Can the Vikings roll in Green Bay? Will the Colts go into Detroit and kick the Lions when they are down? Does no Big Ben mean no chance for the Steelers in Baltimore? The PFT guys sort through Week 13’s mess with their Sunday picks.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Week 13 picks
The Colts will have quarterback Andrew Luck on Monday night.
Luck doesn’t appear on the final injury report in advance of the game against the Jets, which means that he has been cleared to play, 12 days after landing in the concussion protocol following a win over the Titans.
The franchise quarterback missed Indy’s Thanksgiving night visit from the Steelers, which the Colts lost to fall to 5-6.
Questionable for the game are tackle Denzelle Good (shoulder), receiver T.Y. Hilton (back), and defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (back). Hilton took a hard hit to the lower back from Steelers safety Mike Mitchell in the Week 12 loss.
The good news for the Packers is that quarterback Aaron Rodgers remains on track to play, despite a hamstring injury suffered on Monday night. The bad news for the Packers is that Rodgers won’t have 40 percent of his offensive line.
The Packers also added cornerback Damarious Randall to the injury report with a groin injury. He’s questionable for the matchup with the Texans.
Despite being two games behind the 7-4 Lions, the 5-6 Packers have the inside track to the division title. If they pick up one game over the next four weeks (and the Lions play at New Orleans, at the Giants, and at Dallas), the Week 17 game between the Lions and Packers becomes a playoff play-in game.
During his first two NFL seasons, Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney missed 15 games with injuries and fell short of expectations. But this year, Cloweny has stayed healthy and become the difference-maker on defense the Texans hoped he’d be.
Unfortunately, now Clowney is hurt again.
The Texans announced today that Clowney’s elbow and wrist injuries are serious enough that he will not travel with the team to Green Bay for tomorrow’s big game against the Packers.
Without Clowney to pressure Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ offense should benefit. And beating the Packers will get that much harder for the Texans.
Tomorrow’s game has playoff implications for both teams. The 6-5 Texans have a half-game lead in the AFC south, while the 5-6 Packers are two games back in the NFC North.
Bills tight end Charles Clay did not travel with the team to Oakland because he’s expecting the birth of his child soon.
The Bills said Saturday that Clay’s status for Sunday’s game vs. the Raiders is questionable.
Clay has started all 11 games for the Bills. He’s caught 36 passes for 323 yards.
With Clay’s status uncertain, the Bills promoted tight end Gerald Christian from the practice squad and waived kickoff specialist Jordan Gay.
When Joe McKnight was arriving at USC as the Parade national high school football player of the year, he was often compared to another great USC running back, Reggie Bush. On Sunday, Bush will honor McKnight, three days after McKnight was shot and killed in a road rage incident in New Orleans.
Bush announced on Twitter today that he will wear cleats that honor McKnight when Bush’s Bills play the Raiders in Oakland tomorrow. The shoes will be in USC’s cardinal and gold colors and will feature a picture of McKnight, his name, and his dates of birth and death.
McKnight chose USC in part because he idolized Bush, and Bush wrote on Twitter after McKnight’s death that he was angry to see a promising young life cut short.
“RIP my brother Joe McKnight this one hurts bad,” Bush wrote. “He didn’t deserve to die that way! And then this man stands over him and shoots him again like some kind of wild animal! Sickening. Pulling a gun out to kill someone doesn’t make you tough. At what point did we just lose our ability to handle differences like men and talk out our problems! What happened to that?”
Players are usually not allowed to put personal messages on their uniforms, but the NFL is allowing all players to wear customized cleats this week to recognize causes they care about.
The Patriots won’t have to worry about losing defensive tackle Alan Branch for four games. At least not this time.
Branch’s agent, Blake Baratz, declared on Twitter that Branch’s suspension was “rescinded.”
“The NFL doesn’t always do the right thing, but they did this time,” Baratz said.
Baratz’s tweet suggests the NFL backed down short of a final decision on appeal. However, ESPN’s Field Yates has reported that Branch actually won his appeal.
Starting in 2014, most cases under the substance-abuse policy became eligible for neutral arbitration. So if Branch actually won his appeal, the NFL didn’t do anything — other than agree to neutral arbitration more than two years ago.
Because the NFL uses progressive discipline in the substance-abuse policy, the outcome doesn’t mean Branch will never be suspended. Depending on his current status in the program and the potential consequences of a failed test or a missed test, Branch could be one strike away from an absence.
The Chiefs will continue to have a big absence on their offense during tomorrow’s big game in Atlanta.
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will miss tomorrow’s game against the Falcons, the Chiefs announced today. Maclin has previously been listed as questionable but is not making the trip to Atlanta with the team.
There had been optimism coming out of Kansas City after Maclin was back on the practice field this week. But he’ll need another week to recover from a groin injury.
After back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons the last two years, Maclin has just 376 yards in this injury-plagued year.
The Chiefs also announced that cornerback Phillip Gaines has a knee injury and is questionable.
A Cleveland weatherman won’t shave until the Browns win.
The Bills plan to make Oakland receivers work for their catches on Sunday.
The Dolphins may be relying a lot on their young receivers at Baltimore.
The Texans practiced in the rain in order to prepare for their game at Green Bay.
For the Jaguars, it’s five weeks of playing spoiler.
Cut three times by Jacksonville, Broncos LB Brandon Marshall looks forward to showing them how far he has come.
For plenty of Chiefs, Sunday’s game at Atlanta is a homecoming.
After three wins in 12 days, the Cowboys now have 10 days to get ready to play the only team that has beaten them.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer addressed his team on Thursday morning, even though he wasn’t able to coach them on Thursday night.
With the season on the line, the Packers are giving first-season players less playing time.
Falcons assistant G.M. Scott Pioli shared inside information about the Kansas City team he helped build with Falcons coach Dan Quinn.
Playing in Seattle won’t make things any easier for the Panthers’ offensive line.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians calls 2016 a lost season for Tyrann Mathieu (which means that he won big by getting his second contract when he did).
The Seahawks will place no restrictions on RB Thomas Rawls on Sunday night.
It would be the most significant car ride since Brad Childress picked up Brett Favre at the airport, if it happens. And it could.
If coach Mike Zimmer can’t fly for the Week 14 game, the Vikings may drive him. To Jacksonville.
That’s a 1,472-mile drive. At an average speed of 65 miles per hour, it’s a 22-hour trip.
Flying could be a problem due to the pressure on Zimmer’s surgically repaired eye. If so, driving becomes the option for getting Zimmer to the game.
And the 22-hour trip to Florida would also entail a 22-hour trip back to Minnesota, which would limit his availability to the team both in preparation for the Jaguars game and in preparation for the Week 15 home game against the Colts.
Why would Zimmer do it? Apart from the fact that he’s as committed as any coach to his craft, the Vikings aren’t dead, yet. If they run the table (which would include a win over the Packers in Green Bay) and if the Lions lose three of their final five games (they play at New Orleans, at the Giants, and at Dallas), Minnesota would win the division.
The Steelers made an emergency kicker move Saturday morning, signing Randy Bullock.
The Steelers added kicker Chris Boswell to their injury report as questionable with an abdominal injury on Saturday. Though the move would indicate that Boswell will miss Sunday’s game with the Giants, the team doesn’t have to decide until 90 minutes before kickoff.
Bullock kicked for the Giants in the season opener and has been on the workout circuit since looking for an opportunity. He kicked for the Texans from 2013 until being released last season, then kicked in eight games for the Jets last season. He made 14-of-17 field goal tries for the Jets.
He kicked in one game for the Texans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, which has been one of the league’s toughest stadiums for kicking conditions.
Boswell is in his second season kicking for the Steelers. He’s been perfect on extra-point kicks and is 12-of-16 on field goals this season.
Cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz was released to create a roster spot for Bullock.
The Steelers have added kicker Chris Boswell to their injury report as questionable with an abdominal injury.
Though the Steelers don’t need to decide on Boswell’s status for Sunday’s game vs. the Giants until 90 minutes prior to kickoff, if the Steelers need to add a kicker to their roster they have until 4 p.m. Saturday to make such a move.
Boswell is in his second season kicking for the Steelers. He’s been perfect on extra-point kicks and is 12-of-16 on field goals this season.
“First of all, we play in between the lines,” Reed said, via Curtis Crabtree of KJR (and PFT). “You can go back and watch the film. You will see that. If he thinks he’s a clean player, then I don’t know what he’s seeing. But as far as the allegation of me spitting in his face, that’s not true at all. I mean, show me the play, show me where I did it, then you can say something. Other than that, I just think it’s funny.”
There’s not much that’s funny about Reed’s attitude toward the Buccaneers or fans that have been criticizing him on anti-social media for spitting.
“I definitely saw it earlier on my Twitter account,” Reed said. “I guess the Buccaneers nation is pretty pissed. But I really don’t care. I don’t care for him or their organization or about the comments he made. That’s really it. They can keep talking about it all they want to.”
As Crabtree notes, Hawley became irate at Reed after the first play of the fourth quarter. But the TV broadcast of the game was not focused on the two men before it became clear Hawley was upset. So why was Hawley mad, Jarran?
“I mean, I don’t know, I guess because he couldn’t block a rookie the way he wanted to,” Reed said. “So I’d be pretty pissed too. I guess you need to do a better job. . . .
“Nobody said nothing after the game. It was all cordial. Nobody was mad or anything. Now all of the sudden . . . I thought we were all grown men. I think it’s pretty funny. He sounds like a 14-year old girl running to everybody, ‘Oh, he spit in my face’ and all that. Anyways, next.”
“Next” is probably the most accurate assessment, from the league’s perspective. If the NFL would be punishing Reed for the incident, it would have happened before Friday. It’s unknown whether the Buccaneers specifically complained to the league office about it.
The man who shot and killed former NFL player Joe McKnight over an apparent traffic incident had previously been cited for battery over a confrontation at the very same intersection where he killed McKnight.
The New Orleans Advocate reports that Ronald Gasser, who admits he shot and killed McKnight on Thursday, was issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery in 2006, after another motorist called 911 and reported that Gasser had followed him to a gas station and punched him over a traffic dispute. That dispute took place at Holmes Boulevard and Behrman Highway in the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown, the very same intersection where Gasser shot McKnight.
In the 2006 incident, police say the victim had first called a phone number on a pickup truck to report that the truck was being driven unsafely. It turned out that Gasser was the one driving the truck, and the phone number listed on the truck was Gasser’s cell phone. Gasser answered the call for unsafe driving, berated the caller, figured out which nearby car the call was coming from, and followed the man.
Gasser’s misdemeanor battery summons was later dismissed for reasons that the Sheriff’s Office now says are unclear.
After Gasser killed McKnight on Thursday, he stayed at the scene, acknowledged to police that he had committed the shooting, and gave officers the gun. Although Gasser was initially brought to a police station, he was released without charges. Gasser claims he shot McKnight in self defense, and Louisiana law allows people to shoot to kill if they believe they are being threatened.
After Oregon fired coach Mark Helfrich, 49ers coach Chip Kelly insisted he’s not interested in returning to the place where he had his greatest coaching success. But the topic has been discussed.
Helfrich himself said on ESPN Radio that he talked to Kelly about the possibility that Kelly would take his place. Helfrich wanted Kelly to know there would be no hard feelings if Kelly decided to return, and in fact Helfrich said he hopes Kelly does succeed him because Kelly would be more likely to keep some of his assistants in place than a new coach who would clean house.
However, Helfrich said he thinks Kelly is committed to remaining coach of the 49ers.
“I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He’s had a rough go of it this year, but he’ll make it right,” Helfrich said of Kelly.
All indications are that Kelly prefers coaching in the NFL to coaching in college, in large part because Kelly dislikes recruiting. The question, however, is whether Kelly may soon find himself unable to land an NFL job. After getting fired in Philadelphia last year, he’s 1-10 in San Francisco this year. If he gets fired by the 49ers, he might return to college because he has no job available to him in the NFL. But it sounds like it would have to reach that point before Kelly would consider leaving the pros.
The Cowboys’ already good offensive line may soon get better.
La’el Collins, who has been out since Week Three with a foot injury, is expected to return soon. Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan that the Cowboys plan to use their return designation on Collins, allowing him to be the one player on injured reserve to come back and play this year.
What remains to be seen is whether Collins returns to the starting lineup. Although he was the starting left guard before he got hurt, Ron Leary has played so well in Collins’ absence that Leary may keep the starting job.
“So that gives us depth going into the playoffs. We’ve got the quarterbacks. We’ve got our offensive line,” Jones said. “This thing looks good.”
The Cowboys look very good, and a good player getting back on the field will only make them look better.