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Week Four Power Rankings

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) walks the field after an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Cincinnati. The Broncos won 29-17. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

1. Broncos (3-0; last week No. 1): Maybe they shouldn’t have drafted Paxton Lynch, after all.

2. Patriots (3-0; No. 2): Maybe they should have drafted Paxton Lynch (if they’d had a first-round pick).

3. Vikings (3-0; No. 6): Defense and coaching are great, offense is good enough. But here’s hoping they don’t need a field goal in the playoffs. Or an extra point.

4. Panthers (1-2; No. 3): Sure, no team with a losing record has ever landed this high. But no elite team has faced defenses like Denver’s and Minnesota’s in the first three games of a season.

5. Packers (2-1; No. 8): The offense is fixed. As long as they play the Lions every week.

6. Eagles (3-0; No. 19): That “they haven’t beaten anybody” excuse went out the window on Sunday.

7. Ravens (3-0; No. 11): Winning ugly is always better than losing pretty.

8. Seahawks (2-1; No. 9): With a return to the place where they won a Super Bowl looming, they finally are looking like the team that did.

9. Steelers (2-1; No. 4): The fact that it has been 27 years since the last 31-point loss won’t make Steelers fans feel much better about Sunday’s debacle.

10. Texans (2-1; No. 7):  The good news? The Patriots didn’t score 40 against the Texans this time. The bad news? The Patriots only needed three to win.

11. Chiefs (2-1; No. 12): If they can avoid another slow start, a strong finish could get them a division title and a bye.

12. Cowboys (2-1; No. 14): Once they put Humpty Dumpty back together again and he falls off the wall (again), things won’t may not be as dire.

13. Falcons (2-1; No. 16): Kyle Shanahan may end up being a head coach, after all.

14. Giants (2-1; No. 13): The kicking net was one unsportsmanlike conduct foul away from being ejected.

15. Raiders (2-1; No. 17): The defense showed up in Nashville, even though the offense almost didn’t.

16. Cardinals (1-2; No. 5): Jake Delhomme says, “Wow, that playoff meltdown has really affected Carson Palmer.”

17. Bengals (1-2; No. 10): It’s impossible to lose in the playoffs for the sixth straight year if you don’t qualify.

18. Jets (1-2; No. 15): The Jets had a come-to-Jesus meeting on Monday. On Sunday against Seattle, their fans could be telling the team to go to hell.

19. Rams (2-1; No. 26): Given Jeff Fisher’s mastery of the Buccaneers, maybe his next job should be in the NFC South.

20. Dolphins (1-2; No. 20): The standings should have a separate category for beating the Browns in overtime, because it doesn’t feel like a win.

21. Buccaneers (1-2; No. 18): The first walk-and-chew-gum test for head coach/playcaller Dirk Koetter didn’t go very well.

22. Titans (1-2; No. 21): There’s a fine line between 3-0 and 1-2, and the Titans are on the wrong side of it.

23. Colts (1-2; No. 25): Win notwithstanding, Andrew Luck is still closer to Archie than Peyton on the Manning scale.

24. Washington (1-2; No. 29): The 2015 version of the team returned, thanks to a cameo appearance from the 2015 version of the Giants.

25. Bills (1-2; No. 31): LeSean McCoy’s hard-charging runs made it clear that he was very happy about the change in coordinators.

26. 49ers (1-2; No. 22): The 49ers are unstoppable, when they have seven months to get ready for a game.

27. Lions (1-2; No. 23): No one expected them to win in Green Bay for a second straight year, but that doesn’t make “1-2” look any better.

28. Chargers (1-2; No. 27): Another week, another season-ending injury to a key player.

29. Saints (0-3; No. 24): If 2017 free agency were to begin right now, the Saints possibly would have a chance to turn things around.

30. Jaguars (0-3; No. 28): “Here are the Jaguars, London. Much earlier than usual. Before they have a really, really bad record.”

31. Browns (0-3; No. 32): Maybe Terrelle Pryor should kick field goals, too.

32. Bears (0-3; No. 30): The Bears aren’t who we thought they were. They’re worse.

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NFL morning after: Rodgers, Rex and a Sunday of statements

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 25: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws for a frist down chased by Devin Taylor #98 of the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on September 25, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Last week in the NFL, no one faced more criticism than Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bills coach Rex Ryan. But this is the NFL, where every time you think you know something you find out you’re wrong, and so Rodgers and Ryan had two of the most impressive performances in the league on Sunday.

Rodgers was scrutinized heavily not just for his performance in last week’s loss to the Vikings — anyone can have a bad game — but because he had been struggling for a full year. Rodgers went a full 16 games looking nothing at all like Aaron Rodgers, and there were legitimate concerns that he had become nothing more than an ordinary quarterback.

Here’s a tweet of my own from last week, which reflected a common sentiment about how Rodgers was struggling:

So what did Rodgers do on Sunday? Just completed 15 of 24 passes for 205 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, in a win over the Lions. Rodgers’ passer rating on the day was 129.3, his highest in a game since Week Three of last year.

Ryan, meanwhile, was getting even more withering criticism than Rodgers. After the Bills’ ugly loss to the Jets dropped them to 0-2 on the season, Ryan fired his offensive coordinator Greg Roman in a move widely seen as an attempt to find a scapegoat for Ryan’s own struggles. If the Bills kept losing, everyone said, Ryan would be gone before the season was over.

So what did Ryan do on Sunday? Just prepare a game plan that saw his defense absolutely dominate the Cardinals: The Bills intercepted Carson Palmer four times, sacked him five times and forced him to fumble twice. Buffalo won 33-18 in a game that was never close.

“We know what everybody thought of our football team and we knew we were a better football team than that. We showed up today,” Ryan said after the game. “I don’t know if anybody needed a win worse than we did.”

There are still big questions facing the Bills, and with a trip to New England next week they could easily be 1-3. But Ryan earned himself some breathing room by having his players ready to play against the Cardinals, in a big way.

Rodgers and Ryan stood out, but here were some more statements from Sunday:

The Vikings’ defense made a statement that it’s going to make Minnesota a contender, no matter what happens on offense. The Vikings have already lost starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, starting running back Adrian Peterson and starting left tackle Matt Kalil, but Minnesota’s defense is dominant. The Vikings sacked Cam Newton eight times (including three by Everson Griffen), intercepted him three times and completely took over the game, beating the Panthers 22-10 despite getting just 171 passing yards from Sam Bradford and 58 rushing yards from Peterson’s replacements.

The Broncos’ entire team. Could this year’s Denver team actually be better than last year’s Super Bowl winner? It’s too soon to say that, but the Broncos are 3-0 after an outstanding effort against the Bengals on Sunday. The Broncos’ defense played well, but we knew the Broncos’ defense was good. The key is that quarterback Trevor Siemian was excellent, with four touchdown passes and no interceptions, and receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both went over 100 yards. The Broncos’ offense may just be better this year than it was with the ancient Peyton Manning running the show last year.

Terrelle Pryor. Yes, the Browns lost. Yes, the Browns are terrible. But how can you not love what Pryor did? The former Ohio State quarterback turned NFL disappointment turned receiver reclamation project caught eight passes for 141 yards, ran four times for 21 yards and a touchdown, and even took snaps at quarterback and completed three of five passes for 35 yards. Pryor is the first player to have at least 120 receiving yards, 30 passing yards and 20 rushing yards in a game since Frank Gifford did it in 1959. No player in NFL history had ever completed three passes and gained 100 receiving yards in a game until Pryor did it yesterday. He’s a special talent.

Jimmy Graham. When Graham tore his patellar tendon last season, there were people who doubted he’d ever be the same kind of player he once was: A patellar tendon injury is a notoriously difficult injury to recover from. But Graham is back and playing great football, with six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s blowout win over the 49ers.

Sebastian Janikowski. With his 52-yard field goal in the Raiders’ win over the Titans, the 38-year-old Janikowski has 53 field goals of 50 yards or longer in his career, passing Jason Hanson for the most 50-yard field goals in NFL history.

DeSean Jackson. With his 44-yard touchdown in Sunday’s comeback win over the Giants, Jackson now has 29 career touchdowns of 40 or more yards, the most among active players and the 10th most in NFL history. Jackson is an incredible playmaker.

Carson Wentz. Can you believe the Eagles’ rookie quarterback was playing at North Dakota State last year? He looks like a 10-year veteran. He absolutely carved up the Steelers in yesterday’s 34-3 beatdown, and he’s the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw 100 passes without an interception. Wentz is the rookie of the year favorite, but he’s more than that. Through three games, he’s an MVP candidate.

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Week Three early inactives

DETROIT MI - NOVEMBER 22: Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions signals for a safety during the fourth quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders on November 22, 2015 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Raiders 18-13. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

Cardinals at Bills

Cardinals: G Evan Mathis, S Marqui Christian, DT Olsen Pierre, DT Robert Nkemdiche, DT Frostee Rucker, DT Xavier Williams, LB Kareem Martin

Bills: T Cordy Glenn, S Colt Anderson, WR Sammy Watkins, QB Cardale Jones, WR Greg Salas, CB Ronald Darby, C Patrick Lewis

Vikings at Panthers

Vikings: DT Sharrif Floyd, WR Laquon Treadwell, RB Ronnie Hillman, LB Kentrell Brothers, C Nick Easton, TE MyCole Pruitt

Panthers: RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Brenton Bersin, WR Damiere Byrd, CB Teddy Williams, LB Jeremy Cash, G Tyler Larsen, DE Ryan Delaire

Broncos at Bengals

Broncos: LB DeMarcus Ware, T Donald Stephenson, TE Virgil Green, S Justin Simmons, QB Austin Davis, CB Lorenzo Doss, G Connor McGovern

Bengals: WR Cody Core, QB Jeff Driskel, TE Tyler Eifert, G Christian Westerman, CB KeiVarae Russell, DT DeShawn Williams, CB Chykie Brown

Lions at Packers

Lions: DE Ziggy Ansah, LB DeAndre Levy, LB Antwione Williams, CB Adarius Barnes, G Joe Dahl, T Cornelius Lucas, TE Orson Charles

Packers: LB Clay Matthews, CB Sam Shields, S Morgan Burnett, DT Letroy Guion, LB Datone Jones, OT Kyle Murphy, QB Joe Callahan

Ravens at Jaguars

Ravens: RB Kenneth Dixon, CB Jerraud Powers, CB Will Davis, RB Buck Allen, LB Elvis Dumervil, OL John Urschel, DT Willie Henry

Jaguars: T Kelvin Beachum, TE Ben Koyack, QB Brandon Allen, CB Prince Amukamara, DE Jared Odrick, DE Chris Smith

Browns at Dolphins

Browns: QB Josh McCown, WR Corey Coleman, S Ibraheim Campbell, DE Carl Nassib, C Cameron Erving, CB Joe Haden, T Shon Coleman

Dolphins: RB Arian Foster, C Mike Pouncey, WR Justin Hunter, S Jordan Lucas, LB Spencer Paysinger, G Dallas Thomas, DE Terrence Fede

Redskins at Giants

Redskins: DE Kendall Reyes, QB Nate Sudfeld, WR Josh Doctson, CB Kendall Fuller, LB Martrell Spaight, DE Anthony Lanier, G Arie Kouandjio (Wide receiver Rashad Ross was on the initial inactive list, but the team revised their list to rule out Doctson before it was official.)

Giants: T Marshall Newhouse, RB Rashad Jennings, DT Robert Thomas, S Darian Thompson, DT Montori Hughes, QB Josh Johnson, WR Roger Lewis

Raiders at Titans

Raiders: T Austin Howard, T Matt McCants, QB Connor Cook, CB Dexter McDonald, CB Antonio Hamilton, TE Mychal Rivera

Titans: TE Delanie Walker, WR Kendall Wright, DT Austin Johnson, DB Curtis Riley, CB LeShawn Sims, LB Aaron Wallace, G Sebastian Tretola

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PFT’s Week Three picks

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11: Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing against the Chicago Bears at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Week One push became a Week Two win for MDS, thanks to my misplaced faith in the Buccaneers and Jaguars.

As a result, it have faith in neither of them in Week Two.

This week, MDS and I disagree on two games. For all of our picks, let it scroll. Down the highway.

Texans at Patriots

MDS’s take: This is a tough one to pick with the Patriots’ uncertainty at quarterback, but I have to figure that with Jacoby Brissett starting, the Texans’ defense is good enough to win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Texans 13, Patriots 10.

Florio’s take: The Texans signed Brock Osweiler for one primary reason: To beat the Patriots. He did it last year in prime time, with Tom Brady playing. This year, Osweiler will find a way to outscore Jacoby Brissett, Jimmy Garoppolo, Julian Edelman, Steve Grogan, and/or Jim Plunkett.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Patriots 21.

Cardinals at Bills

MDS’s take: Firing the offensive coordinator won’t fix every problem in Buffalo. It may not fix any problem. The guy who needs to be fired is the guy who runs the defense.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 31, Bills 21.

Florio’s take: Rex Ryan says the Cardinals are the “exact” team the Bills need on their schedule. He may not exactly know what that word means.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 27, Bills 17.

Raiders at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans showed off an impressive defensive effort in Detroit last week, and I think they’ll keep it going and get to a surprising 2-1.

MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Raiders 14.

Florio’s take: Oakland’s defense is great, Tennessee’s offense is a work in progress. Oakland’s offense give them the edge in this one, especially if One-Eyed Jack Del Rio keeps taking chances and having them pay off.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 21, Titans 18.

Browns at Dolphins

MDS’s take: This is a matchup of 0-2 teams, but it’s a matchup of very different 0-2 teams. The Dolphins have talent and have shown promise this season. The Browns have rookie third-string quarterback Cody Kessler forced into the starting lineup. Miami should win easily.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 28, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: Miami should be 1-1, could be 2-0, will be 1-2.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 35, Browns 17.

Ravens at Jaguars

MDS’s take: I’m completely unimpressed by the Jaguars this season, and by Gus Bradley’s entire tenure. They’re going to drop to 0-3 on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take: The flavor of the month has quickly gone rancid, and the Ravens are finding ways to win games. No one expected Jacksonville to be 0-3 or Baltimore to be 3-0, and that’s one of the things to love about the NFL. Unless you’re a Jaguars fan.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 23, Jaguars 20.

Lions at Packers

MDS’s take: Last year the Lions finally snapped their decades-long losing streak at Lambeau Field. This year it should be a close and competitive game but Aaron Rodgers will pull it out in the end.

MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Lions 23.

Florio’s take: Aaron Rodgers won’t need a Hail Mary this time around. If he does, Packers fans may need to start saying their prayers for the 2016 season.

Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Lions 20.

Broncos at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Bengals’ defense should shut down Trevor Siemian. The Broncos’ defense could shut down Andy Dalton, too, but I think Cincinnati will put just enough points on the board.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 17, Broncos 13.

Florio’s take: The Broncos face another team on its own turf for the first time since losing at Pittsburgh last December. They’re facing another AFC North team, in its regular-season home opener. And this time the Bengals have Andy Dalton healthy and available.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 23, Broncos 17.

Vikings at Panthers

MDS’s take: Sam Bradford got off to a good start in his first game in Minnesota, but the Panthers’ defense will cause some problems for him, and a couple of Bradford turnovers will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 28, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take: Good luck throwing against a defense that isn’t defending against the run. And good luck stopping an offense with Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, and Kelvin Benjamin firing on all cylinders.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 31, Vikings 21.

Washington at Giants

MDS’s take: The Giants can virtually put Washington out of the NFC East race only three weeks into the season with a win here, which would improve the Giants to 3-0 and drop Washington to 0-3. I think that’s exactly what will happen.

MDS’s pick: Giants 20, Washington 17.

Florio’s take: It’s coming together for the Giants and coming apart for Washington. The margin for error gets a lot narrower for the defending NFC East champions.

Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Washington 16.

Rams at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: I liked what the Rams’ defense did on Sunday against the Seahawks, but the Case Keenum-led offense remains one of the worst offenses I’ve ever seen in the NFL. The Bucs win a low-scoring game here.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 14, Rams 6.

Florio’s take: The Rams have beaten the Bucs in each of Jeff Fisher’s four prior years as head coach. Notwithstanding last weekend’s debacle in the desert, these Buccaneers are better than any edition of the team Fisher has seen.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 17, Rams 13.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The 49ers’ Week One win said more about the Rams than it did about the 49ers. The reality is this San Francisco team is not good. The Seahawks should win easily.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take: Niners beat Rams, Rams beat Seahawks. So, of course, Seahawks beat Niners, thanks to an offense that can do just enough to complement a defense that been as good as ever.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 15, 49ers 12.

Jets at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs’ special teams is off to a great start this year, and I have a hunch that a big special teams play is going to be the difference on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Jets 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs are determined not to have another slow start; they need to hold serve at home against a team that hopes to force its way into playoff contention.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Jets 20.

Chargers at Colts

MDS’s take: The Colts’ secondary is beaten up, but with injuries to Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, I’m not sure the Chargers’ passing game can take advantage. I like the Colts to win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Chargers 16.

Florio’s take: The Chargers have owned the Colts during the Philip Rivers era, with a 6-1 record since Rivers became the starter. Yes, the Colts are desperate. They just simply don’t have the horses. (Pun not intended, which makes it no less lame.)

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Colts 20.

Steelers at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles have looked great through two games, but they’ve looked great against bad teams. This week they play a good team, and they won’t look so good.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take: It’s correction week for Carson Wentz and company, but it won’t be as jarring as expected. The Eagles are good enough to beat bad-to-average teams. They’re not ready to beat great teams.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 30, Eagles 23.

Bears at Cowboys

MDS’s take: The Bears were a mess with Jay Cutler, and they won’t be any better with Brian Hoyer. The Cowboys should win handily.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 27, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: Brian Hoyer and Dak Prescott may not be ready for prime time, but prime time is ready for them. Advantage Cowboys, who hope to pile up as many wins as they can while Tony Romo works his way back from a fractured vertebrate.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 28, Bears 17.

Falcons at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints have started the season 0-2 and have some major holes on their roster, but I think the Falcons’ defense is going to let Drew Brees have a field day.

MDS’s pick: Saints 35, Falcons 31.

Florio’s take: With record numbers certain to tune in for the first presidential debate, both teams are destined to lose. One will lose twice. Edge goes to the home team, whose defense is quickly improving.

Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Falcons 28.

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Week Three Power Rankings

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos strips the ball from quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

1. Broncos (2-0; last week No. 1): Does beating the Colts justify hanging a banner? For the Broncos, who had been 1-8 against Indy, it does.

2. Patriots (2-0; No. 2): “Tom Brady isn’t walking through that door, men. Well, at least not for the next 13 days.”

3. Panthers (1-1; No. 3): Scoring 46 is always impressive. Scoring 46 against a team that allowed zero the week before that is even more impressive.

4. Steelers (2-0; No. 5): If Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy, the No. 1 seed isn’t out of the question. (And now I’ve jinxed him.)

5. Cardinals (1-1; No. 6): Maybe every coach should call out multiple players in the media by name.

6. Vikings (2-0; No. 10): Stefon Diggs should brace himself for constant double teams and press coverage.

7. Texans (2-0; No. 12): Isn’t there supposed to be a Super Bowl host curse?

8. Packers (1-1; No. 7): Maybe Mike McCarthy shouldn’t be calling the plays, after all.

9. Seahawks (1-1; No. 4): Russell Wilson needs more nanobubbles.

10. Bengals (1-1; No. 8): Andy Dalton needs a better chinstrap, especially with Von Miller coming to town.

11. Ravens (2-0; No. 13): Maybe every Browns game should begin with the opposing team spotting them 20.

12. Chiefs (1-1; No. 9): The regular-season winning streak ends at 11. Hopefully, the regular-season losing streak won’t hit five, again.

13. Giants (2-0; No. 16): They’re winning games this year that they would have lost last year.

14. Cowboys (1-1; No. 17): The Cowboys pulled off an Olympics-style feat on Sunday; they win once every four years without Tony Romo.

15. Jets (1-1; No. 20): It won’t be easy to win in Kansas City, especially if Brandon Marshall isn’t as “fine” as his head coach said he is.

16. Falcons (1-1; No. 25): No team changes national perceptions of itself faster than the Falcons.

17. Raiders (1-1; No. 11): The lift from winning a game by going for two late apparently lasts less then seven days.

18. Buccaneers (1-1; No. 15): The Bucs won’t have to worry about falling victim to excessive praise anytime soon.

19. Eagles (2-0; No. 26): Don’t like being No. 19, Philly Bro? Beat the Steelers on Sunday.

20. Dolphins (0-2; No. 19): Three years ago, they started 2-0 and collapsed. This year, they started 0-2 and will get it together.

21. Titans (1-1; No. 28): How does a team become relevant? By stealing road games against supposedly better teams.

22. 49ers (1-1; No. 22): Did anyone really expect them to beat the Panthers?

23. Lions (1-1; No. 21): Calvin Johnson may not be a Hall of Famer. Andre Johnson proved why he is, in Calvin’s NFL hometown.

24. Saints (0-2; No. 23): The defense played well, for a change. The offense didn’t, for a change.

25. Colts (0-2; No. 24): “Made Defending Super Bowl Champions Sweat It Out” will be hanging from the rafters this weekend.

26. Rams (1-1; No. 31): Was the Jeff Fisher contract extension not announced after the win over Seattle because so many people expected it to happen?

27. Chargers (1-1; No. 30): Who’s next in the “gone for the year with a torn ACL” rotation?

28. Jaguars (0-2; No. 18): The bandwagon has emptied faster than the bladder of a nine-year old who drank a two-liter bottle of Sprite just before sleeping 12 hours.

29. Washington (0-2; No. 14): A year after we got it wrong by putting them at No. 32 to start the year, maybe we should have put them at No. 32 to start the year.

30. Bears (0-2; No. 27): The Bears are who we thought they were.

31. Bills (0-2; No. 29): Rex Ryan wasn’t the first mother–cker to get fired, after all.

32. Browns (0-2; No. 32): Does it help that the Browns would probably still be 0-2 if they’d picked Carson Wentz.

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NFL morning after: When does Gus Bradley start rebuilding?

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Head coach Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches the action during a game against the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Field on September 11, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is a likable guy, a rah-rah coach who makes you think you wish you could play on his team. Fans like him, reporters like him, players like him. I don’t feel good about saying what I’m about to say about him.

But here’s what I have to say: Gus Bradley is one of the worst coaches in NFL history.

Look, I’m not trying to be mean to the guy. But Bill Parcells loved to say that you are what your record says you are. And Bradley, whose team got blown out in San Diego yesterday, is now a coach with an 0-2 record this season and a 12-38 record through 50 games as the Jaguars’ head coach.

Do you know how bad a 12-38 record is? There have been 170 coaches in NFL history who coached at least 50 games, and Bradley’s winning percentage ranks 169th out of those 170. The only coach with a worse record was Bert Bell, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1936 to 1941. And the only reason Bell wasn’t fired is that Bell was also the Eagles’ owner.

The Jaguars went 4-12 in Bradley’s first year, 3-13 in his second and 5-11 in his third. But this year, Bradley’s fourth season, was the year the rebuilding project was supposed to come to fruition. There were people predicting that Bradley finally had his players in place to make a run at the playoffs. The AFC South is down, so why not? Why can’t Jacksonville get to the playoffs for the first time since 2007?

Well, they can’t make the playoffs if they’re the team that showed up in San Diego yesterday. The Chargers are not exactly an NFL powerhouse, but San Diego destroyed Jacksonville on both sides of the ball, jumping out to an early 21-0 lead and never looking back. The Jaguars are now 0-2. If they’re going to compete for the playoffs, they need to start competing. Now.

And if they’re not going to compete for the playoffs, how can they justify keeping Bradley? This is a results business. A coach is supposed to get results, or else a team is supposed to find a coach who can. Bradley is running out of time to rebuild the Jaguars.

Here are my other thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Something’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers. In the first two weeks of this season, and going back to late last season, Rodgers is simply not playing the same kind of football he used to. Yards per pass attempt is one of the most important statistics for assessing a quarterback, and Rodgers is one of the best in NFL history in that department: Entering last season, his average yards per pass of 8.2 was the third-best ever and by far the best of any active quarterback. But last season Rodgers averaged a career-low 6.7 yards per pass, and this season he’s even worse, at 5.9 yards per pass. Counting last year’s playoffs, Rodgers has averaged less than six yards per pass in six of his last seven games. At age 32, Rodgers looks like he’s starting to slip.

Hester still has it. Baltimore’s Devin Hester, the best return man in NFL history, had a 48-yard kickoff return in Sunday’s win over the Browns. It was the 25th kickoff return of 40 yards or longer in Hester’s career. (He also has 21 punt returns of 40 yards or longer.) Hester finished the game with 80 yards on two kickoff returns and 22 yards on two punt returns.

The extra point return rule is great. When the NFL changed the extra point rule last year, the big headline is that kicks were moved back to the 15-yard line. But my favorite part of the rule is that blocked kicks can now be returned, and the defense gets two points for taking it all the way to the end zone. That only happened once last season, and yesterday it happened for the second time in NFL history when Ravens rookie cornerback Tavon Young took a blocked Browns extra point for a score. Those points would prove to be critical in the Ravens’ 25-20 win, and those plays — even if they happen only once a season — make extra points a lot more exciting.

The Saints are a rebuilding team with a Hall of Fame quarterback. Usually when a team is in rebuilding mode, it’s a team looking for its franchise quarterback. The Saints have their franchise quarterback, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, and yet as I watch them, they still look like a rebuilding team: New Orleans, which fell to 0-2 yesterday, has holes all over the roster. It’s hard for me to picture the Saints plugging all those holes while the 37-year-old Brees is still in his prime.

Bring back Mike Carey? I never thought I’d say this, but I actually missed Mike Carey yesterday. Carey, the former NFL referee who took a job as an analyst for CBS, was mercifully taken off the air this season after repeatedly getting calls wrong last year. But CBS could have used him during Sunday’s Titans-Lions game, when Matthew Stafford took an illegal low hit and the announcers went on and on and on trying to figure out why it wasn’t penalized. The answer is that it wasn’t penalized simply because the ref didn’t see it, which a former ref like Carey would hopefully have been able to explain. (It took Mike Pereira, who analyzes officiating on FOX, to chime in on Twitter and explain that the hit should have been flagged.)

There’s still a lot of football left to play. If your team is 2-0, you feel like celebrating today. If your team is 0-2, you feel like crying today. But remember that we have a long way to go before the season is over. The Jets, Cowboys and Falcons all started 2-0 last year and missed the playoffs. The Texans and Seahawks both started 0-2 last year and made the playoffs. Don’t lose hope if your team isn’t playing well. Although if you’re a Jaguars fan, maybe it is time to lose hope.

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PFT’s Week Two picks

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 11:  J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans is introduced before the before the  Texans play the Chicago Bears at NRG Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

There were no ties in Week One of the NFL regular season. Except for right here, where MDS and yours truly both went 9-7. We split on the four games on which we disagreed, as if anyone beyond the two of us care.

This week, there will be no tie. Unless there’s a tie in one of the three games on which we disagree.

For all of the picks, scroll down — and please don’t wager anything of value based on our assessment. You’d be better off burning your money; at least that would generate enough heat for boiling Ramen noodles.

Jets at Bills

MDS’s take: If there’s such a thing as a must-win game in Week Two, Rex Ryan has one. Losing a home division game after starting 0-1 would put Ryan on a trajectory toward missing the playoffs and losing his job. Unfortunately for Rex, I think the Jets’ defense is going to control a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Jets 13, Bills 10.

Florio’s take: The race to the bottom of the AFC East starts early, and it feels like the Bills are destined to land there. The Jets would be destined to lose this one, but only if a playoff berth were on the line.

Florio’s pick: Jets 23, Bills 20.

Bengals at Steelers

MDS’s take: After an impressive Week One showing, I think the Steelers’ offense can keep it going and put 30-plus on the board for the second week in a row.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 31, Bengals 24.

Florio’s take: Currently the most intense rivalry in football, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh hope to not let emotions factor into the outcome. Everyone else sort of hopes they will. Home team gets the edge, even on a short week.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Bengals 22.

Titans at Lions

MDS’s take: The Titans’ “exotic smash mouth” offense disappointed in the opening loss to the Vikings. I think Marcus Mariota will play much better against the Lions, but Detroit’s offense can put plenty of points on the board and win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Lions 30, Titans 27.

Florio’s take: Tennesse returns to Detroit for the first time since a 47-10 Thanksgiving blowout during the team’s 0-16 season. The Titans won’t be 0-16 this year, but they likely will be 0-2.

Florio’s pick: Lions 30, Titans 17.

Ravens at Browns

MDS’s take: Considering how badly Robert Griffin III played in Week One, Josh McCown will probably be an improvement. But the Browns have problems all over the roster, not just at quarterback, and the Ravens should get a division road win.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Browns 12.

Florio’s take: The Ravens are ready to scratch and claw their way to enough one-score wins to make it to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 16, Browns 10.

Cowboys at Washington

MDS’s take: The loser of this game is in a world of hurt in the NFC East race. I think that loser will be the Cowboys, who simply can’t find a way to win without Tony Romo: In their last 37 games they’re 17-5 with Romo and 1-14 without him.

MDS’s pick: Washington 17, Cowboys 14.

Florio’s take: Washington is reeling after a home loss to the Steelers on a big stage. They now get a crack at a team they need to beat in order to have a realistic chance to win the division.

Florio’s pick: Washington 20, Cowboys 17.

Saints at Giants

MDS’s take: Last year this matchup provided us with one of the highest-scoring games in NFL history, a 52-49 Saints win. This year I see another high-scoring game but the Giants coming out on top.

MDS’s pick: Giants 38, Saints 34.

Florio’s take: Another week, another shootout for the Saints. The defense doesn’t need to improve much; if it does, the Saints will start racking up the wins.

Florio’s pick: Giants 34, Saints 30.

49ers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The 49ers looked better than I thought they would on Monday night, but most of that was the Rams looking worse than I thought they would. At Carolina, the 49ers are going to run into a buzz saw.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take:  A short week plus a cross-country game plus a team that has extra rest and more talent equals a mess for the 49ers.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 35, 49ers 13.

Dolphins at Patriots

MDS’s take: Some teams find ways to win, some teams find ways to lose. The Patriots, without Tom Brady, found a way to win at Arizona in Week One. The Dolphins, despite having every opportunity to pull an upset in Seattle, found a way to lose in Week One.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: It’ll be another close-but-no-cigar showing for a Dolphins team that soon will be winning these games.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 17, Dolphins 14.

Chiefs at Texans

MDS’s take: Both teams won in Week One, but neither team looked great doing it. I have a feeling the Chiefs can get their offense playing for a full game like it played in the second half last week, and Kansas City will win.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 32, Texans 20.

Florio’s take: Before the Texans can get past the Patriots, they have to get past the Chiefs. With Brock Osweiler, maybe they will.

Florio’s pick: Texans 24, Chiefs 23.

Seahawks at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams have played well against the Seahawks in recent years, but it won’t happen this time. This Rams team looks awful.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Rams 7.

Florio’s take: Pete Carroll returns to the Coliseum facing a Rams team that could have a hard time against the best editions of his Trojans.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 23, Rams 13.

Buccaneers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Jameis Winston was one of the best players in the NFL in Week One, but I think the Cardinals are primed to bounce back from their disappointing opener and both teams will be 1-1 after this one.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 21, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: There really wasn’t an eyebrow-raising upset in Week One. So let’s roll the dice and get ahead of an “I should have seen it coming” moment. The Bucs are for real and the Cardinals could be reeling if they start the year 0-2 at home.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Cardinals 24.

Jaguars at Chargers

MDS’s take: A lot of people are impressed with the Jaguars for playing a close and competitive game against the Packers in Week One, but that strikes me as the soft bigotry of low expectations. Don’t the Jaguars have to actually win some games before we give them credit? I see them coming up short again in San Diego on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 24, Jaguars 23.

Florio’s take: Former Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith thinks the team won’t leave San Diego, with or without a new stadium. After Sunday, San Diegans may hope A.J. is wrong.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 31, Chargers 20.

Falcons at Raiders

MDS’s take: Derek Carr is looking like one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL right now. The Falcons’ defense struggled with a good young quarterback last week and will do so again on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 30, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take: They won’t be going for two to win the game this week, because the Raiders won’t need to.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 33, Falcons 24.

Colts at Broncos

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck had an outstanding game in defeat against the Lions in Week One, but his life will be harder against a better defense in Denver.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Colts 13.

Florio’s take: The Colts are 8-1 against Denver. 8-2 will still sound pretty good. 0-2 for the year won’t.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 35, Colts 27.

Packers at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Vikings relied on two defensive touchdowns to beat the Titans last week. They won’t have that kind of good fortune against a much better Packers offense, and they’ll lose their first game at their new stadium.

MDS’s pick: Packers 20, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take: It’s a tattoo game in Minnesota, where the outcome of the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium will make its way onto the home team’s permanent record, for better or worse. Bet the worse.

Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Vikings 20.

Eagles at Bears

MDS’s take: Carson Wentz deserves a lot of credit for the way he played in Week One, but some growing pains are coming in his first road game. The Bears will force a couple Wentz turnovers and win on Monday night.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take: Welcome to the real NFL, Carson Wentz.

Florio’s pick: Bears 24, Eagles 16.

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Hall of Fame announces 94 modern-era nominees for 2017

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced 94 former players and coaches as modern-era nominees for the Hall’s 2017 class.

Prominent first-year nominees include pass rusher Jason Taylor, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and wide receiver Hines Ward. 2016 finalists back on the ballot include quarterback Kurt Warner, running backs Edgerrin James and Terrell Davis, wide receiver Terrell Owens, offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Joe Jacoby, safeties Steve Atwater and John Lynch, kicker Morten Andersen and ex-coach Don Coryell.

The list will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January. Eighteen finalists — those 15 from this group, senior finalist Kenny Easley and contributor category finalists Jerry Jones and Paul Tagliabue — will be presented to the selection committee before the Super Bowl next February. Between four and eight new Hall of Famers will be selected.

The full list of 2017 nominees, by position, is below…

Quarterbacks (7)

Drew Bledsoe, Randall Cunningham, Doug Flutie, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Phil Simms, Kurt Warner

Running backs (13)

Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Larry Centers, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Eric Metcalf, LaDainian Tomlinson, Herschel Walker Ricky Watters

Wide receivers (10)

Isaac Bruce, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Terrell Owens, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Hines Ward

Tight end (1)

Mark Bavaro

Offensive linemen (14)

Tony Boselli, Ray Donaldson, Alan Faneca, Jay Hilgenberg, Chris Hinton, Kent Hull, Joe Jacoby, Mike Kenn, Olin Kreutz, Jim Lachey, Kevin Mawae, Tom Nalen, Nate Newton, Steve Wisniewski

Defensive linemen (5)

Leslie O’Neal, Simeon Rice, Fred Smerlas, Jason Taylor, Bryant Young

Linebackers (11)

Carl Banks, Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Seth Joyner, Levon Kirkland, Clay Matthews Jr., Willie McGinest, Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Zach Thomas

Defensive backs (16)

Eric Allen, Steve Atwater, Joey Browner, LeRoy Butler, Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Albert Lewis, John Lynch, Frank Minnifield, Bob Sanders, Darren Sharper, Dennis Smith, Troy Vincent, Everson Walls, Darren Woodson

Kicker/punter (4)

Morten Andersen, Gary Anderson, Sean Landeta, Nick Lowery

Special teams (2)

Brian Mitchell, Steve Tasker

Coaches (11)

Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

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Week Two Power Rankings

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 8:  Justin Simmons #31, Shaquil Barrett #48, Dekoda Watson #57, and Brandon Marshall #54 of the Denver Broncos celebrate a missed field goal at the end of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

1. Broncos (1-0; last week No. 1): How many wins will it take for all of the fans to start spelling and/or pronouncing the quarterback’s name properly?

2. Patriots (1-0; No. 3): If Jimmy G. keeps playing like #Tommy, how long will it be until the head coach is taking J.C.’s name in vain at a press conference, again?

3. Panthers (0-1; No. 2): Based on last week, Cam Newton may not be able to play long enough to ever be old enough to get the calls he still isn’t getting.

4. Seahawks (1-0; No. 4): It sure looked like they missed Marshawn Lynch on Sunday, victory notwithstanding.

5. Steelers (1-0; No. 6): The Steel Curtain has been melted down and transformed into a Ginsu Knife.

6. Cardinals (0-1; No. 5): They could have won it late, but if the Cardinals are truly a Super Bowl contender it shouldn’t have been close.

7. Packers (1-0; No. 7): They should add the “Aaron Rodgers throws while being pulled down from behind” play to the Hail Mary as part of the standard offense.

8. Bengals (1-0; No. 8): Stealing a road win against a playoff-caliber team is the kind of thing that will help the Bengals get back to the playoffs a sixth straight time.

9. Chiefs (1-0; No. 10): Like last year, they won in Week One. The next challenge is to avoid five straight losses for the second straight season.

10. Vikings (1-0; No. 11): If the defense can score two touchdowns every week, the Vikings will be just fine without Teddy Bridgewater.

11. Raiders (1-0; No. 12): One-Eyed Jack Del Rio is the perfect coach for a team whose logo wears an eyepatch.

12. Texans (1-0; No. 13): They already have a one-game lead over the rest of the division, and they may never relinquish it.

13. Ravens (1-0; No. 16): With a 13-7 win, Baltimore remains largely off the radar. And that’s exactly how they like it.

14. Washington (0-1; No. 9): Maybe Josh Norman won’t have a pair of battles with Odell Beckham, Jr. this year, after all.

15. Buccaneers (1-0): The nationwide shrugs of the shoulders regarding the win over the Falcons in Atlanta will yield to another bodily activity starting with “sh” if the Bucs beat the Cardinals in Arizona.

16. Giants (1-0; No. 27): The Giants should just buy the naming rights to AT&T Stadium.

17. Cowboys (0-1; No. 14): The good news is that Dak Prescott won’t miss any film-room time this week because he’s sitting for a bronze bust.

18. Jaguars (0-1; No. 18): Opportunity lost is better than opportunity non-existent, I suppose.

19. Dolphins (0-1; No. 19): See No. 18.

20. Jets (0-1; No. 17): See No. 19.

21. Lions (1-0; No. 23): If Calvin Johnson hadn’t retired, he possibly would have generated 300 receiving yards against the Colts.

22. 49ers (1-0; No. 28): For the second straight year, the 49ers chalked up a big win at home in prime time over a playoff contender. Here’s hoping the rest of 2015 doesn’t get duplicated.

23. Saints (0-1; No. 22): Only four times has a team lost by giving up a two-point conversion in the final minute of a regular-season game. The Saints have done it twice, both times at home.

24. Colts (0-1; No. 15): If they couldn’t put a good team around Andrew Luck when he was playing under his rookie deal, how will they do it now that he’s the highest-paid player in the game?

25. Falcons (0-1; No. 24): So far, the Pete Carroll coaching tree is looking the twig under which Charlie Brown puts his Christmas presents.

26. Eagles (1-0; No. 31): A win is a win is a win, even when the win comes against a team that some think should be relegated to the CFL.

27. Bears (0-1; No. 25): With the Eagles coming back to town for a Monday night game, some fans may be hoping for a return of the fog, for reasons other than nostalgia.

28. Titans (0-1; No. 26): It’s hard to harmonize “exotic smash mouth” running with “close your eyes and hope for the best” quarterbacking.

29. Bills (0-1; No. 29): The Sammy-Watkins-foot-is-bothering-him-unless-it-isn’t routine sums up the current state of the franchise perfectly.

30. Chargers (0-1; No. 30): Somehow, this is all Joey Bosa’s fault, right?

31. Rams (0-1; No. 21): Jeff Fisher didn’t want to be 7-9 again. He likely won’t be, but not in the way he had hoped.

32. Browns (0-1; No. 32): If you had Week One in the RGIII injury sweepstakes, enjoy the fruits of your even-money wager.

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NFL morning after: Concerning concussions

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is hit by defensive end Derek Wolfe #95 and defensive end Jared Crick #93 of the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

As football fans we seem to have an on-off switch about brain injuries. The top story in the NFL on Friday and into the weekend was that Cam Newton took several shots to the head on Thursday night, and the response to those shots to the head is now the subject of a league investigation. And yet as soon as the games kicked off on Sunday afternoon, we all stopped thinking about brain injuries.

I watched football all day on Sunday and was on Twitter reading what everyone was saying and I saw literally nothing about hits to the head or concussions or any of these other concerns. The game itself is so great that we simply turn off our concerns when we turn on our TVs and sit back and enjoy the games.

And yet the concerns about brain injuries are real. And so before I get to what a great Sunday of football it was, I want to present to you my thoughts on how the NFL can reduce the number of helmet-to-helmet hits and the brain injuries that go with them:

MAKE IT A PENALTY WITH REAL TEETH. Right now, helmet-to-helmet hits are penalized with 15 yards and an automatic first down. That’s not enough. It should be 25 yards and an automatic first down for hits to the head of a quarterback, and 25 yards or the spot of the foul — whichever is farther downfield — for hits to the head of a defenseless receiver. The NFL should also eliminate the half the distance to the goal line provision for hits to the head: Under current rules, if the offense is at the 24-yard line and a defender hits a quarterback in the helmet, they move the ball to the 12-yard line. I’d like to see the ball moved to the 1-yard line for any penalty where the line of scrimmage is inside the 25. If pass interference penalties can be more than 15 yards, and can give the offense the ball on the 1-yard line, why can’t penalties for the infraction that is threatening the future of the sport?

ALLOW COACHES TO CHALLENGE. If a coach thinks one of his players took an illegal hit to the head, he should be able to throw the challenge flag and ask the ref to review it — including in the last two minutes of a half, when other plays can’t be challenged. Ron Rivera surely would have thrown a challenge flag on when Brandon Marshall brutally hit Newton and the officials didn’t see it, except that the rules don’t allow Rivera to challenge that particular missed call.

HOLD THE OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MISSED CALLS. The officials are already graded on whether or not they make the right calls, but they need to be instructed by the NFL that blows to the head will be the calls for which they are most closely scrutinized. An official who misses a blatant hit to the head like Marshall’s on Newton should have his chances of getting playoff assignments lowered. Miss calls like that too often, and an official should be out of a job. In college football, a crew of officials was suspended this weekend for mistakenly giving Central Michigan an extra play to beat Oklahoma State. The NFL should have that kind of accountability for officials who miss hits to the head.

MAKE TWO HITS TO THE HELMET IN A GAME AN AUTOMATIC EJECTION. It’s ridiculous that the NFL automatically ejects players for taunting twice in a game but not for hitting an opponent in the head twice in a game. If you were an NFL player, would you rather get taunted, or drilled in the head? I don’t recall the NFL spending around a billion dollars to settle any lawsuits brought by players who got taunted on the field.

MAKE THREE HITS TO THE HELMET IN A SEASON AN AUTOMATIC SUSPENSION. Simple: A player commits three illegal hits to an opponent’s head in a season, he’s suspended for a game. Repeat offenders will learn that way.

HAVE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TAKE THE FIELD AFTER EVERY ILLEGAL HIT TO THE HEAD. The NFL has concussion spotters who are supposed to call for players to be pulled from games and checked if they fear that a player has a concussion, but those spotters clearly don’t feel empowered to use that authority very often. A better solution would be to have medical professionals on the sideline ready to run on the field and check a player immediately any time a flag is thrown for a helmet-to-helmet hit. This wouldn’t have to be particularly time-consuming: If the player appears to be fine and says he’s OK, the medical professional leaves him out there. If the player is glassy-eyed or has trouble answering if he’s OK, the medical professional takes him out for further evaluation.

Those solutions won’t eliminate all brain injuries in football. There’s no solution that will do that. But the NFL can, and must, do better.

Now on to my thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Dak Prescott is no Tony Romo. Prescott, the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback, is an impressive young talent. But he’s a long way from being as good as a healthy Romo, and any Cowboys fan who thought Dallas would be fine without Romo is kidding himself. In their last 37 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-14 without him.

Adam Vinatieri is ageless. Vinatieri, the 43-year-old Colts kicker, is the oldest player in the NFL. But he appears to be as good as ever. Vinatieri went 2-for-2 on field goals including a 50-yarder yesterday, which was the 28th field goal of 50 yards or longer in his career. What’s really amazing is that Vinatieri is making long field goals far more now than he used to: Of his 28 career 50-yard field goals, 20 have come during his 11 seasons with the Colts, while only eight were during his 10 seasons with the Patriots. In his 20s, Adam Vinatieri was 8-for-13 on 50-plus yard field goals. In his 30s he went 8-for-19. And in his 40s, through yesterday, he’s 12-for-15.

Kudos to Jack Del Rio. NFL coaches just don’t have enough guts when it comes to going for two. So I was glad to see Del Rio go for two when the Raiders scored a late touchdown in New Orleans, and glad to see it work, as the Raiders made the two-point conversion and won 35-34. (It’s also nice to see that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is developing into an excellent young quarterback.)

Shaun Hill is just fine. It was a huge blow to the Vikings when they lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the season, but I will always maintain they panicked when they responded by trading a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Sam Bradford. The Vikings should have just stuck with Hill, who completed 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards, with no turnovers, in Sunday’s win over the Titans. Bradford will eventually take over for Hill, but I’m not so sure Bradford is any better. Certainly not so much better to make him worth a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick.

It’s a great time to be a football fan. Sitting there yesterday watching four TVs, with Red Zone Channel on one screen, DirecTV’s Game Mix on another screen, and the two games of my choosing on the two other screens, I thought back to how different being a fan was 20 years ago, when we were saddled with one NFL game at a time. There’s never been a better time to watch football. Now the NFL needs to take the steps to make the game safer, so that it lasts into the next generation.

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Week One injury report roundup

Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The first Sunday of the 2016 season is just around the corner, which means that it is time to catch up on all of the injuries that could impact this weekend’s games.

The injury report roundup will look a bit different this season. The NFL has abolished the probable designation for players who appeared on the practice report during the week and are considered certain to play on Sunday, leaving only questionable, doubtful and out.

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.

Buccaneers at Falcons

Buccaneers LB Devante Bond (hamstring) is out. S Ryan Smith (hand) and TE Luke Stocker (back) are listed as questionable.

S Keanu Neal (knee) is out for the Falcons and S Dashon Goldson (hamstring) and RB Terron Ward (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bills at Ravens

Bills S Colt Anderson (foot) and CB Kevon Seymour (hamstring) are out. G Ryan Groy (ribs), QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder) and RB Jonathan Williams (ribs) are all listed as questionable.

Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) and CB Jerraud Powers (ankle) are all out. TE Dennis Pitta (finger), G John Urschel (shoulder), TE Maxx Williams (knee) and CB Shareece Wright (foot) are questionable

Bears at Texans

The Bears listed WR Josh Bellamy (shoulder), S Deon Bush (hamstring), CB Bryce Callahan (groin), CB Kyle Fuller (knee), RB Paul Lasike (wrist), G Kyle Long (shoulder), WR Deonte Thompson (knee, ankle), DE Cornelius Washington (ankle, knee) and WR Kevin White (hamstring) as questionable.

T Duane Brown (knee) is out for the Texans and is the only player on the injury report.

Packers at Jaguars

CB Josh Hawkins (hamstring) is out for the Packers. S Chris Banjo (hamstring), WR Trevor Davis (shoulder) and LB Jay Elliott (hamstring) were listed as doubtful. WR Jeff Janis (hand) and TE Justin Perillo (knee) got questionable tags.

Jaguars RB Chris Ivory (calf) and DE Jared Odrick (jaw, head) are questionable, although coach Gus Bradley said he expects them to play.

Chargers at Chiefs

In a welcome change from last season for the Chargers, they have no players on the injury report this week.

RB Jamaal Charles (knee) is doubtful for the Chiefs.

Raiders at Saints

Raiders T Austin Howard (ankle) has been ruled out.

LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep) won’t play for the Saints. T Terron Armstead (knee, quadricep), TE Chris Manhertz (head) and WR Michael Thomas (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bengals at Jets

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) is out and CB Darqueze Dennard (ankle) is doubtful to play.

The Jets ruled out QB Bryce Petty (right shoulder) and CB Darryl Roberts (foot). LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) is doubtful while LB Bruce Carter (shoulder) and LB David Harris (shoulder) are questionable.

Browns at Eagles

CB Marcus Burley (groin) won’t play for the Browns and is the only player on the injury report.

Eagles WR Bryce Treggs (knee) is out. TE Trey Burton (calf) and DE Vinny Curry (knee) are questionable.

Vikings at Titans

Vikings C Nick Easton (ankle) and TE MyCole Pruitt (knee) are out. WR Charles Johnson (quadricep) and RB Jerick McKinnon (foot) are questionable.

WR Kendall Wright (hamstring) is the only Titan on the injury report. He won’t play this weekend.

Dolphins at Seahawks

The Dolphins ruled RB Jay Ajayi (not injury related) and C Mike Pouncey (hip) out for Sunday. Dolphins coach Adam Gase said it was a coach’s decision for Ajayi not to travel with the team. DE Terrence Fede (knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee), DT Earl Mitchell (calf), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), RB Isaiah Pead (hamstring) and T Laremy Tunsil (knee) are all listed as questionable.

TE Nick Vannett (ankle) is out for the Seahawks. TE Jimmy Graham (knee) and G Germain Ifedi (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Giants at Cowboys

DT Robert Thomas (illness) is out for the Giants and is the only player on their injury report.

LB Mark Nzeocha (achilles), QB Tony Romo (back) and DE Charles Tapper (back) are all out for the Cowboys. G Ronald Leary (groin) is questionable.

Lions at Colts

Lions TE Eric Ebron (ankle), C Graham Glasgow (toe), T Corey Robinson (ankle) and WR Golden Tate (ankle) all drew questionable designations despite full practices on Thursday and Friday.

DT Henry Anderson (knee), CB Darius Butler (ankle), CB Vontae Davis (ankle) and S Clayton Geathers (foot) are out for the Colts. T Joe Haeg (ankle), G Jack Mewhort (knee) and LB Sio Moore (hamstring) are questionable.

Patriots at Cardinals

The Patriots listed G Jonathan Cooper (foot), DE Trey Flowers (shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), WR Chris Hogan (shoulder), G Shaquille Mason (hand), LB Shea McClellin (shoulder), WR Malcolm Mitchell (elbow) and T Nate Solder (hamstring) as questionable. A report on Friday said Gronkowski, Cooper and Solder were not on the team plane to Arizona.

Cardinals LB Kareem Martin (knee) is out. CB Justin Bethel (foot), LB Lamar Louis (knee) and RB Stepfan Taylor (knee) are questionable.

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PFT’s 2016 season predictions

Super Bowl XLV Getty Images

The regular season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for PFT’s preseason predictions. Guaranteed to look dumb in 17 weeks.

Last year, none of us picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl, and only one of us picked the Broncos to get to the Super Bowl. Not only did none of us have the Panthers winning the NFC, none of us even had the Panthers making the playoffs.

This year we have to be better, right? Tell us in the comments what you think.

Josh Alper


1. Steelers, 2. Chiefs, 3. Patriots, 4. Texans, 5. Bengals, 6. Raiders

Wild card: Patriots over Raiders, Bengals over Texans

Divisional round: Steelers over Bengals, Patriots over Chiefs

Conference championship: Steelers over Patriots


1. Packers, 2. Seahawks, 3. Panthers, 4. Giants, 5. Cardinals, 6. Bucs

Wild card: Panthers over Bucs, Cardinals over Giants

Divisional round: Packers over Cardinals, Seahawks over Panthers

Conference championship: Packers over Seahawks

Super Bowl: Packers over Steelers

Curtis Crabtree


1. Patriots; 2. Chiefs; 3. Bengals; 4. Jaguars; 5. Steelers; 6. Raiders

Wild card: Bengals over Raiders, Steelers over Jaguars

Divisional round: Patriots over Steelers, Bengals over Chiefs

Conference championship: Patriots over Bengals


1. Seahawks; 2. Panthers; 3. Cowboys; 4. Lions; 5. Cardinals; 6. Packers

Wild card: Packers over Cowboys, Cardinals over Lions

Divisional round: Seahawks over Packers, Cardinals over Panthers

Conference championship: Seahawks over Cardinals

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Patriots

Mike Florio


1. Patriots, 2. Ravens, 3. Chiefs, 4. Texans, 5. Bengals, 6. Broncos

Wild card: Broncos over Chiefs, Texans over Bengals

Divisional: Patriots over Broncos, Ravens over Texans

Conference championship: Ravens over Patriots


1. Panthers, 2. Packers, 3. Seahawks, 4. Washington, 5. Cardinals, 6. Buccaneers

Wild card: Seahawks over Bucs, Cardinals over Washington

Divisional: Panthers over Cardinals, Packers over Seahawks

Conference championship: Packers over Panthers

Super Bowl: Packers over Ravens

Darin Gantt


1. Bengals; 2. Patriots; 3. Broncos; 4. Jaguars; 5. Steelers; 6. Raiders

Wild card: Broncos over Raiders, Steelers over Jaguars

Divisional round: Patriots over Broncos, Bengals over Steelers

Conference Championship: Bengals over Patriots


1. Packers; 2. Panthers; 3. Seahawks; 4. Giants; 5. Cardinals; 6. Vikings

Wild card: Seahawks over Vikings, Cardinals over Giants

Divisional round: Panthers over Seahawks, Packers over Cardinals

Conference championship: Packers over Panthers

Super Bowl: Packers over Bengals

Zac Jackson


1. Steelers; 2. Chiefs; 3. Patriots; 4. Titans; 5. Bengals 6. Ravens

Wild card: Patriots over Ravens; Bengals over Titans

Divisional round: Patriots over Chiefs; Steelers over Bengals

Conference championship: Steelers over Patriots


1. Panthers 2. Seahawks 3. Packers 4. Redskins 5. Cardinals 6. Vikings

Wild card: Packers over Vikings; Cardinals over Redskins

Divisional round: Seahawks over Packers; Panthers over Cardinals

Conference championship: Seahawks over Panthers

Super Bowl: Steelers over Seahawks

Michael David Smith


1. Bengals, 2. Patriots, 3. Broncos, 4. Colts, 5. Steelers, 6. Chiefs

Wild card: Steelers over Colts, Broncos over Chiefs

Divisional round: Bengals over Steelers, Patriots over Broncos

Conference championship: Bengals over Patriots


1. Seahawks, 2. Packers, 3. Panthers, 4. Giants, 5. Cardinals, 6. Saints

Wild card: Cardinals over Giants, Panthers over Saints

Divisional Round: Seahawks over Cardinals, Packers over Panthers

Conference championship: Seahawks over Packers

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Bengals

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PFT’s Week One picks

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s not a rematch.

Hey, if it works for the Panthers in advance of the Thursday night non-rematch rematch against the Broncos, it works for me in the latest installment of the picks competition with MDS, both in the regular season and postseason.

This year is a new year, and I intend to win both — unlike last year. And both MDS and I are the only two who care.

If you care about what we think about this week’s games, keep scrolling.

Panthers at Broncos

MDS’s take: In the Super Bowl, the Broncos’ great defense reined in Cam Newton and allowed Peyton Manning to retire with another ring. But this time around I think Newton will make some big plays, and Trevor Siemian will make some big mistakes in his first career start.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Broncos 10.

Florio’s take: Denver’s defense may still be able to slow down Carolina’s offense, but Carolina’s defense should be able to shut down a Denver offense led by a second-year seventh-round pick who will be wet behind the ears at kickoff and quite possibly wet elsewhere during the game.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 20, Broncos 13.

Packers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Some see this as a turnaround year for the Jaguars, but I’m not sold. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will have a big game against Jacksonville’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take: Picking the upset here is tempting, but the up-and-coming Jaguars have a long way to go until they’ll be ready to come up with this kind of a signature win over a Super Bowl contender.

Florio’s pick: Packers 38, Jaguars 27.

Bills at Ravens

MDS’s take: Rex Ryan needs to get the Bills’ defense turned around or else he’s going to be looking for work in four months. I’m not convinced he has the personnel to make it happen.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Bills 20.

Florio’s take: The Ravens will win a lot of games this year. The Bills will lose a lot of games this year. Ipso facto, I like the Ravens to set the right tone for what could be a big year.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Bills 13.

Bears at Texans

MDS’s take: The Bears were not impressive in the preseason and look like a team that needs another year to turn things around. They’re going to have an ugly season.

MDS’s pick: Texans 16, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: The quarterback drafted four years ago by John Fox gets a chance to give Fox the first loss of his second season in Chicago. The decisions to give a bunch of money to Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller soon will be looking pretty good, and the decision not to give DeAndre Hopkins a raise soon won’t be.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Bears 19.

Browns at Eagles

MDS’s take: Robert Griffin III vs. Carson Wentz is an oddly fascinating quarterback matchup. I see Griffin making a few big plays and Wentz making a few big mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Browns 23, Eagles 13.

Florio’s take: The Browns didn’t see Carson Wentz as being a good fit for their offense. He’ll definitely be a good fit for their defense this weekend.

Florio’s pick: Browns 16, Eagles 7.

Buccaneers at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Bucs fired Lovie Smith, but will they be any better under Dirk Koetter? I’m not so sure. Look for the Falcons to hand the Bucs a Week One loss.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 17, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take: If Jameis Winston is the real deal, this is the kind of game the Buccaneers need to start winning. And, yes, Winston is the real deal.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Falcons 17.

Vikings at Titans

MDS’s take: Does the loss of Teddy Bridgewater make this game a loss for Minnesota? I don’t think so. I still believe the Vikings’ defense will make life tough for the Titans’ offense, and the Vikings’ offense will manage a couple of long scoring drives.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 14, Titans 10.

Florio’s take: The Titans are 2-0 in Week One over the past two years, 3-27 after it. The “after” tends to make the “before” less of a trend and more of a fluke. The Vikings are the better team across the board. It won’t be pretty, but Minnesota will score enough points to emerge with a win.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 13, Titans 9.

Bengals at Jets

MDS’s take: I’m not convinced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will have the same kind of season in 2016 that he had in 2015, while I think a healthy Andy Dalton is due for a big year in Cincinnati. The Bengals will set the tone for a strong season with an impressive win in New York.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: It’s a good, early-season test for a Jets team that would love to be able to say that it has lost playoff games in each of the last five years. The Bengals hope to continue what they’ve done the past five years, and to get a win when January rolls around. Home field makes it tighter, but overall talent wins out.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Jets 17.

Raiders at Saints

MDS’s take: The Raiders are getting better and have good young talent, but I think their secondary may struggle against Drew Brees. I like the Saints in a shootout.

MDS’s pick: Saints 35, Raiders 34.

Florio’s take: Expectations are high for the Raiders, a team that has depth and talent and an opportunity to make a playoff push for the first time in a long time. They’ll have to do it from an 0-1 hole, thanks to an off-the-radar Saints team that is good enough to hold serve at home with a potent offense and a defense that has to be better, because it couldn’t be any worse than it was a year ago.

Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Raiders 27.

Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Jamaal Charles isn’t back to health yet, but I still like the Chiefs’ running game with a three-headed attack of Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Knile Davis. The Chiefs should control this game from start to finish.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Chargers 16.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have started slowly the past two seasons, before finishing strong. It’s premature to comment on how they’ll finish; for now, it’s pedal-to-the-metal against an overmatched division rival playing in a tough place to win.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Chargers 17.

Dolphins at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Despite the high-profile departure of Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks still have one of the best rosters in the NFL from top to bottom. The Dolphins have something far short of that.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take: As potential upsets go, this would be the biggest of the weekend. I have a weird feeling about this one, but it’s way too early in the year to do anything but pick the home team in an intimidatingly loud stadium that every AFC visits only once every eight years.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Dolphins 17.

Lions at Colts

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off disappointing seasons, and I’m not convinced that either team has done enough to turn things around in 2016. But in this game I’ll take the Colts, with a big game from Andrew Luck likely.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Lions 21.

Florio’s take: On the Manning scale, Andrew Luck started his career closer to Peyton. Now, Andrew is moving closer to Archie, thanks to a front office that has been unable to surround the quarterback with enough competent talent. Upset alert, sort of. Revenge of Jim Caldwell, absolutely.

Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Colts 17.

Giants at Cowboys

MDS’s take: In their last 36 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-13 without him. I think it’s about to be 1-14 without Romo.

MDS’s pick: Giants 23, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take: Dak Prescott may not become the next Roger Staubach, but for the first game of the season they’ll have him ready to be Clint Longley. The fact that the Giants haven’t improved nearly as much as they hope will be a factor, too.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 20.

Patriots at Cardinals

MDS’s take: With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo starting, the Patriots have a tall order. But I think the Cardinals are going to have another strong season, and I actually wouldn’t pick the Patriots to win at Arizona even with Brady.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Patriots 17.

Florio’s take: Plenty of good teams have been made to look plenty bad in Arizona lately. It’s not clear how good the Patriots will be without Tom Brady, but they won’t be good enough to overcome the challenges of competing with the Cardinals on their home turf.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 28, Patriots 20.

Steelers at Washington

MDS’s take: I see Antonio Brown running wild through Washington’s secondary, and Washington’s offense unable to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 31, Washington 21.

Florio’s take: Most aren’t buying Washington, a year after an unlikely playoff berth. I am. Besides, the Steelers tend to overachieve when expectations are low, and to underachieve when expectations are high.

Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Steelers 21.

Rams at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Rams have plenty of holes on the roster, but the 49ers look like they might just be the worst team in the league. Los Angeles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Rams 24, 49ers 14.

Florio’s take: Even if the Rams are once again going to be mired in “7-9 bullsh-t,” they need seven wins. Here’s one. Which is one game closer to the return of Colin Kaepernick.

Florio’s pick: Rams 17, 49ers 10.

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PFT’s Week One Power Rankings

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01:  Quarterback Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field before the preseaon NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 38-17 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

[Editor’s note: Every Tuesday during the season, PFT posts a top-to-bottom list of all teams in the league. This week’s opening effort comes a day early, with yet another money-back guarantee. To all of the fans of the teams in the second half of the rankings, keep two things in mind: (1) someone had to be there; and (2) this list and a dollar will buy you a newspaper, if they actually still sell newspapers.]

1. Broncos (0-0): The defending champion gets two things: A regular-season home opener on Thursday night (unless the local baseball team is in town) and the top spot in the initial PFT power rankings until they lose. Which could happen very, very soon.

2. Panthers (0-0): Three straight division titles, a 15-1 regular season in 2015, the reigning league MVP, and a general sense that the team isn’t getting nearly enough respect.

3. Patriots (0-0): Even without Tom Brady for four weeks and the Broncos clutching the latest Lombardi Trophy, the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC.

4. Seahawks (0-0): They got better last year after Marshawn Lynch was injured. Now that he’s gone for good, they may be as good as they were in 2013.

5. Cardinals (0-0): “All or Nothing” ultimately ended up in “nothing” last year. Whether they get the “all” in 2016 depends on whether they get “anything” out of Carson Palmer when it counts.

6. Steelers (0-0): The defense quietly has improved to the point where not having Martavis Bryant for a year or Le’Veon Bell for three weeks doesn’t really matter.

7. Packers (0-0): Yes, they would have been higher if they hadn’t dumped Josh Sitton on Saturday.

8. Bengals (0-0): If Andy Dalton runs his ass to the sideline, the Bengals may be riding to their first playoff win since the week before they destroyed Bo Jackson’s hip.

9. Washington (0-0): Coach Jay Gruden used his team’s placement on this list at No. 32 last year as motivation. This year, he’ll have to find motivation somewhere else.

10. Chiefs (0-0): With all the talk about the Broncos fading and the Raiders rising, the Chiefs get lost in the shuffle. They won’t once the games begin.

11. Vikings (0-0): Whether the Sam Bradford trade becomes Herschel Walker Part II or the Second Coming of Randall Cunningham remains to be seen. The rest of the roster is good enough to keep the team on the fringes of the top 10, for now.

12. Raiders (0-0): Expectations for 2016 may be a bit high, but the Raiders are on the verge of bringing a much-needed Darth Vader vibe back to the NFL, allowing the league office to perhaps stop being the primary villain in the nation’s ultimate reality show.

13. Texans (0-0): The division is tightening up; as long as Brock Osweiler doesn’t, they should win the division.

14. Cowboys (0-0): Dak Prescott will soon learn the difference between preseason and regular-season games.

15. Colts (0-0): Andrew Luck currently is closer to Archie than Peyton on the Manning scale, and Luck can thank the organization for that.

16. Ravens (0-0): If they can stay healthy, they can get back to the playoffs and give the Patriots all they can handle, again.

17. Jets (0-0): The Jets surely hope that, when it’s time for Ryan Fitzpatrick to perform in the clutch, he’ll perform better than their offseason contract offers to him suggest.

18. Jaguars (0-0): How will the franchise respond to the sudden weight of outside expectations and not-so-subtle internal mandates? We’re about to find out when the Packers roll into town.

19. Dolphins (0-0): The Dolphins are on the right track. The question is how long it will take to get to the destination.

20. Buccaneers (0-0): Few teams in the 20s ever have a realistic chance to get all the way to the Super Bowl. This one does.

21. Rams (0-0): The Climb to 7-9 begins, with the latest evidence of the same-old outcome coming from the failure of the No. 1 overall pick to be higher than No. 3 on the depth chart.

22. Saints (0-0): The Saints love being off the radar this year. They definitely are, at least for now. It may not last long.

23. Lions (0-0): If Calvin Johnson truly is a Hall of Famer (he’s not), not having him will be anything but a good thing for the Lions.

24. Falcons (0-0): Someone has to be in the fourth spot in the most wide-open division in football. And the Falcons could still find a way to win the thing.

25. Bears (0-0): The defense will be better in Year Two of the John Fox regime, but it’s hard to think the offense will be as good with Adam Gase and Matt Forte gone.

26. Titans (0-0): To get respect, a team has to earn it. Lately, the Titans haven’t. They have a great chance to starting doing it with the Vikings coming to town to start the season.

27. Giants (0-0): Am I convinced that firing Tom Coughlin, keeping everyone else, and promoting Ben McAdoo will make the team better? The placement of the team says it all.

28. 49ers (0-0): The Colin Kaepernick situation has become a nice distraction from the rest-of-the-roster situation.

29. Bills (0-0): It’s always better to easily overcome a low bar set by someone else that to run under a high bar set by yourself.

30. Chargers (0-0): If you climb out of this hole by November and more people vote for the hotel tax, you can thank us.

31. Eagles (0-0): Fly, Eagles, fly. Right into a window, given the decision to start the season with a former FBS quarterback who already has bad ribs.

32. Browns (0-0): Someone has to be in this spot, even when everyone is 0-0. Some think the Browns secretly hope to be in this spot when the season ends, so that they can land DeShaun Watson.

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President Obama’s full statement on Colin Kaepernick

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Guests chat with Colin Kaepernick during a Hublot SF Celebration With Colin Kaepernick At Kokkari on November 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images for Haute Living) Getty Images

During a press conference on his visit to China, President Obama was asked about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem. This was his full answer:

“In terms of Mr. Kaepernick, I’ve got to confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been following this closely, but my understanding, at least, is that he’s exercising his Constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. I think there are a lot of ways you can do it. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag, and the national anthem, and the meaning it holds for our men and women in uniform and those who fought for us, that is a tough thing for them to get past, to then hear what his deeper concerns are. But I don’t doubt his sincerity, based on what I’ve heard. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. And if nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”

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