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PFT’s Week Nine picks

Chiefs Getty Images

Alas, I failed to gain any ground on MDS in Week Eight.  I didn’t lose any either.  We each went 10-3, splitting the two games on which we differed.

This week, we disagree on three games.  Which means I can cut his four-game lead down to one.  (I was always good at math.  Speling not so mutch.)

For the year, he’s 81-39, and I’m 77-43.

For a complete look at this week’s picks, just keep on reading.

Actually, I don’t care if you keep reading.  The click already has been registered.

Bengals at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Bengals are surging and the Dolphins are falling. I see Cincinnati winning big and NFL Network televising another Thursday night game that many fans will turn off at halftime. Also, never bet against a team that wears black and orange on Halloween.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 30, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take:  This is precisely the kind of game that the Bengals can lose.  Road game against an overmatched opponent with four straight losses and general disarray.  But a skeptical nation will be watching this one while discreetly bogarting its children’s Halloween candy.  One of the best teams in the AFC will step up, or risk not being perceived as one of the best teams in the AFC.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 31, Dolphins 20.

Chiefs at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills’ defense is good enough to hold the Chiefs’ offense in check, so this game should be close into the fourth quarter — certainly closer than you’d think for an 8-0 team facing a 3-5 team. I have a funny feeling a big play on special teams late in the game will give this one to the Chiefs.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 17, Bills 14.

Florio’s take:  It’s time.  The Chiefs have flirted with disaster the last two Sundays at home, narrowly beating the Texans and the Browns.  This week, the Chiefs go on the road, where they really haven’t been tested this year.  The Bills have easily beaten the Chiefs each of the last two years.  While this one won’t be a blowout, it’s time for someone to score more points than the last undefeated team in the NFL.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 23, Chiefs 20.

Falcons at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Falcons are finished. The Panthers are playing great football right now. Carolina has won three straight games by more than two touchdowns, and Sunday will make it four in a row.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 35, Falcons 17.

Florio’s take:  It’ll be interesting to see if the Panthers can recover from a 10-point deficit.  With the defense playing as well as it is, that may not happen any time soon.  With some tough games looming, the Panthers could get a tough test from a team fighting for its playoff life.  Based on how the Falcons played in Arizona last week, it won’t matter.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 24, Falcons 17.

Vikings at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Cowboys’ defense may be shellshocked after what Calvin Johnson did to them on Sunday, but there’s no way the Vikings’ terrible passing game is going to make big plays in Dallas. The Cowboys will probably only need to win eight games to win the NFC East, and they’ll earn their fifth win on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 27, Vikings 13.

Florio’s takeAdrian Peterson returns home to Texas to face a team that could really use him.  Even without him, they have enough firepower to defeat a Vikings team that could be worse than the 3-13 edition from 2011.

Florio’s pick:  Cowboys 35, Vikings 17.

Saints at Jets

MDS’s take: I expect Rex Ryan’s defense to rebound from last week’s disaster in Cincinnati and play well against the Saints’ offense, but I don’t expect Geno Smith to play much better than he did last week. As a result, the Saints win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Saints 20, Jets 14.

Florio’s take:  It’s a Ryan twins reunion in New York.  Even though the Jets are doing better than expected, they aren’t good enough to close a major gap in talent one week after being blown out by the Bengals.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 30, Jets 17.

Titans at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams were more competitive than I expected them to be in Monday night’s loss to the Seahawks, but the Kellen Clemens-led offense is going to be in a lot of low-scoring losses the rest of the season. That’s what I expect to happen when Jeff Fisher’s old team comes to town.

MDS’s pick: Titans 14, Rams 13.

Florio’s take:  The Titans play their first game ever without owner Bud Adams — and against long-time coach Jeff Fisher.  With Tennessee having two weeks to get ready and the Rams operating only six days after a physically and emotionally draining loss to the Seahawks, this could be the ugly result everyone expected on Monday night.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 27, Rams 13.

Chargers at Redskins

MDS’s take: Washington is just not a good team in any phase of the game: The offense still looks like it needs last year’s Robert Griffin III, the defense allows too many big plays in the passing game and the special teams are an absolute disaster. San Diego will put a lot of points on the board and win an easy one.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Redskins 17.

Florio’s takePhilip Rivers owns a 5-1 record against Mike Shanahan.  The Chargers are rested and the Redskins are reeling after suffering a 38-point second-half barrage against the Broncos.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 24, Redskins 14.

Eagles at Raiders

MDS’s take: Everyone has spent so much time in the last couple weeks asking what’s wrong with Chip Kelly’s offense that a lot of people are overlooking all the problems with the Eagles’ defense. When you can’t even force a turnover against the Giants’ offense — and the Eagles’ defense couldn’t last week — you know something is wrong. Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor makes his share of mistakes, but the Eagles don’t have the defense to take advantage of those mistakes. Pryor will make enough big plays with his feet to win this one and make Kelly wish he had a quarterback like Pryor.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 20, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take:  The Raiders complete a rare two-game sweep of Pennsylvania’s pro football teams without ever having to leave the Bay Area.  All four NFC West teams will be at or above .500 come Sunday, thanks to their ability to pulverize the teams of the NFC East.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 17, Eagles 9.

Buccaneers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers are playing as badly as any team in the NFL right now. Seattle is the toughest place to play in the league. The Seahawks can name their score.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 41, Buccaneers 13.

Florio’s take:  Two teams that entered the NFL together in 1976 couldn’t be more different in 2013.  While the Bucs still have the bragging rights that come from winning a Super Bowl, the Seahawks could be on course to match that achievement this year.  Tampa will be a minor speed bump along the path to New York

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 31, Buccaneers 10.

Ravens at Browns

MDS’s take: Browns quarterback Jason Campbell actually played well against the tough Chiefs’ defense, and the Ravens haven’t been playing well recently. Call me crazy, but I think the defending Super Bowl champions are going down in Cleveland.

MDS’s pick: Browns 20, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  The team that used to be the Browns has beaten the Browns 11 straight times.  If the Ravens can’t run that streak to 12, their five-year run of playoff berths could be ending, too.  Rested and re-focused, the Ravens will find a way, as they always seem to do when they need it most.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 20, Browns 10.

Steelers at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Patriots have had so many injuries that they feel like they’re going to fall apart at any moment, but there they are in their customary spot atop the AFC East. They’ll keep it going against the Steelers.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 21.

Florio’s take:  The Steelers can win if they commit fully to the run, and if they can find a way to slow down a good-not-great New England offense.  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seems to be too determined to prove he’s still a franchise quarterback to buy in to a run-based attack, even if the team’s use of the Wildcat means that the Steelers no longer view him as a true game changer.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 24, Steelers 21.

Colts at Texans

MDS’s take: Case Keenum may provide the Texans a spark, and the Colts may be due for a letdown. I’m tempted to pick Houston to pull off an upset and snap their five-game losing streak, but I just can’t pull the trigger on it.

MDS’s pick: Colts 21, Texans 20.

Florio’s take:  Two weeks after Peyton Manning returned to his adopted home of Indianapolis, Andrew Luck returns to his real home of Houston.  The question is which Colts team will come with him — and whether Case Keenum can build on his near miss against the Chiefs from Week Seven.  I’ll say the one that lost to the Chargers, and yes.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Colts 20.

Bears at Packers

MDS’s take: In this week’s only matchup of teams with winning records, the Packers will strengthen their grip on the NFC North race with a win over the Bears. Both teams are banged up, but the Bears’ loss of Jay Cutler and Lance Briggs makes it tough for them to win anywhere. I certainly don’t see them winning in Green Bay.

MDS’s pick: Packers 34, Bears 17.

Florio’s takeJosh McCown, Luke McCown, Cade McNown.  Either way, it’s a McLoss, McDog.  Green Bay keeps rolling toward another division title, as long as the quarterback doesn’t join the injured list.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 35, Bears 21.

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Robert Quinn, Greg Zuerlein join Case Keenum on Rams inactive list

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 1: Robert Quinn #94 of the St. Louis Rams shakes hands with a fan after the Rma defeated the San Francisco 49ers 27-6 at the Edward Jones Dome on November 1, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

The word on Friday was that Nick Foles would start at quarterback for the Rams in Cincinnati on Sunday and confirmation of that came on Sunday morning with the release of the Rams’ inactive list.

Case Keenum is on it a week after suffering a concussion in his first start after being placed ahead of Foles on the team’s depth chart. Sean Mannion will be active for the first time this season to serve as Foles’s backup.

Two defensive starters join Keenum on the inactive list. Defensive end Robert Quinn is dealing with hip and back injuries and is inactive for the third time in the last four games. The Rams will miss his pass rushing ability and they’ll be underpowered in the secondary while dealing with Bengals receivers because cornerback Trumaine Johnson is out with a thigh injury. Marcus Roberson will start in his place.

The other notable Rams inactive is kicker Greg Zuerlein. Zuerlein was listed as questionable with a groin injury, leading the team to sign Zach Hocker. Hocker will be the first kicker other than Zuerlein for St. Louis since the 2011 season.

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Charcandrick West won’t play vs. Bills

Charcandrick West AP

Chiefs running back Charcandrick West is inactive for Sunday’s game vs. the Bills due to a hamstring injury he suffered in last week’s win over the Chargers.

West didn’t practice all week but the Chiefs listed him as questionable and held out some hope he’d be able to play. He’s been a big part of the Chiefs’ four-game win streak.

Starting in his place will be Spencer Ware, who ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns last week after West’s injury.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is active. He had been listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

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Week 12 early inactives

Ryan Tannehill, Mario Williams AP

Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Vikings at Falcons

Vikings: S Harrison Smith, CB Trae WaynesQB Taylor Heinicke, LB Edmond Robinson, C Nick Easton, OT Jeremiah Sirles, DE Justin Trattou

Falcons: K Matt Bryant, RB Devonta Freeman, WR Leonard Hankerson, CB Phillip Adams, C James Stone, T Bryce Harris, DE Malliciah Goodman

Rams at Bengals

Rams: T Andrew Donnal, CB Trumaine Johnson, DE Robert Quinn, T Isaiah Battle, DE Ethan Westbrooks, QB Case Keenum, K Greg Zuerlein

Bengals: WR Mario Alford, LB Paul Dawson, TE C.J. Uzomah, DT Marcus Hardison, DT Pat Sims, DE Margus Hunt, T Cedric Ogbuehi

Saints at Texans

Saints: LB Dannel Ellerbe, LB David Hawthorne, CB Damian Swann, QB Garrett Grayson, DT Kaleb Eulls, G Mike McGlynn, DE Phillip Hunt

Texans: QB Brandon Weeden, WR Jaelen Strong, S Rahim Moore, CB A.J. Bouye, G Oday Aboushi, TE Garrett Graham, DT Jeoffrey Pagan

Buccaneers at Colts

Buccaneers: DE George Johnson, S Keith Tandy, QB Ryan Griffin, WR Donteea Dye, DE Kourtnei Brown, G Ali Marpet, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Colts: QB Andrew Luck, T Anthony Castonzo, WR Phillip Dorsett, G Todd Herremans, LB Bjoern Werner, S Mike Adams, LB Sio Moore

Chargers at Jaguars

Chargers: G D.J. Fluker, S Adrian Phillips, CB Greg Ducre, LB Kavell Conner, DT Damion Square, T King Dunlap, LB Cordarro Law

Jaguars: LB Dan Skuta, RB Bernard Pierce, WR Neal Sterling, S Craig Loston, OL Luke Bowanko, RB Joe Banyard, DT Michael Bennett

Bills at Chiefs

Bills: WR Marcus Easley, DE Mario Williams, G John Miller, QB Josh Johnson, OL Cyrus Kouandjio, DT Kyle Williams, OL Ryan Groy

Chiefs: DE Allen Bailey, LB Dee Ford, WR De’Anthony Thomas, G Ben Grubbs, DL David King, QB Aaron Murray, RB Charcandrick West

Dolphins at Jets

Dolphins: T Ju’Wuan James, TE Brandon Williams, LB Chris McCain, TE Jake Stoneburner, WR Matt Hazel, T Ulrick John, LB James-Michael Johnson

Jets: CB Darrelle Revis, QB Bryce Petty, OL Ben Ijalana, S Dion Bailey, OL Dakota Dozier, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, DL Josh Martin

Raiders at Titans

Raiders: LB Neiron Ball, CB Keith McGill, RB Taiwan Jones, C Rodney Hudson, OL Khalif Barnes, WR Rod Streater, TE Gabe Holmes

Titans: RB Dexter McCluster, DT Al Woods, CB Cody Riggs, G Jeremiah Poutasi, WR Andrew Turzilli, LB Derrick Morgan, DT Mike Martin

Giants at Redskins

Giants: C Weston Richburg, G Justin Pugh, TE Larry Donnell, WR Geremy Davis, S Cooper Taylor, CB Leon McFadden, DE George Selvie

Redskins: S Trenton Robinson, QB Robert Griffin III, CB Deshazor Everett, LB Keenan Robinson, DE Frank Kearse, G Arie Kouandjio, TE Je’Ron Hamm

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Kuechly explains his unlikely deep coverage of Dez

Dez Bryant, Luke Kuechly AP

Panthers cornerback Josh Norman has gotten plenty of praise for shutting down Dallas receiver Dez Bryant. But Norman had a little help. Specifically, Norman got help at one key moment during which Bryant was wide open down the field.

The help came in the form of linebacker Luke Kuechly, who supplemented his two-pick performance by somehow breaking up what would have ben an easy touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Bryant.

“We were playing in [zone] coverage and the play got extended and I saw him kind of turn it up so I just chased him down there and I figured if no one’s on him, I better cover him,” Kuechly said on Friday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “So I just tried to do my best, tried to run down there with him and luckily I was able to get close enough to him where I could bump him out of bounds.”

The film from the game demonstrates what a great play Kuechly made. Lined up to the right of the center, Kuechly picked up Bryant running a drag route underneath the zone coverage. Then, as Romo was flushed out of the pocket toward Kuechly’s left, Bryant sprinted up the field.

Kuechly hesitated for an instant with the question of whether to contain Romo or cover Bryant. Kuechly  then took off, taking an angle and closing the gap quickly on Bryant,  hitting him just as he was catching the ball inside the five and preventing a touchdown that would have cut Carolina’s 10-0 lead to 10-7.

With plenty of games still to play, it will be hard for any other NFC defender to keep Kuechly from getting “player of the week” honors. And while the honor likely will go to Kuechly based on his pair of interceptions, his handling of Bryant at a key moment in the game should receive just as much attention.

For more from Kuechly’s visit to PFT Live, visit or download the PFT Live “best of” podcast at iTunes.

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Vikings passing game still not complementing Adrian Peterson

Mike Wallace, Cordarrelle Patterson AP

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer recently went out of his way to express appreciation to running back Adrian Peterson. Zimmer’s gesture may have been influenced by the reality that the team’s passing game is giving him little for which to be thankful.

With plenty of talent and potential, the performance simply hasn’t been there. Rookie Stefon Diggs has cooled off considerably after a four-game hot start to his career, and last year’s flavor-of-the-moment Charles Johnson has become a forgotten man, with three total catches since Week Three.

Then there’s former first-round pick Cordarrelle Patterson, who has been relegated primarily to kick-return duties. On NFL Network’s GameDay Morning, Michael Irvin said he was asked in the offseason by coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner to work with Patterson on running intermediate routes — and the importance of wanting the ball more than the defense in that territory.

Meanwhile, this year’s high-profile veteran arrival, Mike Wallace, has been a major disappointment. Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a close look at what currently is the worst year of Wallace’s career. Among other things, Souhan points out that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has overthrown Wallace eight times this year, which means either that Bridgewater is missing Wallace or Wallace isn’t doing enough to go get the ball.

Regardless, with Wallace making $9.9 million this year and due to make $11.5 million in 2016, it’s looking like Wallace, barring a dramatic pay cut, will be one and done in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

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Cardinals expected to have Michael Floyd in lineup

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 26:  Wide receiver Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after scoring a three-yard touchdown against linebacker Zach Orr #54 of the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 26, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Nils Nilsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cardinals bring a four-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the 49ers and it looks like they’ll have a full complement of receivers helping them in the effort to make it five in a row.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Cardinals are expected to have Michael Floyd back in the lineup. Floyd missed last Sunday’s victory over the Bengals with a hamstring injury and was listed as questionable on Friday after a week of limited participation in practice.

Assuming Floyd is active and playing his usual role on offense, the Cardinals would be healthier at wideout than they’ve been in several weeks. John Brown missed one game with a hamstring injury and spent another on the sideline in uniform when the team made him active before deciding not to play him against the Seahawks in Week 10.

The injuries at receiver haven’t stopped the Cardinals from putting up more than 30 points a game in each of their last three games, so the outlook for the unit will be strong with everyone back in action.

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Sunday morning one-liners

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 4:  Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills need to keep bringing the heat on defense.

Dolphins DT Ndamukong Suh has become more vocal as the season has unfolded.

Said Patriots CB Devin McCourty of LB Jerod Mayo, “He’s out there running full speed in practice all day. I think mostly, he’s just happy to be out there playing. You can tell that from his play, his approach, how happy he is just to be out here running around.”

Faster starts to games would benefit the Jets.

FB Kyle Juszczyk has had some good moments for the Ravens this year.

Bengals DT Geno Atkins will face inexperienced Rams linemen on Sunday.

The Browns defense will be dealing with a Ravens offense studded with backups.

Stopping Russell Wilson is a Steelers defensive priority on Sunday.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien thinks the Saints have “some weapons in the backfield” in Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller.

The Colts will start the league’s oldest quarterback this week while facing the league’s youngest.

Jaguars TE Julius Thomas hopes his injury problems are behind him.

The Titans elevated LB Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil from the practice squad.

The Broncos have a long history with the Patriots.

Former Chiefs QB Len Dawson found a long second career as a broadcaster.

Raiders QB Derek Carr is navigating his way through growing pains in his second season.

The long-term impact on Chargers G D.J. Fluker after four concussions in three years is unclear.

Forecasting the Cowboys futures of cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Byron Jones.

Giants S Landon Collins will spend Sunday on the field where his idol Sean Taylor once played.

Ten conclusions to draw from the Eagles season.

RB Matt Jones needs to hold onto the ball to maintain a role on offense for the Redskins.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s first season with the Bears has gone well.

The last three weeks have improved the look of things around the Lions organization.

A look at Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’s accuracy this season.

A banged-up Vikings secondary has to deal with Julio Jones this weekend.

The Falcons bring the league’s stingiest run defense into Sunday’s date with Adrian Peterson.

There are plenty of big personalities in the Panthers locker room.

Saints CB Delvin Breaux has been prepping for Sunday’s matchup with DeAndre Hopkins.

Sunday’s game will continue a long history for Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith and Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck.

The Cardinals insist they aren’t overlooking the 49ers.

The Rams will try to stop their bleeding against the Bengals.

It’s been many years since the 49ers were 10-point underdogs at home.

A cold won’t stop Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls from taking the field.

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Dolphins have an internal disconnect over Tannehill

Tony Romo, Ryan Tannehill AP

As the Dolphins prepare to search for a permanent replacement for coach Joe Philbin, it’s becoming clear that the most important aspect of the interview process will consist of laying out a plan for making the performance of quarterback Ryan Tannehill match his perceived potential.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald explains that a disconnect currently exists between the front office and the coaching staff. The folks in suits believe Tannehill is one of the best quarterbacks in the league; the guys in headsets treat Tannehill like a run-of-the-mill game manager.

“What I’ve told Ryan is, ‘I don’t need Superman,'” interim coach Dan Campbell recently told Salguero. “I just want to make sure my message to him is don’t try to be someone you’re not. Just manage the game for us. Make the throws that are there, which he will.”

Salguero points out that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has limited Tannehill’s options for changing the play at the line of scrimmage, restricted to a menu of alternatives given to Tannehill before each play.

Supposedly, the mental shackles come from a desire to see Tannehill play fast. The front office, however, apparently prefers to see him play well enough to justify the thinking that he lands somewhere between No. 8 and No. 15 among all NFL quarterbacks.

The contract given to Tannehill earlier this year speaks volumes about the front office’s view of Tannehill. The failure of the current coaching staff to trust him to try to win games instead of to not lose them says plenty about whether the current coaching staff will be coaching him next year.

And so for 2016 the big question becomes whether there’s a potential head coach who genuinely wants to coach Tannehill, and who has a compelling plan for getting the most out of him. The biggest challenge for the coaching staff could be figuring out how to distinguish the candidates who truly want Tannehill from those who simply want the job and who’ll say whatever they have to say to get it.

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Saints first-rounder Andrus Peat will start at left guard today

Andrus Peat AP

Saints first-rounder Andrus Peat has finally cracked the starting lineup, even if he had to change positions to do it.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Peat is going to get the start at left guard today against the Texans.

The 13th overall pick had a pair of fill-in starts at tackle for an injured Terron Armstead earlier this year, but then had to miss three weeks.

The Saints have struggled to protect Drew Brees effectively this season, and putting the 6-foot-7, 313-pound rookie in front of him could help — if Brees can see over him.

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Could Doug Marrone be a head coach again in 2016?

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As the list of candidates to fill the looming NFL head-coaching vacancies begins to be compiled, a name that largely has been forgotten has once again become front and center: Former Bills coach Doug Marrone.

Some have Marrone not just as a fringe candidate in a season that may have more vacancies than “A” list candidates, but as a no-brainer. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media rattled off Marrone’s name earlier today not as a possibility but as a given, along with Patriots coach Josh McDaniels and Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

The obvious response is this: Why didn’t Marrone get hired last year, after opting to leave the Bills with full pay for 2015 following the change in ownership? As one source with knowledge of the dynamics recently explained it to PFT, Marrone arrived on the scene as a potential candidate a little too unexpectedly for teams to scrap their existing plans.

This year, Marrone (the offensive line coach and assistant head coach-offense in Jacksonville) is a known candidate. The resurgence (relatively speaking) of the Jaguars won’t hurt his cause.

The bigger boost for Marrone will come from his work with the Bills. He took the team to a 9-7 record in 2014. This year, the 5-5 Bills may have a hard time matching that performance despite having better talent.

Also helping Marrone will be the simple fact that there may be too many vacancies and not enough truly qualified coaches to take the jobs. Some have pegged the number of potential total openings at a whopping 14.

While the actual number surely will be much lower, there still may not be enough clear candidates for those jobs. And if an owner is looking for one of the rarest of former head coaches who wasn’t fired but chose to leave, Marrone could indeed be on the short list, somewhere.

Or in multiple somewheres.

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Howie Roseman could be on the rise again in Philly

Howie Roseman AP

After Eagles coach Chip Kelly put together a second straight 10-win season, Kelly made a run at G.M. Howie Roseman. It was bizarre and it was ugly and it ultimately was painted as a win-win by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

Now that Kelly could be closing in on losing his job (voluntarily or otherwise) in Philly, Roseman could be winning, again.

While Lurie opted in January to find a way to keep Kelly and Roseman around in a way that would allow them to coexist (a process that included physically moving the new executive V.P. of football operations out of the football operations location), it was clear that Kelly was now fully in charge of the team. Which means that Kelly is fully responsible for what has happened this season. Which means that Roseman necessarily has no responsibility for what has happened this season.

Which means that Roseman could be poised to seize a level of control over the team that he has never previously enjoyed.

So as Kelly’s future continues to be the focus in Philly, the second rise of Roseman can’t be overlooked. Unless Lurie decides to hit the reset button or pursue a head coach who will want to keep Roseman away from the football operation the same way Kelly has, Roseman will be back in the mix.

Given how the franchise has performed with Roseman exiled from the football operations, perhaps the only easy answer in Philly is that Roseman should be involved once again in football operations. Regardless, there’s a chance that, in roughly a month, Roseman won’t just have a hand in the search for the next coach.

Lurie could decide to let Roseman run the show.

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Report: Rams won’t be penalized for Keenum concussion debacle

Case Keenum AP

Last Sunday’s early games included a troubling moment in which Rams quarterback Case Keenum obviously had sustained a head injury but somehow wasn’t taken off the field. The NFL has now determined that nothing will be taken from the Rams.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Rams won’t be penalized for mishandling the concussion protocol.

There’s no explanation provided regarding why the Rams won’t be punished. A trainer went onto the field to check Keenum, but the trainer didn’t remove Keenum for an official concussion evaluation.

Ultimately, the NFL may have decided that, with the ATC spotter now having the absolute ability to stop the game, the bulk of the blame should rest with the person whose primary job is to look for potential head injuries and to ensure that those players are out of the game.

The fact that the league thereafter convened a conference call with all head athletic trainers suggests that the NFL will be expecting more from the teams going forward. The lack of punishment for the Rams implies that the previous procedures weren’t sufficiently clear to justify punishing the Rams in this case.

So, basically, the situation that unfolded on Sunday in Baltimore perhaps was less about the team not following the rules and more about the NFL still not having sufficiently clear rules in place.

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Jeremy Lane is officially back, and could start today

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Super Bowl XLIX was a bad day for the Seahawks. It was a worse day for Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane, who suffered a badly broken arm — and who will be reminded of it every time he looks at the long, conspicuous scar on the inside of his left forearm.

It got even worse for Lane, who also tore an ACL on a play that started with an interception of Tom Brady and ended with the Patriots picking on Lane’s replacement, Tharold Simon, throughout the rest of the game.

Lane is now officially back, activated Saturday from the Physically Unable to Perform list. As explained by John Boyle of the team’s official website, Lane actually could start on Sunday against the Steelers.

Coach Pete Carroll wouldn’t say this week whether Cary Williams would continue in the Legion of Boom’s Ringo Starr role. Benched last week for Deshawn Shead, it could be Williams, Shead, or Lane getting the first rep against the Steelers on Sunday.

Regardless of who gets the job, Carroll thinks the process will make all of them better.

It should bring out the best in everybody,” Carroll said. “That’s the whole idea. Everybody’s got to feel it to find their best. Feel the pressure of it, and the stress, and the competitive point of it.”

The loser in the roster short-straw competition was running back Bryce Brown, who was cut again by the Seahawks when Lane joined the active roster.

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Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews expected to play

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 08:   Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins is tackled by Nigel Bradham #53 of the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins added Rishard Matthews to their injury report on Saturday with an illness, which meant that both of their leading pass catchers were now questionable to face the Jets on Sunday afternoon.

Jarvis Landry was already on the list because of a knee injury that kept him from practicing twice during the week. Coach Dan Campbell said Friday that part of the reason for Landry’s limited workload at practice was to make sure he was ready to go for the game and reports on Sunday are that the plan worked out in Miami’s favor.

According to multiple reports, Landry is expected to play against the Jets. Those same reports have Matthews set to be in the lineup as well, giving Ryan Tannehill a full complement of targets to use against a Jets defense that will be playing without cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Wide receiver isn’t the only position well represented on Miami’s injury report. Chris McCain is doubtful and Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, Kelvin Sheppard and Spencer Paysinger are all questionable, leaving a few decisions at linebacker to sort out before kickoff.

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Giants rule out Weston Richburg

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 13:  Weston Richburg #70 of the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Friday, the Giants ruled out left guard Justin Pugh and listed center Weston Richburg as doubtful in a move that proved to be wishful thinking on Saturday.

Richburg did not travel with the team to Washington for Sunday’s game against the Redskins and will miss his first game of the season. Richburg hurt his ankle in Week 10 and didn’t make enough progress over the bye week to get back on the field.

Dallas Reynolds will start in Richburg’s place at center. John Jerry started in Pugh’s place when Pugh missed the Week 10 loss to the Patriots and should start again this Sunday, although Adam Schefter of ESPN reports it will be at right guard with Geoff Schwartz flipping to the other side of the offensive line.

In addition to downgrading Richburg, the Giants also had one of their injured players make an unusual trip in the other direction on the injury report. Linebacker Mark Herzlich was ruled out on Friday because of a quad injury, but his status was shifted to questionable on Saturday so he may make it into the lineup after all.

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