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PFT’s Week 16 picks

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The proverbial pink champagne is on ice.

Yes, with a clean sweep in the three games on which we disagreed last weekend, I’ve now built a seven-game lead over MDS, with only 32 games to go.

The problem for MDS is that we probably won’t disagree on seven games in the final two weeks.  Even then, he needs to be right on all of them.

For Week 16, we disagree on three.  So I’ll lead by at least four and possibly by 10 by the time the fat man in the red suit breaks into my house, eats my cookies, and leaves behind a bunch of stuff for everyone but me.

For the week, I was 12-4 to a 9-7 from MDS.  On the year, I’m at 146-77-1, good for 65.1 percent.  MDS is 139-84-1, still at 62.0 percent.

Falcons at Lions

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have been severely inconsistent this season, with the Falcons consistently managing to pull out wins when they don’t play very well, and the Lions consistently managing to pull out losses when they play competitively. So after a week in which the Falcons blew out a good team and the Lions got blown out by a bad team, I’m picking both teams to revert to their inconsistent ways. Does this logic make sense? Maybe not, but I’m going to have to pick some upsets to catch Florio.  So what the heck?

MDS’s pick: Lions 21, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take:  It would be fitting for the Lions to close out a disappointing year with a pair of home wins over postseason contenders from Atlanta and Chicago.  It would be fitting, but after seeing the Lions lay an egg against the nine-eggs-in-a-row-laying Cardinals, it’s impossible for me to think the Lions can take down a Falcons team that put a goose egg on the Giants.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 31, Lions 17.

Giants at Ravens

MDS’s take: Both of these teams once looked like locks to win their divisions and now look desperate. Former Giants coach Bill Parcells liked to say that in games like this, you go with the more desperate team. That’s the Giants, who probably need to win out to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Ravens 13.

Florio’s take:  The Ravens are desperate for a win.  The Giants are more desperate for a win.  Even though Eli Manning’s Giants have lost to two teams that Peyton Manning’s Broncos played previously and beat, the third time needs to be a charm, or Eli will have no chance to chase his third ring.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Ravens 20.

Raiders at Panthers

MDS’s take: A couple weeks ago this looked like it could be a game to determine the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. But the Panthers have won two in a row, and the Raiders won last week, and so now it looks merely like a game that could help shape the Top 10 of the draft. Which makes it an even less interesting game than it otherwise would have been.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 31, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take:  Ron Rivera is making it very hard for the next G.M. to hire a new coach.  It will keep getting harder.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 31, Raiders 20.

Saints at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Dallas secondary is going to struggle mightily against the Saints’ passing attack, but with the season on the line I see Tony Romo having a big game against the Saints’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 34, Saints 31.

Florio’s take:  A loss to Dallas is a win for the Saints, since it makes it more likely that there won’t be a place with the Cowboys for Sean Payton.  Even though the Saints won big over the Bucs, the Cowboys are chasing a playoff berth no one thought they’d secure.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 30, Saints 24.

Titans at Packers

MDS’s take: Tennessee has actually played some reasonably good football in the five weeks since owner Bud Adams put the team on notice following a humiliating loss to the Bears: In those five weeks the Titans have blown out the Dolphins, ended the Jets’ playoff hopes and played a very close game against the playoff-bound Colts. But Green Bay in December is a tough place to play, and the Packers won’t have too much trouble putting the Titans away.

MDS’s pick: Packers 35, Titans 21.

Florio’s take:  Green Bay is reached for a No. 2 seed.  The Titans are reaching for a lower draft pick.  Advantage Packers.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 27, Titans 17.

Vikings at Texans

MDS’s take: It’s impressive that the Vikings are still playing meaningful games this deep in the season, but this is where it comes to an end.  The Texans will clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by spanking the Vikings, and the loss will severely damage the Vikings’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Texans 41, Vikings 20.

Florio’s take:  The Texans may not be able to stop Adrian Peterson, but they’ll likely come through in the most important statistical category — points scored versus points allowed.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 31, Vikings 20.

Patriots at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Patriots can’t be feeling good about themselves after Sunday night’s loss to the 49ers. They’ll take it out on the Jaguars in the day’s biggest blowout.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 38, Jaguars 3.

Florio’s take:  Five years ago, these two teams squared off in the playoffs.  The closest the Jaguars ever get to returning comes from periodically losing to New England.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 41, Jaguars 14.

Colts at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Let’s just stop and reflect for a moment on how important the quarterback position is in the NFL: In 2010, with Peyton Manning, the Colts were a playoff team. In 2011, with Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky and Kerry Collins, the Colts were the worst team in the league. In 2012, with Andrew Luck, the Colts will beat the Chiefs on Sunday and clinch a playoff berth.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Chiefs 14.

Florio’s take:  The team that lucked into the top pick in the 2012 draft faces the team that won’t have the same good fortune finding a quarterback with the first or second overall selection in 2013.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Chiefs 13.

Bills at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Amazingly, the Dolphins are still in playoff contention, although they would need a lot of help in order to get there, even if they win out. They’ll at least take care of their end by winning on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 20.

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins are surprisingly still alive for the postseason.  The Bills unsurprisingly aren’t.  Edge to the home team and the team that still have something to play for, which in this case is the same team.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 20, Bills 17.

Redskins at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Redskins just need to win out and they win the NFC East. No way they get tripped up by the Eagles, who are just playing out the string. Who would have figured before the season that the Redskins would be playing for a division title while the Eagles would be long since eliminated from playoff contention?

MDS’s pick: Redskins 31, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take:  It’s likely the final home game for Eagles coach Andy Reid.  And Reid surely would love to spoil Washington’s chances to get to the postseason.  Of course, Reid also would have loved to have had the kind of year that would have made Sunday’s game not his final home game.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 24, Eagles 14.

Bengals at Steelers

MDS’s take: The game of the day is in Pittsburgh, where these two teams will be fighting for the one open playoff spot remaining after the Colts take care of business. I like the Steelers to summon everything they have left and put themselves in prime position to clinch in Week 17.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 21, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals are 0-9 in their last eight games against the Steelers and Ravens.  And the Steelers are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception.  And the Steelers desperately need a win in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.  This isn’t a game the Steelers lose.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 23, Bengals 13.

Rams at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: I was surprised the extent to which the Bucs looked on Sunday like they’ve given up on the season. Greg Schiano and Jeff Fisher both have rebuilding jobs on their hands, but Fisher’s Rams appear to be closer to getting that job done than Schiano’s Bucs.

MDS’s pick: Rams 17, Buccaneers 9.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs play their final home game of the season while in a full-blown free fall.  Since it’s potentially cornerback Ronde Barber’s final home game of his career, look for the Bucs to find a way to turn things around against a Rams team that saw its unlikely postseason run slam to a halt in Week 15.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 28, Rams 17.

Browns at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos just need to beat two bad teams, the Browns and Chiefs, in order to ensure that if they rematch the Patriots in the playoffs, that game takes place in Denver. Peyton Manning and Co. will take care of business.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  The Broncos are closing in on a bye.  The Browns are closing in on saying “bye” to their coach and G.M.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 27, Browns 14.

Bears at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Bears need to win out and get some help to make the playoffs. I’m not sure if they’ll get the help, but with only the Cardinals and Lions left on the schedule, they should win out.

MDS’s pick: Bears 27, Cardinals 9.

Florio’s take:  No one’s ass is getting crowned as a result of this one.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 20, Cardinals 10.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Sunday night game is a big one, matching the two teams that may be playing the best football in all of the NFL right now. On a neutral field I’d probably take the 49ers, but in Seattle I give the Seahawks the edge.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 21, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take:  The “what’s your deal?” rivalry suddenly has become one of the best in the game, making the frosty relationship between the two coaches an afterthought.  The Seahawks could have, and should have, won the last time these teams met.  This time, the Seahawks are even better.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 20, 49ers 17.

Chargers at Jets

MDS’s take: Greg McElroy may get the loudest ovation at home that a Jets quarterback has received since Joe Namath. I don’t think McElroy is the long-term answer, but I do think he’ll play competently, and the Jets’ defense will play well, and Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow will stand together on the sideline awkwardly watching the McElroy-led Jets win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Chargers 10.

Florio’s take:  The McElroy era begins with a Bolt.  Or maybe a butt fumble.  There’s too much drama this week in the locker room for the Jets to come together and win.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 17, Jets 10.

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Lions cut Aaron Dobson to make room for a linebacker

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 27:   Aaron Dobson #17 of the New England Patriots makes a catch with pressure from  Peyton Thompson #25 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third quarter at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Aaron Dobson’s stint as a Lion was a short one.

The Lions, who signed Dobson on Tuesday, announced that they waived him today.

With two linebackers, DeAndre Levy and Antwione Williams, ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Packers, the Lions had a bigger need at that position. So they signed linebacker Zaviar Gooden to the active roster from the practice squad and waived Dobson to create a roster spot for Gooden.

Dobson, the former Patriots receiver, could return to Detroit once the Lions have a spot for him on their roster.

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Twitter’s NFL stream won’t build momentum in Week Four

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Twitter scored an impressive 34-percent increase in average viewership for its live stream of Thursday Night Football from Week Two to Week Three.

For Week Four, count on a 100-percent drop.

The game between the Dolphins and Bengals will be televised only by NFL Network. As a result, it won’t be streamed on Twitter.

That was the arrangement from the get-go, with Twitter streaming only the games televised on NFLN and CBS or NBC.

The exclusivity of the broadcast relates directly to NFL Network’s arrangements with cable and satellite providers. The ability to charge the rate the NFL currently receives hinges on having a certain amount of game content.

This means that, during those weeks when games are televised by NFLN only, they won’t be available on Twitter. Which will make it hard to develop viewing habits on Twitter — and which undoubtedly will result in plenty of complaints from users who dial up Twitter on Thursday night in search of Dolphins-Bengals but can’t find it.

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Jeff Fisher won’t say which quarterback will be inactive

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Head coach Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams attends warm ups before the start of the home opening NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

Prior to Week One against the 49ers, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said rookie quarterback Jared Goff would be inactive. Prior to Week Two against the Seahawks, Fisher said Goff would be active.

Prior to Week Three at Tampa, Fisher’s not saying anything.

“Don’t know yet,” Fisher told reporters on Friday. “Have to wait and see. . . . Come to the game.”

Fisher has decided that one of the quarterbacks will be inactive. It will be Goff or Sean Mannion.

The decision to suddenly be circumspect could be a sign that Fisher is thinking about using his second quarterback, if starter Case Keenum can’t get the offense into the end zone. Through two games, the Rams have yet to score a touchdown.

There’s no guarantee Goff would be the next man up. Mannion earned the No. 2 spot on the depth chart before the season began; if Fisher gets fed up with Keenum, Mannion could get a chance to play before Goff would be pressed into service. Once Goff is on the field, it will be hard to bench him for Mannion or Keenum, given the move the Rams made to the top of the draft to get him.

Regardless, if the Bucs are inclined to prepare for a second quarterback on Sunday, they won’t know who that will be until 90 minutes before kickoff.

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Cutler makes the trip, but Bears downgrade two

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18:  Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears throws a pass during the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 18, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan.  The Lions defeated the Bears 37-34 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Injured quarterback Jay Cutler made the trip, but the Bears announced Saturday that running back Kadeem Carey and nose tackle Eddie Goldman did not make the trip and will not play Sunday night at Dallas.

All three had been listed as doubtful. Cutler suffered a thumb injury in last Monday’s game vs. the Eagles and did not practice all week.

Brian Hoyer is the presumed starting quarterback vs. the Cowboys.

Goldman, the Bears’ starting nose tackle, is one of several players who was injured in last week’s game. The Bears still list nine players as questionable, including wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, guard Josh Sitton, right tackle Bobby Massie, safety Adrian Amos and linebacker Willie Young.

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Elway on Osweiler: The deals you don’t make at times are the best

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans reacts during the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) Getty Images

Brock Osweiler looked like anything but an $18 million per year quarterback on Thursday night as the Texans were shut out in New England, and the guy who nearly signed him for not much less than that noticed.

“A lot of times those deals you don’t make are the best ones,” Broncos executive V.P. of football operations and G.M. John Elway told Dave Logan and Susie Wargin of KOA radio on Friday.

Though Elway was responding to specific question and had a lighthearted tone, he said what he said, and it’ll be interesting to see what Osweiler and the Texans eventually have to say about that.

“Obviously it was a tough night for Houston last night and — but things move on,” Elway added. “You try to make the best decision when you have to make it. . . . Excluding last night, we really felt good with the way everything’s fallen, the way we went into camp, and we’re really excited with the guys who are playing the position for us now.”

Osweiler’s replacement, Trevor Siemian, has one touchdown pass and three interceptions in two games, both at home. On Sunday, the Broncos play a true road game for the first time since December 20, a stretch of seven games without having to entire hostile territory.

The Broncos will be in their own back yard on October 24, when Osweiler returns to town with the Texans. Elway’s comments likely will provide extra motivation; based, however, on what happened Thursday night, they’ll need a lot more than motivation to match up with the defending NFL champions.

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Clay Matthews ruled out as Packers downgrade four

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Inside linebacker Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers in action against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on January 10, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Packers’ defense is ailing heading into Sunday’s game against the Lions.

Green Bay announced today that linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett have both been ruled out, after previously being listed as doubtful.

The Packers also downgraded two players who were previously listed as questionable — defensive tackle Letroy Guion and linebacker Datone Jones — to doubtful. Players listed as doubtful hardly ever play.

Packers cornerback Sam Shields was already ruled out with a concussion, so Green Bay’s defense is seriously depleted.

Of course, the Lions won’t have any sympathy, as three of their key defensive players are out as well in defensive end Ziggy Ansah and linebackers DeAndre Levy and Antwione Williams.
For the

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Kubiak on Siemian: “He’s made some poor decisions”

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) thaws as Los Angeles Rams defensive end Eugene Sims (97) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney) AP

Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian has three interceptions in his first two starts, and coach Gary Kubiak says those passes showed that Siemian has a long way to go in his decision-making.

Kubiak noted that Siemian still sometimes makes throws as if he thinks the opposing defenders have college speed. NFL defenders can intercept a pass that would have been out of a college defender’s range, and Siemian needs to learn that.

“He’s made some poor decisions,” Kubiak said, via ESPN. “I know that sounds kind of crazy, but it’s just learning that, ‘Trevor, That guy can make that play. You’re not in college anymore. You’re not going to throw that ball through that guy.’ I think some of the speed of the game factors that he’s beginning to understand a little bit is going to make him better each week.”

Kubiak is blunt, but he’s got a point: The Broncos are 2-0, but Siemian needs to make better decisions if they’re going to keep winning.

If Siemian doesn’t make better decisions, Kubiak may turn to rookie first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch. Kubiak showed last year that he wasn’t afraid to make changes at quarterback, from Peyton Manning to Brock Osweiler and back again. The Broncos also showed last year that to win with their defense, they don’t need great quarterback play, just adequate quarterback play. Siemian will have to cut down the mistakes if he wants Kubiak to view him as adequate enough to keep the job.

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Giants make roster swap, promote a safety

IRVING, TX - JANUARY 13:  A New York Giants helmet sits on the field before the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium on January 13, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants promoted safety Andrew Adams from the practice squad on Saturday.

Cornerback Michael Hunter, who’d been promoted earlier in the week, was waived to make room for Adams on the roster.

Adams, an undrafted rookie, becomes the team’s third safety for Sunday’s game vs. the Redskins. Starter Darian Thompson will miss the game with a foot injury, and Nat Berhe will take his spot in the starting lineup.

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Saturday one-liners

UNITED STATES - MAY 15:  May 15, 1955, California, Los Angeles, On The Honeymooners TV show Jackie Gleason.  (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) Getty Images

The honeymoon is definitely over between Bills fans and Rex Ryan.

With RB Arian Foster out, the Dolphins will use a committee approach at the position.

Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount is becoming a second-half force, with 92 yards and a touchdown in the final two quarters against Miami and 94 yards and two scores in the final two quarters against Houston.

Jets RB Bilal Powell says he’s not worried about a lack of opportunities in the first two games.

The Ravens will wear a helmet decal for the rest of the season to honor defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, who recently passed after fighting stomach and esophageal cancer.

Bengals OT Cedric Ogbuehi is ready to face Von Miller; “He’s probably the best player right now,” Ogbuehi said. “It’s exciting for me. This is why they drafted me. To block guys like him.”

The Browns are dealing with plenty of injuries.

Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams may revisit his position regarding references to his age if he becomes the the oldest running back in NFL history to gain 300 or more yards in the first three games of a season.

Texans WR Jaelen Strong had a rough night in New England.

If you’re curious to know the names of some of the Colts’ new cornerbacks, don’t ask their teammates.

Opponents likely will pick on Jaguars CB Dwayne Gratz until he irons out the mistakes.

The 9/11 cleats worn in Week One by Titans LB Avery Williamson raised $6,600 at auction.

With Donald Stephenson out, the Broncos will rotate Michael Schofield, Ty Sambrailo, and Darrion Weems at right guard and right tackle.

The Chiefs have done well without RB Jamaal Charles; they’ll be even better with him.

Raiders WR Amari Cooper has gotten off to a great start in his second season.

Chargers TE Hunter Henry is in line for plenty of catches this week, and possibly beyond.

Cowboys LT Tyron Smith didn’t finish practice on Friday after his back tightened.

Despite listing RB Rashad Jennings as questionable, the Giants aren’t concerned about his ability to play with a thumb injury.

Eagles DT Destiny Vaeao has made the most of limited playing time.

Washington WR DeSean Jackson will be “ready to roll” despite knee and ankle injuries.

Are the Bears destined for mediocrity unless and until the team is sold?

Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin knows his unit has “faded” in both games.

The Packers have been putting WR Randall Cobb in the backfield at times, but it hasn’t worked yet.

CB Xavier Rhodes could be a difference-maker for the Vikings on Sunday at Carolina.

Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan won’t commit to using the no-huddle offense on a regular basis, despite its success last week in Oakland.

Panthers RB Cameron Artis-Payne will get the start on Sunday, but the team will use a committee approach.

Saints LB Dannell Ellerbe continues to work his way back to full health.

The Buccaneers will unveil stadium upgrades for Sunday’s home opener; they could be a useful distraction if the team plays like it did at Arizona.

The first time Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald played in Buffalo, he didn’t catch a single pass; it’s the only time in his career that he hasn’t.

Rams RB Benny Cunningham had a 102-yard kickoff return against Tampa last season, but didn’t score; this time, he wants to finish the job.

The 49ers haven’t won in Seattle since Christmas Eve 2011.

With three sacks in two games, Seahawks DE Frank Clark already has matched his total for all of 2015.

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Joe Horn: Roger Goodell is the Vladimir Putin of the NFL

joehorn AP

Former NFL player Joe Horn has never hidden his animosity toward NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and now Horn is drawing an interesting parallel between Goodell and an infamous authoritarian leader.

“Roger Goodell is like the Vladimir f–kin Putin of the NFL,” Horn told SI.com. “You quote me on that shit. Roger Goodell is the Vladimir Putin of the NFL when it comes to players. Putin punks every country when he gets ready to. And there’s no rules when it comes to Putin, and Goodell is the same f–kin way when it comes to players. He sets all the standards.”

Asked whether Goodell would kill Horn — as Putin has reportedly had critics killed — Horn admitted that Goodell might not be quite that bad. But he’s pretty bad, in Horn’s view.

“If they read that quote, they would know that he’s not having people killed and none of the players killed,” Horn said. “But as far as dictatorship, as far as making moves to do what he wants, that’s what Putin does.”

Horn’s tenure in the NFL only overlapped briefly with Goodell’s. Paul Tagliabue was the commissioner for most of Horn’s playing career, including his famous cell phone celebration, which resulted in a $30,000 fine from the NFL. But Horn has become a harsh critic of the league under Goodell’s leadership, and Horn is one of the many former players who has sued the NFL over brain injuries.

Horn is far from the first former player to criticize Goodell, but the Putin comparison is a new one.

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Dirk Koetter declines to elaborate on decision to release Austin Seferian-Jenkins

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 26: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers catches a touch down pass as outside linebacker Anthony Barr #55 of the Minnesota Vikings defends in the 4th quarter at Raymond James Stadium on October 26, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Friday, the Buccaneers proved yet again the time-honored sports adage that excuses are made for the stars and examples are made of the scrubs.

A DUI arrest prompted the Bucs to release tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The move came amid lingering concerns about his overall commitment to the game. If a player the team held in significantly higher regard had been arrested for DUI, he surely wouldn’t have been cut.

On Friday night, coach Dirk Koetter addressed the decision to move on from Seferian-Jenkins, without much elaboration.

“Well, it is disappointing and Austin is a guy that we had high hopes for,” Koetter said on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via JoeBucsFan.com. “He was a second-round pick here a couple of years back. He has fought through some injury issues. He’s a very talented individual. It is disappointing when guys, when they make mistakes, and there’s more to every story than meets the eye. Sometimes there is more to it than things I can say on the radio. We wish Austin well. The number one thing is I am glad that Austin is safe and healthy. And I hope he can get himself healthy.”

The use of the term “healthy” at the end of the quote will spark speculation regarding whether Koetter is referring to something beyond physical health. Any team that may be inclined to claim Seferian-Jenkins on waivers won’t have time to do their due diligence about the player’s overall “health” before making a decision on whether to try to snag him before he becomes a free agent.

A second-round pick in 2014, Seferian-Jenkins has 45 career catches for 603 yards and seven touchdowns. He has three receptions for 44 yards and one score in two 2016 games.

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High-school players in Oakland take anthem demonstration to another level

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Four weeks after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the national anthem was first noticed, a high school team in Oakland has taken the anthem demonstrations to another level — with Kaepernick present.

Former NFL player Kirk Morrison, who currently has several media jobs, posted on Twitter a photos of Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem while the players laid on the ground with their hands up.

The gesture comes in a week that included a pair of fatal shootings by police of an African-American man: Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte. The officer who shot and killed Crutcher faces manslaughter charges; in Charlotte, clear evidence has not yet emerged to prove that the shooting was justified — although Scott’s DNA reportedly was found on a gun recovered from the scene of the incident.

Kaepernick has explained that his decision not to stand for the anthem arises from concerns about police misconduct toward African-Americans and people of color, pointing out the degree of training and education required before men and women are authorized to serve on the front lines of law enforcement, armed with a handgun and the authority under certain specific circumstances to draw it and to pull the trigger.

[Photo credit: Twitter.com/kirkmorrison]

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Done deal: Lady Gaga will perform at Super Bowl halftime

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Lady Gaga sings the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images) Getty Images

The talks have ended, because a deal is done. And if I remembered the names of any of her songs or some of their lyrics, I’d be tempted to start dropping in some stupid puns.

Lady Gaga will perform at halftime of Super Bowl LI in Houston, according to Terry Lefton of SportsBusiness Daily.

The announcement will come on Sunday during FOX’s NFL programming, probably during the pregame show.

It’s unknown whether other performers will be involved in the show. The biggest unknown is whether the unpaid gig has indeed morphed into a revenue source for the league, based on a report from the Wall Street Journal in 2014 that the idea had been floated of, for example, the artist surrendering a portion of increased ticket sales arising from the nine-figure audience the Super Bowl will be delivering.

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Usain Bolt says he’s had offers but would never consider the NFL

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 22:  Olympic athlete Usain Bolt visits The PUMA Lab powered by Foot Locker in NYC at Foot Locker, 34th Street on September 22, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for PUMA) Getty Images

The fastest human being who ever lived has heard that NFL teams would give him a chance if he wanted to play football. But he doesn’t.

Usain Bolt said on the Dan Patrick Show that he has watched some football and has been offered the opportunity to play, but he wouldn’t want to get hit.

“I used to watch it when I was younger,” he said. “The hits guys would take kind of turned me off. I never thought about going but I’ve gotten offered and people have asked.”

It’s unclear whether Bolt ever heard directly from an NFL team or if he just heard generally that there would be interest if he wanted to play. It wouldn’t be surprising if some team sent feelers to Bolt, just as NFL teams have at times reached out to professional rugby players and shot putters and other athletes who have NFL athleticism. Jahvid Best was a very fast running back by NFL standards, but Bolt easily beat him in an Olympic preliminary heat, showing how much faster he is than even the fastest NFL players. If the 6-foot-5 Bolt had been born in the United States instead of Jamaica, he might have become the greatest wide receiver in NFL history.

But Bolt is wise to turn down any offers. The greatest sprinter ever doesn’t need to risk his health trying a new sport as a lark.

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Todd Gurley feels like he’s facing 12 defenders

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Todd Gurley #30 of the Los Angeles Rams rushes against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Todd Gurley is off to a disappointing start this season, and he sometimes feels like he doesn’t have a chance.

As opposing defenses load up to stop Gurley on the theory that the Rams’ passing game won’t be able to beat them, Gurley says it’s like the entire defense is on him — and then some.

“It’s been crazy,” Gurley said, via the Los Angeles Times. “I’m like, ‘There’s 12 people on the field!’ It’s definitely a lot of people.”

Gurley said he’s hoping to make opposing defenses pay for stacking the line of scrimmage, thinking if he can get past the line there will be no one to stop him.

“Sometimes that’s a good thing because if you get past that first level, then you’re gone,” he said. “But you have to get past that first level first.”

Unfortunately, Gurley hasn’t been able to do that: His longest run this season is 11 yards, and overall he has 36 carries for 98 yards, an average of 2.7 yards a carry. Until Case Keenum and the Rams’ passing game can take advantage of the way opposing defenses are selling out to stop Gurley, it’s going to be hard for him to find room to run.

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