PFT’s Week Eight picks

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The good news is that I nailed 13 of 15 picks last week. The bad news is that MDS did as well.

Which keeps me four games behind MDS as we approach the halfway point of the season.

This week, the slate consists of only 13 games. We disagree on two three of them. (Thanks to Mary Lou in Palm Coast for spotting that it’s three, not two.)

Start scrolling now to see who we like in each of the games.

Dolphins at Ravens

MDS’s take: I’m not sure that the loss of Jay Cutler matters because I’m not sure that he’s any better than Matt Moore. Either way, the Ravens’ defense should shut down the Dolphins’ offense, and Baltimore should win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 17, Dolphins 7.

Florio’s take: The 2011 team MVP for the Dolphins has a chance to help continue to push the 2017 season in the right direction while Jay Cutler’s ribs heal. If Matt Moore continues to play well, it may take a little while for Cutler to get to “100 percent.”

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Ravens 17.


Vikings at Browns

MDS’s take: In my opinion Cody Kessler is the best of the Browns’ three bad quarterbacks, but Hue Jackson disagrees with me and has gone back to DeShone Kizer. It probably doesn’t matter, as the Vikings’ defense is good enough to shut down the Browns no matter who plays quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Browns 3.

Florio’s take: The Browns have won one of 23 games since the latest reset of the franchise, and the current regime has passed on the likes of Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz. Whoever passed on Watson and Wentz is about to be gone, for good.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 30, Browns 16.


Falcons at Jets

MDS’s take: The Jets are better than expected and the Falcons are worse than expected this season, but order will be restored on Sunday and the Falcons will win easily.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: The Falcons continue their tour of the AFC East, with coach Dan Quinn returning to the place where he easily won a Super Bowl ring four years ago. This one won’t be as easy, in part because the Falcons are struggling and in part because the Jets aren’t.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Jets 17.


Panthers at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers’ defense has been horrible this season, and as a result I’m tempted to pick the Panthers in a road upset. But Cam Newton has been too inconsistent this year for me to be confident in him on Sunday and so I’ll say the Bucs win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Panthers 23.

Florio’s take: It’s feeling like a division-title elimination game, even with plenty of games left to play. While there’s a chance neither team makes to the postseason, chances are the loser this week will have a fork in them.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 20.


49ers at Eagles

MDS’s take: The winless 49ers are certainly not going to get their first win of the season in Philadelphia. This is the easiest pick on the board.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take: One of the best teams in the NFL faces one of the worst. Which probably means the 49ers will win. I’m not nearly drunk enough (yet) to go out on that limb.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 37, 49ers 17.


Bears at Saints

MDS’s take: The Bears are finding ways to win despite bad quarterback play, but against a Saints defense that has improved remarkably since the start of the season, that’s not going to work.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: The Bears return to the scene of their only Super Bowl win, with a team that is far closer to contending for a berth in the Super Bowl tournament than many would admit. Unfortunately for Chicago, the Saints are much closer to matching their best season in franchise history, thanks to a defense that currently seems closer to the ’85 Bears than the ’09 Saints.

Florio’s pick: Saints 23, Bears 13.


Chargers at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Chargers are on a nice little run and I’m tempted to pick them in an upset, but Tom Brady is still playing at an MVP level and I like the Patriots in a high-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Chargers 30.

Florio’s take: This one could be the game of the day, if the Chargers continue to build on what they’ve done over the past three weeks. But the Patriots are at home and that 2-2 start managed to get their attention, on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Chargers 20.


Raiders at Bills

MDS’s take: The Raiders’ defense just can’t stop anyone this season, and the Bills should be able to slow down Derek Carr and Amari Cooper better this week than the Chiefs did last week. Buffalo takes another big step toward the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Bills 28, Raiders 21.

Florio’s take: Once upon a time, Buffalo blasted Oakland with a berth in the Super Bowl on the line. For the Raiders, this one is nearly a playoff game, and a loss would wipe out a potential season-saving win against the Chiefs.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 23, Bills 17.


Colts at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Colts look as bad as anyone in the NFL right now. They’ve won two games, but I don’t see them winning two more.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 17, Colts 9.

Florio’s take: The Bengals get a bit of a break from the schedule-makers, with an overmatched Indy team coming to town just in time for Cincinnati to avoid, or at least to stall, an implosion.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 31, Colts 14.


Texans at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I think the Texans are a better team than the Seahawks overall, but in Seattle, rookie Deshaun Watson is going to be in the toughest environment he’s faced. The Seahawks’ defense should have a good game and they’ll win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 17, Texans 14.

Florio’s take: The last time the Texans and the Seahawks got together, the Pick-Six Machine known as  Matt Schlub (autocorrect insisted on it) helped Houston blow a big lead and lose in overtime, thanks to an interception that Richard Sherman returned with a shoe missing for the game-tying score. This time around, the quarterback is better — but the venue has flipped to Seattle. Welcome to the NFL, Deshaun.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 20, Texans 9.


Cowboys at Washington

MDS’s take: This is the toughest game on the board to pick, and probably a must-win for one of these teams to have any hope of catching the Eagles in the NFC East. I see Kirk Cousins putting up a big game against the Cowboys’ defense and Washington bouncing back from a tough Monday night loss.

MDS’s pick: Washington 28, Cowboys 27.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys have beaten the Giants, the Cardinals, and the 49ers. Washington has lost to the Eagles twice and the Chiefs. Maybe Dallas isn’t as good as we thought, and maybe Washington is better.

Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Cowboys 21.


Steelers at Lions

MDS’s take: Matthew Stafford hasn’t played up to his enormous contract this season, and against an outstanding Steelers pass defense he’s going to continue to struggle.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 20, Lions 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers return to the site of Super Bowl XL, in what surely will be Ben Roethlisberger’s last career game there (barring a team change). If he plays better than he did that day back in 2006, the Steelers should be able to find a way to win, especially with their defense getting back to what it was in the era that resulted in two Super Bowl wins only three years apart.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Lions 24.


Broncos at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs have fallen back to earth a bit since their hot start, but the Broncos have declined even more. This is a good opportunity for Kansas City to bounce back and get a win in the division.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Broncos 20.

Florio’s take: It’s getting close to desperation time for both teams, with two straight losses each and promising seasons now threatened by Raiders and Chargers uprisings. Home team gets the edge, also because it’s better.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Broncos 17.

Week Seven power rankings

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1. Eagles (6-1; No. 2): Before they can be a Team of Density, they need to be sure that it’s not Carson Wentz‘s destiny to get injured while being reckless with his body.

2. Patriots (5-2; No. 3): It’s just a matter of time before we forget all about the time they were 2-2.

3. Steelers (5-2; No. 4): They’re suddenly treating Le'Veon Bell like a rented car on a rocky road.

4. Chiefs (5-2; last week No. 1): With all the praise directed to the offense, has anyone noticed that the defense isn’t getting it done?

5. Seahawks (4-2; No. 6): They’ll face the Eagles in the regular season; it may be an appetizer to an excellent postseason rematch.

6. Vikings (5-2; No. 7): The Vikings and Teddy Bridgewater are currently like Helen Hunt and Tom Hanks at the end of Castaway. #timely.

7. Rams (5-2; No. 9): Why do I have a feeling people would be saying “we’re not sure what to think of this team” even as they are hoisting the Lombardi Trophy?

8. Bills (4-2; No. 10): Doug Whaley joins fired General Managers like John Dorsey and Dave Gettleman as potential Executive of the Year In Absentia candidates.

9. Dolphins (4-2; No. 11): The 2011 team MVP has a chance to become the 2017 team MVP.

10. Saints (4-2; No. 15): They’re starting to party like it’s 2009.

11. Texans (3-3; No. 13): Deshaun Watson will soon find out that Legion of Boom is slightly better than the Legion of ‘Bama.

12. Panthers (4-3; No. 5): Mike Shula is starting to make David Shula look good in comparison.

13. Washington (3-3; No. 8): If the offensive line continues to get banged up, Captain Kurt may soon need to go see Doctor Spork.

14. Falcons (3-3; No. 12): Is Steve Sarkisian still under warranty?

15. Titans (4-3; No. 17): Does beating the Browns in overtime actually count as a win?

16. Lions (3-3; No. 16): With the Steelers coming back to town, will Phil Luckett be joining them?

17. Jaguars (4-3; No. 18): Does the bye week count as a “bad week” in the good-week-bye-week-good-week-bye-week formula?

18. Cowboys (3-3; No. 19): Will Dak Prescott vs. Carson Wentz become the new Manning-Brady?

19. Chargers (3-4; No. 23): Could it be 1992 all over again for the Chargers?

20. Raiders (3-4; No. 25): How much better would they be if they’d drafted a running back instead of luring one out of retirement?

21. Broncos (3-3; No. 14): They had “sub-optimal, near-replacement-level quarterbacking” in 2015, and it was still better than what they’re doing now.

22. Packers (4-3; No. 20): It’s hard to take a guy seriously when he says “don’t count us out” immediately after giving everyone a reason to count them out.

23. Bears (3-4; No. 27): When the offensive game plan consists of scoring multiple defensive touchdowns, that’s not a sustainable offensive game plan.

24. Jets (3-4; No. 21): Tanks for the memories.

25. Bengals (2-4; No. 24): Could Hue Jackson pull off the ultra-rare moved of being fired by one team and hired by another in the same state?

26. Buccaneers (2-4; No. 26): It’s a good thing that ownership is patient and even-keeled and never makes rash decisions when it comes to firing coaches.

27. Ravens (3-4; No. 28): Steve Bisciotti recently passed out votes of confidence. Which means the pink slips will be passed out, eventually.

28. Colts (2-5; No. 29): Receiver T.Y. Hilton would like to apologize for accurately pointing out that the offensive line stinks.

29. Cardinals (3-4; No. 22): When Drew Stanton‘s career highlight is a celebration on the sideline, it hasn’t been a very memorable career.

30. Giants (1-6; No. 30): During the bye, does Ben take a vacation from the Brylcreem?

31. 49ers (0-7; No. 31): After so many close losses, it feels like they’ve just given up.

32. Browns (0-7; No. 32): Carson Wentz. Deshaun Watson. So who’s the next franchise quarterback on whom they will pass?

Hang a banner with Joe Thomas’s No. 10,363, and other Week Seven thoughts

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The Cleveland Browns have retired five numbers in franchise history, but they’re all for players from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, players from the proud early days of the franchise that later moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens. The new Browns have been a dreadful franchise, with just one player worthy of a retired number: Joe Thomas.

Thomas, the future Hall of Fame left tackle, has been a great player on a terrible team, and the Browns will surely hang up his No. 73 jersey some day. But after Thomas suffered a triceps injury on Sunday, I’d like to see the Browns hang a banner for him right now, rather than wait until he retires.

I think the Browns should hang a banner now with the number 10,363 on it. That’s the number of consecutive snaps that Thomas played in the Browns’ offense before he got hurt yesterday. That number, 10,363, represents as impressive a streak as there has ever been in sports. To play every single play, game after game after game, never taking a snap off, never needing a breather, never exiting a game early, is extraordinary.

Thomas probably wouldn’t want that kind of fuss made over his extraordinary streak. He’s never liked a fuss, dating to 2007, when the Browns chose him with the third overall pick in the NFL draft and he chose to go fishing with his dad instead of going to the draft.

But it’s an honor he warrants. And it would be a rare instance of the Browns having something to celebrate, as I’ll get to now on my other thoughts about Week Seven.

The Browns are a mess. I fully understand that the Browns are in the midst of a long-term rebuilding process, and that they have a boatload of draft picks next year, and we can’t really judge them until we see what they do with those picks. But. Shouldn’t we be seeing some progress by now? I’m seeing none. After the Browns went 1-15 last year, they’re 0-7 this year. Coach Hue Jackson cannot make up his mind at quarterback, first starting DeShone Kizer, then benching him for Kevin Hogan, then going back to Kizer, then benching him for Cody Kessler yesterday. It’s a little unfair to play 20/20 hindsight on draft picks, but the fact is the Browns traded away the pick that became Carson Wentz last year, and traded away the pick that became Deshaun Watson this year, and they look like two of the NFL’s best young quarterbacks. The Browns’ big acquisition in free agency, Kenny Britt, is woefully underperforming his four-year, $32.5 million contract. The Browns are a long way away. And yesterday’s injury was a reminder that they won’t have a Hall of Fame left tackle forever.

We’ve seen some ugly offense this season. In addition to the Titans and Browns scoring nothing but field goals in Tennessee’s 12-9 overtime win, there were three shutouts on Sunday, with the Jaguars beating the Colts 27-0, the Rams beating the Cardinals 33-0 and the Chargers beating the Broncos 21-0. There have already been five shutouts this season, and the three shutouts yesterday matched the total number of shutouts for the entire 2016 season.

Jimmy Graham looks terrible. Entering yesterday’s game, Graham, the Seahawks’ former All-Pro tight end, was already having the worst year of his career, averaging just 8.5 yards a catch. Yesterday he was worse than ever, dropping a pass in the end zone and dropping another perfect pass when he was wide open and Russell Wilson hit him in the hands. Graham did score a late touchdown, but he didn’t play as well as his 51 yards and a touchdown might suggest. Graham, who will turn 31 next month, appears to have his best football behind him.

Adrian Peterson is not good. I know, I know, Peterson exceeded expectations last week in his Cardinals debut. But yesterday’s game, in which he gained just 21 yards on 11 carries, was what I expect to see from Peterson going forward. He’s way past his prime and just not a good player anymore. Last week was probably the last good game we’ll ever see Peterson play.

Does Mike McCarthy really have faith in Brett Hundley? McCarthy insisted after Aaron Rodgers went down that the Packers are very confident in Hundley as their starter as long as Rodgers is out. But if that’s the case, why did McCarthy implement such a conservative game plan for Hundley’s first start yesterday? Hundley showed that he can run, but he didn’t do much of anything, nor was he asked to do much of anything, with his arm. He finished with 12 completions in 25 attempts for 87 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. That’s not going to get it done.

The Bears aren’t bad, except at quarterback. Chicago poured enormous resources into the quarterback position this offseason, guaranteeing Mike Glennon $18.5 million for 2017 and then trading up to the second overall pick for Mitch Trubisky. Glennon opened the year as the starter and was absolutely awful, and Trubisky took over and hasn’t been much better. But the Bears managed to win one game with Glennon starting, and they’re now 2-1 with Trubisky after beating the Panthers yesterday despite Trubisky completing just four passes. The reason is that the Bears actually have a solid team, other than the quarterback position. Both the offensive and defensive lines are good, and there’s no team with a better pair of young running backs than Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Put a decent quarterback on this team, and they’re in the playoffs. Maybe Trubisky will develop into that decent quarterback next year. Maybe.

Andrew Luck should not play this year. Luck, who had shoulder surgery in January, still hasn’t been cleared to return. At this point, he shouldn’t return until 2018. The Colts are 2-5 and going nowhere, and by the time Luck is healthy enough to play the Colts are going to be out of playoff contention. It would be foolish to risk another injury to Luck in meaningless late-season games. If there’s one thing this NFL season has reminded us, it’s the physical toll the game can take on its players. Let Luck rest up for next year.

It’s official: Justin Timberlake will perform at Super Bowl halftime

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A month ago, USMagazine.com reported that Justin Timberlake was finalizing a deal to perform at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. The NFL made it official Sunday, announcing Timberlake as the halftime performer.

Timberlake has performed on the Super Bowl halftime stage twice previously, giving him the distinction of having the most appearances by an individual entertainer. He previously performed at Super Bowls XXXV and XXXVII, producing one of the most memorable halftime shows with the “wardrobe malfunction” as he ripped away a piece of Janet Jackson’s costume.

In August, Timberlake performed at Jerry Jones’ Pro Football Hall of Fame induction party. Timberlake called Jones “the greatest owner in the history of sports.”

Last year’s show became the most-watched musical event of all-time across all platforms and the most-watched Super Bowl halftime performance in history through broadcast and digital channels. It reached more than 150 million unique people, garnering more than 80 million views and totaling 260 million minutes watched.

NBC will broadcast Super Bowl LII and the halftime show from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota.

Week Seven 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.

Buccaneers at Bills

Buccaneers: S Josh Robinson, DE Ryan Russell, S Isaiah Johnson, OL Joe Hawley, T Caleb Benenoch, TE Antony Auclair, DT Sealver Siliga

Bills: TE Charles Clay, LB Ramon Humber, OL Conor McDermott, T Seantrel Henderson, G John Miller, WR Kaelin Clay, DT Cedric Thornton

Jets at Dolphins

Jets: TE Jordan Leggett, QB Christian Hackenberg, CB Derrick Jones, RB Travaris Cadet, LB Freddie Bishop, LB Obum Gwacham, OL Jonotthan Harrison

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

Panthers at Bears

Panthers: LB Luke Kuechly, S Demetrious Cox, RB Fozzy Whittaker, T John Theus, S Kurt Coleman, OL Greg Van Roten, QB Garrett Gilbert

Bears: WR Markus Wheaton, QB Mark Sanchez, LB John Timu, S Sherrick McManis, RB Benny Cunningham, C Hroniss Grasu, DL John Jenkins

Titans at Browns

Titans: S Johnathan Cyprien, WR Corey Davis, WR Darius Jennings, DB Kalan Reed, OL Corey Levin, LB Kevin Dodd, DL David King

Browns: LB James Burgess, QB Kevin Hogan, DB Jabrill Peppers, DB Jason McCourty, OL Marcus Martin, OL Zach Banner, DL T.Y. McGill

Saints at Packers

Saints: WR Willie Snead, CB Sterling Moore, QB Taysom Hill, DE Hau'oli Kikaha, G John Greco, WR Austin Carr, DL John Hughes

Packers: S Morgan Burnett, LB Ahmad Brooks, LB Joe Thomas, RB Devante Mays, G Lane Taylor, OL Adam Pankey, DT Montravius Adams

Jaguars at Colts

Jaguars: C Brandon Linder, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Jaelen Strong, DB Lafayette Pitts, CB Jalen Myrick, OL Josh Walker, OL William Pohels

Colts: QB Andrew Luck, RB Robert Turbin, LB Anthony Walker, CB Quincy Wilson, RB Matt Jones, DB Pierre Desir, TE Henry Krieger-Coble

Cardinals vs. Rams (in London)

Cardinals: QB Blaine Gabbert, WR Chad Williams, RB D.J. Foster, RB Andre Ellington, OL Daniel Munyer, DL Olsen Pierre, TE Ricky Seals-Jones

Rams: QB Brandon Allen, RB Justin Davis, S Cody Davis, LB Ejuan Price, T Andrew Donnal, T Cornelius Lucas, WR Mike Thomas

Ravens at Vikings

Ravens: WR Breshad Perriman, OL Matt Skura, RB Terrance West, TE Maxx Williams, LB Tim Williams, WR Jeremy Maclin, WR Chris Matthews

Vikings: QB Sam Bradford, WR Stefon Diggs, G Nick Easton, WR Michael Floyd, CB Mackensie Alexander, OL Aviante Collins, DE Tashawn Bower

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.