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PFT’s Week 15 picks

Peterson AP

Three weeks remain, and I’ve gradually built the lead back to four games.

But MDS has a chance to trim the gap down to one, if he’s right and I’m wrong on the three games on which we disagree.

And yes, Raiders fans, after four weeks of picking your team to lose, getting the exact score of two games right, missing a third exacta by one point, and correctly predicting the Raiders’ point total in all four games, MDS is picking your team to win this week.

Our picks on all Week 15 games appear below.  (Then again, where the hell else would they be?)

For last week, I eked out the win, 11-5 to 10-6.  For the year, I’m 134-73-1, a 64.4 percent accuracy rate.  MDS is 130-77-1, which keeps him at 62.5 percent.

Bengals at Eagles

MDS’s take: I’d been saying for weeks that the Eagles have given up on the season and wouldn’t win another game this year, and they proved me wrong with a spirited effort on Sunday, beating a Buccaneers team with playoff aspirations. So can they do that twice in a row? I don’t see it. Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins will lead a defense that will make life miserable for Nick Foles.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles have now won more recently than the Phillies.  At least that can’t change until April.  Between now and then, the Eagles will change, plenty.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 24, Eagles 17.

Giants at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Falcons are still the favorites to earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, but I think the Giants are the better team. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Giants win in Atlanta in December and then do it again in January.

MDS’s pick: Giants 30, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take:  The Falcons need a win to prove they can win in the playoffs.  The Giants need a win to help ensure they’ll get to the playoffs.  This one feels like the NFC version of Texans-Patriots.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 31, Falcons 21.

Broncos at Ravens

MDS’s take: Baltimore’s decision to fire offensive coordinator Cam Cameron strikes me as a desperation move. The Ravens know they’re not as good as the three elite teams in the AFC, and the Broncos are going to demonstrate that on Sunday in Baltimore.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens don’t match up well against Peyton Manning.  They never have.  Throw in a flat-tire offense that the Ravens are trying to change while the car is moving, and the late-season slide continues.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 28, Ravens 20.

Packers at Bears

MDS’s take: The Packers can clinch the NFC North with a win, and I think they’ll do just that. Lovie Smith has said from his first day as the Bears’ coach that his No. 1 goal is to beat Green Bay, and Smith’s seat will get even hotter when he fails to do that on Sunday at Soldier Field.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Bears 13.

Florio’s take:  If Jay Cutler doesn’t play, who’ll shove J’Marcus Webb when this one starts to go south?

Florio’s pick:  Packers 24, Bears 13.

Redskins at Browns

MDS’s take: The Redskins have been red hot lately, but the Browns are better than people give them credit for. Whether it’s Robert Griffin III or Kirk Cousins, the Redskins’ quarterback is going to have a tough time against Cleveland’s defense, and I like the Browns to win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Browns 13, Redskins 10.

Florio’s take:  With or without RG3, the Redskins have found their groove and they’ll continue to push for the playoffs.  Still, this one could be the toughest challenge yet, notwithstanding wins over the Ravens, Giants, and Cowboys.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 24, Browns 21.

Colts at Texans

MDS’s take: The Texans don’t have much time to lick their wounds after the epic beating they took in New England, but Houston is a more complete team than Indianapolis and should put the Colts away and clinch the AFC South.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Colts 17.

Florio’s take:  The Texans may have never won in Indy, but they’ve finally figured out how to beat Indy in Texas.  Besides, the Texans need the win to stay ahead of the Pats for the top seed — and the Colts for the division crown.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 28, Colts 17.

Jaguars at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is particularly good, but the Dolphins at least look like they’re going in the right direction, while the Jaguars look like they need to be torn apart and rebuilt from the ground up.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take:  The Jags’ travel expenses will be low.  Their offensive output will be even lower.  And no one will notice.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 20, Jaguars 10.

Buccaneers at Saints

MDS’s take: Drew Brees will turn in a big game against a depleted Buccaneers secondary, and the Saints will put together a solid win, too late for it to matter in the playoff race.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Buccaneers 21.

Florio’s take:  Not long ago, both of these teams had a real shot at the postseason.  Now?  Not.  Though the Bucs have held their own in the Bayou in recent years, the Saints will be buoyed by their bounty victory.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Buccaneers 23.

Vikings at Rams

MDS’s take: Raise your hand if you actually predicted before the season that this Week 15 game would have playoff implications for both teams. I’m betting on both of these teams falling just short, but I’m impressed that Jeff Fisher and Leslie Frazier have their teams playing well into December. I see the Rams’ defense forcing Christian Ponder into three interceptions and the Rams ending the Vikings’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, Vikings 16.

Florio’s take:  I broke from my vow to never pick the Vikings again this year after their Week 11 bye, and it turned out to be a smart move.  For a change.  So why not do it again?  The young Rams remain inconsistent, and they’re due to lay an egg like the one they popped out against the Jets last month.  Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson is making a run at history.  What better way to take a big chunk out of the gap between A.P. and E.D. (that nickname isn’t as cool as it used to be) than to do it against the team with which he set the record?

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Rams 13.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Neither team is playing particularly well, but at least the Lions are playing competitively. The Cardinals aren’t doing anything right.

MDS’s pick: Lions 20, Cardinals 6.

Florio’s take:  Something’s gotta give when a pair of crappy teams get together in Arizona.  The Lions are the lesser of two evils, thanks to the fact that they have the better of the two starting quarterbacks.  By far.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 31, Cardinals 17.

Seahawks at Bills

MDS’s take: Seattle catches a break here, as a bad road team is going not to Buffalo but to Toronto, where the pro-Bills crowd won’t be quite as raucous. The Seahawks strike me as a team peaking at the right time, and they’ll beat Buffalo handily.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, Bills 17.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks are getting better on the road.  Especially when the road is more like the semi-neutral site that is Toronto.  The push continues for a playoff berth — and possibly the NFC West crown.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 33, Bills 20.

Panthers at Chargers

MDS’s take: Give credit to both of these teams: Late in a tough season, when it would be easy to mail it in, they’re both playing hard. So this should be a pretty good game, something you can’t often say about a December game when both teams have losing records. A big game from Philip Rivers will win it for the Chargers.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Panthers 28.

Florio’s take:  Ron Rivera returns to San Diego, with inside information about the Chargers’ offense and a quarterback who seems to be finding his stride, again.  Sunday’s upset by San Diego over the Steelers was an aberration; the Panthers’ unexpected win over Atlanta wasn’t.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 27, Chargers 20.

Steelers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: This might be the best game on a great NFL Sunday because both teams are desperate. Then again, the Steelers were desperate last week, too, and they laid an egg. Pittsburgh looks like it’s fading down the stretch.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 20, Steelers 13.

Florio’s take:  It’s a rematch of three prior Super Bowls, and each team’s ability to pursue another Super Bowl appearance rides on the outcome.  It’s hard to overlook that ugly home loss by the Steelers — and it’s even harder to ignore the sense that the Cowboys are finding a way to pull together after Saturday’s tragedy.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 27, Steelers 17.

Chiefs at Raiders

MDS’s take: This might be the worst game on a great NFL Sunday because both teams have nothing to play for other than possibly getting the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. I like the Raiders to win and the Chiefs to take another step toward the top pick.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 21, Chiefs 13.

Florio’s take:  It’s the latest renewal of a once-great rivalry, and it continues to disintegrate.  If the Raiders can win at Arrowhead, they can hold serve at home.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 17, Chiefs 7.

49ers at Patriots

MDS’s take: In a potential Super Bowl preview on Sunday night, I think the Patriots will show they’re playing at another level from the rest of the league. Tom Brady will have a big game against a good 49ers defense, and Bill Belichick will have something up his sleeve for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take:  Another prime-time home game against a playoff-caliber team, another big win for a Patriots team that is poised to make another assault on a championship.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 34, 49ers 24.

Jets at Titans

MDS’s take: I don’t think the Jets are particularly good, but none of the teams they’re playing in December are particularly good, either. So I like the Jets to win this one, and probably win out to earn a surprising 9-7 record and even an outside shot at an AFC wild card berth.

MDS’s pick: Jets 14, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  The Jets keep moving toward an unlikely playoff berth.  The Titans keep moving toward an inevitable house cleaning.  Mittens off for Bud Adams!

Florio’s pick:  Jets 14, Titans 10.

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Shane Vereen’s season may not be over

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:   Shane Vereen #34 of the New York Giants runs with the ball against the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Monday, the Giants announced that running back Shane Vereen would miss the rest of the season after suffering a triceps injury in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins.

Ruling Vereen out for the duration of the year was a bit premature, however. The Giants have revised their earlier announcement to say that Vereen will have surgery without ruling him out for the rest of the season.

Vereen could spend eight weeks on injured reserve and be eligible to return to the team later in the year if he’s healthy enough to play. Teams do not have to designate the one player eligible to return until they have been on I.R. for six weeks.

Vereen’s absence comes at a time when Rashad Jennings is dealing with a thumb injury that kept him from playing in Week Three. Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey both saw action during Sunday’s game and coach Ben McAdoo said Monday that fifth-round pick Paul Perkins “is ready to step up.”

McAdoo also said it would be later in the week before the team knows if cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple will be able to play against the Vikings after leaving Sunday’s loss with injuries.

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Jets claim Austin Seferian-Jenkins

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers  40-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets haven’t made much use of their tight ends in the passing game since Todd Bowles became the team’s head coach last season, but they added one on Monday who came into the league with some potential in that area.

According to multiple reports, the Jets have claimed Austin Seferian-Jenkins off of waivers. Seferian-Jenkins was waived by the Buccaneers on Friday after he was arrested for DUI.

Seferian-Jenkins was a second-round pick in 2014, but only played in 16 games over his first two seasons because of injuries. He then earned the ire of coach Dirk Koetter at practice this offseason and dropped behind Cameron Brate on the depth chart.

He caught 45 passes for 603 yards and seven touchdowns overall for the Bucs, numbers that the current group of Jets tight ends weren’t going. His new team will hope that Seferian-Jenkins can stay healthy and trouble-free enough to add something to an offense that flopped in Kansas City on Sunday.

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Alex Boone “should be OK” after hip injury

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, right, celebrates with teammate Alex Boone, left, after kicking a 46-yard field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King) AP

The Vikings offense got some bad injury news after their Week Two win as both running back Adrian Peterson and left tackle Ryan Kalil wound up on injured reserve.

Things are off to a better start after their Week Three victory. Left guard Alex Boone hurt his hip against the Panthers, forcing him out of the game and necessitating an MRI to evaluate the extent of the injury.

The results of that test haven’t created a great worry for coach Mike Zimmer, who said Monday that Boone “should be OK.”

“I mean, I won’t know until we get out there and practice,” Zimmer said, via the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “But, from what I understand he’s doing better.”

The Vikings held up well without their missing pieces against the Panthers, but the more healthy the bodies the better for keeping the wins coming as the season unfolds.

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Le’Veon Bell says off-field issues are “behind me”

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2016, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell stands on the sideline during the first half of an NFL exhibition football game against the Detroit Lions in Pittsburgh. Bell is eager to get back to work and put behind him the myriad of health and legal issues that have plagued him for the last 18 months. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) AP

Upon his return to the Steelers after a three-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy, running back Le’Veon Bell told reporters today the issues were “behind me.”

There shouldn’t be any more off-the-field issues. I apologize to everybody for that,” Bell said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “I just want to move forward. I’m ready to get back on the field and show people what I’m able to do.”

Bell missed the first two games of last season after a DUI charge in which he admitted smoking marijuana on his way to the airport prior to a Steelers preseason game. The latest suspension was for missing tests, which he said was entirely his fault.

But he said his priority now was taking care of himself physically and “whatever it takes for me to be on the field.”

“I’m not a perfect person. I never will be. I’m not going to try to be,” Bell said. “I understand there are some things I can get better at, and I’m going to shoot to get better at them.”

The Steelers could use the jolt he could provide for the offense, after a listless 34-3 loss to the Eagles.

“Once they plug me in, I feel like I’ll go out there and help the guys move the football,” Bell said. “I just want to be a guy that’s reliable, make sure I take care of the football, make plays in situational downs, get in the end zone, help the offense move the ball and win games.”

He also said he had no problem sharing the ball with veteran backup DeAngelo Williams, though no one expects it to be anything near a job share.

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Fox calls Cutler “day-to-day,” says there are “no givens” when he returns

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 26:   Jeremy Langford #33 of the Chicago Bears carries the football past  Ha Ha Clinton-Dix #21 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on November 26, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears Coach John Fox told reporters Monday that quarterback Jay Cutler is “day-to-day” with the thumb injury that kept him out of Sunday’s loss at Dallas.

Fox also gave an interesting answer when he was asked if Cutler will return as the starter when he’s healthy.

“I don’t think there are any givens,” Fox said. “And that’s not an indictment on anybody.”

The 0-3 Bears play the Lions on Sunday. Brian Hoyer started vs. the Cowboys with Cutler out.

Fox said Hoyer “made some good decisions, not all of them” but did some good things vs. the Cowboys. The Bears lost, 31-17.

Fox said running back Jeremy Langford suffered a sprained ankle in the loss to the Cowboys. He didn’t offer a timetable or any more details on Langford’s injury.

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Taylor Lewan: Official told me to “f— off” during postgame exchange

Pittsburgh Steelers v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan got called for a crucial penalty on the final drive of Sunday’s 17-10 loss to the Raiders when he was judged to make a late launch into a pile of Raiders at the end of a catch by Tajae Sharpe that put the Titans on the three-yard-line.

The unnecessary roughness call pushed the Titans back 15 yards, something Lewan apologized to his teammates for after the game while also saying that he “was just doing what I thought was right.” Lewan was also spotted having a conversation with umpire Dan Ferrell while walking off the field during the game. He confirmed to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com that he “absolutely” said some things to Ferrell before the official told him to “f— off.”

“Honestly, he said some things, and whatever,” Lewan said. “It is what it is. The game’s over and regardless of what he said, it’s not gonna change the game or what happened. There’s nothing I can really say about it.”

Lewan was also the subject of a tweet from ESPN college football broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit that called him “an absolute fraud” and a “#FakeToughGuy.” Lewan, a Michigan alum, didn’t take a swing back at the Ohio State alum.

“It’s not my place to comment on that,” Lewan said. “It’s his prerogative. I’m playing in the NFL. He has his job, I have mine, and whether it’s right, wrong or not, it’s not my place to comment on that.”

The Titans appeared to get into the end zone shortly after Lewan’s penalty, although the score was waved off after Andre Johnson was flagged for offensive pass interference.

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Report: Patriots signing John Hughes

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 27:  John Hughes #93 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after recovering a fumble during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots opened a roster spot by waiving defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, but it doesn’t appear they’ll be using it for a quarterback to provide insurance with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett banged up.

Field Yates of ESPN reports that the team will be signing defensive tackle John Hughes. Hughes was dropped by the Browns last week and he’ll reunite with former Cleveland teammates Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo in New England.

Hughes was a third-round pick by the Browns in 2012, but was never a consistent starter during his time in Cleveland. He made 10 starts in 53 appearances during his time with the team and will be moving into a reserve role for the Patriots as well.

Assuming he sticks around beyond this week, of course. Tom Brady and Rob Ninkovich are wrapping up four-game suspensions and space will need to be made for them. As the last one in, Hughes could be the next one out so he may learn that life moves pretty fast at the bottom of the Patriots roster.

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Ben McAdoo: Odell Beckham needs more control of emotions

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants looks on in the fourth Quarter against the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham didn’t do anything to get himself suspended in Sunday’s matchup with Redskins cornerback Josh Norman as he avoided running shots to Norman’s head and anything else that would have run afoul of the pregame warnings delivered to both players.

While Beckham kept things together on the field, he didn’t avoid meltdowns altogether. He put on a show on the Giants sideline after an Eli Manning interception in the fourth quarter that saw him take the metal frame of a kicking net to the head after it recoiled from being hit by Beckham.

A FOX camera caught a close-up of Beckham’s face at the end of the tantrum and he appeared to have tears coming out of his eyes. On Monday, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said the wideout needs to do a better job of keeping his emotions in check.

“Emotionally on the sideline in between the series, he needs to do a better job,” McAdoo said, via NJ.com. “That’s all of our responsibilities, mine included. But he needs to control his emotions better and be less of a distraction to himself and his teammates. It’s our job to help him with that process. It takes a village. Communication, having a variety of different people, different coaches, staff members that he can talk to and communicate with, just help him direct his focus.”

Manning did speak to Beckham on the sideline after his tirade and agrees with McAdoo, saying everyone needs to “stay calm” at that point in the game.

Complete emotional detachment is neither reasonable to expect nor a good mindset for a competitive athlete, but the Giants saw the damage that Beckham losing control could do last season. It didn’t have the same on-field impact Sunday, but it was enough that McAdoo felt the need to remind the wideout that it’s not what the team wants to see.

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Patriots create roster spot by waiving Anthony Johnson

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on before the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots don’t necessarily want to add a quarterback to the roster.

But they have a spot to do so now if they want to.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Patriots are waiving defensive tackle Anthony Johnson. He has practice squad eligibility, and they have a spot there as well.

That leaves their roster a man short, at a time when they’re unsure whether Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) or Jacoby Brissett (thumb) will be able to play this week against the Bills.

No corresponding roster move has been announced, and we’re sure Bill Belichick doesn’t mind you, me and Rex Ryan wondering what they’re going to do with it.

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Hue Jackson says he plans to keep kicker who missed three field goals

Cleveland Browns kicker Cody Parkey (3) aims for a field goal as Cleveland Browns punter Britton Colquitt (4) holds the ball, during the first half an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) AP

Kicker Cody Parkey missed three field goals in his Browns debut Sunday, including one on the final play of regulation that would have won the game.

Monday, Browns coach Hue Jackson told reporters that he plans to have Parkey back for at least next week’s game at the Redskins.

Patrick Murray, who won the Browns’ kicking job in the preseason, was hurt during a walkthrough practice last Friday and later placed on injured reserve. That left the Browns with little time to explore options or hold kicker tryouts before Sunday’s game at the Dolphins and they ended up signing Parkey, who was cut by the Eagles in the preseason.

Parkey officially signed on Saturday and met the Browns in South Florida.

Jackson said reports that the organization was split on whether to sign Parkey or Robbie Gould and that the front office pushed Parkey are “so far from the truth.”

The Browns could still work out some available kickers this week, but Jackson said that as of now he plans for Parkey to have the job. Parkey made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2014 but missed most of last season with a groin injury.

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Colts announcer regrets ending broadcast with an F-bomb

boblamey

Colts radio announcer Bob Lamey had an odd way to sum up the ending of Sunday’s win over the Chargers.

“The Colts win it, 26-22. The game is finally f–king over. Colts win, 26-22, their first win of the season,” Lamey said on the air, not seeming to care that he was uttering one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.

Afterward, Lamey regretted it.

“I keep thinking, ‘This is not me.’ My wife was saying, ‘Bob, you don’t say that.’ But I did and I feel absolutely awful about it,” Lamey told Bob Kravitz of WTHR. “I take it very hard because it hurts my reputation, the reputation of the Colts and if there were kids listening, I mean, it’s just awful.”

So why did Lamey, a longtime broadcasting veteran, say something on the air that everyone knows you’re not allowed to say on the air? He says he can’t explain it, didn’t realize he was doing it and doesn’t remember it.

“After the game, [Colts PR man] Matt Conti told me about it, and I was shocked,” Lamey said. “Then I listened to it, and it was kind of garbled – but yeah, I said it. The tape doesn’t lie. I just wish I remember having said it.”

The Colts own their local broadcast rights and license them to radio stations, and Lamey works for the Colts, not the stations that broadcast the games. The Colts say they forgive Lamey.

“Bob Lamey is not only a legendary broadcaster, but also a passionate and loyal Colts fan,” the team said in a statement. “Nevertheless, even in the heat of the moment, profanity has no place in Colts broadcasting. Bob has expressed extreme regret for his mistake during yesterday’s broadcast. We have accepted his sincere apology, and forgiven him for his misstep. We hope our fans will do the same and enjoy ‘The Voice of the Colts’ for many more broadcasts.”

One misstep should certainly not negate a long career, but it does deserve further exploration. If the 77-year-old Lamey truly didn’t realize he said the F-word on the air, and truly doesn’t remember saying the F-word on the air, he’d be wise to get a medical checkup. An on-air F-bomb from a professional with decades of experience is less offensive than alarming.

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Marcus Mariota thinks he’s trying to do too much

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 25:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans pitches out the football on a run during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Nissan Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Titans were able to rally late for a victory over the Lions in Week Two and they had a chance to do the same in Week Three against the Raiders, but their effort fell short in what wound up as a 17-10 Oakland victory.

They may not have been trying to play from behind if not for three turnovers by quarterback Marcus Mariota. Mariota fumbled once and threw two interceptions over the course of the game, leaving him with six giveaways over the course of the young season. The fumble came on a play that saw Mariota trying to run for a first down on third-and-13 and there was another that the Titans recovered when he tried a late pitch to Harry Douglas, which led Mariota to say that he needs to scale things back in certain situations.

“That’s just me being a competitor and that’s why I got to continue to learn. I am trying to do too much, fight for a first down rather than just moving on and taking care of the football,” Mariota said, via the Tennessean. “Yeah, and you know that’s things that I have worked on, it’s part of the game, but I got to find ways to be better. I can’t put our defense in situations like that. You know, I will get better.”

Even with the turnovers, the Titans may have tied the game if not for a pair of penalties on their final drive. Tackle Taylor Lewan was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a Tajae Sharpe catch that would have given them a first down on the 3-yard-line and Andre Johnson was called for offensive pass interference on a touchdown catch a few plays later.

There’s work to be done in several places, in other words, and Mariota realizing where he needs to improve should help the effort to move the team in the right direction.

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Sen’Derrick Marks: We got too conservative on Sunday

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25:  Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Beadley and Chad Henne #7 on the sideline against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field on September 25, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said after Sunday’s 19-17 loss to the Ravens that the blame for the offense underachieving down the stretch, saying that it was “nobody’s fault outside of mine.”

No one would disagree that the Jaguars failed to take advantage of good field position after moving ahead 17-16 halfway through the fourth quarter or that Bortles’ two interceptions in the final 15 minutes hurt the team, but one of Bortles’ teammates thinks that others shared the blame. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks thought the offense should have been more aggressive after the defense set them up with a pair of interceptions.

“I felt like we got conservative with six minutes left in the game,” Marks said, via ESPN.com. “You can’t do that. If it comes down to it and it bites you in the butt like it did, then it’s basically that’s why you’re the [expletive] Jaguars. You can’t do that. You have to put teams away. We had plenty of chances and we didn’t do it and they capitalized the exact same way they did at their home last year.”

The familiarity of the way the Jaguars have lost their three games this year strikes a blow to the hopes that the team took a step forward from what hurt them in coach Gus Bradley’s first three years as the head coach. Given that owner Shad Khan was one of the people expressing the belief that the team turned a page, that would seem to bode poorly for Bradley as the team readies for a trip to London to face the Colts.

Joe Philbin was in a similar spot when the Dolphins went overseas to play the Jets last season and returned home without a job after a loss. There’s no outward sign that the Jaguars are thinking about that move, but it’s hard to take it totally off the table with things unfolding counter to the hopes coming into the season.

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Willie Snead not expected to play for Saints tonight

New Orleans Saints' Willie Snead (83) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of New York Giants' Darian Thompson (27) and Kelvin Sheppard (91) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) AP

The Saints might be without a key part of the offense tonight against the Falcons.

According to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, wide receiver Willie Snead is not expected to play tonight, after injuring toe ligaments last week against the Giants.

“I don’t feel 100 percent, but throughout the week my foot’s been getting better and we’ve been treating it really well,” Snead said Saturday. “I just want to be healthy for the year, to be honest. I don’t want it to linger, I want it to be gone.

“It’s Monday Night Football, the atmosphere’s gonna be great. It’s gonna be frustrating if I can’t go. If I can go, I’ll make the most of it. . . . If I can’t, I’ll be on the sideline cheering my butt off.”

Snead’s been one of the pleasant surprises for the Saints so far this season, with 14 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns in two games. Without him, the Saints will likely rely on second-rounder Michael Thomas.

The Saints are already going to be without left tackle Terron Armstead (knee), and their usual array of defensive players, but that doesn’t feel like news anymore.

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Pete Carroll: Russell Wilson has a sprained MCL

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes the ball during the first quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle,Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson went for an MRI on his injured knee after Sunday’s victory over the 49ers and the results call into question whether he’ll be able to start against the Jets in Week Four.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was on ESPN 710’s “Brock and Salk” Monday and said that the MRI showed Wilson has a sprained MCL. He said the diagnosis meant there’s “obviously consideration” to having Wilson sit out this week, although the perpetually upbeat coach added that the quarterback is doing “unbelievable” a day after getting hurt.

“I just left him,” Carroll said. “He’s unbelievable, OK. He feels great. He’s been rehabbing all night and doing his thing, and he can move around, walking fine. You can’t tell anything. He’s really excited about the thought that he could be able to maybe get through this thing.”

The Seahawks have a bye after the trip back to where they won the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, which would leave Wilson with two weeks to recover before the Seahawks host the Falcons on October 16. The decision will likely come down to how well Wilson can move over the coming days, so his status for Sunday afternoon may not be confirmed until Sunday morning.

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