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PFT’s Week Ten picks

Divisional Playoffs - Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

Usually Florio writes the introductions to our weekly PFT picks segments. But with the thorough beating I’ve been giving him in our weekly picks, it’s time for me to take the reins.

Neither one of us had a great week picking games last week, but I went 3-for-3 on the games about which we disagreed. For Week Nine, I went a mediocre 8-5. Florio went a worse-than-mediocre 5-8. That makes me 89-44 on the season, and Florio 82-51.

The good news for Florio is that this week we disagree on a whopping six games, meaning he could close the gap all the way down to one game. Then again, the good news for me is that we disagree on a whopping six games, meaning I could widen the gap all the way up to 13 games, which would be a nearly insurmountable margin through ten weeks.

Read on to see where we agree, where we disagree, and whether Florio is ready to concede that I’m the superior NFL prognosticator.

Redskins at Vikings

MDS’s take: Thursday night’s game matches up two bad teams, but Washington is playing a little bit better recently and is motivated by the slight chance of getting back into the NFC East race. Minnesota is going nowhere but last place in the NFC North.

MDS’s pick: Redskins 24, Vikings 20.

Florio’s take:  The Vikings are teetering on giving up as Washington is inching toward making a run at a second straight division title.  At this rate, some Vikings fans may want to implode the Metrodome with the team inside it.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 24, Vikings 20.

Seahawks at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Seahawks haven’t been playing particularly well recently, but they’re playing well enough to beat bad teams. That will continue in Atlanta, where the Falcons have totally collapsed.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 17, Falcons 10.

Florio’s take:  Seattle returns to the scene of its January playoff loss, and these two teams couldn’t be in more different situations.  But the Seahawks recently have been flirting with upsets, and beating the Seahawks in November likely will be the closest the Falcons get to another playoff win in 2013.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 20, Seahawks 17.

Bengals at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Bengals are going to struggle down the stretch because they’re missing their two best defensive players, tackle Geno Atkins and cornerback Leon Hall. Unfortunately, the Ravens can’t get out of their own way on offense, and with this loss we can pretty much write off the defending champs.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals are a different team away from home, and the Ravens now have their backs firmly against the wall.  I’m still not ready to give up on a team that has made it to the playoffs five straight times.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 27, Bengals 20.

Lions at Bears

MDS’s take: With the NFC North currently in a three-way tie, this game is huge. I think the Lions, who beat the Bears handily in Detroit, will make it a season sweep and take a big step toward winning their first division title since Barry Sanders was a Lion.

MDS’s pick: Lions 27, Bears 24.

Florio’s take:  With Aaron Rodgers injured, the NFC North could be up for grabs.  While the Lions may be better than the Bears, the Bears have the home-field edge and the boost that comes from knocking off the Packers.  With or without Jay Cutler, the Bears get it done at home, where they’ve beaten the Lions seven of eight times.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 17, Lions 13.

Eagles at Packers

MDS’s take: If both of these teams had their starting quarterbacks, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick Aaron Rodgers’s Packers over Michael Vick’s Eagles. But the Seneca Wallace vs. Nick Foles quarterback matchup makes it a lot tougher to call. This one could go either way, but I think the Eagles’ defense has enough holes in it for Packers running back Eddie Lacy to have a big day, and the Packers to overcome the loss of Rodgers.

MDS’s pick: Packers 21, Eagles 17.

Florio’s take:  Philly is 4-1 on the road, 0-4 at home.  More importantly, they head to Lambeau to face a team that has lost its franchise quarterback for a month.  The injuries finally have caught up with the Packers, who’ll suffer the rare indignity of losing twice at home in six days.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 30, Packers 23.

Rams at Colts

MDS’s take: The Colts don’t always look great, but they usually find a way to win. The Rams don’t always look terrible, but they usually find a way to lose. Form will hold in Indianapolis.

MDS’s pick: Colts 27, Rams 17.

Florio’s take:  The family that once owned the Rams now hosts them, and the Rams limp into town with a backup quarterback and a season of failed expectations.  The Colts are rolling, and it’ll take a better team than the Rams to knock them off.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 28, Rams 17.

Raiders at Giants

MDS’s take: Both of these teams stink, but the Giants have been playing competitively recently, while the Raiders are coming off an ugly blowout loss. Throw in the Giants’ home-field advantage, and this looks like a pretty clear third consecutive win for New York.

MDS’s pick: Giants 30, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take:  The Giants are climbing in to the NFC East hunt just as the Raiders are fading out of the chase for the No. 6 seed in the AFC.  While the Raiders have shown periodic flashes of a promise, the Giants have won two in a row, and they’re gradually getting healthier.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 28, Raiders 17.

Bills at Steelers

MDS’s take: With EJ Manuel back against a bad Steelers defense, I like the Bills to go on the road and pull the upset.

MDS’s pick: Bills 24, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take:  The struggling Steelers are playing for pride.  There’s a chance that may not be enough.  If they lose this one, it really could be time to clean house.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 17, Bills 13.

Jaguars at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans are coming off a big win and are, at 4-4, in the AFC playoff hunt. That’s especially true because they still get to play the Jaguars twice. Tennessee will have no trouble with the worst team in the league coming to town.

MDS’s pick: Titans 34, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take:  The Titans continue to make a play for a postseason appearance.  The Jaguars continue to compete for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 34, Jaguars 9.

Panthers at 49ers

MDS’s take: Both of these teams have been playing good football, and if the playoffs started today (which they don’t) the 49ers and Panthers would be the two NFC wild card teams. This should be a tough, physical football game and should show off two of the NFL’s most talented young quarterbacks. I like the 49ers to win in an exciting game.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 30, Panthers 27.

Florio’s take:  The Panthers have beaten five teams with a combined 8-33 record.  Their next two foes are a combined 13-4.  And they’ll each have an extra week to prepare.  And the 49ers are one of the best teams in the league right now.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Panthers 13.

Texans at Cardinals

MDS’s take: I like the spark that Case Keenum has provided the Texans, but the Cardinals’ defense is a lot better than most people realize, and Keenum is in for a rough day in Arizona.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 17, Texans 13.

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals deserve more credit than they’ve gotten.  They can get plenty by delivering what would amount to a knockout punch to the Texans.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 23, Texans 20.

Broncos at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chargers are one of the many AFC teams in the hunt for the final wild card spot, and if they could pull off the upset of the Broncos they’d firmly establish themselves as playoff contenders. But it won’t happen. The Chargers’ defense just isn’t good enough to keep the Broncos in check.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 42, Chargers 27.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Broncos used a Monday night comeback for the ages in San Diego to launch an 11-game winning streak.  This year, the up-and-down Chargers have the talent to pull the upset — and they just might.  If they can hold the Broncos under 40 points.  But they can’t.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Chargers 34.

Cowboys at Saints

MDS’s take: This could be an NFC playoff preview, as the Cowboys lead the East and the Saints lead the South. Unfortunately for Dallas, it’s also going to be a preview of the beatdown the Cowboys can expect to get in the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Cowboys 14.

Florio’s take:  Rob Ryan gets his revenge against the team that made him a scapegoat in January.  Especially since the Cowboys can’t/won run the ball and can’t/won try to take away what the opponent does best on offense.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 31, Cowboys 21.

Dolphins at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: It’s the battle of the team whose players get bullied in the locker room against the team whose players get infected in the locker room. Even aside from the off-field issues, this is an ugly Monday night game in a season that seems to have had an inordinate number of ugly prime time games. I see the Dolphins’ defense keeping the score down enough to win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 17, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins already have won a game since the Jonathan Martin situation began to unfold.  Like the 2007 Patriots post-Spygate, the situation could pull the team together in an us-against-the-world approach.  But there are still four days to go until the Dolphins and Bucs play, and the off-field distraction could intensify.  It’s fitting that a team like Tampa gets a crack at Miami when it’s dealing with as big a mess as any that Greg Schiano and company have faced this year.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 20, Dolphins 14.

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Antonio Brown: Malcolm Butler “puts hands on you like no other”

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 23:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is pursued by Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots after making a catch in the first half during the game at Heinz Field on October 23, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown will have his hands full with Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game. And Brown thinks Butler may have his hands full of Brown’s jersey.

Brown said Butler is a physical cornerback who gets his hands on opposing receivers as much as anyone in the NFL, and that’s what Brown will have to be ready for on Sunday.

“Butler finishes to the ball. He puts hands on you like no other. We are up for the challenge,” Brown said.

Butler has shadowed Brown in each of the last two Steelers-Patriots games, and for the most part Brown has won their individual matchups: Brown caught seven passes for 106 yards when the Steelers and Patriots played this season, and Brown caught nine passes for 133 yards when the Steelers and Patriots played last season.

If Butler can’t get his hands on Brown on Sunday, it’s going to be tough for the Patriots to stop the Steelers’ offense.

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Pete Carroll concerned with C.J. Prosise’s durability

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: C.J. Prosise #22 of the Seattle Seahawks carries the ball during the third quarter of a game against the New England Patriots during a game at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seattle’s season came to an end on Saturday before running back C.J. Prosise could return from a fractured scapula that wiped out the second half of his rookie season with the Seahawks.

The broken shoulder-blade was the fourth injury that caused Prosise to miss time since being drafted in May. A hip flexor issue kept Prosise sidelined in OTAs. A hamstring strain took away time in training camp and a broken wrist bone in Seattle’s regular season opener against Miami forced Prosise to miss four games.

“I can’t tell you that I’m not concerned about C.J,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “He had trouble through the offseason, was unavailable to us throughout, and there was a groin and a hammy and a wrist and then the scapula thing he had. He has to show it.”

Prosise had 369 total yards over the four games preceding his injury against the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-Novemeber. He rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries and caught 16 passes for 195 yards. However, he also missed 12 of 18 games regular and postseason games for Seattle.

“He certainly is on it when he’s right,” Carroll said. “We would have had a shot this week to try and get him out there again, we would have busted it to get it and he would have had a really good chance to make it, so he was that close to returning. But there is a concern.”

The Seahawks had 11 different running backs carry the ball at least once for them this season due to injuries to Prosise and Thomas Rawls.

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Who will win the NFC title game?

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 30:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

With two games to be played this weekend, the questions of the day for Thursday’s and Friday’s PFT Live are as simple as they can be. Who wins?

For Thursday, it’s the NFC. Packers at Falcons.

Vote, comment, vote again, comment again. Tune in at 6:00 a.m. ET to NBC Sports Radio and then to NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. for the simulcast. Guests include Scott Zolak of the Patriots Radio Network and MDS of PFT.

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Report: Seahawks will sign Perrish Cox

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 13:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is hit by Perrish Cox #20 of the Tennessee Titans after he scores a touchdown during the game at Nissan Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks plan to sign veteran cornerback Perrish Cox, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The Seahawks need experience in their secondary with Deshawn Shead having ACL surgery after being injured last weekend and both Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman also dealing with injuries. The team won’t push Thomas and Sherman in training camp if they aren’t ready, so the addition of Cox likely isn’t the only move the Seahawks will make to bolster their secondary depth.

Cox, 30, went from starter for the Titans in November to being released soon after. He played in 11 games last season, starting nine, and has started 45 of 81 games in his career.

A fifth-round pick of the Broncos in 2010, Cox has also played for the 49ers and previously spent time with the Seahawks in 2013.

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Jim Irsay breaks silence, says nothing about his coach and G.M.

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 24:  Team owner Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts waves to the crowd after the Colts defeated the New York Jets 30-17 to win the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 24, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Long before Donald Trump was using Twitter as a tool for talking directly to the people, Colts owner Jim Irsay had perfected the craft. To a fault.

But even as the Two-Days-From-Now-Commander-In-Chief continues  to expand his presence on social media, Irsay has been dormant. Until today.

He finally broke his silence, 12 days after declaring that the team had signed a backup kicker. But Irsay didn’t address the elephant on the room; he simply retweeted a “thank you” from the team to retiring linebacker Robert Mathis.

Meanwhile, with mounting reports, rumors, and speculation about his pursuit of a new coach and/or General Manager and/or leader of the entire football operation, Irsay has still said nothing about the status of coach Chuck Pagano and G.M. Ryan Grigson.

Nothing. Not a word. Not a peep. On the record, off the record, nowhere.

There are three logical explanations for this. First, Irsay is still trying to lure Peyton Manning to take over the team, and the two of them are engaged in a negotiation that has yet to result in either man blinking. Second, Irsay had moved on to other candidates to take over the team, and those efforts are still pending. Third, Irsay has given up on finding replacements but it’s gotten to the point where declaring that both Pagano and Grigson will be back would make the delay seem even more conspicuous, so Irsay is simply going to say nothing and eventually act like nothing was happening.

Through it all, Pagano and Grigson have been left in limbo, a situation that surely causes plenty of personal angst and professional embarrassment. Again, what options do they have? They could quit, but they’d forfeit their buyouts.

And so the only solace comes from knowing that they’ll still be getting paid for the next three years, whether working for Irsay or not. At this point, they may welcome the “or not” option.

As to anyone who may be considering wink-nod accepting employment from Irsay while he’s still officially employing Pagano and Grigson, consider this: You could be the next one to eventually be undermined by an owner who looks for your replacement before he fires you.

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Rams long snapper picked for Pro Bowl

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 15:  Head coach John Fassel talks with Jake McQuaide #44 of the Los Angeles Rams against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 15, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide has been selected to represent the NFC in the Pro Bowl.

McQuaide is a first-time Pro Bowler. He’s been the Rams’ long snapper since 2011.

The Pro Bowl is Jan. 29 in Orlando.

McQuaide becomes the third Rams player to be selected for the Pro Bowl, joining punter Johnny Hekker and defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

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Carl Cheffers set to referee the Super Bowl

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24: Referee Carl Cheffers #51 signals a turnover in the first quarter of the game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum on December 24, 2015 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The referee who made the most controversial penalty call of the playoffs will referee the Super Bowl.

Carl Cheffers, who threw the holding flag on Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher that negated Kansas City’s game-tying two-point conversion against the Steelers, has been given the Super Bowl assignment, according to FootballZebras.com.

That won’t sit well with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who said after that holding call that Cheffers “shouldn’t be able to wear a zebra jersey.”

This will be Cheffers’ first Super Bowl. Three of the other officials on the Super Bowl crew — head linesman Kent Payne, line judge Jeff Seeman and field judge Doug Rosenbaum — have worked a Super Bowl before, while three others — umpire Dan Ferrell, side judge Dyrol Prioleau and back judge Todd Prukop — will be working their first Super Bowl.

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Jaguars keep Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Jaguars announced Wednesday that they’re retaining Nathaniel Hackett as their offensive coordinator.

Hackett, 37, spent the last two seasons as the team’s quarterbacks coach and last year was promoted to offensive coordinator under then-coach Gus Bradley nine games into the season following the firing of Greg Olson.

New coach Doug Marrone is keeping Hackett in that role in part because the two have history. Hackett was offensive coordinator under Marrone at Syracuse and with the Bills.

“We are excited to announce Nathaniel Hackett as our offensive coordinator and he will immediately be tasked with installing and implementing our offense this offseason,” Marrone said in the team’s statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with Nathaniel for seven consecutive seasons and know firsthand how knowledgeable and passionate he is about winning.”

Hackett becomes the sixth coach officially added to Marrone’s staff after the Jaguars announced last week that Marrone, the interim coach after Bradley’s firing, would take over on a permanent basis.

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Jordy Nelson returns to practice

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 24:  Jordy Nelson #87 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter of a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on December 24, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

At a time when it’s believed to be unlikely that receiver Jordy Nelson will play on Sunday due to broken ribs, he returned to practice only 10 days after suffering the injury.

Per the official injury report, Nelson participated on a limited basis.

Not practicing on Wednesday were receiver Davante Adams (ankle), receiver Geronimo Allison (hamstring), safety Morgan Burnett (quadricep), kicker Mason Crosby (illness), running back James Starks (concussion), offensive lineman JC Trett (knee), and linebacker Julius Peppers (not injury related).

Limited in practice along with Nelson were receiver Jeff Janis (quadricep), guard T.J. Lang (foot), and cornerback Quinten Rollins (neck/concussion).

Linebackers Clay Matthews (shoulder), Nick Perry (hand), and Jayrone Elliott (hand) fully participated.

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NFL: Jaguars complied with Rooney Rule in hiring Tom Coughlin

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald) Getty Images

An interesting question has emerged regarding the decision of the Jaguars to make former Jaquars coach Tom Coughlin the executive V.P. of football operations. Did the Jaguars comply with the Rooney Rule before hiring Coughlin?

Compliance was required, given the nature of the role. In 2009, the league expanded the Rooney Rule to include “the hiring process for a club’s senior football operations position, whether described as general manager, executive vice president of football operations, or otherwise.” Coughlin has control of the roster in Jacksonville, and he supervises both coach Doug Marrone and G.M. Dave Caldwell. Clearly, Coughlin has the senior football operations position.

So which minority candidate did the Jaguars interview to comply with the Rooney Rule as to Coughlin’s position?

A Jaguars spokesman referred PFT to Jim Woodcock, who handles P.R. for owner Shad Khan. Via email, Woodcock said this in two separate emails: “I am afraid I cannot help you.  The practice of the owner and team (in this instance and in similar interview situations) would be to refrain from disclosing the identities of other interviewees.  It was a private and confidential process. . . . Indeed, the position Tom Coughlin filled required compliance with the Rooney Rule.  And the Jacksonville Jaguars fully complied.  Beyond that, however, it bears repeating that the interview process was private and confidential.”

The league confirmed that there was compliance.

“They complied with the rule,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said by email. “Clubs do not have to publicly disclose names of candidates they interviewed.  There are candidates who may not wish to have their name made public as it could harm their relationship with their existing employer.”

Those concerns make sense in the abstract. However, one of the primary purposes of the Rooney Rule is to inject into the public domain minority candidates who could be considered for similar positions elsewhere.

Complicating the Jacksonville situation is the fact that it wasn’t even known that the Jaguars were filling the job. Thus, qualified candidates (minority and otherwise) arguably didn’t even know that there was a job to seek.

The first word of Coughlin being hired came as an oh-by-the-way report that Coughlin had been hired along with Marrone. Over time, it became clear that Coughlin wasn’t becoming an employee; he was becoming, as a practical matter, the boss.

So in the search for a new football boss, a job for which most didn’t even realize the Jaguars were searching, the Jaguars complied. They and the league won’t say how they complied.

Two years ago, a similar question emerged in Miami, when Mike Tannenbaum became the executive V.P. of football operations in Miami. Initially, the Dolphins said former G.M. Dennis Hickey reported to Tannenbaum. Once it became clear that no other candidate was interviewed for the job, the Dolphins said that Hickey doesn’t report to Tannenbaum.

Here, the question apparently isn’t about compliance but transparency. Without transparency, however, it’s impossible to prove that compliance occurred.

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How much is success helping the Falcons sell PSLs?

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Atlanta Falcons fans look on during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Here’s a shocking revelation: Teams that win games enjoy success when it comes to selling things.

For the Falcons, who went 11-5 this year and will host the Packers for a berth in the Super Bowl in the final game to be played in the Georgia Dome, it’s unclear whether and to what extent the on-field achievements have resulted in a bump in the purchase of the right to purchase season tickets.

Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution claims that it has, pointing out more than 8,000 PSLs have been sold during the season. Before Week One, the Falcons had sold fewer than 33,000 PSLs. They’ve now unloaded more than 41,000 of the money-for-nothing-but-the-right-to-buy-more-stuff devices.

More than 20,000 PSLs remain. Winning Sunday would help, surely. Winning two Sundays after that could go a long way toward clearing out the warehouse.

Still, it’s possible that the Falcons have reached the point of diminishing returns. Last year, the team realized an even larger spike in PSL sales during a smaller window. As of July 31, 2015, 12,997 had been sold. Through November 30, 2015, the amount exceeded 26,600. It’s an increase in a four-month period of more than 13,600.

Yes, the Falcons started 2015 with a 5-0 record. By November 30, however, they were 6-5.

This year has been better, but the merchandise is moving more slowly. Even if they win the Super Bowl, they may not sell all of the remaining PSLs before the new stadium opens later this year. It could be that most of the people who are ever going to buy PSLs already have, and that maybe some stragglers will become sufficiently motivated if the Falcons manage to win the first championship in league history.

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Sean Davis says he was fined for hit on Chris Conley

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Wide receiver Chris Conley #17 of the Kansas City Chiefs lays on the ground after being hit by outside linebacker Bud Dupree #48 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on a catch attempt during the second half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers safety Sean Davis got flagged for a hit to the head of Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley last Sunday night and said Wednesday that he has been fined by the league.

Davis said he was fined around $24,000 — the NFL’s fine schedule calls for a $24,309 fine for a first helmet-to-helmet hit — and that he plans to appeal. Davis hit Conley as the receiver tried to catch a pass on third-and-nine near the Steelers end zone in the fourth quarter, giving the Chiefs a first down they used to continue a drive that ended with a touchdown and a failed two-point conversion.

Conley missed one play before returning to the game.

“The penalty, I wasn’t trippin’ about the penalty man, it happened,” Davis said, via ESPN.com. “I’m sorry I hit him in the head, I’m not apologizing for it. That’s football. I dislodged the ball, I did my job, I wasn’t aiming at his head with my head. I was trying to hit him with my shoulder pad. He just fell into it, how I see it. But I did my job, we won the game. That’s that.”

Davis did not practice on Wednesday as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury, although coach Mike Tomlin suggested earlier this week that the rookie will be in the lineup against the Patriots.

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Three Washington Pro Bowlers pull out of all-star game

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:   Jordan Reed #86 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Three of Washington’s four Pro Bowlers will be skipping the all-star game because of injuries.

According to J.P. Finlay of CSNMidAtlantic.com, outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, tight end Jordan Reed and guard Brandon Scherff will pass on next week’s trip to Orlando, while left tackle Trent Williams is still scheduled to play.

Reed tried to play through a shoulder injury suffered on Thanksgiving and the results indicated he wasn’t 100 percent. Kerrigan played through an elbow injury, while Scherff was on the injury report with an ankle injury for the last month of the regular season.

Reed and Scherff were first-time honorees.

The Panthers announced that Trai Turner would replace Scherff on the NFC Pro Bowl team.

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Antonio Brown: “I absolutely regret the Facebook Live situation”

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) stands on the sideline during the second half of an AFC wild-card NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich) AP

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown did his best to apologize and move on today after his bizarre decision to broadcast the Steelers’ postgame locker room on social media on Sunday.

“I absolutely regret the Facebook Live situation,” Brown said. “It’s a total distraction to the organization. A total distraction to my teammates. Obviously disrespect to my coach. I’ve got utmost respect to my coach so I totally regret that.”

Brown said he had hoped to give fans the opportunity to join in with the team’s celebration of its win over the Chiefs.

“I’m human. I make mistakes. But as a man I own up to those mistakes. I was excited in the moment and wanted to give the fans the experience after the game,” Brown said.

Asked if he expects to be disciplined for what he did, Brown answered, “That will be between me and the NFL.”

Asked if he has a contract with Facebook, Brown said, “It’s top secret.”

Brown appeared chastened by the comments of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who called Brown’s actions “selfish” and “foolish.” And Brown sounded ready to put his focus for the rest of the week on facing the Patriots.

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Emmanuel Sanders replaces Amari Cooper in Pro Bowl

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 13:  Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos is grabbed from behind by Delvin Breaux #40 of the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 13, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Broncos defeated the Saints 25-23.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos offense will be represented at the Pro Bowl.

Denver already had four defensive players set to play in the game and announced on Wednesday that wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be joining them in Orlando. He replaces Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Sanders finished the year with 79 catches, 1,032 yards and five touchdowns. It’s the third straight year that Sanders has crossed the 1,000-yard mark, although this season’s total is the lowest of those three years. That may have been a result of playing with first-year starting quarterback Trevor Siemian in an offense that struggled down the stretch in the regular season, but Sanders remained a reliable target.

Sanders can continue to be that kind of piece in the Denver offense for three more seasons as he signed an extension with the Broncos just before the start of the regular season.

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