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DeSean Jackson to have MRI for rib injury

DeSean Jackson AP

As if losing their seventh straight game wasn’t painful enough, the Philadelphia Eagles are forced to deal with injuries to wide receiver DeSean Jackson and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox as well.

According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jackson has a rib cartilage injury and will undergo a CT scan and MRI on Tuesday morning.

Cox will also have a CT scan Tuesday for a lower back contusion. Both Jackson and Cox were forced from the game in the first half.

Quarterback Michael Vick and running back LeSean McCoy have yet to be cleared to return from concussions suffered in the last two weeks. Vick is the closer of the two to being able to return as McCoy still hasn’t reached baseline levels.

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Mets manager wants Tebow to play in spring training games

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - SEPTEMBER 20: Jerseys for sale as Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Mets works out at an instructional league day at Tradition Field on September 20, 2016 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) Getty Images

Don Draper will soon be drinking even more.

Manager Terry Collins said during the baseball winter meetings that he wants converted quarterback Tim Tebow to play some spring training games with the Mets.

“I certainly hope we’ll see Tim Tebow in some of our games,” Collins said Tuesday, via USA Today. “If he’s not in our camp, I’ll get him over.”

While Collins didn’t go full Thom Brennaman about Tebow, Collins is a believer.

“He’s not into himself,” Collins said. “He’s into being a teammate. A tremendous teammate. He’s won wherever he’s been.”

So winning as a football player is apparently transferable to baseball, a sport in which Tebow batted .194 in 19 games with the Arizona Fall League. Well, it’s transferable if by “winning” Collins means “selling more tickets and jerseys and other things to people who want to see Tebow play baseball.”

If by “winning” Collins means winning baseball games, he’ll surely have better options than Tim Tebow.

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Eric Berry named AFC defensive player of the week

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs returns an interception on a failed two-point converstion for two points against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chiefs safety Eric Berry had a pretty nice trip back to his home state last Sunday.

Berry grew up outside of Atlanta and was in the city to face the Falcons in a game that the Chiefs needed to win to stay close to the Raiders in the AFC West. Berry did everything he could to help them do that.

Berry intercepted a Matt Ryan pass in the first half and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown that gave the Chiefs a 20-13 lead on their hosts. That lead would grow to 11 points in the second half before a pair of touchdowns put Atlanta up 28-27 with 4:32 left to play in the game. They went for two after the second touchdown in hopes of extending their lead to three points, but Berry struck again.

He intercepted Ryan and returned the ball the length of the field for two points that gave the Chiefs a 29-28 victory. It was the first time that a player has returned an interception for two points since the NFL began allowing such plays last year and the finishing touch on an afternoon that made Berry the choice as the AFC’s defensive player of the week.

It’s the second time that Berry has won weekly honors this season and the Chiefs will be looking for more of the same against the Raiders on Thursday night.

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Bowles told media of QB change before he told Fitzpatrick

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When Jets coach Todd Bowles decided that Ryan Fitzpatrick was finished as the team’s starting quarterback, he didn’t tell Fitzpatrick first.

Instead, Bowles made the announcement to the media after Monday night’s loss to the Colts. Only after that did Bowles talk to Fitzpatrick about it.

“I’d been meaning to talk to him and I got tied up with a few things,” Bowles said of the failure to inform Fitzpatrick.

Some players might have responded to that by blasting their coach, but Fitzpatrick was measured in his comments to the media, which Bowles seemed to appreciate.

“I probably could’ve and he tried to cover for me,” Bowles said on Tuesday. “Like I said, I had a lot on my mind and got some things off my chest, and it kind of went over the wrong way. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.”

On the long list of things that have gone wrong for the Jets this year, a miscommunication on a quarterback change is not near the top. But it’s still not a good look: Bowles should have let Fitzpatrick know he was benched.

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Les Snead: Extensions mean Rams have “unfinished business”

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29:  General Manager Les Snead of the Los Angeles Rams speaks onstage during the press conference to introduce Jared Goff, the Los Angeles Rams' first pick and first overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, on April 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) Getty Images

Confirmation about contract extensions for Rams coach Jeff Fisher and General Manager Les Snead came last weekend after months of speculation about whether they had been signed or not, which means two men who started in the organization together in 2012 continue to be tied together.

Fisher has discussed his extension with the media several times since news broke, but Snead hasn’t held a press conference in the last few days. He did make an appearance on KSPN in Los Angeles on Tuesday and shared his view about the message the team sent by extending the architects of teams that have gone 31-44-1 since they arrived.

“First of all, what it means is, we’re not satisfied with where we’re at. We’ve got unfinished business,” Snead said, via the Los Angeles Daily News. “We think we can get this thing tipped, and that’s our goal. That’s where all the energy is spent. You’re not going to sleep until it gets done. We have great fans and we’ve been supported. It’s unbelievable. Any time you’re having a disappointing season, you feel for the fans first, because they come and they spend their energy and passion, and we’ve got to do a better job.”

It’s clear that the Rams have unfinished business when it comes to building a winning team. With almost five years under their belts, it’s much less clear that Fisher and Snead are the right people to finish it.

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Falcons add depth on both sides of the line

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA - MAY 04: Defensive End Malliciah Goodman #93 of the Atlanta Falcons speaks with the media during the Atlanta Falcons rookie mini camp on May 04, 2013 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons needed to fill in on both lines, and brought back a familiar face to do that this week.

Via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Falcons brought back former fourth-round defensive end Malliciah Goodman and signed offensive lineman Kevin Graf.

To make room for them on the roster, the team released defensive end Cliff Matthews and center Trevor Robinson.

Goodman, a defensive end from Clemson, was cut by the Falcons in September and played in one game for the Seahawks before being relased there.

The Falcons were short on the defensive line because of Adrian Clayborn’s knee injury. And with left tackle Jake Matthews not expected to practice today with his knee injury, they needed depth on that side as well.

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Frank Reich on Carson Wentz: Losing wears on you

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 4:  Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass during the first quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz’s rookie season got off to a fast start as he played very well in three wins to open the year and raise expectations for what the Eagles might be able to do during the 2016 season.

The last nine games haven’t gone nearly as well. The Eagles have lost seven of those games, knocking them out of the playoff picture, and Wentz’s play has tailed off along with it. He’s thrown eight interceptions in the last five games after throwing three in the first seven contests, his completion percentage has dropped and the Eagles haven’t scored more than 15 points in any of their last three games.

On Tuesday, offensive coordinator Frank Reich said he believes the downturn has gotten to Wentz. Reich said that the “most confident quarterbacks in the world lose their confidence and get battered” at times, something he suggested has happened to Wentz while adding that he thinks Wentz will rebound.

“Well, for a while I thought he seemed totally unflappable,” Reich said at his press conference. “Now, in some of the more recent losses, do you sense that this is, ‘Okay, he’s feeling this one, he’s feeling this one?’ Yeah, we’re all feeling it. I think he was that young, naïve — in a good sense — but still very mature guy who came in and it was like, ‘Nothing is going to get this guy down.’ But it wears on you. It wears on you. Losing wears on you in this league. That’s why you’ve got to have the mental toughness. You’ve got to have the mental toughness because it’s a grind, and it’s especially a grind when you’re not winning the games that you want to win and you lose close games. You have to have the tenacity to fight out of it and not get too down. He has that.”

The experience of a full year as a starter, win or lose, should benefit Wentz as he heads into 2017 and it would certainly help his chances of future success if the team can surround him with more talent on offense. Even if they do, there will be adversity for Wentz to overcome and the Eagles can only hope that this year helps provide him with those tools.

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Jason Pierre-Paul has sports hernia surgery

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 20:  Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants in action against  Mike Remmers #74 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Any optimism the Giants had about Jason Pierre-Paul’s condition is gone now.

According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com, the Giants defensive end had surgery this morning to repair a sports hernia, which should end his season.

The recovery time is pegged at six weeks, and with four weeks of regular season left, it’s effectively a year-ender unless the Giants make a deep playoff run.

Pierre-Paul left Sunday’s loss to the Steelers with a groin injury, and spent yesterday visiting noted surgeon Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. The Giants were hoping surgery could be avoided and that he might just miss a few games, but that apparently wasn’t the case.

It also puts a dent in Pierre-Paul’s pending free agency, as he was having a strong recent run (5.5 sacks in the two games before the Steelers game), and once again will enter the market coming off surgical repairs, after losing fingers in a fireworks accident last year.

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Victor Cruz, Ben McAdoo have conversation that “needed to be had”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 01: Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants stands on the sidelines against the New England Patriots during their preseason game at MetLife Stadium on September 1, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) Getty Images

Wide receiver Victor Cruz wanted answers from coach Ben McAdoo about why he didn’t have any balls thrown his way during last Sunday’s loss to the Steelers and he got them during a conversation on Tuesday.

It sounds like things unfolded in a friendlier manner for Cruz and McAdoo than they did when Lt. Daniel Kaffee demanded answers from Col. Nathan Jessup. Cruz said he left the chat feeling that the team would make “some concerted efforts” to get everyone involved on offense and that he thinks he’ll “be getting at least one target” against the Cowboys.

“We had an honest conversation between both of us,” Cruz said, via the New York Post. “He laid it to me straight, and I gave him my thoughts as well, and I think it was productive and it ended well. It was a conversation that I guess needed to be had, and we had it and we can turn the page and move on. It was just two guys trying to problem-solve. There was no anger, there was nothing back and forth. It was just two guys trying to figure it out and try and continue how to make this team and this receiving corps as productive as possible.”

Cruz caught the winning touchdown on a three-yard pass from Eli Manning the first time the Giants and Cowboys faced off this season. He also played on 89 percent of the team’s snaps in that game, which is a stark difference from last week when he played 43 percent of the time. That was less time than undrafted rookie Roger Lewis got, which hasn’t been the case every week but would seem to be as telling about where Cruz stands on the offense right now as the fact that Eli Manning never found him against the Steelers.

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More non-excuse excuses from Jeff Fisher

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 16: Head coach Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams watches his team against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 16, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rams coach Jeff Fisher, to his credit, is a master of survival. This year, survival has required him to become a master of making excuses without making excuses.

He has said on multiple occasions after losses this year that he doesn’t make excuses, immediately before making excuses. On Tuesday, he once again said, essentially, that he doesn’t make excuses — and then offered up an excuse.

I look at this as being my responsibility, the win-loss record,” Fisher told reporters, before deftly shifting responsibility. “We need to do a better job from a personnel standpoint. We’ve had some unfortunate things take place with some high picks in Stedman Bailey and Tre Mason and those kind of things you don’t anticipate. But we’re moving forward.”

Bailey, a third-round pick, saw his career end after he was shot twice in the head last year in Miami. Mason, another third-round pick, has seen his career evaporate in an apparent haze of mental illness.

But no team hits on every draft pick, high or other otherwise. Just like every other team deals, from time to time, with injuries or bad officiating or anything else that Fisher has cited in recent weeks as an excuse after saying he doesn’t make excuses. (The folks at TurfShowTimes.com have the full list.)

Tuesday seems to be the first time the non-excuse excuses have looked and felt like an effort to throw G.M. Les Snead under the bus, at least a little bit. Indeed, Fisher tried to create the impression that he didn’t know Snead has gotten a contract extension, too.

“I’m so busy here, I was honestly unaware that he was extended,” Fisher said. “I’m being honest with you. We’re just working here.”

The not-so-subtle message is that Fisher has no say whatsoever in who the G.M. is, which creates the impression Fisher doesn’t have higher standing in the organization than Snead. Which makes it seem as if Snead is equally if not more responsible for any personnel issues than Fisher.

Or, more accurately, that Fisher really isn’t responsible or, even more accurately, shouldn’t be held accountable. For personnel blunders, injuries, short weeks of preparation, travel, weather, the vagaries of coin flips, or pretty much anything else.

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Trevor Siemian says he’s “getting better every day”

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27:  Outside linebacker Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks quarterback Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos for a safety in the second quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian is out of the walking boot after the foot injury that cost him last week’s game, and he’s hoping to not miss another one.

During an interview with Denver Sports 760 AM, Siemian said he’s “making some progress” toward a return this week against the Titans.

I think I’m getting better every day,” Siemian said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “[I’m] trying to do some different things this week and see how it holds up. I think I’m making some headway and we’ll see how it ends up.”

Coach Gary Kubiak said Monday he was hopeful Siemian would be back, and the quarterback himself seemed eager to return to a normal workload. Kubiak said last week he’d have no problem playing Siemian without a full week of practice, so it’s clear they want to make sure he gets plenty of chance to recover physically, since they trust his grasp of the offense without weekday reps.

“If it was up to me, I’d try to be out there every day doing something,” Siemian said. “But, again, this is a day-to-day thing and that’s how we’re taking it. We’ll come in in the morning [Wednesday[ and see how I’m doing and listen to Greek [head athletic trainer Steve Antonopulos] and he’ll take care of me.”

First-round rookie Paxton Lynch replaced him last week, and while they got a win over the Jaguars, it was a clear step down from where Siemian has been lately, so they’re excited to get the former seventh-rounder back on the field.

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Report: Vic Fangio could be part of “massive overhaul” in Chicago

Vic Fangio AP

John Fox has been able to fix teams quickly in both his previous stops, but the going has been much tougher in Chicago. And if he continues next year as head coach, some changes to his staff could be inevitable.

Via Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune, one of those on the way out could be veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, as part of a “massive overhaul” of the team’s staff after a disappointing 3-9 start obscured any of the strides they made going 6-10 last year. According to the report, that overhaul won’t include Fox himself.

The Bears have plenty of problems, beginning with injuries and suspensions this year. But many would identify the problems with their offense, as they’ve struggled since replacing offensive coordinator Adam Gase with Dowell Loggains.

Fox hiring Fangio in Chicago was a bit of a surprise to some, as Fox has always run 4-3 defenses and Fangio was a 3-4 guy. But the Bears are built to play a three-man front now, and changing that might create another layer of problems.

If they make a change at all, as coaches get notoriously jumpy this time of year as they look for future employment.

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Mike Zimmer’s listening to the doctors as he comes back from eye surgery

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 14: Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer watches the action during the second quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 14, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Vikings 16-14. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer might have been wearing a patch, but he could still see what the Vikings were doing wrong in practice.

He still can see everything with one patch over his eye,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “If you made a mistake, he still sees it — ‘I see that!’ I’m like, ‘Wait a minute!’ ”

That Zimmer’s back on the job already after having his fourth eye procedure Friday isn’t surprising. But he said during his weekly interview on KFAN that he’s following doctor’s orders carefully. He’s expected to travel with the team to Jacksonville this week but said there was “still a lot to be determined” regarding the health of his right eye.

“I understand the seriousness of the issue and what it is,” Zimmer said. “If they tell me it’s in my best interest to sit in the box during the game or in my best interest to not go to the game, or there’s a possibility of losing my eyesight in this eye, then I’m going to listen to them.

“I think there’s a lot of speculation out there that says I’m not doing what the doctors are telling me to do, and I don’t believe that’s right.”

He said doctors told him to not look up, instead limiting him to “horizon, down,” He also needs to limit his physical activity as he recovers.

He’s continued to work through four procedures to repair a detached retina, and skipped last Thursday’s game. But he was back at Tuesday’s walk-through with a white patch over his eye.

And apparently, he can still see problems with his good eye, which is a good sign.

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Todd Bowles: Jets’ problem was bonehead mistakes, not effort

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Todd Bowles of the New York Jets smiles while watching his team warm up prior to the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Getty Images

After Monday night’s beatdown at the hands of the Colts, the Jets were criticized for a lack of effort. But coach Todd Bowles said after watching the tape that he thinks his players were hustling.

He admits, however, that his players made a lot of stupid mistakes to contribute to an ugly loss.

“I thought the effort was a lot better, but I thought we made some bonehead mistakes that cost us,” Bowles said.

Asked to clarify what the bonehead mistakes were, Bowles answered, “Probably too many to mention, because there was a lot of people that made them, whether it was offense or defense or on special teams. We had busts that we normally don’t have, and there were certain things that we didn’t execute. We didn’t execute at all.”

Bowles said the bonehead mistakes extended to everyone on the team.

“I don’t think anybody played well,” Bowles said.

Bowles is surely right about that. And if he can’t find a way to fix those bonehead mistakes he may find himself looking for work in four weeks.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Patriots QB Tom Brady leads the league with a 113.1 passer rating.

Dolphins LB Kiko Alonso has recovered four fumbles, most in the NFL this season.

Bills RB LeSean McCoy is averaging a career-high 5.5 yards a carry this season.

Although he was benched before the fourth quarter on Monday night, Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has still thrown the most fourth quarter interceptions in the NFL this season.

Ravens K Justin Tucker’s great season includes a perfect 8-for-8 on field goals 50 yards and longer.

Bengals K Mike Nugent has missed five extra points this season.

Steelers WR Antonio Brown has led the league in catches the last two years and is tied for the league lead this year.

After having several close losses early in the season, the Browns have lost four straight games by at least 14 points.

Colts QB Andrew Luck has been sacked an NFL-high 36 times.

Texans QB Brock Osweiler has more than doubled his interception total, from six with the Broncos last year to 13 in Houston this year.

Titans RB DeMarco Murray’s 4.6-yard average is a full yard per carry better than he had in Philadelphia last year.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortlespasser rating has declined from 88.2 last year to 76.9 this year.

Broncos OLB Von Miller leads the league with 12.5 sacks.

Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill has an NFL-high 374 punt return yards.

Raiders QB Derek Carr has thrown 470 passes and been sacked just 12 times. (His brother is jealous.)

Chargers CB Casey Hayward is leading the league with seven interceptions.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has 37 rushing first downs this season, most in the NFL.

Eagles QB Carson Wentz had seven touchdowns and one interception in his first five games. He has five touchdowns and 10 interceptions since then.

Giants WR Odell Beckham has over 1,000 receiving yards this season. No one else on the Giants even has 500 receiving yards.

Washington QB Kirk Cousins has 36 passes of 25 yards or longer, the most in the NFL.

Bears RB Jordan Howard has had a good rookie season, but he has also dropped an NFL-high seven passes.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford has a career-high 178 rushing yards.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has seven touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games.

Vikings QB Sam Bradford’s 97.5 passer rating this season is a career high.

Falcons MLB Deion Jones is the NFL leader in interception return yards, with 132.

Saints QB Drew Brees has an NFL-high 30 touchdown passes.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans has 64 receiving first downs, most in the NFL.

Panthers QB Cam Newton has a career-low 80.6 passer rating this season.

ESPN’s QBR ranks 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick as the worst passing quarterback and best running quarterback in the NFL.

Rams P Johnny Hekker has landed 40 punts inside the 20-yard line, by far the most in the NFL.

Seahawks MLB Bobby Wagner has an NFL-high 127 tackles.

Cardinals RB David Johnson has topped 1,000 rush yards and 700 receiving yards this season, something no player had done since Le’Veon Bell in 2014.

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Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick playing with plantar fasciitis

Orlando Scandrick AP

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will have to manage an injured left foot through the remainder of the season.

According to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Scandrick is dealing with plantar fasciitis that has limited his availability recently.

Scandrick was relegated to only playing in nickel situations against the Minnesota Vikings last Thursday. He played just 54 out of 74 snaps against the Vikings as Anthony Brown started in his place opposite Brandon Carr.

It’s very frustrating,” Scandrick said. “But there is nothing I can do. I doubt it gets better until the off-season. The only treatment is rest. And I can’t get that at this time. It’s not a long-term health issue. But it’s unfortunate. I knew the first year back (from last year’s ACL injury) would be difficult and things like this would pop up. I’ve just got to get through this season.”

Despite the limited snaps, Scandrick had a season-high seven tackles against Minnesota.

If the Cowboys can lock up the No. 1 seed in the NFC, Scandrick may be able to get the rest he needs to improve the issue for the postseason run. Dallas has a 2.5 game lead over Seattle in the race for the top seed. It could give Scandrick as many as three weeks off to rest his foot before the Cowboys begin preparation for their Divisional Round matchup.

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