Week Seven injury report roundup

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

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered healthy enough to play 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 Bills

Buccaneers S Josh Robinson (concussion) and DE Ryan Russell (shoulder) are out this week. LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring), DE Robert Ayers (knee), LB Lavonte David (ankle), LB Adarius Glanton (hamstring), DE Noah Spence (shoulder), S Keith Tandy (hip), S T.J. Ward (hip) and QB Jameis Winston (right shoulder), although the team’s already announced Winston will be starting.

The Bills return from their bye week without the help of TE Charles Clay (knee) or LB Ramon Humber (thumb). CB E.J. Gaines (groin), CB Leonard Johnson (hamstring) and WR Jordan Matthews (thumb) are listed as questionable.

Panthers at Bears

Panthers S Demetrious Cox (ankle), LB Luke Kuechly (concussion), T John Theus (concussion) and RB Fozzy Whittaker (ankle) have been ruled out. WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), S Kurt Coleman (knee), K Graham Gano (right knee), DE Charles Johnson (groin), C Ryan Kalil (neck) and G Greg Van Roten (shoulder) are questionable, although coach Ron Rivera indicated Benjamin and Gano will play.

WR Markus Wheaton (groin) won’t play for the Bears. CB Sherrick McManis (hamstring) and LB John Timu (ankle/knee) are listed as doubtful while RB Benny Cunningham (hamstring), C Hroniss Grasu (hand) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) drew questionable tags.

Titans at Browns

Titans RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring), LB Derrick Morgan (abdomen) and TE Delanie Walker (calf) are listed as questionable. S Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring) and WR Corey Davis (hamstring) remain out of the lineup.

LB James Burgess (knee) was ruled out by the Browns. WR Kenny Britt (knee/groin), S Jabrill Peppers (toe), WR Sammie Coates (hamstring) and CB Jason McCourty (ankle) make up the questionable contingent.

Saints at Packers

The Saints have just two players on their injury report. T Terron Armstead (shoulder) and WR Willie Snead (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

The Packers have more injury issues than that, but are in somewhat better shape than they were when the week began. As long as you ignore Aaron Rodgers‘ absence, of course. LB Ahmad Brooks (back), S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) and LB Joe Thomas (ankle) have been ruled out. G Lane Taylor (ankle) is set to miss the game after drawing a doubtful tag and three players — CB Davon House (quadricep), C Corey Linsley (back), CB Damarious Randall (hamstring) — are listed as questionable.

Jaguars at Colts

The Jaguars head to Indy without the services of C Brandon Linder (illness). RB Leonard Fournette (ankle), S Tashaun Gipson (neck) and WR Marqise Lee (knee) are all listed as questionable.

QB Andrew Luck (left shoulder) again headlines the Colts injury report. He’s out along with LB Anthony Walker (hamstring) while TE Darrell Daniels (knee), S T.J. Green (hamstring) and C Ryan Kelly (knee) are listed as questionable.

Cardinals vs. Rams (in London)

The Cardinals will wait until Sunday morning (afternoon in London) before deciding on LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), RB Andre Ellington (quadricep), DT Robert Nkemdiche (calf), DT Olsen Pierre (ankle) and DT Xavier Williams (knee). All five are listed as questionable.

The Rams only have one questionable player — LB Mark Barron (thumb) — and they listed S Cody Davis (thigh) as doubtful to play.

Jets at Dolphins

The Jets ruled out TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and listed DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/foot) as questionable.

The Dolphins have indicated it would take a miracle for WR DeVante Parker (ankle) to play, so he’s listed as doubtful. DE Andre Branch (knee), CB Xavien Howard (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (foot) and C Mike Pouncey (concussion, hip) are questionable to play.

Ravens at Vikings

It’s a full injury report for the Ravens this week. WR Breshad Perriman (concussion), C Matt Skura (knee), RB Terrance West (calf), TE Maxx Williams (ankle) and LB Tim Williams (thigh) have all been ruled out and WR Chris Matthews (thigh) is likely to join them after being listed as doubtful. DT Carl Davis (thigh), CB Jaylen Hill (thigh), S Anthony Levine (thigh), WR Jeremy Maclin (shoulder), CB Jimmy Smith (achilles), T Ronnie Stanley (mouth), WR Mike Wallace (back), TE Benjamin Watson (knee), S Lardarius Webb (knee) and DT Brandon Williams (foot) make up a sizable contingent of questionable players.

The Vikings are without QB Sam Bradford (knee), WR Stefon Diggs (groin) and G Nick Easton (calf) for the second straight week. CB Mackensie Alexander (hip), CB Tramaine Brock (hamstring), WR Michael Floyd (hamstring) and T Riley Reiff (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Cowboys at 49ers

CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) is the only player ruled out for the Cowboys. LB Justin Durant (groin) is the only player listed as questionable.

The 49ers ruled out RB Kyle Juszczyk (back) and DE Aaron Lynch (calf). Linebackers Ray-Ray Armstrong (shoulder), Brock Coyle (shoulder), Reuben Foster (ankle) and Dekoda Watson (groin) are all listed as questionable.

Bengals at Steelers

The Bengals head into the AFC North clash without WR Tyler Boyd (knee) and TE Ryan Hewitt (knee). CB Adam Jones (back) is not expected to play after getting a doubtful tag. WR John Ross (knee) and S Derron Smith (ankle) are both listed as questionable.

Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt (back) is out and T Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) is listed as doubtful.

Broncos at Chargers

There won’t be much suspense when the Broncos announce their inactives on Sunday. WR Cody Latimer (knee), QB Paxton Lynch (right shoulder), WR Isaiah McKenzie (ankle), LB Corey Nelson (elbow), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle), T Donald Stephenson (calf) and T Menelik Watson (calf) have already been ruled out.

No one has been ruled out for the Chargers, but WR Keenan Allen (shoulder), T Joe Barksdale (foot), RB Melvin Gordon (shoulder), DT Corey Liuget (back) and S Adrian Phillips (neck, concussion) are all listed as questionable.

Seahawks at Giants

G Luke Joeckel (knee) is out for the Seahawks and CB Jeremy Lane (groin) is doubtful. DE Michael Bennett (heel), DT Nazair Jones (knee), RB C.J. Prosise (ankle) and DE Marcus Smith (ankle) are listed as questionable.

The Giants ruled out LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), LB Calvin Munson (quadricep), RB Paul Perkins (ribs), C Weston Richburg (concussion) and DE Olivier Vernon (ankle) for Sunday. WR Sterling Shepard (ankle) is questionable after missing last week’s game.

Falcons at Patriots

The Falcons have only LB Jordan Tripp (concussion) on their injury report and he’s out for Sunday night.

The Patriots, on the other hand, ruled out CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion, ankle), LB Harvey Langi (back) and CB Eric Rowe (groin). CB Johnson Bademosi (abdomen), TE Jacob Hollister (chest) and LB Elandon Roberts (ankle) are listed as questionable.

PFT’s Week Seven picks

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Just when MDS was getting a little cocky, he got knocked down a peg or two.

His six-game lead has been cut to four, after being swept in the two games on which we disagreed last week. This week, we disagree on two more. Which means that his lead could be down to two, soon.

To see all picks for the 15 games to be played in Week Seven (yes, it’s already Week Seven), scroll away, scrollers.

Chiefs at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Raiders just aren’t a very good football team this year. The Chiefs will bounce back from their first loss with a big win.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Raiders 17.

Florio’s take: It’s rare that one of the best rivalries in football gets played when both teams are good. Currently, however, one of the teams isn’t good. The Raiders face what could eventually be an elimination game, and the Chiefs simply have too many weapons on each side of the ball, allowing them to overcome a Raiders team that has been overrated.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Raiders 20.


Buccaneers at Bills

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers’ defense has been a mess this season, allowing the ancient Adrian Peterson to have a huge game on Sunday. The Bills’ running game should thrive.

MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Buccaneers 21.

Florio’s take: Jameis Winston can do everything but throw, which will make it a little hard to play quarterback. A return to Buffalo by former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick becomes intriguing, but the Bills have enough (especially with extra time to get ready) to continue an unlikely climb toward the postseason.

Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Buccaneers 14.


Ravens at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Ravens’ offense has been a mess, and Joe Flacco is primarily to blame. I don’t see any reason to think he’ll improve against a good Vikings defense. Minnesota is suddenly looking like the favorite in the NFC North.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Ravens 13.

Florio’s take: The NFL’s pair of purple teams have had some entertaining games over the years, from a 29-26 Baltimore win in the snow four years ago to a Vikings 33-31 barnburner in the first Brett Favre year to a cluster of kick-return touchdowns during the rookie year of Randy Moss. This time around, the Vikings have balance and the home-field advantage — along with an opportunity to hit the bye at 6-2.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Ravens 20.


Jets at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Dolphins finally showed signs of life with their second-half comeback against the Falcons on Sunday. I think they’re going to keep it going against the Jets, who won’t be able to sustain their surprising early-season success.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 21.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins have been through plenty of adversities, and now it’s time to inflict some adversities on other teams.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 13.


Cardinals at Rams

MDS’s take: The Rams really look like a playoff team to me, and another division win is coming on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Rams 27, Cardinals 13.

Florio’s take: The folks in London are getting a pretty good game, for a change. The Rams are inconsistent, and the Cardinals have gotten a boost from the arrival of Adrian Peterson.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 23, Rams 20.


Jaguars at Colts

MDS’s take: Jacoby Brissett has played fairly well under the circumstances of not arriving until September. But the Jaguars’ outstanding defense is going to give him a tough time on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 20, Colts 6.

Florio’s take: It’s an odd-numbered week, which means that the good Jaguars will be showing up to face a Colts team that isn’t as bad as it was expected to be.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 23, Colts 12.


Saints at Packers

MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense is getting better, and it will look better still in Brett Hundley‘s first start.

MDS’s pick: Saints 21, Packers 10.

Florio’s take: We’ll find out how good of a coach Mike McCarthy is without a franchise quarterback to save his bacon. With a better coach and a franchise quarterback coming to town, the wins will have to come later.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Packers 21.


Panthers at Bears

MDS’s take: Benching Mike Glennon for Mitch Trubisky was the right move, but that says more about how terrible Glennon is than about how ready Trubisky is. He’s going to struggle against a good Panthers defense.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 14, Bears 7.

Florio’s take: In Houston, they’ve been asking why Deshaun Watson wasn’t the Week One starter. They’ll be asking that soon in Chicago about a quarterback taken 10 spots higher. Upset alert! Upset alert! Did I mention upset alert?

Florio’s pick: Bears 27, Panthers 23.


Titans at Browns

MDS’s take: The Titans are on the road, coming off a short week, and Marcus Mariota is less than 100 percent. They’re ripe for an upset. But the Browns are so bad that I just can’t see it happening.

MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Browns 13.

Florio’s take: The Browns have two chances to avoid entering the bye at 0-8 in 2017, and 1-23 since the latest reboot of the franchise. Which means that the reboot is getting closer to getting the boot.

Florio’s pick: Titans 20, Browns 9.


Cowboys at 49ers

MDS’s take: The 49ers are better than their winless record suggests; they’re competitive week in and week out. And yet some teams just find a way to lose. I think that trend continues on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, 49ers 20.

Florio’s take: Once upon a time, these two teams ruled the conference. Now, one of them already is done — and the other one isn’t all that far behind.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 30, 49ers 17.


Broncos at Chargers

MDS’s take: These two teams are trending in opposite directions. Look for the Chargers to make it three in a row.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 20, Broncos 16.

Florio’s take: Maybe the Broncos aren’t as good as we thought they were. Maybe the Chargers aren’t as bad as we thought they were.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Broncos 20.


Bengals at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers probably have the best combination of strong offense and strong defense of any team in the league. They’ll take another big step toward control of the AFC North with a win over the Bengals

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Bengals 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers have regained their swagger, and they’re not about to blow it against one of their most hated rivals.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 26, Bengals 17.


Seahawks at Giants

MDS’s take: The Giants showed their first signs of life in beating the Broncos on Sunday, but the Seahawks aren’t going to let them make it two in a row.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Giants 10.

Florio’s take: Hopefully the fumes of that first win for the Giants will last a while. The Seahawks are simply too good to lose this one, and they won’t step into the same post-bye complacency pothole that took down Denver last week.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Giants 10.


Falcons at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Super Bowl rematch sees both teams looking unimpressive. The Patriots’ defense is a mess, but Tom Brady is still playing well, and he should have a big game in a New England win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take: Hair of the dog that bit you never actually cures a hangover.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Falcons 23.


Washington at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles are already in control of the NFC East, and if they win this one they have a chance of running away with the division. I think they’ll do just that.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Washington 20.

Florio’s take: The Eagles are moving another step closer toward nailing down the division title. The real question is whether they can cement the No. 1 seed.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Washington 20.

Week Six power rankings

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1. Chiefs (5-1; No. 1): They lost but they’re still No. 1? Welcome to 2017, when it’s impossible to figure out who really is/isn’t the “best” team in football.

2. Eagles (5-1; No. 5): Carson Wentz needs to avoid contact, or the Eagles won’t be able to avoid having to play multiple games without him.

3. Patriots (4-2; No. 7): If the churning continues among the top teams in the AFC, the door will be open for the Patriots to seize the No. 1 seed.

4. Steelers (4-2; No. 12): They won a game they were supposed to lose? They’ll eventually make up for that by losing a game they’re supposed to win.

5. Panthers (4-2; No. 4): The defense needs Luke Kuechly; the offense needs better play-calling in the clutch.

6. Seahawks (3-2; No. 13): How does a team jump seven spots without playing a game? First, be the Seahawks. Second, watch a cluster of teams in front of you prove they were overrated.

7. Vikings (4-2; No. 15): Case Keenum quietly is becoming a keeper for the Vikings.

8. Washington (3-2; No. 11): Monday night’s date with the Eagles could be a midseason division-title elimination game for Washington.

9. Rams (4-2; No. 16): Yes, they could be 6-0. But after 4-12 in 2016, 4-2 looks pretty good.

10. Bills (3-2; No. 10): Rex Ryan vowed to end the playoff drought in his first year with the team. Sean McDermott may be the one to get it done.

11. Dolphins (3-2; No. 23): Last year, an unlikely win over the Steelers provided the spark. This year, an even more unlikely win over the defending NFC champions could be the trigger.

12. Falcons (3-2; No. 3): As anyone who ever had a hangover knows, saying “I don’t have a hangover” is no way to cure a hangover.

13. Texans (3-3; No. 14): A year after hosting the Super Bowl, the Texans could indeed be playing in it.

14. Broncos (3-2; No. 6): There’s no excuse for coming out of a bye and blowing it against a bad team.

15. Saints (3-2; No. 21): What may be last year of the Drew Brees/Sean Payton marriage could be a memorable one.

16. Lions (3-3; No. 8): With Aaron Rodgers out, the door is open for the Lions to take the division. If they can win a few games.

17. Titans (3-3; No. 19): Marcus Mariota with a bad hamstring may be even better than Marcus Mariota with two good ones.

18. Jaguars (3-3; No. 9): This team goes back and forth faster than a fat kid on a low swing.

19. Cowboys (2-3; No. 17): With or without Ezekiel Elliott, it feels like it’s not their year.

20. Packers (4-2; No. 2): For a team that relies so much on Aaron Rodgers, losing him and stubbornly insisting on “next man up” guarantees that they’ll be the first team out in the NFC North.

21. Jets (3-3; No. 20): For the first time in recent history, the league office made a decision that helps the Patriots and hurts the Jets.

22. Cardinals (3-3; No. 26): Yo. Adrian.

23. Chargers (2-4; No. 27): After winning two games on the road, the Chargers will be better prepared for their road games at home.

24. Bengals (2-3; No. 25): This team has plenty of work to do, if it wants to lose another playoff game.

25. Raiders (2-4; No. 18): If the losses continue, the Black Hole will literally be a black hole.

26. Buccaneers (2-3; No. 22): It’s good that Dirk Koetter works for a patient ownership group that isn’t inclined to make rash changes based on unfulfilled expectations.

27. Bears (2-4; No. 29): With a halfback pass for a touchdown, Tarik Cohen instantly became the second best quarterback on the roster.

28. Ravens (3-3; No. 24): So when does Greg Roman get to run the offense and wish he had Kaepernick instead of Flacco to work with?

29. Colts (2-4; No. 28): If they can stay within striking distance of first place in the division when Andrew Luck returns, this could get interesting.

30. Giants (1-5; No. 32): Giants 2017 a/k/a At Least We Had That Sunday Night Win in Denver.

31. 49ers (0-6; No. 30): C.J. Beathard would be a lot cheaper over the next few years than Kirk Cousins.

32. Browns (0-6; No. 31): The Browns are two losses away from a “bye” week. And from a Sunday when they won’t play a game.

Aaron Rodgers injury may usher in a radical rules change, and other Week 6 thoughts

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The hit that broke Aaron Rodgers‘ collarbone on Sunday wasn’t illegal. Maybe it should be.

Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr hit Rodgers just after Rodgers released a pass, and the two of them tumbled to the turf with Barr on top of Rodgers. That rather ordinary hit broke Rodgers’ collarbone and dramatically affected the entire NFL season, possibly knocking Rodgers out until 2018 and in the process ending realistic Super Bowl hopes for the Packers.

I think it may be time for a radical rule change, one that makes hits like Barr’s illegal. It may be time for the NFL to consider dramatically expand the roughing the passer rules, and treat quarterbacks like kickers and punters: Basically, you can’t hit them at all once they’ve thrown a pass.

I know, I know, you’re going to tell me I’m soft and weak and ruining the game of football, and that we might as well just play flag football if we’re going to do that. And I’m here to tell you I’ve heard it all before.

I heard the same thing when the NFL changed the roughing the passer rules to prohibit low hits on quarterbacks after Tom Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2008: “How can defensive players possibly be expected to avoid those hits?” But defensive players adjusted, and it’s now unremarkable that those hits are penalized.

And I heard the same thing when the NFL implemented the horse-collar tackle rule: “How can any defensive player ever catch a runner from behind?” But defensive players adjusted, and now the horse-collar tackle rule has been adopted at every level of football and is completely noncontroversial.

I believe the same thing would happen if the NFL dramatically changed the roughing the passer rule. Yes, at first it would seem wrong to see defensive players penalized for putting a shoulder in a quarterback’s chest after he throws a pass. But defensive players would get used to it, coaches would get used to it, and fans would get used to it.

And it would make the game safer for the quarterbacks, the most important players on the field. Is it really a good thing for the NFL that Aaron Rodgers might miss the entire season? Are hits like Barr’s really so fundamental to football that we can’t outlaw them for the health of quarterbacks and the good of the sport? I don’t think so.

The NFL already protects quarterbacks far more than it did when I was growing up as a football fan in the 1980s. But the league can do more. Roughing the passer needs to be expanded.

Here are my other thoughts from Sunday:

Stop with the “system quarterback” stuff. As soon as Rodgers went down, the debate began about what the Packers should do: Should they just stick with backup Brett Hundley? Or should they sign a free agent? And of course the name of Colin Kaepernick came up, as it always does, followed by the debate about whether Kaepernick fits the Packers’ system.

Here’s the thing: The “system quarterback” stuff is B.S. Quarterbacks don’t need to fit a system. They need to be good football players. No quarterback on earth is capable of doing all the things Aaron Rodgers does in the Packers’ system, but there are talented quarterbacks who can come in and contribute, and their physical talents don’t have to match Rodgers’ talents perfectly. The Packers don’t need a quarterback who fits the system, they need a quarterback who’s a good football player.

Take a look at what Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson has done. The system he ran at Clemson was nothing at all like the system Houston coach Bill O’Brien runs. But Watson came in at halftime of Week One and has played so well since then that he’s a legitimate MVP candidate. It’s not that Watson fits O’Brien’s system, it’s that Watson is a terrific talent and can succeed in any system. The idea of a system fit is the most overrated part of evaluating how a quarterback will do on a given team.

Lions seeing the problem with overpaying Matthew Stafford. In Sunday’s loss to the Saints, Stafford had a 48 percent completion rate and five turnovers. When I wrote after the game that I saw that performance as evidence that Stafford shouldn’t be the highest-paid player in the NFL, I heard back from a lot of people that the problem isn’t Stafford but the players around him. I don’t disagree with that, but it’s part of the point: When you’re devoting a huge amount of salary cap space to one player, as the Lions are with Stafford, you have less money to devote to bolstering the rest of your roster. I believe the Lions would be better in the long run if they had a deeper roster — even if that had meant not extending Stafford this year, and risking losing him in free agency next year.

I am astonished by Adrian Peterson. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more wrong about a player on a new team than I was about Peterson yesterday. I thought he was totally washed up, done, not going to contribute a thing in Arizona after the Cardinals got him in a trade with the Saints. Instead, Peterson had his first 100-yard rushing game since 2015 and the Cardinals blew out the Buccaneers. I don’t expect Peterson to play that way every week, but he certainly looked like a good addition to the Cards’ offense yesterday.

The Falcons choked, again. The stakes were obviously nowhere near as big, but I thought the Falcons’ meltdown yesterday against the Dolphins was an even more improbable loss than their Super Bowl fiasco. Atlanta had a 17-0 halftime lead over a Miami team that had looked like the worst offense in the NFL this season — 17 points should have been more than enough to win. And then the Falcons proceeded to allow that lousy Dolphins offense to march down the field on four long scoring drives in the second half, with Jay Cutler throwing two touchdown passes and Cody Parkey kicking two field goals, and the Falcons didn’t score another point. Miami won 20-17. That second-half performance by the Falcons was as ugly as it gets.

Alberto Riveron needs to explain himself. Riveron, the NFL’s new head of officiating, overturned a Jets touchdown late in their loss to the Patriots. I think it was a terrible decision, and I want to hear Riveron answer for it. I’ve already heard the referee’s explanation — he said the Jets’ Austin Seferian-Jenkins fumbled and didn’t regain control until he was out of bounds — but the referee doesn’t make the final decision. Riveron does. And I believe that decision was in error because the ruling on the field was a touchdown, and there’s no replay angle that indisputably shows Seferian-Jenkins didn’t have control of the ball before he went out of bounds. Riveron talked to Peter King about the ruling, but his explanation was less than convincing. And if you don’t take my word for it, believe Riveron’s two predecessors, Dean Blandino and Mike Pereira, both of whom said on FOX that they thought Riveron got it wrong. When a game as big as Jets-Patriots turns on a call like that, Riveron needs to speak up.

Mark Geragos confirms filing of Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance

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Attorney Mark Geragos, whose client list has included the likes of Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Scott Peterson, and Chris Brown (pictured with Geragos), now represents Colin Kaepernick. Geragos confirmed on Sunday night that a grievance alleging collusion has been filed against the NFL.

“We can confirm that this morning we filed a grievance under the CBA on behalf of Colin Kaepernick,” Geragos said in a statement. “This was done only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.

“If the NFL (as well as all professional sports leagues) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protests — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government. Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation. Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.

“Colin Kaepernick’s goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field.”

It’s unclear whether the grievance will help or hurt Kaepernick’s effort. On one hand, it could push the league to nudge a team to sign him. On the other hand, it could underscore the perception that Kaepernick brings baggage that outweighs his current talent level.

Week Six early inactives

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Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back to see the full list as it becomes available 90 minutes ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs.

Dolphins at Falcons

Dolphins: WR DeVante Parker, S Maurice Smith, CB Torry McTyer, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Stephone Anthony, G Isaac Asiata, T Sam Young

Falcons: WR Mohamed Sanu, DL Courtney Upshaw, LB Jermaine Grace, WR Nick Williams, CB Blidi Wren-Wilson, OL Sean Harlow, T Austin Pasztor

Bears at Ravens

Bears: WR Markus Wheaton, LB John Timu, QB Mark Sanchez, RB Taquan Mizzell, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, C Hroniss Grasu, DL John Jenkins.

Ravens: RB Terrance West, G Matt Skura, WR Jeremy Maclin, CB Jaylen Hill, LB Tim Williams, DT Carl Davis, DT Brandon Williams.

Browns at Texans

Browns: QB Cody Kessler, WR Kenny Britt, DL T.Y. McGill, OL Zach Banner, OL Marcus Martin, DB Reginald Porter, LB James Burgess.

Texans: LB Ben Heeney, CB Kevin Johnson, RB Jordan Todman, S Corey Moore, G Kyle Fuller, G Dorian Johnson, DL Kendall Langford.

Packers at Vikings

Packers: S Morgan Burnett, LB Joe Thomas, CB Kevin King, CB Davon House, LB Ahmad Brooks, OL Adam Pankey, DL Montravious Adams.

Vikings: QB Sam Bradford, WR Stefon Diggs, G Nick Easton, WR Rodney Adams, T Aviante Collins, DE Tashawn Bower, S Andrew Sendejo.

Lions at Saints

Lions: LB Paul Worrilow, WR Kenny Golladay, RB Dwayne Washington, RB Tion Green, G T.J. Lang, DL Cornelius Washington, DL Datone Jones.

Saints: QB Taysom Hill, WR Tommylee Lewis, CB Sterling Moore, LB Gerald Hodges, G John Greco, WR Austin Carr, DL Al-Quadin Muhammad.

Patriots at Jets

Patriots: CB Eric Rowe, RB Rex Burkhead, CB Stephon Gilmore, LB Harvey Langi, OL Cole Croston, LB David Harris, T Cameron Fleming.

Jets: RB Bilal Powell, QB Christian Hackenberg, DB Derrick Jones, LB Freddie Bishop, LB Obum Gwacham, OL Jonotthan Harrison, TE Jordan Leggett

49ers at Redskins

49ers: FB Kyle Juszczyk, WR Kendrick Bourne, LB Reuben Foster, DB Leon Hall, DB Dexter McCoil, OL Erik Magnuson, LB Dekoda Watson

Redskins: CB Josh Norman, T Ty Nsekhe, RB Rob Kelley, S Deshazor Everett, LB Josh Harvey-Clemons, DL Anthony Lanier, TE Jeremy Sprinkle

Week Six injury report roundup

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Week Six kicked off on Thursday with an Eagles win and it continues with 12 more games on Sunday, which means that the 24 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered healthy enough to play 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.

Dolphins at Falcons

Dolphins WR Davante Parker (ankle) is unlikely to play after drawing a doubtful tag for Sunday’s game. Cornerbacks Byron Maxwell (foot) and Xavien Howard (shoulder) are both listed as questionable.

Falcons LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring), WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) and DE Courtney Upshaw (ankle, knee) are all going to miss this weekend’s game. K Matt Bryant (back) is listed as questionable, although coach Dan Quinn indicated he’ll play.

Bears at Ravens

The Bears ruled out WR Markus Wheaton (groin) and LB John Timu (knee). C Hroniss Grasu (hand) and LB Nick Kwiatkoski (chest) are both listed as questionable.

OL Matt Skura (knee) and RB Terrance West (calf) are out for the Ravens while DT Brandon Williams (foot) and LB Tim Williams (thigh) are listed as doubtful. DT Carl Davis (thigh), CB Jaylen Hill (thigh), S Anthony Levine (thigh), WR Jeremy Maclin (shoulder), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (achilles) and TE Maxx Williams (ankle) all drew questionable tags.

Browns at Texans

The Browns don’t expect to have LB James Burgess (knee) after listing him as doubtful. WR Kenny Britt (knee, groin), T Shon Coleman (knee) and C J.C. Tretter (knee) are listed as questionable.

The Texans ruled out LB Ben Heeney (knee), CB Kevin Johnson (knee), S Corey Moore (concussion) and RB Jordan Todman (calf). C Greg Mancz (knee) and LB Benardrick McKinney (hip) will be game-time calls after getting pegged as questionable.

Packers at Vikings

S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) and LB Joe Thomas (ankle) won’t play for the Packers. LB Ahmad Brooks (back) and CB Kevin King (concussion) probably won’t play after being tagged as doubtful while T David Bakhtiari (hamstring), T Bryan Bulaga (ankle), CB Davon House (quadricep) and RB Ty Montgomery (ribs) are all questionable to play.

The Vikings ruled out QB Sam Bradford (knee), WR Stefon Diggs (groin) and C Nick Easton (calf). S Andrew Sendejo (groin) is the only player listed as questionable.

Lions at Saints

Lions QB Matthew Stafford (ankle) got listed as questionable, but all signs point to him playing. DE Ziggy Ansah (knee), WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), G T.J. Lang (back), T Rick Wagner (shoulder) and RB Dwayne Washington (quadricep) are also questionable while LB Paul Worrilow (knee) is out.

T Terron Armstead (shoulder), G Andrus Peat (hip) and WR Willie Snead (hamstring) are questionable for the Saints as New Orleans returns from its bye.

Patriots at Jets

The Patriots ruled out CB Eric Rowe (groin), but they could get RB Rex Burkhead (ribs) back in the lineup after listing him as questionable.

The Jets also have two players on their injury report. DL Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder/toe) and RB Bilal Powell (calf) are both listed as questionable.

49ers at Redskins

The 49ers won’t have RB Kyle Juszczyk (back) in the lineup. S Adrian Colbert (hamstring), LB Reuben Foster (ankle), S Eric Reid (knee), LB Dekoda Watson (groin) and CB Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion) are all listed as questionable.

CB Josh Norman (rib) and T Ty Nsekhe (core muscle) have been ruled out by the Redskins. S Deshazor Everett (hamstring) and RB Rob Kelley (ankle) will probably be joining them on the inactive list after being tagged as doubtful. T Trent Williams (knee) is a game-time decision after being listed as questionable.

Buccaneers at Cardinals

Four Buccaneers defenders — LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring), S Josh Robinson (concussion), DE Ryan Russell (shoulder), S Keith Tandy (hip) — will be sitting out this Sunday. DE Robert Ayers (back), LB Lavonte David (ankle), C Ali Marpet (illness) and S T.J. Ward (hip) are listed as questionable.

Cardinals DT Olsen Pierre (ankle) won’t play. LB Karlos Dansby (hamstring), DT Robert Nkemdiche (calf), DT Corey Peters (knee), CB Patrick Peterson (quadricep) and T Jared Veldheer (knee) are questionable.

Rams at Jaguars

Rams CB Troy Hill (shoulder) is doubtful while LB Mark Barron (knee) and S Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

C Brandon Linder (illness) has been ruled out by the Jaguars. WR Arrelious Benn (groin) and G Patrick Omameh (hip) are both listed as questionable.

Steelers at Chiefs

The Steelers have just one player on this week’s injury report. G Ramon Foster (back) is listed as questionable.

The Chiefs will try for a 6-0 record without WR Chris Conley (Achilles), G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee), C Mitch Morse (foot) and S Steven Terrell (concussion).

Chargers at Raiders

Four Chargers are listed as questionable, although expectations are that WR Mike Williams (back) will make his NFL debut. T Joe Barksdale (foot), LB Jatavis Brown (ankle) and RB Branden Oliver (hamstring) round out the rest of the group.

CB Gareon Conley (shin), CB Antonio Hamilton (knee), LB Marquel Lee (ankle) and RB Jamize Olawale (concussion) have been ruled out for the Raiders. LB Cory James (knee), CB David Amerson (shoulder) and RB DeAndre Washington (hamstring) have been listed as questionable.

Giants at Broncos

The 0-5 Giants have plenty of injuries to deal with this week. LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), RB Paul Perkins (ribs), C Weston Richburg (concussion), WR Sterling Shepard (ankle), DE Olivier Vernon (ankle) and DE Romeo Okwara (knee) have all been ruled out. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is also listed as out, although he’s suspended, and S Landon Collins (ankle) is questionable.

The Broncos come out of their bye with a short injury report. WR Cody Latimer (knee) and QB Paxton Lynch (right shoulder) have both been ruled out of Sunday night’s game.

PFT’s Week Six picks

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Five weeks in to the annual competition, MDS has stretched his lead to six games.

But I won’t quit. I won’t surrender. I won’t give in.

In part because it really doesn’t require much effort. As my performance through five weeks shows.

This week, we disagree on two games. For all of our Week Six picks, scroll away.

Eagles at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Eagles are probably a better all-around team than the Panthers, but Cam Newton is getting things turned around, and on a short week I think Philadelphia’s defense is going to struggle to game plan for him. Newton will have a big night both running and passing, and Carolina will win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Eagles 23.

Florio’s take: The Eagles’ fortunes turned last year once Lane Johnson began a PED suspension. He’s out with a concussion this week, and that could be just enough to make the difference when two of the best teams in the NFC get together under the lights.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Eagles 20.


Bears at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Bears made the right move benching Mike Glennon for Mitch Trubisky, but the Bears have a lot more problems than a quarterback can solve. The Ravens should win easily on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Bears 9.

Florio’s take: If the Ravens hope to contend this year, they need to take care of teams that are overmatched. The Bears are overmatched, and operating on a short week.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 17, Bears 10.


Browns at Texans

MDS’s take: In a league where parity reigns, the Browns somehow find a way not to regress toward the mean: They were 3-13 in 2015, 1-15 in 2016 and look worse than ever in 2017. The Texans, after a loss full of devastating injuries on Sunday, will bounce back easily.

MDS’s pick: Texans 22, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: Deshaun vs. DeShone get derailed by de bench.

Florio’s pick: Texans 41, Browns 17.


Packers at Vikings

MDS’s take: I’m not even sure it matters whether Sam Bradford or Case Keenum starts for the Vikings. I like Aaron Rodgers to have a big day against the Vikings’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take: The Vikings are improving but the Packers are the Packers as they make their first of possible two visits this season to U.S. Bank Stadium.

Florio’s pick: Packers 27, Vikings 17.


Lions at Saints

MDS’s take: Matthew Stafford is the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, but he hasn’t played like anything close to the best quarterback in the NFL. He might put up big numbers against a suspect Saints secondary, but Drew Brees will have a better day and the Saints will win.

MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Lions 24.

Florio’s take: Matthew Stafford is hobbled and the Saints are surprisingly stout on defense. And so the team that could have been 4-0 is in danger of falling to .500.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Lions 20.


Dolphins at Falcons

MDS’s take: Jay Cutler has been a mess this season, and you have to wonder why the Dolphins didn’t just go with Matt Moore after Ryan Tannehill went down. Those questions will intensify when the Dolphins lose another one on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Dolphins 14.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins may be getting close to getting hot, but this is a bad week to begin the effort. The Falcons are rested and getting healthy and the Dolphins aren’t ready to outscore them.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 26, Dolphins 17.


Patriots at Jets

MDS’s take: No one expected the Jets to be playing for first place in the AFC East in Week Six. Todd Bowles has done a good job putting his team in this position, but they’re not going to beat the Patriots with the division lead on the line.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Jets 17.

Florio’s take: The Jets have been impressive this year, but the Patriots are still the Patriots, and they’re getting better on the fly. Like they always do.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30 Jets 20.


49ers at Washington

MDS’s take: The winless 49ers will remain winless. This is the easiest pick of the day.

MDS’s pick: Washington 30, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take: Kyle Shanahan returns to D.C. with a team that is better than 0-5 would suggest, but not nearly good enough to outscore a rested Washington team.

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


Buccaneers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: If there’s one prediction I can state with confidence, it’s that Adrian Peterson won’t make a difference in Arizona. The Cardinals are heading in the wrong direction.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take: Adrian Peterson won’t make enough of a difference after only a few days with the team. The Bucs are simply better on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Cardinals 14.


Rams at Jaguars

MDS’s take: I don’t think many people thought before the season that Rams-Jaguars in Week Six would be one of the best games of the day, but it is. I like the Jaguars to slow down the game with their running offense and win a low-scoring one.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 14, Rams 13.

Florio’s take: The win-one, lose-one Jags are due to lose one. And since the Rams have the defense to take away the running game and the Jaguars don’t have the passing game to take advantage of it, the trend holds again.

Florio’s pick: Rams 20, Jaguars 13.


Steelers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are running away from the rest of the league, and they’ll continue to do it on Sunday, as Kareem Hunt has a big day against a suspect Steelers run defense.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Steelers 20.

Florio’s take: The Steelers return to the site of their playoff win, ready to prove wrong the doubters. And by “doubters” I mean those who actually heard and reacted to the doubts created by players like Ben Roethlisberger. Look for everyone to buckle down and focus on trying to get the offense clicking in a way it hasn’t clicked all year.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 24, Chiefs 20.


Chargers at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Raiders’ defense has been a mess this year, and it’s going to keep them out of the playoffs. I’m tempted to pick the Chargers to pull the upset, but they seem to have a knack for finding ways to lose winnable games, so I think the Raiders win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 28, Chargers 27.

Florio’s take: Derek Carr intends to return, and the Raiders need to reverse a three-game losing streak. Especially with a Thursday night visit from the Chiefs looming.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Chargers 20.


Giants at Broncos

MDS’s take: The winless Giants in prime time may result in a one-sided game that’s over by halftime. There’s just no way the injury-plagued Giants offense does anything against the strong Broncos defense.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 21, Giants 7.

Florio’s take: If the Giants win this one, it would be a bigger upset than Super Bowl XLII.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 30, Giants 13.


Colts at Titans

MDS’s take: Even if Marcus Mariota can’t go on Monday night, the Titans should beat a bad Colts team, whose only wins are against winless opponents.

MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Colts 13.

Florio’s take: Will Marcus Mariota be back? Will it matter, given that Andrew Luck isn’t?

Florio’s pick: Titans 13, Colts 9.

NFL, NFLPA release joint statement about national anthem discussion

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith talked Wednesday before releasing a joint statement about owners’ expected discussions on the national anthem next week. The statement reads:

“Commissioner Roger Goodell reached out to NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith today and both he and player leadership will attend the League meetings next week. There has been no change in the current policy regarding the anthem. The agenda will be a continuation of how to make progress on the important social issues that players have vocalized. Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military, and we are coming together to deal with these issues in a civil and constructive way.”

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Tuesday the national anthem will be “front and center on the agenda” for owners at next week’s meetings.

Roger Goodell’s memo to teams regarding national anthem

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[On October 10, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a memo to NFL teams regarding plans to discuss the national anthem and player protests at next week’s league meetings. That memo appears in full below.]

MEMORANDUM
To: Chief Executives
Club Presidents
From: Commissioner Goodell
Date: October 10, 2017
Re: Fall Meeting/National Anthem

We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours. The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.

I’m very proud of our players and owners who have done the hard work over the past year to listen, understand and attempt to address the underlying issues within their communities. At our September committee meetings, we heard directly from several players about why these issues are so important to them and how we can support their work. And last week, we met with the leadership of the NFLPA and more players to advance the dialogue.

Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.

Building on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting. This would include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues, and that will help to promote positive change in our country. We want to ensure that any work at the League level is consistent with the work that each club is doing in its own community, and that we dedicate a platform that can enable these initiatives to succeed. Additionally, we will continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players.

I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues when we meet next week in New York. Everyone involved in the game needs to come together on a path forward to continue to be a force for good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country. The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified. In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way.

Week Five power rankings

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1. Chiefs (5-0; No. 1): A 2005 first-round pick is a very viable MVP candidate.

2. Packers (4-1; No. 4): A 2005 first-round pick is a very viable MVP candidate.

3. Falcons (3-1; No. 3): The early bye came at a good time, given all the injuries. But now they have to play 12 straight games.

4. Panthers (4-1; No. 6): Playing the role of a modern-day Bobby Riggs, Cam followed an unforced error with a 120-mph serve.

5. Eagles (4-1; No. 9): Get used to the Eagles getting off to great starts to the season.

6. Broncos (3-1; No. 7): They should face the Giants with 10 men on defense, just for fun.

7. Patriots (3-2; No. 12): The real chase is for the No. 1 seed, and they have a 2.5-game deficit to erase over only 11 games.

8. Lions (3-2; No. 8): Every time they force me to believe in them, they give me a reason not to.

9. Jaguars (3-2; No. 20): They’ve finally figured out that the best way to use their quarterback is to use him as little as possible.

10. Bills (3-2; No. 2): Did LeSean McCoy shout,”Come talk to the losers!” after Sunday’s game?

11. Washington (2-2; No. 11): They could be better, could be worse, definitely are in second place in the division. Which is stunning.

12. Steelers (3-2; No. 5): So does Antonio Brown call out Ben this week for being a distraction?

13. Seahawks (3-2; No. 17): They won’t be surrendering their dominance of the division without a street fight.

14. Texans (2-3; No. 10): Despite the big-name injuries and the defeat to the Chiefs, Deshaun Watson gives any Texans fan reason for optimism.

15. Vikings (3-2; No. 18): Sam Bradford hadn’t spent that much time in the fetal position since exiting the womb.

16. Rams (3-2; No. 13): It was supposed to be a statement game; instead, it raised real questions about whether this team is as good as we thought it was.

17. Cowboys (2-3; No. 14): Jerry Jones also should order his players to stop taking a knee when up by double digits.

18. Raiders (2-3; No. 15): A pair of lame duck seasons mixed with an underachieving team could lead to an ugly mess, sooner than later.

19. Titans (2-3; No. 16): Given Marcus Mariota‘s playing style, the Titans need a better backup quarterback. If only there was an available free agent with similar playing style.

20. Jets (3-2; No. 24): If the plan was to create the impression of tanking in order to get people to claim that they were tanking in order to motivate the team to not tank, congratulations.

21. Saints (2-2; No. 21): The annulment with Adrian Peterson finally happened, four weeks later than it should have.

22. Buccaneers (2-2; No. 19): They should have won.

23. Dolphins (2-2; No. 23): They should have lost.

24. Ravens (3-2; No. 25): They should bottle whatever they discovered on Sunday for future use.

25. Bengals (2-3; No. 26): The “Throw the Ball to A.J. Green” strategy is working.

26. Cardinals (2-3; No. 22): Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson are on the same roster. Until Chris Johnson is released.

27. Chargers (1-4; No. 28): Three road games at home prepared them well for a road game on the road.

28. Colts (2-3; No. 29): They just might be able to tread water long enough to Andrew Luck to come back and get injured again.

29. Bears (1-4; No. 27): The fact that the Bears are excited to have a quarterback who threw a game-deciding interception in his debut shows just how bad the Bears have been at the position.

30. 49ers (0-5; No. 31): It’s getting harder and harder to locate the potential wins on the schedule.

31. Browns (0-5; No. 32): The Browns may bench DeShone against the Texans to make less glaring their failure to draft Deshaun.

32. Giants (0-5; No. 30): This season has been bad enough to make Ben McAdoo’s hair fall out. If it wasn’t frozen in place by Brylcreem.

The Jets aren’t tanking, and other Week Five thoughts

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Heading into this season, everyone knew the Jets were tanking. Trying to lose. Hoping to be the worst team in the NFL this year so they could get the first pick in the draft next year. Purposely throwing their season in the toilet.

Oh, sure, the Jets themselves denied it, but everyone knew that’s just what teams always say, because tanking is viewed as something nefarious, essentially ripping off your fans when they buy their season tickets. The Jets would deny it but everyone knew this season was going to be a 1-15 disaster.

And now we can add preseason predictions about the 2017 Jets to the long list of things “everyone knew” that turned out to be wrong.

The Jets are 3-2 after Sunday’s win over the Browns. They’re on a three-game winning streak. Although beating the Browns is no great accomplishment, a week earlier they beat the Jaguars, who are a solid team at 3-2 themselves, and a week before that they beat the Dolphins, who are 2-2. The Jets are in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East, with the Patriots and Bills. The Jets are most certainly not tanking.

And the truth is, none of their personnel moves that were decried as tanking have really turned out to look so bad. Yes, the Jets got rid of old veterans, but those veterans have been nothing special on their new teams. Receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker aren’t exactly making a lot of big plays on the Giants and Titans. Linebacker David Harris has barely played for the Patriots. Center Nick Mangold and cornerback Darrelle Revis haven’t played at all or even found a new NFL team. Maybe the Jets got rid of all these guys not because the Jets wanted to lose, but because the Jets wanted to win, and they knew all those old veterans weren’t going to help them win anymore.

So who is helping the Jets win? For starters, receivers Jeremy Kerley and Jermaine Kearse, both of whom caught all four of the passes thrown to them yesterday. The Jets brought Kerley back after he didn’t pan out in San Francisco this offseason, then brought in Kearse in a trade with the Seahawks that sent Sheldon Richardson to Seattle that also got the Jets Seattle’s 2018 second-round draft pick. Some called that trade a tanking move, but Kearse has been a solid addition this season. Adding those two guys wasn’t about tanking, it was about winning.

And if the Jets actually wanted to lose, they wouldn’t have Josh McCown as their starting quarterback, ahead of the much younger Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. The 38-year-old McCown has no role in the Jets’ long-term future, but he’s a better player today than Petty or Hackenberg, and he’s starting because he gives the Jets the best chance to win today. That’s not what a tanking team does.

Will the Jets stay in first place for long? I doubt it. They play the Patriots next week, and the Patriots will probably win, and next Sunday will probably be the last morning the Jets wake up in first place.

But it says something that the Week Six Jets-Patriots game is a legitimately interesting game, one where the Jets have an opportunity to make a huge statement. That’s not the kind of game most people thought the Jets would be playing this season.

I don’t know what the Jets’ final record will be. It will probably be worse than 8-8. Maybe it will be 3-13. The Jets’ roster isn’t all that good. But having a roster that isn’t all that good is not the same thing as tanking. The Jets are trying to win. And succeeding, three weeks in a row.

Here are my other thoughts from Week One:

Adam Vinatieri is ageless. Vinatieri will turn 45 in December, and he’s better now than he was in his 20s and 30s. On Sunday he made all his kicks, including a 52-yard field goal to get the Colts’ scoring started against the 49ers, and a 51-yard field goal to win the game in overtime. That was his 10th career game-winning field goal in overtime, an NFL record. Vinatieri is now 24-for-32 on field goals 50 yards or longer from his age-40 season in 2012 through his age-45 season this year. In his 20s, Vinatieri was 7-for-11 on field goals 50 yards or longer, and in his 30s he was just 5-for-14. Although Vinatieri got a lot of attention for a few clutch kicks with the Patriots in the early and middle parts of his career, he has actually been a better, more consistent kicker later in his career than he was when he was younger. Vinatieri’s longevity is absolutely incredible.

The Lions’ stubbornness about Eric Ebron may have cost them Sunday’s game. It’s been obvious for years that the Lions made a mistake when they used the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft on Ebron. But it’s odd that the Lions simply refuse to admit that mistake. Yesterday, refusing to admit their mistake may have cost them the game against the Panthers. In the first quarter, Ebron dropped what should have been a touchdown pass in the end zone and the Lions had to settle for a field goal, costing them four points. As is it turned out, the Lions lost by three points. Later in the game, the Lions phased Ebron out of the offense and went to their much better backup tight end, Darren Fells, and Fells responded with two touchdown catches. Perhaps if the Lions had gone to Fells instead of Ebron from the beginning, Fells would have caught the pass Ebron dropped, and the Lions would have won. After the game, Lions coach Jim Caldwell continued to defend Ebron. It’s bizarre the extent to which Detroit continues to defend a player who simply isn’t doing his job.

EJ Manuel was a bargain. Manuel, a free agent the Raiders got for $800,000, made some solid plays for the Raiders while filling in for the injured Derek Carr yesterday. They didn’t win, but that was more the defense’s fault than Manuel’s. Consider that Manuel and Mike Glennon both became free agents at the same time, and the Bears gave Glennon more than 20 times as much money as it would have cost to sign Manuel. Glennon has now been benched, as the Bears will turn to Mitch Trubisky tonight. Chicago should have signed Manuel.

Week Five early inactives

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Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back to see the full list as it becomes available 90 minutes ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs.

Bills at Bengals

Bills: LB Ramon Humber, WR Jordan Matthews, G John Miller, T Conor McDermott, TE Khari Lee, DT Jerel Worthy, CB E.J. Gaines

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert, WR John Ross, S Derron Smith, TE Ryan Hewitt, G Alex Redmond, G Christian Westerman, WR Josh Malone

Jets at Browns

Jets: RB Matt Forte, DE Kony Ealy, LB Josh Martin, CB Darryl Roberts, QB Christian Hackenberg, LB Obum Gwacham, CB Juston Burris

Browns: QB Cody Kessler, WR Kenny Britt, LB Jamie Collins, OL Marcus Martin, OL Zach Banner, DL T.Y. McGill, DL Caleb Brantley

Panthers at Lions

Panthers: S Kurt Coleman, C Ryan Kalil, S Demetrious Cox, DT Vernon Butler, QB Brad Kaaya, T John Theus, CB LaDarius Gunter

Lions: WR Kenny Golladay, RB Dwayne Washington, LB Paul Worrilow, RB Tion Green, LB Thurson Armbrister, CB Teez Tabor, G Tim Lelito

49ers at Colts

49ers: LB Reuben Foster, S Eric Reid, S Adrian Colbert, LB Dekoda Watson, LB Mark Nzeocha, WR Kendrick Bourne, G Erik Magnuson

Colts: QB Andrew Luck, TE Jack Doyle, CB Nate Hairston, RB Matt Jones, CB Quincy Wilson, WR Chester Rogers, OL Kyle Kalis

Titans at Dolphins

Titans: QB Marcus Mariota, WR Corey Davis, S Johnathan Cyprien, WR Darius Jennings, CB Kalan Reed, G Corey Levin, LB Kevin Dodd

Dolphins: S Maurice Smith, CB Torry McTyer, CB Byron Maxwell, LB Stephone Anthony, G Isaac Asiata, T Sam Young, DT Jordan Phillips

Chargers at Giants

Chargers: RB Branden Oliver, WR Mike Williams, QB Cardale Jones, LB Korey Toomer, T Tyler Marz, TE Sean Culkin, DE Jeremiah Attaochu

Giants: RB Paul Perkins, C Weston Richburg, DE Olivier Vernon, QB Davis Webb, TE Matt LaCosse, CB Michael Hunter, DT Robert Thomas

Cardinals at Eagles

Cardinals: T D.J. Humphries, DT Robert Nkemdiche, QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Chad Williams, RB D.J. Foster, LB Scooby Wright, OL Alex Boone

Eagles: DT Fletcher Cox, CB Ronald Darby, WR Shelton Gibson, G Isaac Seumalo, RB Wendell Smallwood, DT Destiny Vaeao, CB Jaylen Watkins

Jaguars at Steelers

Jaguars: LB Lerentee McCray, WR Jaelen Strong, RB T.J. Yeldon, S Jarrod Wilson, C Brandon Linder, OL Josh Walker, OL William Poehls

Steelers: LB James Harrison, QB Josh Dobbs, WR Eli Rogers, CB Brian Allen, T Jerald Hawkins, T Marcus Gilbert, DT Daniel McCullers

PFT’s Week Five picks

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It’s Week Five, but the magic number is seven.

Of the 14 games to be played over the next several days, MDS and I agree on seven — and disagree on seven.

I need a sweep or something close to it; with five disagreements last week, MDS went 4-1 and I went 1-4 and I’ve come to accept that I really suck at this. But, for some reason, that’s not stopping me from continuing to do it.

For all picks for Week Five, scroll on down the list of games.

Patriots at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: This is a tough one. The Bucs have been the better team so far this season, but I just can’t believe the Patriots’ defense will be as bad all year as it was in September. I see a turnaround coming for New England, starting tonight.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Buccaneers 21.

Florio’s take: The Bucs aren’t quite ready for prime time, and they’re definitely not ready to outscore a more-determined-than-ever Tom Brady. Defensive issues may not be fixed in four days, but Belichick can do enough to make it better, even in a short week.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Buccaneers 23.


Jets at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns opened as favorites in this game, which shocked me. I wouldn’t pick the Browns to beat anyone right now. The Jets are at least playing hard, defying those who thought they were tanking. Amazingly, they’ll be 3-2 after Sunday’s game.

MDS’s pick: Jets 20, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: The Browns successfully tanked last year. The Jets are unsuccessfully tanking this year. The Browns are unsuccessfully not tanking this year. To both teams I say, tanks fer nuttin’.

Florio’s pick: Jets 20, Browns 14.



Panthers at Lions

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are 3-1 even though Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton haven’t played particularly well. The Lions will win this one thanks to defense and special teams.

MDS’s pick: Lions 17, Panthers 13.

Florio’s take: Surprisingly great game pits a recently dominant team against a potentially dominant team. Cam Newton seems to be back, and he has extra motivation to show he’s more accomplished than a quarterback who is now getting paid a lot more money than Newton. But the blowback from his stupid, sexist remark could provide just enough of a distraction to keep him, and the Panthers, from getting it done.

Florio’s pick: Lions 27, Panthers 24.


49ers at Colts

MDS’s take: I hope Jacoby Brissett gets a real chance to be the man for some team some day, because he’s shown promise two years in a row when being thrown in on short notice. I think he’ll have a solid day on Sunday as the Colts beat the 49ers.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, 49ers 20.

Florio’s take: The 49ers don’t have many clear opportunities to win games this year. This is one of them. It’s time for Kyle Shanahan and company to get a win.

Florio’s pick: 49ers 20, Colts 16.


Titans at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Are we sure Jay Cutler is any better than Matt Moore? Because if he’s not, that signing was a huge mistake by the Dolphins. I think Cutler is going to struggle again on Sunday as the Titans win.

MDS’s pick: Titans 17, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s takeMatt Cassel vs. Jay Cutler. Must-Not-See-TV.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 17, Titans 13.


Bills at Bengals

MDS’s take: Maybe it’s a mirage because they were playing the Browns, but I think the Bengals turned a corner on Sunday. They’re going to play better football going forward and beat a good Bills team.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Bills 17.

Florio’s take:  The Bill are surging. The Bengals are treading water. Buffalo takes another step toward its first playoff berth since 1999.

Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Bengals 20.


Chargers at Giants

MDS’s take: Someone will finally get their first win on Sunday, and I think it’s going to be the Giants, in a game that won’t be particularly entertaining to watch.

MDS’s pick: Giants 16, Chargers 7.

Florio’s take: It’s a road game for the Chargers. Which means it’s the same as a home game. With both teams at 0-4, someone has to win. Home team gets the edge, barely.

Florio’s pick: Giants 13, Chargers 10.


Jaguars at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Jaguars’ pass defense is excellent, and Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown probably won’t put up big numbers on Sunday. But Blake Bortles will throw a couple interceptions and allow the Steelers to win a defensive struggle.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Jaguars 9.

Florio’s take: In 2007, Jaguars won twice in the same year in Pittsburgh. That’s all I’ve got on this one; the Steelers are clearly the better team in 2017.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Jaguars 17.


Cardinals at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Eagles are off to a good start and their schedule only gets easier. They should get a big win against the struggling Cardinals.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 28, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take: The Cardinals won’t be able to keep Carson Palmer from getting battered by a stout front seven, with or without Fletcher Cox.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 28, Cardinals 20.


Seahawks at Rams

MDS’s take: The Seahawks just haven’t been a very good team on either side of the ball this season, and the Rams have. It’s surprising to say this, but I think the Rams are the best team in the NFC West — by far.

MDS’s pick: Rams 31, Seahawks 13.

Florio’s take: Since winning the Super Bowl, the Seahawks are 2-4 against the Rams. And that was before the Rams figured out how to play offense. In a game that should pack the Coliseum (but won’t), the Rams secure a lead in the Fight for L.A. that they may never lose.

Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Seahawks 20.


Ravens at Raiders

MDS’s take: Can EJ Manuel lead the Raiders to a win over the Ravens? I don’t think so. If Derek Carr were starting I’d take Oakland, but with Manuel under center I’ll take Baltimore.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Raiders 17.

Florio’s take: The Raiders went from being a team of destiny to being a team that is striving to hold things together while Derek Carr recovers from a broken bone in his back. The good news is that they’ll be facing a team that already has fallen apart.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Ravens 13.


Packers at Cowboys

MDS’s take: In a rematch of a good playoff game from last year, the Cowboys will get their revenge and win a narrow game over the Packers.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Packers 23.

Florio’s take: Last year, a Week Six win over the Packers in Green Bay put everyone on notice that the Cowboys are back. This year, a date with the Packers will put everyone on notice that the Cowboys are back to being not back.

Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Cowboys 24.


Chiefs at Texans

MDS’s take: Deshaun Watson has been outstanding for the Texans this season, but I expect him to take a step back this week against the pressure of the league’s only unbeaten team.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Texans 21.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs are undefeated but not dominant. After three straight losses to Kansas City, the Texans found a way to beat them at home last year, and that was before they acquired Deshaun Watson. Look for Watson to yet again perform well on the biggest stages in football, and for the Texans to begin their climb above .500.

Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Chiefs 17.


Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: The Bears corrected their offseason mistake and benched Mike Glennon this week, but Mitch Trubisky can’t turn the season around all by himself.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Bears 16.

Florio’s take: Last year, one of Chicago’s three wins came at home against the Vikings on Monday Night Football. This year, they may not get more than three wins again, but once again one of them comes on MNF against the Vikings, in the first game played by Mitchell Trubisky.

Florio’s pick: Bears 20, Vikings 14.

Week Four power rankings

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1. Chiefs (4-0; No. 1): How does this team ever lose any game at Arrowhead Stadium?

2. Bills (3-1; No. 11): You want respect, LeSean? Here’s your respect.

3. Falcons (3-1; No. 3): At least the Chick-fil-A workers didn’t have to witness this one.

4. Packers (3-1; No. 4): They should trade for Adrian Peterson before the Vikings do.

5. Steelers (3-1; No. 8): Antonio Brown 1, Gatorade cooler, 0. Barely.

6. Panthers (3-1; No. 17): You want respect, Cam? Here’s your respect.

7. Broncos (3-1; No. 12): Put Joe Woods at the top of the list of 2018 coaching candidates.

8. Lions (3-1; No. 9): Put Jim Bob Cooter at the top of the list of 2018 coaching candidates (if he decides on a first name).

9. Eagles (3-1; No. 13): It’s a good thing the Browns didn’t think Carson Wentz would be good.

10. Texans (2-2; No. 22): It’s a good thing the Browns didn’t think Deshaun Watson would be good.

11. Washington (2-2; No. 6): It’s a good thing the Browns didn’t try to trade for Kirk Cousins.

12. Patriots (2-2; No. 2): Maybe it would be a good thing to trade Jimmy Garoppolo to the Browns.

13. Rams (3-1; No. 18): In the Fight for L.A., it’s a first-round TKO.

14. Cowboys (2-2; No. 5): The Cowboys know how to build a lead; they now have to figure out how to hold a lead.

15. Raiders (2-2; No. 7): So much for being a Team of Destiny — unless the destiny is to not make the playoffs.

16. Titans (2-2; No. 10): Typically, a Dick LeBeau defense doesn’t give up that many points in a month.

17. Seahawks (2-2; No. 16): Save some of those points for future games, guys.

18. Vikings (2-2; No. 14): The Vikings don’t need a running back; they need an exorcist.

19. Buccaneers (2-1; No. 21): On Thursday night, Jameis Winston gets another chance to become as a franchise quarterback.

20. Jaguars (2-2; No. 15): This team is doing its helmet justice.

21. Saints (2-2; No. 23): Of all the teams that started 0-2, this could be the one that could make it to the playoffs.

22. Cardinals (2-2; No. 25): It always feels like Carson Palmer is one hit away from literally disintegrating.

23. Dolphins (1-2; No. 19): Cutler was just trying to figure out if “Wildcat” is a new brand of cigarette.

24. Jets (2-2; No. 26): The supposed worst team in the league isn’t even the worst team in New York.

25. Ravens (2-2; No. 20): It’s almost time to hit the reset button.

26. Bengals (1-3; No. 31): When told the Bengals beat the second best team in Ohio, some said in response, “They played the Buckeyes?”

27. Bears (1-3; No. 24): Once upon a time, a rookie quarterback whose last name started with “T” led the Vikings to a win over the Bears. It’s now payback time. Fixty-six years later.

28. Chargers (0-4; No. 27): They’re quickly becoming the Washington Generals of the NFL.

29. Colts (1-3; No. 28): Why do I have a weird feeling that this team could still win the division?

30. Giants (0-4; No. 29): Fee fi fo fuuuuuuuuuuudge.

31. 49ers (0-4; No. 32): Horseshoes, Hand grenades, Hoyer.

32. Browns (0-4; No. 30): They say there’s no rift between the coaching staff and the front office. How bad would this team be if there were one?