Mike Florio discusses the Buffalo Bills’ newly signed 10-year lease to continue to play in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Florio also previews the big Week 16 matchup between the 49ers and the Seahawks and talks about their exciting young QBs. Florio reflects on the Steelers and Bengals rivalry and predicts a victory for the Steelers in this week’s game against the Bengals.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Bills will stay in Buffalo
As the Seahawks face the 49ers at Candlestick Park for the final time, police will be there. Again.
According to KTVU-TV, officers will be wearing both Seahawks jerseys and 49ers jerseys.
“Energized fans going at each other — totally in bounds, no problem,” San Francisco Chief of Police Greg Suhr said, via KTVU. “If somebody handles somebody, it could well be a San Francisco police officer. You don’t wanna spend the game that you spent a lot of money on a ticket in one of our padded wagons or substation or jail.”
Police started wearing the colors of the visiting team during the 2011 playoffs. Last year, 355 fans were ejected from Candlestick Park. There were 53 alcohol-related incidents and 14 felony arrests.We’ve got a feeling there could be more than 14 felony arrests on Sunday alone.
As the calendar creeps deeper into December, the weather becomes more and more of a factor in several cities.
Which is fitting because, in eight weeks, Super Bowl XLVIII will be played outdoors in New York (OK, New Jersey).
For Week 14, weather could be a factor in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Washington, and Denver. (All forecast info comes from the hour-by-hour forecasts for each city at Weather.com.)
In Baltimore, where the Ravens host the Vikings, the forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s and snow. The wind is projected to be under 10 miles per hour.
In Philadelphia, snow could arrive for the second half of the Lions-Eagles game. Temperatures will be in the low 30s, with light winds.
On the other side of the Commonwealth, light snow and temperatures in the high 20s will be present throughout the game between the Dolphins and Steelers. The wind is predicted to be in the range of 11 miles per hour. (While hardly South Florida conditions, it’s a major improvement over the 2007 non-bouncing-punt game between the same two teams.)
In Cincinnati, light snow will turn to freezing drizzle during the game between the Colts and the Bengals, with temperatures hovering near freezing. The wind will be in the range of 10 miles per hour.
In Green Bay, the Falcons (unlike last Sunday) won’t get to swap a road game in the elements for a dome game. When Atlanta faces the Packers snow will be falling at Lambeau Field and the tundra will be, well, tundra, with temperatures in the teens.
In Washington (OK, Landover), snow will give way to a wintry mix, with the temperature holding steady at 32 and the winds under 10 miles per hour.
Finally, the Titans won’t get their wish for snow in Denver. While it’ll be sunny, it also will be cold for the game against the Broncos, with a temperature in the teens and light winds.
For Browns-Patriots in Foxboro and Raiders-Jets in New York (OK, New Jersey), the temperature will be in the low 30s but no precipitation or significant wind is in the forecast.
To any of the men attending any of these games, it’s once again three-sock time. For everyone enjoying the games at home, the third sock is optional.
As the 7-5 Eagles prepare to host the 7-5 Lions, the home team boasts an impressive stretch of defensive performances over the last eight games.
Since giving up 52 points to the Broncos in Week Four, the Eagles haven’t surrendered more than 21 points in eight straight games.
It’s the longest such streak in the NFL. For any team.
And still the bulk of the attention and discussion in Philly focuses on the team’s offense and, specifically, it’s quarterback. For that reason, we devoted a chunk of Friday’s PFT Live to the man who has emerged as the quarterback of the Philly defense: Linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
Numerous Nevada sports books have made the 49ers 2.5-point favorites over the visiting Seahawks on Sunday in San Francisco, according to multiple line-monitoring websites.
If you did a double-take seeing 11-1 Seattle as an underdog, you couldn’t be blamed.
According to “The Linemakers” of Sporting News, only the Seahawks and Broncos had been favored in each of their first 12 games.
The Broncos are currently big favorites against the Titans on Sunday, so their favoritism streak looks safe.
The Seahawks were last underdogs in the 2012 divisional round at Atlanta. They fell 30-28 to the Falcons, who were three-point favorites.
The last time the 49ers played the Seahawks, they didn’t have receiver Michael Crabtree. And the Niners lost, 29-3.
This time, Crabtree is back. And he thinks it will lead to an improved outcome for San Francisco.
“Now it’s different. New day, new game,” Crabtree said Friday, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.
Tight end Vernon Davis agrees.
“They’re definitely going to have to make changes,” Davis said. “We’ve got Crabtree back and have pretty much all our weapons. It’s going to be exciting and interesting to see the changes they make to stop us. They can’t leave us one-on-one the whole time.”
Of course, the 49ers had Crabtree when the two teams played last December. And they still lost big, 42-13. Crabtree had four catches for 65 yards.
Earlier in the season, Crabtree had four catches for 31 yards in a 13-6 win.
“I can’t wait to go out there and do what I can do,” Crabtree said. “This week is a big week for us. With that [11-1] record, you’re supposed to be the top team in the NFL. We’ll see on Sunday.”
Yes we will. But the outcome may not be what Crabtree assumes it will be.
Several former Cowboys who currently work for the Bears recently took a shot at America’s Team regarding the perception that the franchise is about more than football.
“It’s a little bit more like Hollywood,” former Cowboys and current Bears special-teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said recently, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com. “[H]ere it’s a little bit more, probably a little tamer. But they’re both great organizations, and both have had a lot of storied tradition and championships. That’s the main thing.”
Former Cowboys defensive lineman Jay (now Jeremiah) Ratliff agreed.
“Here, it is all about football,” Ratliff said of the Bears. “You can really just focus on your craft. Focus on what it is you do. And no matter what’s going on, you never forget what you’re here for. That’s a good thing.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t bothered by the comments.
“I don’t know how I would take exception with their perception,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan Dallas/Fort Worth. “They get those checks to play football. . . . I understand. I have heard that since I bought the franchise that the Cowboys were about glitz and glitter. . . . The glitz and glitter though have got to be able to kick their you-know-what on the football field or it doesn’t make it fun anymore.”
As the quotes go, we saved the best for last. Enter former Cowboys and current Bears tight end Martellus Bennett.
“I mean, I’m a Hollywood person,” Bennett said, via Wright. “I would agree with [DeCamillis and Ratliff]. Since I’ve been born, I’ve been meant to be on Disney. But they don’t really like to take too many kids from the ‘hood and put them on Disney nowadays.”
Monday night, Bennett will be on Disney. Specifically, on a network owned by Disney, on a program known as Monday Night Football.
And when it comes to TV ratings, the NFL currently does better than anything Hollywood has to offer.
The Jets continue to employ veteran quarterback David Garrard, even though they continue to not use him.
They apparently are interested in continuing to not use him in 2014. Unless, of course, they aren’t.
According to Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, Garrard said after practice that the team has broached the possibility of a return next season. Garrard said the Jets raised the issue informally two weeks ago, telling Garrard, “[O]nce a Jet, always a Jet.”
(Wait, so Tim Tebow is still a Jet?)
Hubbuch also writes that Garrard contacted the Post later in the day to explain that Garrard didn’t mean to suggest the Jets specifically had talked to him about a return next season. A Jets spokesman said the same thing.
So why are the Jets tiptoeing on eggshells regarding the question of whether a guy they aren’t using will be back next season? Garrard presumably signed a one-year deal under the so-called minimum salary benefit. The Collective Bargaining Agreement says that such contracts “may not be extended or renegotiated in any manner.”
It sounds like the Jets did indeed talk to Garrard about staying, that someone figured out that the Jets could get in trouble for doing that, and that the official position suddenly became that the Jets haven’t talked to Garrard about returning.
That’s a lot of words devoted to a guy who hasn’t actually played in a game since 2010. Then again, there’s a chance we’ll see him at some point on Sunday.
Heck, Tim Tebow would arguably better than all three of him. Since he’s technically still a Jet, maybe they should give him a call.
The Lions have shuffled their roster to respond to the knee injury suffered by rookie cornerback Darius Slay.
Slay, the Lions’ second-round draft pick, was officially declared out today after he suffered a torn meniscus in practice on Thursday. That’s an injury that typically keeps players out for multiple weeks, although the fact that the Lions are keeping him on the active roster suggests that they think he’ll return before the season is over.
To bolster the depth at cornerback, the Lions have promoted Chris Greenwood from the practice squad to the active roster. A 2012 fifth-round draft pick of the Lions out of Division III Albion College, Greenwood is raw but has a lot of athletic ability. He has never played in a regular-season NFL game.
To make space on the 53-man roster for Greenwood, the Lions cut receiver and return man Micheal Spurlock. Jeremy Ross had already supplanted Spurlock as the Lions’ returner, so it’s no surprise that Spurlock has been released.
The Steelers need some help on the offensive line. They’ll get some Sunday, sort of.
Matt Spaeth, regarded as one of the top blocking tight ends in the NFL, has been activated from the injured reserve list.
A third-round pick of the Steelers in 2007, he returned in 2013 via free agency after spending two seasons in Chicago. Spaeth suffered a foot injury in the preseason.
The addition of Spaeth to the active roster required a corresponding roster move. Tight end Richard Gordon has gotten the heave ho.
The Chargers’ No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, Ingram spent the first 12 regular-season games of 2013 on the physically unable to perform list as he recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in May.
Ingram (6-1, 265) recorded 41 tackles and one sack in 16 games (two starts) as a rookie. As a senior at South Carolina, Ingram notched 10 sacks.
In a corresponding roster move, the Chargers released linebacker Adrian Robinson, who appeared in San Diego’s last two games on special teams.
Dennis Pitta is back on the Ravens’ roster for the stretch run.
According to NFL Network’s Albert Breer, the Ravens are adding Pitta to their active roster from injured reserve. Pitta has missed the first 12 regular-season games after suffering a broken and dislocated hip in July.
The 28-year-old Pitta was the Ravens’ top receiving threat at tight end in 2012, catching 61 passes for 669 yards and seven touchdowns in regular-season play, then adding 14 receptions for 163 yards and three scores in the postseason as the Ravens went on to win Super Bowl XLVII.
The return of Pitta could strengthen the Ravens’ passing game, which hasn’t been as sharp as it was a season ago.
The Ravens (6-6) currently hold the AFC’s final playoff spot. They host the Vikings on Sunday in Baltimore.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians said Friday that he has “all the confidence in the world” that Palmer will be able to play. And Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Palmer took all snaps at today’s walkthrough and is expected to start Sunday.
Palmer got off to a shaky start this season as the Cardinals started the year 3-4, but his improvement has been a big part of the team’s improving fortunes.
The Cardinals, at 7-5, still have a chance to catch the 8-4 49ers in the NFC wild card race. Sunday’s game against the Rams is a game they’ll need to win if they want to be a playoff team, and the presence of Palmer makes a win on Sunday a lot more likely.
Cowboys special teamer Dwayne Harris, who can change a game in an instant, was listed as questionable after practicing for the first time Saturday. Harris, who is second in the league in both kick and punt return average, hadn’t worked prior to today because of a hamstring strain.
Along with Cutler, linebacker Lance Briggs is listed as out for the Bears. Otherwise, they’re a largely healthy group, as wide receiver Brandon Marshall, safety Major Wright and guard Kyle Long are all listed as probable.
The Cowboys are likewise well, with the exception of cornerback Morris Claiborne, who is out with a hamstring problem.
For Sunday’s game between the Fighting Flynns and the Flailing Falcons, plenty of tickets are available on the secondary market, for cents on the dollar.
Via FOX 11, a ticket with a $97 face value in Section 123 can be had for a mere $30.
Supply continues to outpace demand, given the ongoing absence of starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone.
If enough people sell and not enough buy, it probably will be smart for any Packers scoring touchdowns on Sunday to pass on the Lambeau Leap. There’s a chance no one will be there to catch them.
The authorities in Kansas City believe that 30-year-old Kyle Van Winkle’s death was a homicide. But they don’t specifically know what killed him.
According to the Associated Press, Van Winkle left last Sunday’s game between the Chiefs and Broncos early. He went to a Jeep in an Arrowhead Stadium parking lot that he apparently believed was the Jeep he rode to the game in.
But it wasn’t. And when the owner of the Jeep in which Van Winkle was sitting arrived, an argument ensued. Fans tailgating in the vicinity came over, and a fight broke out.
Van Winkle collapsed during the struggle. He died at a local hospital.
Police expect that a precise cause of death will be known in four to six weeks.
Van Winkle was married with a seven-week-old son.The incident happened one year to the day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher committed suicide in another Arrowhead Stadium parking lot after killing the mother of his daughter.