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PFT’s Week Eight picks

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Getty Images

Week Seven was a very lucky week for yours truly.  With an unlucky 13 games on the schedule, I got 12 of them correct, with only a late comeback from the Titans blocking an unprecedented piece of perfection.

More importantly, MDS and I disagreed on three games.  Thanks to the Cowboys, Saints, and Colts, my two-game season-to-date lead has been extended to five games.

For the year, I’m now 67-37, and MDS is 62-42.

MDS will join Thursday’s PFT Live to discuss this week’s picks.  There will be no gloating.

At least not by him.

Buccaneers at Vikings

MDS’s take: After I was burned by picking the Bucs last week on the way to going 0-for-3 on games where I disagreed with Florio, I’m playing it safe this week. Tampa Bay still looks to me like a team that’s headed in the right direction, but right now the Vikings have too much for the Bucs on both sides of the ball and should win this one comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Buccaneers 13.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings get a chance to show how different they are this year against one of the teams to whom the Vikings blew a big halftime lead last year.  This time, if the Vikings are up by 10 or more at the break, look for them to close it out with a defense that finally is good enough to hold leads.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 21, Buccaneers 19.

Panthers at Bears

MDS’s take: Cam Newton is going to bounce back from this slump he’s in eventually. He’s too talented not to. But the Bears are the wrong team for a young quarterback to bounce back against. Chicago’s relentless pressure will force a few turnovers and lead to another loss for the Panthers.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take:  Rattled by the ouster of G.M. Marty Hurney, racked by injuries, and reeling from the sad-sack demeanor of Cam Newton, the Panthers are poised to get plastered.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 31, Panthers 10.

Chargers at Browns

MDS’s take: The Chargers have had two weeks to lick their wounds after that disastrous Monday night meltdown against the Broncos. They’ll come in to Cleveland focused and motivated and win this one comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Browns 17.

Florio’s take:  If Mike Holmgren’s current team can knock off the Chargers, the Chargers could be Mike Holmgren’s next team.  Though a house-cleaning could still be coming, the Chargers will likely do enough to reverse a bad two weeks of blown leads and stickum, allegedly.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 24, Browns 17.

Seahawks at Lions

MDS’s take: Mistakes keep killing the Lions, whether it’s penalties, turnovers or special teams coverage breakdowns. If the Lions could get out of their own way they could go on a run down the stretch and still contend for a wild card berth, but that doesn’t look likely at this point. Seattle is the team that looks like a playoff contender, and the Seahawks will take another step in that direction with a win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 17, Lions 14.

Florio’s take:  If this one were set for Seattle, it would be a no brainer.  In Detroit, the Seahawks have an opportunity to prove that they’re capable of beating better-than-bad teams in a place other than CenturyLink Field.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 17, Lions 16.

Jaguars at Packers

MDS’s take: In the biggest mismatch of the week, the Jaguars’ offense will look even worse than usual without Maurice Jones-Drew, and Aaron Rodgers will have his third consecutive huge game.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Jaguars 3.

Florio’s take:  The Packers have never beaten the Jaguars at Lambeau Field.  Then again, these teams have played there only once.  The Jags will want to forget their second trip to town.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 45, Jaguars 21.

Dolphins at Jets

MDS’s take: I’m impressed that the Jets aren’t going down without a fight. When they lost Darrelle Revis and got blown out by the 49ers, I figured the Jets were finished, but they’ve played good football for the last three weeks, even if they have only one win to show for it in those three games. The Jets will beat the Dolphins in a low-scoring game and get back to .500.

MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take:  Despite the injuries and the ineffectiveness and the uncertainty, the Jets have improved over the past few weeks.  They’re good enough to complete the sweep of a Dolphins team that has improved even more discreetly.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 30, Dolphins 20.

Falcons at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles know their backs are against the wall, and the Falcons have been scraping by with three straight close wins. This looks to me like the day when the Falcons’ luck runs out, and the last unbeaten team in the league gets beaten.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Falcons 21.

Florio’s take:  Andy Reid is 13-0 after the bye week.  Sometimes, there’s no need for elaboration.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 24, Falcons 23.

Redskins at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers took a big step toward the playoffs with last week’s win in Cincinnati, and I like them to keep it going against the Redskins. Look for Steelers tight end Heath Miller to have a big game against the Redskins’ defense, just as Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez have in the Redskins’ last three games.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Redskins 27.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers are 20-2-1 at Heinz Field against NFC teams.  But Heinz Field has never seen anything like RG3, who’ll run circles around a Polamalu-free Pittsburgh defense.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 23, Steelers 20.

Patriots at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams’ secondary has been playing well and the Patriots’ secondary has been leaving receivers wide open, and I’m tempted to pick the upset for that reason. But with Danny Amendola hurt I don’t think the Rams have the ammunition to take advantage of the Patriots’ problems on defense, and I think New England’s running game can churn up yardage at Wembley Stadium and lead the Patriots to a low-scoring win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 16, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  The team whose name pays homage to the men who kicked the butts of the Brits like to kick butt in Britain.  Though it won’t be a blowout like it was three years ago against the Bucs, the Pats should be able to build a fourth-quarter lead.  And hold it.  For a change.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Rams 21.

Colts at Titans

MDS’s take: Titans running back Chris Johnson took advantage of a bad Bills defense last week, and he should be able to take advantage of a bad Colts defense this week. Johnson will go for about 150 yards and the Colts’ offense won’t be able to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Titans 28, Colts 21.

Florio’s take:  The winner of this one won’t likely challenge the Texans for the division crown but would be very much alive for a wild-card berth.  The Titans continue their knack for playing in — and winning — exciting games.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 27, Colts 24.

Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: I’m not a believer in Brady Quinn as the Chiefs’ long-term answer at quarterback, but as a short-term fix who won’t turn the ball over as often as Matt Cassel, Quinn should be able to lead Kansas City to a home win over a bad team.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Raiders 16.

Florio’s take:  Oakland has won five straight times at Arrowhead Stadium.  With an extra week to prepare and everyone on the hot seat, if the Chiefs don’t beat the Raiders at home now, they possibly never will.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 24, Raiders 10.

Giants at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Completing a season sweep of the Giants would go a long way toward getting the Cowboys into playoff contention, but I don’t see it happening. The Cowboys’ defense will miss linebacker Sean Lee, Giants quarterback Eli Manning will have a big day, and the Giants will improve to 4-0 all time at Cowboys Stadium.

MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take:  The Cowboys aren’t nearly as good as they were in Week One, when they beat the Giants in New Jersey.  The Giants are the same, but this time they won’t get complacent.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 35, Cowboys 27.

Saints at Broncos

MDS’s take: Two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks will be on the field in Denver, but Drew Brees has to play against a good Broncos secondary, while Peyton Manning gets to play against a terrible Saints secondary. Advantage Peyton.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 42, Saints 21.

Florio’s take:  When he was the head coach of the Panthers, John Fox held his own against Sean Payton’s Saints.  This time, Fox has a great quarterback — and the Saints don’t have Payton.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 38, Saints 28.

49ers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals’ great start to the season may come to a screeching halt on Monday night.  A home loss to a division rival would be tough for Arizona to overcome, and a win at Arizona will be another step for the 49ers toward establishing themselves as the clear favorites to win the NFC West.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 20, Cardinals 13.

Florio’s take:  Once atop the NFC West, the Cardinals are close to completing their slide to the basement.  Blame it on the lack of a high-end quarterback and an offensive line to protect him.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Cardinals 13.

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Rams long snapper picked for Pro Bowl

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 15:  Head coach John Fassel talks with Jake McQuaide #44 of the Los Angeles Rams against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 15, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide has been selected to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl.

McQuaide is a first-time Pro Bowler. He’s been the Rams’ long snapper since 2011.

The Pro Bowl is Jan. 29 in Orlando.

McQuaide becomes the third Rams player to be selected for the Pro Bowl, joining punter Johnny Hekker and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

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Carl Cheffers set to referee the Super Bowl

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Referee Carl Cheffers #51 signals a turnover in the first quarter of the game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum on December 24, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The referee who made the most controversial penalty call of the playoffs will referee the Super Bowl.

Carl Cheffers, who threw the holding flag on Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher that negated Kansas City’s game-tying two-point conversion against the Steelers, has been given the Super Bowl assignment, according to FootballZebras.com.

That won’t sit well with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who said after that holding call that Cheffers “shouldn’t be able to wear a zebra jersey.”

This will be Cheffers’ first Super Bowl. Three of the other officials on the Super Bowl crew — head linesman Kent Payne, line judge Jeff Seeman and field judge Doug Rosenbaum — have worked a Super Bowl before, while three others — umpire Dan Ferrell, side judge Dyrol Prioleau and back judge Todd Prukop — will be working their first Super Bowl.

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Jaguars keep Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Jaguars announced Wednesday that they’re retaining Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator.

Hackett, 37, spent the last two seasons as the team’s quarterbacks coach and last year was promoted to offensive coordinator under then-coach Gus Bradley nine games into the season following the firing of Greg Olson.

New coach Doug Marrone is keeping Hackett in that role in part because the two have history. Hackett was offensive coordinator under Marrone at Syracuse and with the Bills.

“We are excited to announce Nathaniel Hackett as our offensive coordinator and he will immediately be tasked with installing and implementing our offense this offseason,” Marrone said in the team’s statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel for seven consecutive seasons and know firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate he is about winning.”

Hackett becomes the sixth coach officially added to Marrone’s staff after the Jaguars announced last week that Marrone, the interim coach after Bradley’s firing, would take over on a permanent basis.

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Jordy Nelson returns to practice

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 24:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter of a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on December 24, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

At a time when it’s believed to be unlikely that receiver Jordy Nelson will play on Sunday due to broken ribs, he returned to practice only 10 days after suffering the injury.

Per the official injury report, Nelson participated on a limited basis.

Not practicing on Wednesday were receiver Davante Adams (ankle), receiver Geronimo Allison (hamstring), safety Morgan Burnett (quadricep), kicker Mason Crosby (illness), running back James Starks (concussion), offensive lineman JC Trett (knee), and linebacker Julius Peppers (not injury related).

Limited in practice along with Nelson were receiver Jeff Janis (quadricep), guard T.J. Lang (foot), and cornerback Quinten Rollins (neck/concussion).

Linebackers Clay Matthews (shoulder), Nick Perry (hand), and Jayrone Elliott (hand) fully participated.

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NFL: Jaguars complied with Rooney Rule in hiring Tom Coughlin

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald) Getty Images

An interesting question has emerged regarding the decision of the Jaguars to make former Jaquars coach Tom Coughlin the executive V.P. of football operations. Did the Jaguars comply with the Rooney Rule before hiring Coughlin?

Compliance was required, given the nature of the role. In 2009, the league expanded the Rooney Rule to include “the hiring process for a club’s senior football operations position, whether described as general manager, executive vice president of football operations, or otherwise.” Coughlin has control of the roster in Jacksonville, and he supervises both coach Doug Marrone and G.M. Dave Caldwell. Clearly, Coughlin has the senior football operations position.

So which minority candidate did the Jaguars interview to comply with the Rooney Rule as to Coughlin’s position?

A Jaguars spokesman referred PFT to Jim Woodcock, who handles P.R. for owner Shad Khan. Via email, Woodcock said this in two separate emails: “I am afraid I cannot help you.  The practice of the owner and team (in this instance and in similar interview situations) would be to refrain from disclosing the identities of other interviewees.  It was a private and confidential process. . . . Indeed, the position Tom Coughlin filled required compliance with the Rooney Rule.  And the Jacksonville Jaguars fully complied.  Beyond that, however, it bears repeating that the interview process was private and confidential.”

The league confirmed that there was compliance.

“They complied with the rule,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said by email. “Clubs do not have to publicly disclose names of candidates they interviewed.  There are candidates who may not wish to have their name made public as it could harm their relationship with their existing employer.”

Those concerns make sense in the abstract. However, one of the primary purposes of the Rooney Rule is to inject into the public domain minority candidates who could be considered for similar positions elsewhere.

Complicating the Jacksonville situation is the fact that it wasn’t even known that the Jaguars were filling the job. Thus, qualified candidates (minority and otherwise) arguably didn’t even know that there was a job to seek.

The first word of Coughlin being hired came as an oh-by-the-way report that Coughlin had been hired along with Marrone. Over time, it became clear that Coughlin wasn’t becoming an employee; he was becoming, as a practical matter, the boss.

So in the search for a new football boss, a job for which most didn’t even realize the Jaguars were searching, the Jaguars complied. They and the league won’t say how they complied.

Two years ago, a similar question emerged in Miami, when Mike Tannenbaum became the executive V.P. of football operations in Miami. Initially, the Dolphins said former G.M. Dennis Hickey reported to Tannenbaum. Once it became clear that no other candidate was interviewed for the job, the Dolphins said that Hickey doesn’t report to Tannenbaum.

Here, the question apparently isn’t about compliance but transparency. Without transparency, however, it’s impossible to prove that compliance occurred.

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How much is success helping the Falcons sell PSLs?

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Atlanta Falcons fans look on during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Here’s a shocking revelation: Teams that win games enjoy success when it comes to selling things.

For the Falcons, who went 11-5 this year and will host the Packers for a berth in the Super Bowl in the final game to be played in the Georgia Dome, it’s unclear whether and to what extent the on-field achievements have resulted in a bump in the purchase of the right to purchase season tickets.

Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution claims that it has, pointing out more than 8,000 PSLs have been sold during the season. Before Week One, the Falcons had sold fewer than 33,000 PSLs. They’ve now unloaded more than 41,000 of the money-for-nothing-but-the-right-to-buy-more-stuff devices.

More than 20,000 PSLs remain. Winning Sunday would help, surely. Winning two Sundays after that could go a long way toward clearing out the warehouse.

Still, it’s possible that the Falcons have reached the point of diminishing returns. Last year, the team realized an even larger spike in PSL sales during a smaller window. As of July 31, 2015, 12,997 had been sold. Through November 30, 2015, the amount exceeded 26,600. It’s an increase in a four-month period of more than 13,600.

Yes, the Falcons started 2015 with a 5-0 record. By November 30, however, they were 6-5.

This year has been better, but the merchandise is moving more slowly. Even if they win the Super Bowl, they may not sell all of the remaining PSLs before the new stadium opens later this year. It could be that most of the people who are ever going to buy PSLs already have, and that maybe some stragglers will become sufficiently motivated if the Falcons manage to win the first championship in league history.

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Sean Davis says he was fined for hit on Chris Conley

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Wide receiver Chris Conley #17 of the Kansas City Chiefs lays on the ground after being hit by outside linebacker Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on a catch attempt during the second half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers safety Sean Davis got flagged for a hit to the head of Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley last Sunday night and said Wednesday that he has been fined by the league.

Davis said he was fined around $24,000 — the NFL’s fine schedule calls for a $24,309 fine for a first helmet-to-helmet hit — and that he plans to appeal. Davis hit Conley as the receiver tried to catch a pass on third-and-nine near the Steelers end zone in the fourth quarter, giving the Chiefs a first down they used to continue a drive that ended with a touchdown and a failed two-point conversion.

Conley missed one play before returning to the game.

“The penalty, I wasn’t trippin’ about the penalty man, it happened,” Davis said, via ESPN.com. “I’m sorry I hit him in the head, I’m not apologizing for it. That’s football. I dislodged the ball, I did my job, I wasn’t aiming at his head with my head. I was trying to hit him with my shoulder pad. He just fell into it, how I see it. But I did my job, we won the game. That’s that.”

Davis did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury, although coach Mike Tomlin suggested earlier this week that the rookie will be in the lineup against the Patriots.

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Three Washington Pro Bowlers pull out of all-star game

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:   Jordan Reed #86 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Three of Washington’s four Pro Bowlers will be skipping the all-star game because of injuries.

According to J.P. Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com, outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, tight end Jordan Reed and guard Brandon Scherff will pass on next week’s trip to Orlando, while left tackle Trent Williams is still scheduled to play.

Reed tried to play through a shoulder injury suffered on Thanksgiving and the results indicated he wasn’t 100 percent. Kerrigan played through an elbow injury, while Scherff was on the injury report with an ankle injury for the last month of the regular season.

Reed and Scherff were first-time honorees.

The Panthers announced that Trai Turner would replace Scherff on the NFC Pro Bowl team.

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Antonio Brown: “I absolutely regret the Facebook Live situation”

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) stands on the sideline during the second half of an AFC wild-card NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich) AP

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown did his best to apologize and move on today after his bizarre decision to broadcast the Steelers’ postgame locker room on social media on Sunday.

“I absolutely regret the Facebook Live situation,” Brown said. “It’s a total distraction to the organization. A total distraction to my teammates. Obviously disrespect to my coach. I’ve got utmost respect to my coach so I totally regret that.”

Brown said he had hoped to give fans the opportunity to join in with the team’s celebration of its win over the Chiefs.

“I’m human. I make mistakes. But as a man I own up to those mistakes. I was excited in the moment and wanted to give the fans the experience after the game,” Brown said.

Asked if he expects to be disciplined for what he did, Brown answered, “That will be between me and the NFL.”

Asked if he has a contract with Facebook, Brown said, “It’s top secret.”

Brown appeared chastened by the comments of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who called Brown’s actions “selfish” and “foolish.” And Brown sounded ready to put his focus for the rest of the week on facing the Patriots.

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Emmanuel Sanders replaces Amari Cooper in Pro Bowl

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 13:  Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos is grabbed from behind by Delvin Breaux #40 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 13, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Broncos defeated the Saints 25-23.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos offense will be represented at the Pro Bowl.

Denver already had four defensive players set to play in the game and announced on Wednesday that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be joining them in Orlando. He replaces Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Sanders finished the year with 79 catches, 1,032 yards and five touchdowns. It’s the third straight year that Sanders has crossed the 1,000-yard mark, although this season’s total is the lowest of those three years. That may have been a result of playing with first-year starting quarterback Trevor Siemian in an offense that struggled down the stretch in the regular season, but Sanders remained a reliable target.

Sanders can continue to be that kind of piece in the Denver offense for three more seasons as he signed an extension with the Broncos just before the start of the regular season.

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Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell limited at Patriots practice

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with Chris Hogan #15 during the first half against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots had all 53 players on their active roster on the field for Wednesday’s practice, but seven of their players were listed as limited participants in the workout.

Among that group were wide receivers Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell has missed the last two games with a knee injury, which has given Michael Floyd more playing time in the offense. Hogan injured his thigh in the third quarter against the Texans last Saturday and did not return to the game, although he said this week that he thought he could have returned if needed.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola was also limited, although there’s been no sign that he suffered a setback in his return to action after missing the final four regular season games with an ankle injury.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, tight end Martellus Bennett, running back Brandon Bolden and defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard rounded out the group of limited participants.

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Andrew Whitworth named to Pro Bowl

Carolina Panthers v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth was named to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday as an injury replacement for Donald Penn of the Raiders.

This will be Whitworth’s third Pro Bowl. He joins Bengals teammates Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins in the Jan. 29 game.

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was also voted to the Pro Bowl but won’t participate due to injury.

Whitworth, 35, will be a free agent in March unless he signs a new contract with the Bengals before then. His 174 career Bengals games and 170 starts (including postseason) are the most for any player on the current roster.

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Ladarius Green gets in a limited practice

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11:   Corey White #30 of the Buffalo Bills breaks up a pass intended for  Ladarius Green #89 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at New Era Field on December 11, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers gave two of their offensive stalwarts a chance to rest during Wednesday’s practice, which is exactly what they did with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and running back Le’Veon Bell last week as well.

There was one big difference on the offensive side of the ball from last Wednesday, however. Tight end Ladarius Green didn’t practice at all leading up to the game against the Chiefs due to his presence in the concussion protocol, but he was back on the field as a limited participant as the on-field work for the AFC title game got going.

Green last played in Week 15 and practiced for a couple of days ahead of the Wild Card round before returning to the side after a negative response to the increased activity. His presence on the field Wednesday doesn’t mean he’s out of the protocol, but it is the first step toward getting that clearance he’s taken since that brief return to practice.

Green didn’t play in the first half of the season after having offseason ankle surgery, although there were also offseason reports of lingering concerns about a concussion he suffered with the Chargers in 2015. Green showed some chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger once he did get on the field, catching 18 passes for 304 yards and a touchdown in six games. The next two days of practice will provide hints if he’ll get a chance to pick up where he left off.

Linebacker James Harrison was a full participant a day after coach Mike Tomlin said he’d be limited, so there doesn’t seem to be reason for concern about his shoulder and triceps injuries. Safety Sean Davis didn’t practice because of a shoulder injury, but played through it against Kansas City.

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Report: Greg Olson to Rams as quarterbacks coach

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 04:  Offensive coordinator Greg Olson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers talks with the quarterbacks against the Houston Texans during a preseason game at Raymond James Stadium on September 4, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) Getty Images

Greg Olson has been linked to the Bills offensive coordinator job recently and was slated for a Thursday interview with the team, but it seems he may not need to stock up on parkas and earmuffs.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Olson will pass on the chance to be considered for a job in Buffalo in favor of joining Rams coach Sean McVay’s staff. The Rams have not hired an offensive coordinator, but, per Schefter, Olson will be the team’s quarterbacks coach.

It’s a role that Olson has filled for several teams during his NFL career, most recently with the Jaguars in 2012. The job figures to be a significant one with the Rams as they try to develop 2016 first overall pick Jared Goff into the franchise quarterback that they hoped to acquire in last year’s trade with the Titans for the top pick.

Olson returned Jacksonville as the offensive coordinator last year and was fired during the 2016 season. He had a stint as the coordinator for the Rams as well, although it came in 2006-07 when the team still called St. Louis home.

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LeGarrette Blount won’t talk about differences between Steelers and Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  LeGarrette Blount #29 of the New England Patriots runs the ball in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown’s decision to stream video from the team’s locker room after they beat the Chiefs has drawn a lot of reactions around the football world.

The Patriots were included in the comments from coach Mike Tomlin that were captured by Brown’s camera and they have been included in the reaction as well. Wide receiver Julian Edelman said “that’s how that team is run,” which elicited a reaction from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Running back LeGarrette Blount has played for both teams and he got asked a question about differences between the way the two teams operate on Wednesday. His response of “next question” made it clear that he wasn’t going to delve into those waters. He did say that facing the Steelers, who released him after 11 games of limited production in 2014.

“No. I’m just going to go out there and play just like I play everybody else. It’s more about us than them,” Blount said, via ESPN.com.

Blount has played the Steelers twice since returning to the Patriots later in the 2014 season, so any hard feelings that might have existed have had a chance to work themselves out his system.

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