Skip to content

PFT’s Week Two picks

Seahawks AP

Yes, MDS finagled a one-game win in Week One, getting 12 of 16 right while I hit on 11 of the games.

After four years of doing this, however, I finally dropped the proverbial hole in one, picking the exact score of the Bears-Bengals game.

And under the new rules of the PFT Picks contest, revised by me this morning, a hole in one counts for three wins.

OK, it doesn’t.  So I’ll have to try to erase the gap by being right on the two games on which MDS and I disagree.  The full list of our picks appears below.

Jets at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Jets looked better than I expected on Sunday, and the Patriots looked worse than I expected Sunday. That has me thinking the Jets will be more competitive in this game than most people expect. Just not competitive enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Jets 20.

Florio’s take:  Rex Ryan started 3-2 against Bill Belichick.  Since then, Rex is 0-4.  Make that 0-5 as a team that fell into a win in Week One walks into a buzz saw during what likely will be Rex’s last trip to New England.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Jets 17.

Rams at Falcons

MDS’s take: After losing to their toughest division rival in Week One, the Falcons definitely don’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole in Week Two. I don’t think they will, as the Falcons’ defense will make life tough on Sam Bradford.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  An old NFC West rivalry gets rekindled, and Steven Jackson gets an early crack at the only other team for which he’s ever played.  With receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones injured, Atlanta will need a big day from Jackson.  Even then, it may not be enough.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 23, Rams 20.

Browns at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens gave up seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in Week One. I feel reasonably confident saying they will not give up seven touchdown passes to Brandon Weeden in Week Two. The Browns’ offense looked pretty bad in the opener and will continue to look pretty bad in the second game of the season.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Browns 7.

Florio’s take:  Brandon Weeden is no Peyton Manning.  He’s also no Eli Manning.  And he may be no Cooper Manning.  Besides, with 10 days to prepare and a superior team on both sides of the ball, the old Browns will get to .500 as the new Browns stake out more familiar territory at 0-2.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 34, Browns 17.

Panthers at Bills

MDS’s take: Both teams played well in losses to good opponents in Week One. In Week Two, I think the Panthers are going to get their offense moving and earn a road win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 34, Bills 21.

Florio’s take:  Each team blew a chance to secure an eye-opening win in Week One.  The Bills seem to be the better team at more positions, but where the Panthers have the edge, it’s a big one.  Flip a coin.  And then go for two-of-three, three-of-five, four-of-seven, or whatever it takes for the home team to prevail.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 21, Panthers 17.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: A playoff team a year ago, the Vikings are at risk of starting 0-2, with both losses in the division. That’s a deep hole for a team to dig itself in the first two weeks of the season, and that’s the hole the Vikings are going to dig, as the Bears’ defense is going to force Christian Ponder into multiple turnovers.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Vikings 10.

Florio’s take:  A Minnesota native who never got a chance to coach the local team gets a chance to beat the local team in his second game as an NFL head coach.  It helps that Marc Trestman has a legitimate passing attack, and that the Vikings don’t.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 31, Vikings 20.

Redskins at Packers

MDS’s take: Speaking of playoff teams from a year ago digging 0-2 holes for themselves, that’s where the loser of this game will be. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will keep Green Bay from that fate with a big game against Washington’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  With the Packers spending their offseason focused on stopping mobile quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III will have to do what Colin Kaepernick did in order to outscore the Packers.  I don’t think he can, not in Green Bay’s building.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, Redskins 23.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense looked great in the opener, but I have a feeling that by the end of the season we’ll say Week One was an indication more that the Steelers’ offense is terrible than that Tennessee’s D is strong. The Texans are rolling after their comeback win on Monday night and will keep rolling when the team formerly known as the Oilers returns to Houston.

MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Titans 21.

Florio’s take:  While Tennessee’s accomplishments in Pittsburgh shouldn’t be disregarded, the Steelers are a far cry from the Texans, who got a valuable lift from the biggest come-from-behind win in team history.  It’ll be a rude welcome back to Houston for the franchise that used to play there.  Mittens off for Bud Adams, everybody!

Florio’s pick:  Texans 30, Titans 16.

Dolphins at Colts

MDS’s take: Reggie Wayne looked ageless against the Raiders in Week One, catching all eight of the passes Andrew Luck threw his way. I see Wayne having another eight catches or so as the Colts eke out another close win.

MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Dolphins 16.

Florio’s take:  Jim Irsay demands better protection for Andrew Luck.  Irsay would be better off demanding a second serving of pudding.  The Dolphins have the horses up front to harass Luck far worse than the Raiders did.  While the Colts still should win, Luck won’t be operating from a clean pocket.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Dolphins 20.

Cowboys at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Can the Chiefs match their win total from 2012 in the first two weeks of 2013? They can if they avoid turnovers against the Cowboys, and I think that’s what they’ll do, as Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles lead an efficient and effective offense and the Chiefs improve to 2-0.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  The first time Andy Reid faced the Cowboys as coach of the Eagles, Philly was 0-4 and fading fast.  This time, Reid’s Chiefs are 1-0 and conjuring talk of a playoff run.  For the franchise that used to be in Dallas and the coach who compiled a 17-11 regular-season record against the Cowboys in 14 years, it’s time to move to 2-0 — and 18-11.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Cowboys 21.

Chargers at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ depth on defense is going to be seriously tested by the fast-paced Eagles offense, and I don’t see how the Chargers keep up. This one could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 37, Chargers 14.

Florio’s take:  Six days after blowing a 21-point lead, the Chargers likely will find themselves on the wrong end of a similar margin.  The only question is whether the Eagles can deliver the knockout punch with pedal on metal.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 34, Chargers 23.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: This is probably the toughest game of the bunch to call. The Lions are the better team, but they’re also a team that makes so many stupid mistakes that they can lose to anyone on the wrong day. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald can make plays against the Lions’ secondary, but I expect Reggie Bush to have his second consecutive big game as the Lions win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Cardinals 28.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Cardinals were ultimately horrible despite starting 4-0.  This year, they look to be much better, but could be destined to start 0-4.  Meanwhile, there’s still time to get on the newest model from Detroit — the Honolulu Blue Bandwagon.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 34, Cardinals 24.

Saints at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Saints made a big statement that they’re the favorites in the NFC South with their Week One win over the Falcons. They’ll make another big statement by moving to 2-0 in the division with an easy win in Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are in disarray, and the Saints have picked up an early surge from holding the Falcons to 17 points.  New Orleans continues its effort to put together a record stout enough to force the road to an open-air Super Bowl through the climate-controlled Superdome.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 35, Buccaneers 27.

Broncos at Giants

MDS’s take: In the Manning Bowl, I trust the Broncos’ secondary to keep Eli in check more than I trust the Giants’ secondary to keep Peyton in check.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Giants 24.

Florio’s take:  Peyton and Eli may be brothers, but when it comes to playing against each other, Peyton is still Eli’s daddy.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Giants 27.

Jaguars at Raiders

MDS’s take: Before Week One, I thought these were the two worst teams in the NFL. The Raiders looked better than I expected in a surprisingly close loss to the Colts, while the Jaguars looked even worse than I expected in a surprisingly lopsided loss to the Chiefs. The Raiders get the win and the Jaguars get a step closer to choosing between Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in next year’s draft.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  The worst teams of 2012 continue their early-season round robin, with Terrelle Pryor poised to make something happen against a team that doesn’t look as bad as many thought it would be.  The Jags look even worse.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 24, Jaguars 9.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one, which is my pick for the best game of the week. I believe the 49ers are the slightly better team right now, but the Seahawks’ crowd will be rocking, and the home-field advantage will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks need to hold serve at home; the 49ers need to show they can hang with a team that tattooed the Niners last December in Seattle.  Look for Richard Sherman to blanket Anquan Boldin — and for Boldin to still find a way to catch the ball.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Seahawks 21.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: Everyone in the AFC North started the season 0-1, but the Bengals had a much better showing in Week One than the Steelers. Given Pittsburgh’s poor performance and season-ending injuries to center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, it’s tough to see things turning around for the Steelers any time soon.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take:  The new bullies of the AFC North get a chance to rough up a team that spent plenty of time over the years roughing up the Bengals.  With James Harrison bent on making the Steelers regret letting him go and the Steelers having little punch on offense, this one could get ugly.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Steelers 13.

Permalink 43 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Von Miller named AFC defensive player of the month

FILE- In this Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller celebrates after a win over the Indianapolis Colts in an NFL football game in Denver.  The Broncos' star pass rusher has four sacks already, including the game-sealing strip of Andrew Luck that was reminiscent of his mammoth hits in the Super Bowl when he snatched the football and the Lombardi Trophy from Cam Newton's grasp. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File) AP

It might not be a Super Bowl MVP or a giant contract, but Von Miller keeps stacking up the honors.

The Broncos outside linebacker was named AFC defensive player of the month, after another strong start to the season.

Miller has a league-high five sacks in the Broncos’ first three games.

But four of those sacks have come in fourth quarters, adding to his reputation as a game-changer.

Of course, that was pretty well established already, and the reason the Broncos gave him a six-year, $114.5 million contract this offseason.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Matt Ryan named NFC offensive player of the month

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 23: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons runs out on the field prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Georgia Dome on November 23, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are still questions about whether the Falcons have enough defense to contend in the NFC South.

But their offense is back on track, thanks to quarterback Matt Ryan.

Ryan was named NFC offensive player of the month for September, a strong bounce-back month for a team that collapsed after a 5-0 start in 2015.

Ryan completed 73-of-103 passes in September, for 970 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception. His 119.0 rating is highest among all NFC quarterbacks.

Things will get tougher for them as they host the Panthers this weekend, but Ryan has been on a bit of a roll leading the Falcons to back-to-back wins over the Raiders and Saints.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Myles Jack is a bench warmer, but Jaguars say that will change

FILE - In this June 14, 2016, file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack (44) looks around during a drill at NFL football minicamp practice, in Jacksonville, Fla. Jack is among several first-round picks, not including quarterbacks, that are intriguing potential impact players for their new teams.  (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File) AP

One of the many disappointments of the first three games of this season in Jacksonville is rookie linebacker Myles Jack.

Jack, a star at UCLA who was selected in the second round of this year’s draft, has barely played: He has been on the field for only 16 plays on defense, all late in the Jaguars’ blowout loss to the Chargers. He has also played on special teams, but he hasn’t contributed the way he was expected to contribute.

Still, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley says the team is not disappointed and expects Jack to make an impact this season.

He’s getting better and we’re putting a lot on his plate,” Bradley said, via the Florida Times-Union. “I would say the last two weeks he has really grown. He’s really grown as far as being in shape and handling all the duties that we are asking of him.”

Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said the Jaguars had been working Jack at middle and weakside linebacker but could put him at strongside linebacker just to get him on the field.

“He understands that those guys in front of him are playing well, but we’ve got to find a way to get him on the grass,” Wash said. “I don’t think anything’s top secret. I just think there are other positions he can play on our defense.”

Jack will surely contribute to the Jaguars’ defense at some point, but it has to be disappointing that he hasn’t been able to yet.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

LeGarrette Blount named AFC offensive player of the month

New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount rushes for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) AP

In August, there was some reason to wonder if LeGarrette Blount was even going to make the Patriots’ roster.

Today, it’s hard to imagine where they’d be without him.

The veteran running back was named AFC offensive player of the month for September, a reward for the league’s leading rusher.

Blount has topped 100 yards the last two games, helping to fill in the cracks for a team playing without its starting quarterback (Tom Brady) and with an injured backup (Jimmy Garoppolo). His work’s a lot of the reason they can play a rookie (Jacoby Brissett) on a short week’s preparation and still be 3-0.

He has 75 carries for 295 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Osweiler: J.J. Watt absence changes nothing for offense

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans calls an audible against the Chicago Bears in the second half at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Texans won 23 to 14. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

With Texans defensive end J.J. Watt on injured reserve and gone for at least eight weeks, the obvious reaction has become that the team’s offense needs to do more. The new leader of the Houston offense doesn’t necessarily agree with that.

“I don’t think anything changes offensively now that the news of J.J. going on IR has come out,” Brock Osweiler told reporters on Wednesday. “Bottom line, we need to score points. We need to score a lot of them. We knew that whether he was put on IR or not. There’s been a great focus on that. I think Monday in practice we came out, we had a really good day. I think today was a little bit better and I hope that the rest of the week keeps getting better and better because we know we need to do our part offensively. I think the defense has done a tremendous job this year through the first three games. Now it’s time for the offense to step up as a unit, finish drives, score points, protect the football and do our part of the deal.”

He’s right; the offense needs to keep doing what it’s been doing. If it tries to do even more, it just won’t work, in the same way it didn’t work last Thursday.

That shutout loss to the Patriots was only Osweiler’s 10th career start. Osweiler addressed the question of whether his big-picture lack of experience should be a factor in the assessment of his performance.

“I don’t think — in fact, I know for a fact — I don’t use my lack of starts as an excuse for anything,” Osweiler said. “I expect myself to play at an extremely high level. I have great confidence in my abilities and what I can do and I have great confidence in the teammates around me to help me do my job. I’m never going to use my lack of starts for an excuse or say ‘I’ll figure it out eventually’ or anything like that. Bottom line, I expect to play at an extremely high level and an extremely high level right now.”

The Texans will need it. An impaired defense puts more pressure on an offense, giving the offense less desirable field position and fewer turnovers.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vontaze Burfict raring to go on Thursday night

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 09:  Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said after last Sunday’s loss to the Broncos that part of the reason that the team is not panicking about a 1-2 start is that tight end Tyler Eifert and linebacker Vontaze Burfict are returning to the lineup.

It looks like the wait for Eifert will extend at least another week after he was listed as doubtful to play against the Dolphins on Thursday night, but the wait for Burfict is coming to an end.

On Sirius XM NFL Radio Thursday morning, coach Marvin Lewis said that Burfict is “raring to go” after serving a three-game suspension and will be in the lineup against Miami. Lewis said he wasn’t sure how much Burfict will play after three weeks off and a short week leading into this game, but that he “raises the level” of everyone on the team so they’ll probably be looking for as many spots to get him in as they can.

When Burfict is in the game, people will be paying close attention to how he conducts himself after serving a suspension for a series of hits that the league felt violated the rules governing player safety. Should Burfict not be able to avoid those hits, a longer suspension and the Bengals will have to think about looking elsewhere for a player who can raise their level without crossing the line.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

After argument with mechanic, Mike Tolbert pays tab in change

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 03:  Mike Tolbert #35 of the Carolina Panthers is introduced during their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert felt like he was being shortchanged by a local auto shop.

So when he paid them, he did it in change.

According to David Newton of ESPN.com, Tolbert resolved a squabble with a mechanic by paying his $3,900 bill in coins.

“They was upset,” Tolbert said. “If you had to count basically four grand in coins you’d be upset too, but they got what they asked for.”

The situation began with a dispute over some work Tolbert wanted done on a classic car. He and Motion Lab Tuning went back and forth at each other on social media, with Tolbert claiming he was quoted a 10-day repair and a certain price, only to be billed a higher amount two months later when the work wasn’t completed. He referred to them as “crooks” on his Instagram account.

That caused the shop to reply on Facebook, saying Tolbert wanted them to do the work for free, calling him “a real scumbag that doesn’t want to pay his bills.”

Tolbert said he initially tried to write a check, but the owner wouldn’t accept it.

“So what kind of respectable establishment won’t take a check?” Tolbert said. “They said they won’t take my check, it wasn’t going to clear the bank. I was like, ‘Whew! You’re throwing shots. So I’ve got one for you.’

“So I went to the bank and got $3,900 in coins. It was pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters … everything. I didn’t care one bit. I took a truck load of it and put it right there where he wanted it, and got my truck towed back to my buddy’s shop.”

The moral of the story is: Don’t nickel-and-dime Mike Tolbert, unless you want the same kind of treatment in return.

Permalink 38 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chargers left tackle King Dunlap has migraine, not concussion

kingdunlap AP

Chargers coach Mike McCoy knew what it sounded like, so he acted quickly to head off any speculation.

According to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chargers left tackle King Dunlap’s absence from practice was described as his “being treated for migraines.”

This is not linked to concussions,” McCoy said. “It’s migraines.”

The question was reasonable, as Dunlap has some history of head injuries (at least four documented since 2012).

He was a late scratch last week against the Colts with what the team termed “an illness,” after being on and off the practice field, which raised questions about his status. The Chargers termed him day-to-day last week.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jack Del Rio: Khalil Mack’s numbers will come

Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) raises a fist during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. At left is defensive end Khalil Mack (52) and at right is free safety Reggie Nelson (27). (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) AP

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said this week that defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s lack of sacks and modest overall numbers through the first three games are not reflective of the impact that Donald is having on opposing offenses.

Fisher isn’t the only NFL coach who feels that way about a star defensive player. Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack had 15 sacks last season, but he’s yet to have one this year while recording 13 tackles.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio invoked Donald’s name while on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan while saying that Mack’s impact can’t be judged solely by the stat line.

“He’s probably a lot like maybe a guy like Aaron Donald for the Rams,” Del Rio said. “You’re talking about a couple dominant players that, in our case, with Khalil, he’s getting an awful lot of attention. That’s going to free up opportunities for other people. There were a couple of times in this past game where he was literally being tackled prior to hitting the quarterback. And the results of the rushes were winning 10 out of the 12 on third down and things like that. So he’s impacting the game. And what I keep saying is the numbers will come. Good players are going to end up putting up good numbers. His effort is great. Everything is great except having to really answer to questions about how come he’s not just steamrolling people and getting sack after sack.”

The Raiders defense took a step forward in last Sunday’s win over the Titans. After giving up 1,035 yards and 69 points in the first two weeks of the year, the Raiders held the Titans to 393 yards in a 17-10 win while forcing three turnovers.

Mack had a hand in that beyond the two tackles he was credited with making and getting the overall defensive effort moving in the right direction is more significant for the Raiders than Mack piling up sacks while the unit struggles to keep opponents out of the end zone.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Eli Manning unfazed by past struggles against Vikings

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass 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

If you remove the other teams in the NFC East from the equation, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has faced the Vikings more often than any other team in the league.

Those outings have generally not gone well for Manning. He has a career passer rating of 54.8 in seven starts against Minnesota with five touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Five of those interceptions have been brought back for touchdowns, so there have been quite a few horrors for Manning against the team he’ll be facing next Monday night.

Manning wasn’t interested in answering questions about those past games on Wednesday, saying “only the next one” matters before making a labored attempt at humor when asked if the Vikings have his number.

“I don’t think, ah, I don’t think anybody has my phone number on the Vikings,” Manning said, via the New York Post. “Maybe Linval [Joseph], I’m not sure. I’m trying to think if I have anybody’s number. Maybe somebody, I’m sure. Bradford! I think I got Sam Bradford’s number. He’s got my number. I can’t think of anybody else’s off hand. I’ll look in my phone and get back to you on that one.”

This Vikings defense should make it tough for Manning to break with the past. They’ve forced nine turnovers through three games while the Giants have given the ball away seven times, a set of numbers that probably don’t make Manning chuckle as much as his other number routine.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Thursday morning one-liners

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Bills are totally fine with not seeing Tom Brady this week.

The Dolphins have ruled out four starters for tonight’s game.

Wait, wasn’t this the four-game stretch in which the Patriots were being punished?

Jets coach Todd Bowles isn’t concerned about CB Darrelle Revis‘ ankle.

Former Ravens G Kelechi Osemele said he was never particularly close to a return in free agency.

The Bengals have gotten used to adjusting on the fly on defense.

Browns CB Joe Haden was limited in practice and may not play this week.

Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell figures to get plenty of work as a pass-catcher upon his return.

No J.J. Watt could mean more double-teams for Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney.

Not a single F’ing Colts fan has complained about their announcer’s on-air slip.

The Jaguars are trying to get LB Myles Jack on the field more often.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota hasn’t faced J.J. Watt yet, and he won’t this year.

The Broncos are on the verge of a milestone for owner Pat Bowlen.

Chiefs CB Marcus Peters had a good week, except for getting the flu.

Raiders WR Michael Crabtree has become a steadying presence.

The Chargers injury report is kind of a horror novel.

The Cowboys think they’re deep enough at WR to survive the absence of Dez Bryant.

Giants QB Eli Manning deadpanned his way through a question about the Vikings having his number.

Eagles QB Carson Wentz, still accurate during the bye week.

Washington wants to run more than the team has shown so far this season.

The Bears’ problem on defense isn’t complicated (and that’s the problem).

The Lions are still missing two key defensive pieces.

The Packers have plenty to work on during the bye week.

Vikings LT T.J. Clemmings is making strides.

The Falcons are making the time-share backfield work.

The Panthers were only missing RB Jonathan Stewart and DT Vernon Butler in practice yesterday.

Saints S Kenny Vaccaro expects to play this week.

The Buccaneers want to give QB Jameis Winston more help with their run game.

The Cardinals need to be able to trust their leaders to bring along young players.

The Rams have shown some ability to make big plays.

49ers coach Chip Kelly said it’s Colin Kaepernick’s play, not his health, that’s keeping him out of the lineup.

Seahawks OL coach Tom Cable said his group just needs to grow.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Eric Decker will “probably” have MRI on injured shoulder

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15:   Eric Decker #87 of the New York Jets is brought down by  Kevon Seymore #29 of the Buffalo Bills
 during the second half at New Era Field on September 15, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets may need to add a receiver to the roster ahead of Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Eric Decker was held out of practice on Wednesday due to a shoulder injury. Decker has been dealing with the issue for a little while and aggravated it against the Chiefs last Sunday, leading coach Todd Bowles to say that the wideout will “probably” have an MRI to assess the extent of the injury.

Decker was able to play last week without a lot of practice time, leaving Bowles to hold off on making a call about his chances of playing this week.

“Not sure yet,” Bowles said in comments distributed by the team. “Anybody that doesn’t practice, I’m concerned about. He came back last week without practicing, so we just have to wait and see.”

If Decker is down, the Jets will be short on wideouts because rookie Jalin Marshall will be out a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury of his own. The Jets have Quincy Enunwa and rookies Robby Anderson and Charone Peake behind Brandon Marshall and Decker, leaving Bowles to say that they may have to make a roster move to round out the group.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Washington thinking about sitting Josh Doctson to get him healthy

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) breaks up a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson (18) in the end zone during the second half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) AP

Washington rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson is still bothered by a lingering injury, and coach Jay Gruden admitted he was “very” concerned about it and may have to shut Doctson down for a few weeks.

“We’ve had all of the tests, and there is really nothing there that we should be concerned about from a long-term problem,” Gruden said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “It’s just, he is dealing with some pain. We don’t know why it is, but we have to try and figure out what it is and get it fixed.

“It could be a possibility or a time that we put him down for a couple more weeks or a couple more days like we’re taking him off today, probably sit him down tomorrow and see if that helps a little bit.”

Their first-rounder didn’t play last week, after feeling something in his left foot during pregame warmups. He didn’t practice yesterday.

Doctson initially injured his foot during OTAs in May, and didn’t practice again until the start of the regular season, citing Achilles soreness. He played the first two games, catching one pass for 57 yards.

“We keep thinking he’s getting better, and he keeps teasing us running out there, making a great catch and looking good,” Gruden said, “and then the next day he gets sore. . . .

“This is new to everybody, and the key is to get him healthy. We are not trying to rush him. We are just trying to see how he feels each day. If he can go, he goes, and if not, he doesn’t. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

Washington’s fortunate to have a deep enough receiving corps to survive it, but Doctson’s status has become something they constantly have to monitor, which has to be frustrating for any team.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Aqib Talib says he’s “a lot more mature” than his Tampa Bay days

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25:  Aqib Talib #21 of the Denver Broncos celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals 29-17 at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib has made plenty of plays in his career.

But when he was in Tampa Bay, he made mostly headlines, and the wrong kind.

Older now, he said fans who remember him there will see a different person than the ones the Buccaneers gave away for pennies on the dollar in 2012.

“The biggest thing that changed is I’m 30 years old now,” Talib said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “A lot older. A lot more mature. A lot more professional, I would say. It’s simply football. It means a lot to just be accomplishing goals and in football to be a Super Bowl champ, to tie Deion Sanders for interceptions for touchdowns. Man, it’s a blessing to be successful in the game that I love.”

The reference to Sanders was in regards to tying the legendary cornerback for fourth on the all-time interceptions returned for touchdowns list with his Week Two pick-six aganst the Colts. It was his ninth, tying him with Sanders and Hall of Famers Aeneas Williams and Ken Houston. The record is 12 by Rod Woodson, while Charles Woodson and Darren Sharper have 11 each. That’s the kind of company Talib keeps on the field. But the Bucs remember a different player.

The 2012 season included a suspension for what he claims was Adderall, which was sort of a final straw which led the Bucs to trade him and a seventh-round pick to the Patriots for a fourth-rounder. That came after he hit a teammate at the rookie symposium, swung his helmet at a teammate, assaulted a taxi driver, and was involved in a fight with his sister’s boyfriend which included a gun being pulled.

“I would tell my younger self to start early, man,” Talib said. “Don’t wait until Year 4 or Year 5 to start watching the film and start really being a professional football player. Just start early, and who knows where I could be today if I would’ve started early.”

Of course, for all his maturity, there’s still the small matter of being shot in the leg this offseason at a Dallas nightclub, though there were no charges and no league punishment for that one (since nobody’s talking).

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL now unlikely to play in China in 2018

BEIJING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 03: Released balloons fly around the China national flag during a military parade marking the 70th Anniversary of the 'Victory of Chinese People's Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War' at Tiananmen Square on September 3, 2015 in Beijing, China. China is marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its role in defeating Japan with a new national holiday and a military parade in Beijing. (Photo by Rolex Dela Pena - Pool/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s plans to play a game in China have run into some stumbling blocks.

Despite reports that the Rams and 49ers would play in China in 2018, NFL Executive V.P. of International Mark Waller told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com that there’s probably more work to do than can be done in two years.

“I would say there’s a low likelihood of it happening,” Waller said. “But we’re working hard to see if we can make it work.”

There are major logistical challenges to flying the Rams and 49ers 13 hours to Beijing, having them spend a week practicing and playing in a country with a 15-hour time difference, then having them fly back and get ready to play another game. It’s also still unclear what time of day a game in China would be played, as the league would want it to be on at a good time for both Chinese fans to attend and American fans to watch. And it’s still unclear whether there’s enough of a fan base in China to sell out a stadium.

“When do the teams get back? How do you schedule them? Does it affect the teams coming back?” Waller said. “If we want to do this in China, it has to be a good time for Chinese fans, but also so that U.S. fans can watch. And we want to make sure we can keep growing it.”

The NFL may have already grown as popular as it’s going to get in the United States, and so the owners want to grow the sport internationally. That might eventually involve playing games in China, but it may still be a few more years before that can happen.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Back to top