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PFT’s Week Six picks

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For the Week Six picks, I’m hoping MDS makes like MRS (Matthew Rutledge Schaub) and throws a pick six.

Making that wish somewhat unrealistic is the fact that we disagree on only three games.

Last week, he was 9-5 and I was 8-6.  His lead now stands at three games:  52-25 to 49-28.

If I’m right on all three, I’ll catch him.  And, yes, he and I may be the only two people in the world who actually care.

Giants at Bears

MDS’s take: Florio has done me a big favor with his stubborn insistence on continuing to pick the Giants, and I’m hoping he keeps going with the theory that the Giants are due for a win. (The Washington Generals are due to beat the Harlem Globetrotters any game now, too.) The Bears’ defense is good at forcing turnovers, and the Giants’ offense is good at turning the ball over. That’s a good combination for Chicago.

MDS’s pick: Bears 28, Giants 13.

Florio’s take:  The Giants are due to win.  The Bears are due to not lose.  The Bears are the better team.  The Bears are playing at home.  Advantage Bears.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 24, Giants 17.

Packers at Ravens

MDS’s take: Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco both signed enormous contracts this offseason, but only one of them is earning his money. The struggling Ravens’ offense will have a good opportunity to put some points on the board against a Packers defense that’s missing Clay Matthews, but Rodgers will do more damage than Flacco as the Packers win a high-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Ravens 27.

Florio’s take:  It’s rock-scissors-paper time in Baltimore, where the Ravens defense is becoming the rock and the Packers’ offensive line is running with scissors.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 24, Packers 20.

Bengals at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills’ defense is playing tough, physical football, and Kiko Alonso is my early pick for rookie of the year. If EJ Manuel were playing, I’d pick the Bills. Unfortunately, I just can’t pick a team to win a game when its starting quarterback was on the practice squad a week ago, and that’s what the Bills are doing with Thad Lewis starting. So I’ve got to go with the Bengals.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 16, Bills 13.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals can beat the teams they shouldn’t, and not the teams they should.  This is the weekend they need to turn it around, or they may not be getting beat in January.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Bills 13.

Lions at Browns

MDS’s take: This is another game where a quarterback injury makes the difference. The Browns won all three games that Brian Hoyer started, and if Hoyer were still starting I’d pick Cleveland to make it four in a row. But with Brandon Weeden back under center, I think the Lions’ defensive line is going to wreak havoc against a quarterback who’s too slow to get rid of the football.

MDS’s pick: Lions 21, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  The Browns have won three in a row, and they’re wrapping up a three-game home stand at the Factory of Gladness.  Without Calvin Johnson, the Lions aren’t the same team.  I’m guessing Johnson either won’t play or he’ll be too banged up to make a difference against a team that will come within a game of matching its 2012 win total after only six weeks.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 24, Lions 20.

Rams at Texans

MDS’s take: Houston has been playing some terrible football recently, but St. Louis is even worse. The Texans’ defense can shut down the Rams’ offense well enough that even another lousy game from Matt Schaub won’t lose it for Houston.

MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  Jeff Fisher returns to Houston with a team that has underachieved, to face a team that has underachieved.  Led by a quarterback who has underachieved.  (That applies to both teams.)  Even with the Texans battling against a home-field disadvantage, their defense is good enough to overcome whatever the quarterback does or doesn’t do.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 23, Rams 16.

Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Kansas City’s turnaround has been remarkable, and I’m particularly impressed with the aggressive defense the Chiefs are playing, led by the one-man wrecking crew that is Dontari Poe in the middle of the line. I like the way Terrelle Pryor is playing for the Raiders, but Poe is going to get in Pryor’s face all day and make him skittish with his passes.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Raiders 9.

Florio’s take:  It’s been a long time since both teams in this storied rivalry were relevant.  The Chiefs are very relevant.  And very hard to beat at home.  It won’t be easy, but the Chiefs will finally have the same number of wins at 2012 Pro Bowlers.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 20, Raiders 17.

Panthers at Vikings

MDS’s take: Both of these teams seem like they should be better than their 1-3 records. If one of them is going to turn things around, I think it’ll be the one that has Cam Newton at quarterback, not the team that has Christian Ponder or Matt Cassel or Josh Freeman at quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Vikings 14.

Florio’s take:  The chase to be the Vikings’ quarterback of the future begins on Sunday, as they host a team that thought it had one, but possibly doesn’t.  Losing coach lands on an even hotter seat.  Winner gets a heat reprieve, for at least a week.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 28, Panthers 21.

Steelers at Jets

MDS’s take: Say what you will about Rex Ryan, but the guy knows how to put together a good defense. He’s done it again this year, and coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is making strides with the offense, too. I still have a hard time seeing the Jets as a playoff contender, but they’ll be 4-2 after beating the woeful Steelers.

MDS’s pick: Jets 27, Steelers 7.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers are 0-5 and the Jets are 3-2 and many expected it to be the opposite.  The Jets have a strong front seven and the Steelers don’t have a strong offensive line and even though Pittsburgh beat the Giants last year in MetLife Stadium the Steelers are a shadow of what they were last year.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 17, Steelers 13.

Eagles at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Even with Nick Foles in place of Michael Vick, this is a game Philadelphia should win without too much trouble. The Eagles’ schedule is getting a lot easier. They beat the winless Giants last week, they’ll beat the winless Buccaneers this week, and they get the Giants again in two weeks. An 8-8 record may be enough to win the NFC East, and when you look at their schedule it’s easy to see the Eagles getting to eight wins. They’ll get win No. 3 on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Buccaneers 13.

Florio’s take:  Chip Kelly and company continue to take advantage of a soft spot in the schedule by running circles around a team that won’t be able to keep up with the Eagles offense, regardless of whether Nick Foles or Mike Vick is running it.  If Vick doesn’t play, it’ll be the first time in league history that both starting quarterbacks in the same game are Napoleon Dynamite dopplegangers.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 30, Buccaneers 20.

Jaguars at Broncos

MDS’s take: There’s no doubt who will win, but if I were betting this game against the spread (and I’m not), I’d pick the Jaguars to keep it closer than the 28-point margin. The Broncos are coming off an exhausting battle with the Cowboys and probably won’t be at their best. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, the Broncos don’t have to be at their best to win this one.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Jaguars 21.

Florio’s take:  Does watching this game count as rooting for the underdog or rubbernecking at a train wreck?  Survey says . . . . both.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 49, Jaguars 13.

Titans at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’ve been impressed with the Titans all year, and they’re a better team than most people realize. But there’s no way Ryan Fitzpatrick is winning at Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, Titans 17.

Florio’s take:  It’s a shame Jake Locker is injured.  He’s missing the chance to come back to Seattle and have his team suffocated and his ear drums ruptured.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Titans 10.

Saints at Patriots

MDS’s take: The best game of the week is in New England, where the Patriots need Rob Gronkowski to return against a surprisingly tough Saints defense. Even if Gronk is at full speed, however, I think Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham are a better pair right now than Tom Brady and Gronkowski, and I like the Saints to put up a lot of points.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Patriots 21.

Florio’s take:  The Saints proved that they can win away from home against a competent team like the Bears.  With an elite offense and a much-improved defense, why not a clean road sweep of the Super Bowl XX teams that played in New Orleans?

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Patriots 21.

Cardinals at 49ers

MDS’s take: The 49ers have put their stumbles behind them and are playing great football. The Cardinals are better than most of us expected, but there’s a clear NFC West pecking order, and the Cards are behind the Niners.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Cardinals 10.

Cardinals at 49ers

Florio’s take:  Bruce Arians doesn’t “see the dominance” of the 49ers and Seahawks.  While the 49ers aren’t yet dominant this year, Arians probably won’t like what he sees.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 27, Cardinals 17.

Redskins at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Dallas’s defense is struggling, and Robert Griffin III may put up some big numbers. But Washington’s defense is struggling even more, and Tony Romo may put up some bigger numbers.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 35, Redskins 31.

Florio’s take:  Jerry Jones won’t be talking about moral victories come Monday.  He’ll have an actual victory.  You know, the kind where his team scores more points than the other.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 21, Redskins 13.

Colts at Chargers

MDS’s take: I’m amazed at the way the Colts keep shaking off injuries and finding ways to win. The Chargers are playing well on offense, but their secondary is a mess, and Andrew Luck should pick it apart.

MDS’s pick: Colts 34, Chargers 20.

Florio’s take:  The Chargers once were a thorn in Indy’s side.  The Chargers are now littered with thorns of their own, and the Colts have found a way in the post-Peyton era to blossom, no matter the amount of duress.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Chargers 21.

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Man who killed Joe McKnight previously cited for battery at same intersection

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 23:  Joe McKnight #30 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tackled after making a catch by Audie Cole #57 of the Minnesota Vikings  at Arrowhead Stadium on August 23, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The man who shot and killed former NFL player Joe McKnight over an apparent traffic incident had previously been cited for battery over a confrontation at the very same intersection where he killed McKnight.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that Ronald Gasser, who admits he shot and killed McKnight on Thursday, was issued a misdemeanor summons for simple battery in 2006, after another motorist called 911 and reported that Gasser had followed him to a gas station and punched him over a traffic dispute. That dispute took place at Holmes Boulevard and Behrman Highway in the New Orleans suburb of Terrytown, the very same intersection where Gasser shot McKnight.

In the 2006 incident, police say the victim had first called a phone number on a pickup truck to report that the truck was being driven unsafely. It turned out that Gasser was the one driving the truck, and the phone number listed on the truck was Gasser’s cell phone. Gasser answered the call for unsafe driving, berated the caller, figured out which nearby car the call was coming from, and followed the man.

Gasser’s misdemeanor battery summons was later dismissed for reasons that the Sheriff’s Office now says are unclear.

After Gasser killed McKnight on Thursday, he stayed at the scene, acknowledged to police that he had committed the shooting, and gave officers the gun. Although Gasser was initially brought to a police station, he was released without charges. Gasser claims he shot McKnight in self defense, and Louisiana law allows people to shoot to kill if they believe they are being threatened.

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Mark Helfrich talked to Chip Kelly about an Oregon return

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks participates in a post-game press conference after they defeated the Kansas State Wildcats 35 to 17 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

After Oregon fired coach Mark Helfrich, 49ers coach Chip Kelly insisted he’s not interested in returning to the place where he had his greatest coaching success. But the topic has been discussed.

Helfrich himself said on ESPN Radio that he talked to Kelly about the possibility that Kelly would take his place. Helfrich wanted Kelly to know there would be no hard feelings if Kelly decided to return, and in fact Helfrich said he hopes Kelly does succeed him because Kelly would be more likely to keep some of his assistants in place than a new coach who would clean house.

However, Helfrich said he thinks Kelly is committed to remaining coach of the 49ers.

“I think he wants to make it right in the NFL. I think he wants to win at that level. He’s had a rough go of it this year, but he’ll make it right,” Helfrich said of Kelly.

All indications are that Kelly prefers coaching in the NFL to coaching in college, in large part because Kelly dislikes recruiting. The question, however, is whether Kelly may soon find himself unable to land an NFL job. After getting fired in Philadelphia last year, he’s 1-10 in San Francisco this year. If he gets fired by the 49ers, he might return to college because he has no job available to him in the NFL. But it sounds like it would have to reach that point before Kelly would consider leaving the pros.

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Jerry Jones expects La’el Collins to be back this year

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys passes while teammate offensive guard La'el Collins #71 blocks against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys’ already good offensive line may soon get better.

La’el Collins, who has been out since Week Three with a foot injury, is expected to return soon. Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan that the Cowboys plan to use their return designation on Collins, allowing him to be the one player on injured reserve to come back and play this year.

What remains to be seen is whether Collins returns to the starting lineup. Although he was the starting left guard before he got hurt, Ron Leary has played so well in Collins’ absence that Leary may keep the starting job.

“So that gives us depth going into the playoffs. We’ve got the quarterbacks. We’ve got our offensive line,” Jones said. “This thing looks good.”

The Cowboys look very good, and a good player getting back on the field will only make them look better.

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Seahawks were first team to challenge on a penalty in the end zone

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first quarter of the game at Raymond James Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Seahawks 14-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll threw his challenge flag on Sunday in Tampa Bay, wanting the officials to rule the a Buccaneers holding penalty had taken place in the end zone rather than the field of play, you may have said, “I didn’t think a coach could challenge that.”

That’s because until Carroll did it on Sunday, no coach ever had.

The rule allowing coaches to challenge the spot of a penalty that would result in a safety in the end zone is a new rule this season, and no coach had ever used that challenge before. NFL Senior V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino said in a video distributed to the media that Carroll rightly challenged the ruling on the field: The Buccaneers had committed holding in the end zone, and it should have been a safety, not half the distance to the goal line from the 1-yard line, which is what the officials ruled on the field.

“Seattle challenged the ruling which is new this year — they can challenge the spot of a foul,” Blandino said. “That’s a good challenge, the first time we’ve had a review of this nature and certainly the first overturn to create a safety because of a foul occurring in the end zone. So that is a new rule this year. You can review the spot of a foul, and good use of the challenge in this situation.”

The NFL regularly adds new calls that can be challenged by the coaches. Eventually the NFL may just adopt the Bill Belichick proposal to allow everything to be challenged.

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NFL Referees Association hasn’t heard from league regarding full-time officials

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 09:  NFL referee hat on the field during a football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL made news on Thursday by saying that it plans to hire up to 17 full-time officials this offseason. That news was news to the NFL Referees Association.

“Like so many things, the devil is in the details and we have yet to hear from the league on those details,” NFLRA executive director Scott Green said in a statement. “We look forward to meeting with them to discuss numerous issues, this being one of them.”

The notion of hiring some full-time officials isn’t new; the ability to do so simply hasn’t been implemented to the extent that it could be.

“We agreed in the 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement that we did not oppose using some full-time officials under certain circumstances including equitable compensation, benefits, clearly documented work duties, employee protections, etc.,” Green said. “Details such as these should be discussed in the off season.”

In other words, the NFLRA has no problem with the concept of full-time officials, as long as they receive fair compensation and protections. With some officials having lucrative primary jobs, getting them to give up their separate compensation (and the security that comes from having other work for which they aren’t regularly graded and potentially terminated if they make too many mistakes) becomes expensive.

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Week 13 injury report roundup

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 28:   Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates the 27-13 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Week 13 kicked off on Thursday with a Cowboys win and it continues with 13 more games on Sunday, which means that the 26 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Chiefs at Falcons

The Chiefs listed LB Dee Ford (hamstring), LB Justin Houston (shoulder), WR Jeremy Maclin (groin), DT Dontari Poe (back) and DE Kendall Reyes (knee) as questionable. Poe didn’t practice at all this week.

DE Adrian Clayborn (knee) is out for the Falcons and LB Paul Worrilow (illness) is listed as questionable on a short injury report.

Dolphins at Ravens

C Mike Pouncey (hip) is out again this week, but Dolphins coach Adam Gase expressed optimism about getting T Branden Albert (wrist) and G Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) back. They’re listed as questionable along with LB Kiko Alonso (hamstring), T Jermon Bushrod (calf), RB Kenyan Drake (knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee, hand), DT Earl Mitchell (back) and WR DeVante Parker (back). CB Xavien Howard (knee) is listed as doubtful.

TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh), T Alex Lewis (ankle) and RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh) are out for the Ravens. RB Buck Allen (non football injury) is listed as doubtful while WR Kamar Aiken (thigh) and CB Jimmy Smith (back) are listed as questionable.

49ers at Bears

Questionable listings for LB Aaron Lynch (ankle) and WR Quinton Patton (concussion) account for the entire 49ers injury report.

QB Jay Cutler (shoulder) is headed for injured reserve, but isn’t there yet so the Bears ruled him out. S Adrian Amos (foot), LB Leonard Floyd (concussion), CB Deiondre’ Hall (ankle), WR Eddie Royal (toe), G Josh Sitton (ankle) and LB Willie Young (knee) are listed as questionable for Chicago.

Eagles at Bengals

Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and T Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) will not play on Sunday. WR Jordan Matthews (ankle) is listed as questionable.

WR A.J. Green (hamstring) remains out for the Bengals. DE Wallace Gilberry (calf) and S Derron Smith (thigh) have both been ruled out. LS Clark Harris (groin) and TE C.J. Uzomah (calf) are on track to being ruled out as well after drawing doubtful tags.

Texans at Packers

The Texans won’t have RB Tyler Ervin (ribs), LB John Simon (chest), WR Jaelen Strong (ankle) this weekend. They listed RB Alfred Blue (calf), DE Jadeveon Clowney (elbow, wrist), LB Brian Cushing (back) and S Andre Hal (illness) as questionable.

QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable. Linebackers Blake Martinez (knee), LB Clay Matthews (shoulder) and Jake Ryan (ankle) are also listed as questionable. LB Kyler Fackrell (hamstring) and CB Demetri Goodson (knee) will not play and neither G T.J. Lang (foot) nor C J.C. Tretter (knee) is expected to play after being listed as doubtful.

Broncos at Jaguars

The Broncos ruled out WR Bennie Fowler (knee), LS Casey Kreiter (calf) and QB Trevor Siemian (foot).

WR Rashad Greene (achilles), WR Allen Hurns (hamstring), RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) and DE Jared Odrick (shoulder) have been ruled out by the Jaguars. TE Julius Thomas (back) is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful and DE Yannick Ngakoue (ankle) drew a questionable designation.

Rams at Patriots

The Rams don’t expect to have WR Tavon Austin (chest) in New England after listing him as doubtful. C Tim Barnes (foot), T Andrew Donnal (hip), DE Robert Quinn (concussion) and T Rodger Saffold (hand) are listed as questionable.

S Jordan Richards (knee) joins TE Rob Gronkowski (back) as Patriots who will not play this weekend. TE Martellus Bennett (ankle, shoulder), QB Tom Brady (knee), S Nate Ebner (concussion), WR Julian Edelman (foot), DE Trey Flowers (shin), DT Woodrow Hamilton (illness), WR Chris Hogan (back), LB Elandon Roberts (jaw) and WR Matt Slater (foot) are this week’s group of questionable players.

Lions at Saints

Lions DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), S Don Carey (hamstring), WR Marvin Jones (thigh), LB DeAndre Levy (knee), RB Theo Riddick (ankle) and LB Tahir Whitehead (knee) are all listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in New Orleans.

RB Mark Ingram (toe) is questionable for the Saints after returning to practice on Friday. T Terron Armstead (knee, quadricep) and RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring) have been ruled out.

Bills at Raiders

The Bills took full use of the questionable designation this week by using it on LB Lorenzo Alexander (ankle), S Sergio Brown (hamstring), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Marcell Dareus (abdomen), RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (back), WR Marquise Goodwin (wrist), S James Ihedigbo (ankle), G Richie Incognito (neck), G John Miller (shoulder) and WR Sammy Watkins (foot). They veered away by ruling out CB Ronald Darby (concussion), WR Percy Harvin (illness) and WR Robert Woods (knee).

CB D.J. Hayden (hamstring) is ruled out and the team will be placing him on injured reserve. DT Darius Latham (ankle), DT Stacy McGee (ankle) and LB Shilique Calhoun (knee) have also been ruled out. CB David Amerson (knee), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle), C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Perry Riley (hamstring) and LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

Redskins at Cardinals

The Redskins won’t have DL Anthony Lanier (shin) or TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) this weekend. CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LB Terence Garvin (shoulder), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee), LB Trent Murphy (ankle), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back) and RB Chris Thompson (illness) were all listed as questionable.

S Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) isn’t expected to play for the Cardinals thanks to a doubtful listing. WR John Brown (illness) is questionable as he continues to look for an answer to problems caused by his sickle cell trait.

Giants at Steelers

The Giants ruled out S Nat Berhe (concussion), LB Mark Herzlich (concussion), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (knee) and G Justin Pugh (knee). Offensive linemen Brett Jones (calf) and Marshall Newhouse (knee) are both questionable after missing last week.

The Steelers ruled out WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) and RB DeAngelo Williams (knee), but have no one else with an injury designation this week.

Buccaneers at Chargers

S Chris Conte (chest) and C Evan Smith (knee) were ruled out by the Buccaneers. DT Gerald McCoy (foot), TE Brandon Myers (hip), RB Jacquizz Rodgers (foot) and S Ryan Smith (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (foot), LB Jatavis Brown (knee) and CB Brandon Flowers (concussion) are out this weekend. TE Asante Cleveland (concussion, knee), DT Tenny Palepoi (shoulder) and WR Tyrell Williams (shoulder) drew questionable tags.

Panthers at Seahawks

The Panthers ruled out DE Mario Addison (foot), S Kurt Coleman (concussion), LB Luke Kuechly (concussion) and T Daryl Williams (ankle) on Friday.

DE Michael Bennett (knee) is expected back for the Seahawks, but drew a questionable tag. DE Damontre Moore (foot), RB Troymaine Pope (ankle) and TE Luke Willson (knee) are listed the same way. LB Brock Coyle (foot), RB C.J. Prosise (shoulder), WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) and LB Jordan Tripp (thigh) have been ruled out.

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Report: NFL will loosen some rules for teams posting on social media

20100503_i-phone-twitter-getty_w Getty Images

Following criticism that followed a strange set of new rules for team accounts, Yahoo Finance reported Friday that the NFL is changing its social media policy again.

The most public — and most criticized — part of the changes that took effect in October related to the posting of in-game video. The NFL changed the rules and threatened to fine teams up to $100,000 if they posted in-game video footage to their social media accounts before the league made the footage available on an internal server.

That generally related to teams posting GIFs or other short videos on their official Twitter accounts during games. For example, the Patriots didn’t violate rules in October by posting a replay of a Tom Brady touchdown pass because it had already been posted on the league’s official Twitter page.

Some teams responded to the rule changes by posting cartoons or photos of the old electric football game depicting that day’s matchup.

The Yahoo Finance report said the new changes could be implemented as early as next week, Week 14 of the season, and that those changes relate to the window for posting in-game content and additional flexibility for posting highlights. Though details were scarce, the report said the rule about not posting plays before the league does is likely to stay in place.

It seems to make sense to allow teams to share big plays and other highlights to push folks towards actually tuning into the games, and we’ll see if common sense prevails.

UPDATE: The Yahoo Finance report was updated to add that the rule changes include a “test agreement” between the NFL and Giphy to make the GIF provider the “source of high quality and authentic NFL GIFs of ancillary game and historical/iconic content.”

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David Bruton out in Washington after signing three-year deal in offseason

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 12: Defensive back David Bruton #30 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after breaking up a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second quarter at FedExField on September 12, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Safety David Bruton signed a three-year deal with the Redskins as a free agent this offseason, but his stay in Washington has come to an end after appearing in four games.

Bruton opened the season as a starter for the Redskins, but landed on injured reserve after four games because of a concussion. The team signed Donte Whitner to fill his spot on the defense and announced on Friday that they have released Bruton off of I.R.

Bruton’s deal had a total possible value of $9 million and he had a $2.5 million signing bonus, which will leave the Redskins with dead money on the cap next year.

The Redskins also announced that they have waived tackle Blaine Clausell and promoted cornerback Dashaun Phillips from the practice squad. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland is listed as questionable to play against the Cardinals because of an ankle injury.

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Broncos promote practice-squader to replace their punt returner

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Jordan Norwood #11 of the Denver Broncos jumps while tackled by wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas #13 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Aqib Talib won’t have a chance to shove Jordan Norwood for muffing another punt.

Primarily because the Broncos have replaced Norwood in that role.

The Broncos filled the roster spot created by putting fullback Andy Janovich on injured reserve by promoting wide receiver Kalif Raymond from the practice squad. He’ll return punts for them Sunday against the Jaguars, after Norwood muffed two of them last week against the Chiefs.

“He’s going to play. I expect to suit both him and Jordan,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said, via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post. “Really, it’s a reward more than anything. This kid does everything, . . . He deserves an opportunity to help us out.”

They can spin it as a bump for the undrafted rookie from Holy Cross if they please, but this was a straight-up demotion for Norwood after a terrible week of special teams, of which he was only a part.

Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis called the Chiefs game “the worst game he’s been a part of special-teams wise.”

“Obviously that’s unacceptable; we can’t put the ball on the ground,” DeCamillis said prior to Raymond’s promotion. “We have to maintain field possession for our team and it was not a good night. We have to get that corrected quickly.”

The Broncos now have eight wide receivers on the roster, in addition to two long snappers, meaning there are more transactions in their future.

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Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell fined for joint touchdown celebration

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 24:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after making a touchdown catch in first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said this week that wide receiver Antonio Brown can’t keep getting penalties for celebrating his touchdowns as he did against the Colts on Thanksgiving night.

Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell danced together after one of Brown’s three touchdown catches in the Pittsburgh win and drew flags for violating the league’s prohibition on choreographed celebrations. The league office joined the officials and Roethlisberger in castigating Brown this week.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that Brown, who had two previous celebration penalties and three other fines this season, has been fined $24,309 as a result of the celebration. Bell has been fined $12,154 for his part in the dance party.

Brown and the Steelers will face off with the Giants this weekend and we’ll find out if the rebukes have had any effect if Brown makes his way into the end zone during that contest.

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Steve Smith not fined for headbutting Vontaze Burfict

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 27: Wide receiver Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens and outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals are seperated by referee Clete Blakeman #34 in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Early in last Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Bengals, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict shoved Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith to the ground during a play and then stood over him when the play was over.

Smith responded by headbutting Burfict in the sternum when he got up. Burfict fell to the ground with more than a little extra embellishment, which may have helped cause Smith to be flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.

It also may have helped the league decide against fining Smith as a result of the penalty. PFT has confirmed with the league that neither Smith nor Burfict were fined for their interaction in a game the Ravens went on to win 19-14.

PFT has also confirmed that Ravens safety Eric Weddle was not fined for an unnecessary roughness penalty he picked up later in the game.

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Corey Coleman fined for facemask penalty

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 20:  Artie Burns #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers breaks up a pass intended for Corey Coleman #19 of the Cleveland Browns during the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Browns rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman was fined $9,115 for grabbing the facemask of Giants cornerback Eli Apple during last Sunday’s game, PFT has confirmed.

The penalty occurred in the second quarter as the Browns were in Giants’ territory and Josh McCown was trying to hit Coleman on a deep ball along the sideline. Besides grabbing the facemask, Coleman actually did a good job of preventing the pass from being intercepted.

Coleman caught a 21-yard touchdown pass later in the game.

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Rolando McClain suspended indefinitely

Wild Card Playoffs - Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

The NFL career of Rolando McClain may have come to an end with yet another suspension.

McClain has been suspended indefinitely, the NFL made official today. McClain has violated the league’s substance-abuse policy again, which means he would have a lengthy road back that would require treatment and an ability to pass drug tests consistently.

It’s hard to see McClain ever returning at this point. He has already missed all of this season for a previous violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Given his history of off-field problems, he may never find another team willing to give him a chance even if he does get reinstated by the league.

At age 27, McClain may be done in the NFL.

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Aaron Rodgers listed as questionable for Sunday

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks on against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter at FedExField on November 20, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced for the third straight day on Friday, but those limited sessions weren’t enough to keep him from getting an injury designation on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

Rodgers is listed as questionable because of the hamstring injury he suffered against the Eagles last Monday night. The injury didn’t keep Rodgers from playing as well as he has all season and there hasn’t been any suggestion from Green Bay this week that he’s at risk of missing the game.

So it is probable that Rodgers will play despite the questionable tag and that’s also been the indication about linebacker Clay Matthews. Matthews hurt his shoulder against the Eagles and got the same designation for this week’s game, but coach Mike McCarthy has said that he expects Matthews to be in the lineup against Houston.

Guard T.J. Lang and center J.C. Tretter are both listed as doubtful to play while linebackers Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez round out the group of players listed as questionable.

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Manziel agrees to anger management, substance abuse treatment to drop domestic violence charges

johnny-manziel-091315-usnews-getty-ftr_6s0twjczw18d1v8w4z0o5mmpn Getty Images

Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel got domestic violence charges dropped in an agreement with prosecutors that requires him to go into anger management counseling and get substance abuse treatment.

Manziel is already in the NFL’s substance abuse program and will need to either continue working through the league’s program or enter another rehabilitation program. He will also need to attend a panel in which domestic violence victims discuss how it impacted them, WFAA reports.

The NFL could suspend Manziel even though he’s not currently under contract with a team, if the league’s own investigation finds that he violated the league’s policies on domestic violence. He has also been suspended four games for substance abuse.

Whether any NFL suspensions ever matter remains to be seen, as Manziel would still have to convince some team to take a chance on signing him. Given that he didn’t play particularly well with the Browns and frequently finds himself in off-field trouble, there’s a good chance that no team will ever give him that chance. Manziel’s career might be over, but at the moment he should be focusing not on football but on getting his life in order.

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