall of the New York Jets, it comes from receiver Brandon Marshall learning how to handle tough times.

I’m growing, man,” Marshall told on Friday. “I’m growing as an individual. Obviously, it hasn’t been perfect. But through adversity, character is built. I’m not saying I’ve been perfect throughout it, because it’s really difficult to handle.

“But that’s one of the positives from this start is, I love how I’m maturing and handling things better than I have in the past, when you’re in a losing locker room or when adversity hits. That’s been one of the things I’ve really focused on. I’ve got to continue to grow.”

Marshall added that his relationship with defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson is “good” after a Week Three run in.

“We have had our moments, whether it’s in practice or in meetings, had a lot of conversations. Everyone comes from different walks of life, and don’t always see things the right way,” Marshall said.

Richardson apparently doesn’t see why Marshall chose to talk about the situation.

“That’s Brandon, bro,” Richardson told “I’ve got nothing to talk about on that note. It’s locker room business. That’s what it’s supposed to be.”

Teammates aren’t supposed to fight with each other, either. But it definitely happens on losing teams. For the 2016 Jets, the fighting began in before the losing even started, with Marshall and cornerback Darrelle Revis getting into it during practice.

Frankly, Marshall’s maturity may be relative. The Broncos, Dolphins, and Bears each traded him.

With nine days left in this year’s trading window, maybe a fourth trade would be the best move for the team and for the player, who has still not yet played in a single postseason game.

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League is considering a developmental league

PHOENIX - JUNE 30:  Kicker Eric Houle #16 runs down field during a game against the Grand Rapids Rampage at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona on June 30, 2008.  (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images) Getty Images

With NFL Europe/Europa/Whateva long gone and the Arena Football League close to joining it in extinction, football players not yet ready for the NFL have limited options for developing their game. And so the NFL continues to discuss the possibility of launching a developmental league.

“We’ve talked about it,” Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters earlier this week. “Some of you may have heard we spent a fair amount of time at the [quarterly] meeting on what we call the 2020 plan, which is talking about how we plan for the future and the things we want to accomplish. One of them is obviously the game, and how do we improve the game? A developmental league could be something that we want to do to try to help develop players.

“We pick up on the rosters from the start of the season to the end of the season, probably three to four hundred players on average. Having those players ready to play as quickly as possible and developed so that their skill set’s furthered are all positive things about the long-term future of the game. I particularly have an interest in that and would like to make sure we’re evaluating that as something that can help improve the game and improve our players.”

A developmental league particularly is needed for the quarterback position, where not nearly enough players are good enough to play at the NFL level. But a developmental league also would be useful for all other positions, along with officiating, coaching, and scouting.

The question is whether the NFL could make money from a developmental league and, if not, the amount of losses the league would be willing to tolerate. NFL Europe wasn’t profitable, and the league eventually decided to stop the sangre.

Some owners may see no reason to give players not yet ready to earn a roster spot a chance to do so — and plenty of players with one of those roster spots may agree. Still, there’s a need for game-ready talent when injuries inevitably occur.

Given the ongoing decline in TV ratings, the NFL also should be wary of potentially diluting the product by adding more football in presumably markets not currently served by the NFL. Would the fans in those markets support a minor league team? If so, would they be less likely to support a nearby NFL team?

As every other professional league has learned in the past 40 years, Americans love football — but only so much of it. Between high school, college, and the NFL, the saturation point possibly has been reached. Before the NFL adds even more football in the interests of developing better football, the NFL should be sure that the effort won’t fail miserably.

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Buccaneers make receiver swap

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 31:  Wide receiver Freddie Martino #16 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hauls in a pass from quarterback Ryan Griffin for a first down while being pressured by running back Keith Marshall #39 of the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter of an NFL preseason game on August 31, 2016 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers made a wide receiver swap Saturday, promoting Freddie Martino from the practice squad and waiving Donteea Dye.

Martino has previously spent time this season on both the active roster and the practice squad. He’s played in two games.

Dye could land back on the practice squad next week.

Earlier this week the Bucs placed veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson on injured reserve.

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LeSean McCoy travels with Bills to Miami

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills running back LeSean McCoy still may not play in Sunday’s game at Miami with a hamstring injury, but he still hasn’t been ruled out.

McCoy has made the trip to South Florida, PFT confirms. The news was first reported by Jeff Darlington of ESPN.

While it’s possible a ruse aimed at making the Dolphins think they’ll be facing McCoy, if his hamstring injury is bad enough to keep him from playing, it wouldn’t be a good idea to take him to Miami.

This doesn’t mean McCoy will definitely play. But it means that he still could.

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Jets place Henderson on non-football injury list

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: Keith Mumphery #12 of the Houston Texans fumbles the ball while being hit by Erin Henderson #58 of the New York Jets in the fourth quarter on November 22, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 24 to 17. (Photo by Thomas Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets placed veteran linebacker Erin Henderson on the non-football injury/illness list Saturday.

Henderson had started four games this season and led the team in tackles in each of the last two games.

His absence creates another hole in the defensive lineup with first-round linebacker Darron Lee out for at least Sunday’s game vs. the Ravens with an ankle injury.

The Jets promoted two linebackers from the practice squad Saturday, Julian Stanford and Victor Ochi. Stanford has already played in three games for the Jets this season. Ochi is an undrafted rookie outside linebacker who spent the offseason with the Ravens before landing on the practice squad with the Jets.

The Jets also placed tight end Braedon Bowman on injured reserve.

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With Carlos Hyde out, 49ers promote DuJuan Harris

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 03:  DuJuan Harris #32 of the San Francisco 49ers runs for 47-yards to the nine-yard line against the St. Louis Rams during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

49ers running back Carlos Hyde will miss Sunday’s game against the Bucs with a shoulder injury. That means more reps for Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn — and a roster spot for DuJuan Harris.

The 49ers have promoted Harris to the active roster. To create space for him, the team waived defensive tackle Taylor Hart.

In two games late last season, Harris generated 140 rushing yards and 97 receiving yards. He was inactive for the first two games of 2016, waived on October 1, and signed to the practice squad on October 3.

Davis, a fourth-round pick in 2015, had more snaps than Draughn a week ago. Davis has a career average of 1.7 yards per carry.

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Okung, Latimer await final clearance for Monday night

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:   Cody Latimer #14 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Broncos prepare to return to prime time, 11 days after a Week Six loss to the Chargers, two of the team’s players await final clearance to return from concussions.

Tackle Russell Okung and receiver Cody Latimer are both listed as questionable for Monday night’s game against the Texans. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Saturday that the next step for each player is official and final medical clearance.

“They both practiced today and are doing well and obviously they have to be cleared,” Kubiak said. “That’s the key there.”

The clearance will come on Saturday, if at all.

Meanwhile, linebacker DeMarcus Ware continues to be out with a forearm injury. Kubiak said that a recent CT scan was encouraging, and that Ware is expected to return to practice this week.

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NFL’s TV ratings gains in the UK are overstated

Fans wait outside before a NFL Fan Rally at the NFL House in Victoria House, in London, Saturday Oct. 22, 2016. Los Angeles Rams are due to play the New York Giants at Twickenham stadium in London on Sunday in a regular season NFL game. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland) AP

We previously passed along a report about a supposed 80 percent increase in TV viewership for NFL games in the United Kingdom this season. But it turns out that report was spinning the NFL’s UK ratings in a more positive light than is warranted.

A reader who tracks NFL viewership on UK television at contacted us to point out that the numbers being used to peddle a narrative of a significant ratings increase in the UK are misleading. Those ratings refer to the cumulative total number of viewers who watched all NFL programming in the UK this season as opposed to last season — but this season there’s more NFL programming available in the UK than there was last year, thanks to new highlight shows on BBC. So it’s no surprise that the cumulative total viewership is higher.

A better apples-to-apples comparison for TV viewership in the UK is how this year’s first London game, Colts-Jaguars, fared on BBC2 compared to last year’s Bills-Jaguars game in London. And on that score, the NFL isn’t growing in London: The Colts-Jaguars game drew 351,000 viewers on BBC2, a decrease compared to the 381,000 viewers for Bills-Jaguars last year on BBC2. This year’s Colts-Jaguars game did draw a larger audience than last year’s other early London game on BBC2, Jets-Dolphins, although that game’s ratings were lower because it aired at the same time as the Rugby World Cup.

Whether the NFL ever becomes appointment viewing for large numbers of UK fans remains to be seen. Right now, in a country of about 65 million people, less than 1 percent watch a typical NFL game.

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Texans place 2015 first-round pick Kevin Johnson on IR

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 16:  Kevin Johnson #30 of the Houston Texans congratulates Johnathan Joseph #24 of the Houston Texans after intercepting a pass during the third quarter of the game against the Houston Texans at Paul Brown Stadium on November 16, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

Texans cornerback Kevin Johnson has been placed on injured reserve.

Johnson, the Texans’ first-round draft pick last season, suffered a broken foot on Sunday against the Colts.

Although it’s possible that Johnson could return in eight weeks, he is likely done for the season.

Johnson also suffered a foot injury as a rookie last year, although he was able to play through it and finish the season before having offseason surgery.

This year Johnson was beginning to emerge as one of the most important pieces in the Texans’ secondary, and he played every snap but one against the Colts despite the injury. Now the Texans will have to reconfigure their secondary without him.

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Jeff Fisher says Rams won’t bait Odell Beckham

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21:  New York Giants receivers celebrate after a third quarter touchdown against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) Getty Images

Fans at a London rugby stadium could be treated to a different kind of scrum on Sunday, when the Rams and Giants play there.

With the often-chippy Odell Beckham Jr. squaring off against the usually-chippy L.A. defense, Nigel and his mates may learn a lot more about American football than they previously had known. After all, a game in December 2014 between the two teams featured a late hit on Beckham, a brawl that led to three ejections, and thousands in fines.

Beckham emerged from the melee with a $10,000 penalty for kicking at linebacker Alec Ogletree.

That happened a year before Beckham’s outburst against the Panthers resulted in a suspension. Now, only a few weeks after Beckham once again proved that he has skin thinner than a late-night-tweeting politician, the Rams get another chance to light his stubby fuse.

Surprisingly, coach Jeff Fisher says that won’t happen.

“We’re going to play between the snap and the whistle, and that’s it,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters, via “No, we’re not going there. Our guys are going to play hard and play fast, tackle, and have been instructed not to hurt the football team.”

It’s one thing to not do anything that would draw a flag. It’s quite another to constantly try to rattle and harass Beckham. The players are smart enough to know there’s a benefit to doing that — and Fisher is smart to stake out his “I ordered them not to touch Private William Santiago” territory before kickoff.

In other words, bollocks.

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NFL sees TV ratings increase in the UK

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 27:  Flags advertising the NFL in London are seen on Regent Street prior to a Pittsburgh Steelers press conference at the Four Seasons Hotel on September 27, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL hasn’t seen much good news on the television ratings front this season, with far fewer people watching this year than last year. But there is one place where NFL TV ratings are up.

According to the New York Daily News, TV ratings on Sky Sports and BBC networks in the United Kingdom are up 80 percent from last year.

There’s a feeling in some league circles that the NFL is already as popular as it’s ever going to get in the United States, and if the league is going to continue to grow it will have to do so overseas. London has been the focal point of the NFL’s international growth efforts, and those television numbers would suggest that the league is making inroads.

What remains to be seen is whether the league can become a consistently popular sport in London, and not just a passing fad. The NFL is committed to playing at least three games a year in London, which suggests that the league believes there are real opportunities for growth across the pond, at the same time as the NFL’s ratings tumble in the United States.

UPDATE 3:58 p.m. ET: It turns out that those TV ratings gains in the UK were overstated.

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Jim Irsay: Colts could be 6-0 if the ball bounced our way

Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay AP

Why is Colts owner Jim Irsay standing by G.M. Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano despite the team’s 2-4 record? Because he doesn’t think they’re as bad as 2-4 suggests.

According to Irsay, the Colts could easily have won every game this season if only they had caught a few breaks.

We could be 6-0 right now if the ball bounced our way,” Irsay told USA Today.

It’s true that the Colts have lost some close games: Three of their four losses were one-score games, and even their 34-20 loss to the Broncos was a one-score game until the final minute. Of course, the Colts’ two wins were one-score games as well. By Irsay’s logic, they’re only a couple good bounces from being 0-6.

The reality is that basically every bad team in the NFL can say it’s a few good bounces away from having a good season. The good teams are the ones that find a way to win even when the bounces don’t go their way.

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