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Week Nine early inactives

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 15: Eric Kendricks #54 of the Minnesota Vikings runs a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the preseason game on August 15, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Buccaneers 26-16. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

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

Dolphins at Bills

Dolphins: T Ja’Wuan James, WR DeVante Parker, S Jordan Kovacs, WR Matt Hazel, T Ulrick John, DT A.J. Francis, CB Tony Lippett

Bills: DT Kyle Williams, T Cyrus Kouandjio, QB Josh Johnson, RB Boom Herron, CB Mario Butler, LB Randell Johnson, OL Gabe Ikard

Packers at Panthers

Packers: CB Sam Shields, QB Brett Hundley, CB Quinten Rollins, LB Andy Mulumba, G Lane Taylor, TE Kennard Backman, WR Ty Montgomery

Panthers: DT Dwan Edwards, G Andrew Norwell, DB Dean Marlowe, TE Scott Simonson, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, RB Brandon Wegher, WR Kevin Norwood

Rams at Vikings

Rams: DE Chris Long, DE Robert Quinn, T Rob Havenstein, QB Sean Mannion, DT Doug Worthington, RB Chase Reynolds, S T.J. McDonald

Vikings: LB Eric Kendricks, DT Sharrif Floyd, DE Justin Trattou, QB Taylor Heinicke, TE Chase Ford, OL Nick Easton, OL Jeremiah Sirles

Redskins at Patriots

Redskins: CB DeAngelo Hall, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Rashad Ross, DE Frank Kearse, C Kory Lichtensteiger, DT Terrance Knighton, TE Anthony McCoy

Patriots: T Marcus Cannon, G Tre’ Jackson, DE Jabaal Sheard, LB Jamie Collins, WR Keshawn Martin, RB James White, DL Trey Flowers

Titans at Saints

Titans: CB Jason McCourty, WR Kendall Wright, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, QB Charlie Whitehurst, G Quinton Spain, DE Ropati Pitoitua, DT Mike Martin

Saints: LB Dannel Ellerbe, LB Hau’oli Kikaha, LB Ramon Humber, CB Damian Swann, QB Luke McCown, DT Kaleb Eulls, T Tony Hills

Jaguars at Jets

Jaguars: WR Marqise Lee, S James Sample, RB Toby Gerhart, RB Joe Banyard, LB Hayes Pullard, OL Luke Bowanko, DE Chris Smith

Jets: S Calvin Pryor, G Willie Colon, QB Bryce Petty, T Ben Ijalana, OL Dakota Dozier, DT T.J. Barnes, RB Bilal Powell

Raiders at Steelers

Raiders: LB Neiron Ball, CB Dexter McDonald, RB Roy Helu Jr., DB TJ Carrie, OL Jon Feliciano, OL Matt McCants, WR Rod Streater

Steelers: LB Terence Garvin, TE Matt Spaeth, QB Mike Vick, CB Doran Grant, RB Isaiah Pead, T Byron Stingily, DE Leterrius Walton

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Week Nine injury report roundup

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 23:  DeSean Jackson #11 of the Washington Redskins runs with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 23, 2014 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week Nine of the 2015 season.

Dolphins at Bills

Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker (foot) is doubtful and expected to miss the game. Tight end Jordan Cameron (hamstring), linebacker Neville Hewitt (hamstring), defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (knee) and running back Damien Williams (thumb, illness) are questionable. Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ankle) is listed as questionable, but calls himself definite to play. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams (knee) and wide receiver Percy Harvin (knee) definitely won’t play and quarterback Tyrod Taylor (knee) will be back in the starting lineup.

Packers at Panthers

The Packers are in decent health as they head to Carolina. Wide receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle), cornerback Quinten Rollins (neck) and cornerback Sam Shields (shoulder) are questionable, but everyone else is probable or off the injury report entirely. The Panthers can say the same as the bulk of their injury report, including center Ryan Kalil (ankle) and LB Shaq Thompson (knee), is made up of probable players. Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (ankle) and guard Andrew Norwell (hamstring) won’t play, however.

Rams at Vikings

The Rams have some issues at defensive end with Chris Long (knee) out and both William Hayes (thigh) and Robert Quinn (knee) questionable to play. Tackle Rob Havenstein (ankle), running back Tre Mason (ankle), safety T.J. McDonald (foot) and running back Chase Reynolds (thigh) are also questionable. The Vikings will play without defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee, ankle), linebacker Eric Kendricks (ribs) and defensive end Justin Trattou (foot) and they’ll hope linebacker Anthony Barr (back, questionable) can play.

Redskins at Patriots

Questionable is the word of the day for the Redskins. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland (hamstring), cornerback Chris Culliver (knee), cornerback DeAngelo Hall (toe), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring), linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (hand), center Kory Lichtensteiger (neck) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (rib, abdomen, shoulder) all earned the designation on Friday. The Patriots ruled out tackle Marcus Cannon (toe), guard Tre’ Jackson (knee) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (ankle). Center Ryan Wendell (knee) is doubtful and guard Shaq Mason (knee) is questionable along a banged up offensive line. Wide receiver Julian Edelman (knee) and running back Dion Lewis (abdomen) are both probable.

Titans at Saints

Quarterback Marcus Mariota (knee, probable) is all systems go for the Titans, who have ruled out cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (hamstring) and wide receiver Kendall Wright (knee). If Jason McCourty (groin, questionable) also misses the game, they’ll be short on corners.  The Saints, on the other hand, will be short on linebackers. Dannell Ellerbe (hip), Ramon Humber (hamstring) and Hau’oli Kikaha (ankle) have all been ruled out. Quarterback Luke McCown (back) and cornerback Damian Swann (concussion) are also out for New Orleans.

Jaguars at Jets

Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring) practiced this week, but is doubtful to play. Guard Zane Beadles (foot) and safety James Sample (shoulder) are both questionable. Center Nick Mangold (neck) is probable to return for the Jets, but safety Calvin Pryor (ankle) is out again this week. Guard Willie Colon (knee), wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle, toe) and cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder, hand) are questionable and wide receiver Eric Decker (knee) is probable. Quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick (thumb) and Geno Smith (shoulder) are both probable, which means they’ll be in that order on the depth chart.

Raiders at Steelers

Linebacker Neiron Ball (knee) is out for the Raiders and cornerback T.J. Carrie (shoulder, hip) is questionable, but everyone else on the injury report is probable. The Steelers are in the same boat once you get past linebacker Terence Garvin (knee) and tight end Matt Spaeth (knee) being out for the game.

Falcons at 49ers

The Falcons will head to California without cornerback Robert Alford (groin), linebacker Justin Durant (calf), wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) and safety William Moore (groin). Defensive end Vic Beasley (foot) is questionable after being added to the injury report Friday. The 49ers won’t have running backs Carlos Hyde (foot) or Mike Davis (hand) and wide receiver Anquan Boldin (hamstring, doubtful) is likely out as well for Blaine Gabbert’s debut as the team’s starter. Cornerback Kenneth Acker (chest, concussion), cornerback Tramaine Brock (shin), tight end Garrett Celek (concussion) and cornerback Keith Reaser (not injury related, ankle) are all questionable.

Giants at Buccaneers

Linebackers Jon Beason (ankle/knee) and J.T. Thomas (ankle) have been ruled out for the second straight Giants game and will join tight end Larry Donnell (neck), wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) on the sideline. Linebacker Uani ‘Unga (neck) is questionable, which may leave the Giants awfully thin at linebacker. Wide receiver Rueben Randle (hamstring) and cornerback Leon McFadden (groin). The Buccaneers ruled out wide receiver Vincent Jackson (knee), defensive end Jacquies Smith (ankle) and safety Major Wright (hamstring). Defensive end William Gholston (knee), defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (groin), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and safety D.J. Swearinger (toe) are all questionable.

Broncos at Colts

Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman (thigh) is questionable, but was a full participant in two practices this week. Wide receiver Jordan Norwood (hamstring) and linebacker Shane Ray (knee) are out. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (foot) missed practice all week, but got a questionable tag. Center Khaled Holmes (neck) and quarterback Andrew Luck (ankle) are probable.

Eagles at Cowboys

Linebacker Kiko Alonso (knee, probable) is expected to play for the first time since Week Two, but the Eagles will wait to make final calls on wide receiver Nelson Agholor (ankle), running back Ryan Mathews (groin), tackle Jason Peters (back) and linebacker DeMeco Ryans (hamstring) after listing them as questionable. The Cowboys are still missing Tony Romo, but their injury report is a brief one. Wide receiver Brice Butler (hamstring) and safety Barry Church (ankle) are questionable and wide receiver Dez Bryant (foot) is one of four probables.

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PFT’s Week Nine picks

Jason Garrett, Dez Bryant AP

We had our best showing of the season last week, with 12-2 records and a lingering tie through eight frames of a 17-round fight.

This week, MDS and yours truly disagree on two games of the 13-contest slate. All picks, along with the reasoning for them, appear below.

For the year, we’re tied at 80-39, a 67.2-percent success rate.

Browns at Bengals

MDS’s take: Johnny Manziel on the road against a tough Bengals defense? I think I know how this game is going — toward a blowout that people will turn off at halftime and go to bed.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 30, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: The last time Johnny Manziel started against the Bengals, the Browns lost by 30. In Cleveland. This time, the game is in Cincinnati. Which is bad news for the Browns.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 37, Browns 13.

Dolphins at Bills

MDS’s take: When these teams met in the Joe Philbin era, the Bills won 41-14. Dan Campbell may be a better coach than Philbin, but he’s not that much better. The Bills are still the superior team.

MDS’s pick: Bills 27, Dolphins 17.

Florio’s take:  The Bills helped get Joe Philbin fired by embarrassing Miami in their home opener. The Dolphins could return the favor by extending Buffalo’s home losing streak to four. The Bills, rested and healthier, can’t let that happen.

Florio’s pick: Bills 23, Dolphins 20.

Packers at Panthers

MDS’s take: This is a tough one. Aaron Rodgers looked like a mere mortal on the road against a good Broncos defense, and now he has to face a good Panthers defense on the road a week later. But I think Rodgers will bounce back and have a big game, and the Packers will win a good game.

MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Panthers 21.

Florio’s take: Green Bay emerged from Sunday night’s game humbled. Carolina emerged from Monday night’s game exhausted. Advantage Packers.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 27, Panthers 24.

Rams at Vikings

MDS’s take: This is a very intriguing game in the NFC playoff race. It’s also going to be one of the few times in Adrian Peterson’s career that he hasn’t been the best running back on the field. Todd Gurley will have a huge game and the Rams will establish themselves as playoff contenders.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Vikings 20.

Florio’s take: In five wins, the Vikings have beaten teams with a combined record of 9-30. The Rams’ victories include wins over the Seahawks and Cardinals, who have won 10 games between them. As the Vikings enter a six-game stretch that will show the world whether they’re for real, the run begins with a loss to a team better than anyone Minnesota has beaten.

Florio’s pick: Rams 20, Vikings 17.

Washington at Patriots

MDS’s take: The easiest pick on the board. The Patriots are the best team in the NFL right now, and although Washington is trending upward, they’re not ready to win at New England.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 38, Washington 17.

Florio’s take: Eight years ago, the Patriots beat Washington 52-7. This year, it could be just as bad.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 42, Washington 10.

Titans at Saints

MDS’s take: Ken Whisenhunt went 3-20 as the head coach of the Titans. Now they’ve fired him and hired Mike Mularkey . . . who went 3-20 in his last 23 games as a head coach, in Jacksonville and Buffalo. The coaching change won’t make the Titans any better.

MDS’s pick: Saints 33, Titans 20.

Florio’s take: The streaking Saints got a gift this week — a visit from a one-win team that fired its coach on Tuesday.

Florio’s pick: Saints 34, Titans 14.

Jaguars at Jets

MDS’s take: I picked the Jets last week and immediately regretted it when Ryan Fitzpatrick went down on the first series. This week Fitzpatrick will be back, but I think the Jets can beat the Jaguars no matter who’s playing quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Jets 24, Jaguars 17.

Florio’s take: The Jets are reeling, but quarterbackRyan Fitzpatrick is playing. Which will give the Jets a chance to turn things around against a Jaguars team that may be rested but ultimately isn’t ready to pull off a road win in New Jersey.

Florio’s pick: Jets 26, Jaguars 15.

Raiders at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Raiders are a better team than they’ve been given credit for, and I regretted picking against them last week. And yet I think the Steelers’ passing game will make enough big plays against the Raiders’ secondary that they should be able to win a high-scoring, back-and-forth contest.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 35, Raiders 31.

Florio’s take: A ‘70s-era AFC rivalry is renewed, with major postseason implications. The Steelers don’t have Le’Veon Bell — but they do have Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and enough pieces to avoid losing back-to-back home games.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 23, Raiders 20.

Falcons at 49ers

MDS’s take: Colin Kaepernick was playing poorly enough that his benching is justifiable, but if you think Blaine Gabbert is the answer to the 49ers’ problems, please contact me directly for any bets you’d like to place. The Falcons will hammer Gabbert & Co.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take: The 49ers reportedly hand-picked the Falcons as the team against which Blaine Gabbert should debut. That should go over well with the Falcons.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, 49ers 13.

Giants at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers are starting to come around and play better football, but I don’t think their secondary is quite good enough to stop Eli Manning and Odell Beckham. The Giants will win a close game.

MDS’s pick: Giants 28, Buccaneers 24.

Florio’s take: The up-and-down Giants are due to win, assuming they can hold the Buccaneers to fewer than 50 points. The Bucs have scored plenty of points in recent weeks, before allowing the other team to come back.

Florio’s pick: Giants 30, Buccaneers 23.

Broncos at Colts

MDS’s take: Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis comes as the Broncos are coming off their most impressive win of the season, and the Colts are reeling from an ugly loss. The Broncos’ defense will make life miserable for Andrew Luck.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 20, Colts 10.

Florio’s take: Peyton Manning returns to his adopted home with a defense that could win games even if Jim Sorgi or Curtis Painter were taking the snaps. The only question is whether it’s a big enough embarrassment to spark a coaching change.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 42, Colts 20.

Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: If Tony Romo were playing, I’d pick the Cowboys. I might even pick the Cowboys if Brandon Weeden were playing, given that Weeden played pretty well against the Eagles after Romo went down in Philadelphia. But with Matt Cassel at the helm? The Eagles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Cowboys 6.

Florio’s take:  The Cowboys handled the Eagles in Week Two on their own field. Dallas hasn’t won since. With Dez Bryant a little healthier and the defense showing it knows how to slow down the Eagles, it’s time for the home team’s long-overdue Win No. 3.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 20.

Bears at Chargers

MDS’s take: This looks like one of the worst prime time games of the season, as the Chargers are in terrible injury shape and the Bears are just terrible. Philip Rivers is playing well enough that I’ll take the Chargers.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 23, Bears 21.

Florio’s take: The perils of making a full-season Monday Night Football schedule in April will be on full display as the 2-5 Bears take on the 2-6 Chargers. Chicago isn’t as bad as its record reflects; the Chargers may be worse.

Florio’s pick: Bears 27, Chargers 20.

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PFT’s Week Nine power rankings

Tom Brady AP

1. Patriots (7-0; last week No. 1): The Jets, Colts, Ravens, Bills, and Dolphins have jointly requested a finding from the league office that the Patriots are a bunch of doodyheads.

2. Bengals (7-0; No. 2): Cincinnati is on to a first-round bye.

3. Broncos (7-0; No. 5): Peyton Manning has been so bad this year that when he’s simply good everyone thinks he’s great again.

4. Panthers (7-0; No. 4): A much tougher opponent than the one they barely beat is rolling into town on Sunday.

5. Packers (6-1; No. 3): Aaron Rodgers can’t do it all by himself.

6. Cardinals (6-2; No. 8): Ready or not, prime time is coming for the Cardinals in each of their next two games.

7. Vikings (5-2; No. 9): The next three games (Rams, Raiders, Packers) will show whether the Vikings are for real or fraudulent.

8. Rams (4-3; No. 11): The Cardinals should be more worried about St. Louis than Seattle.

9. Raiders (4-3; No. 14): They’re in the top 10; indignant Raiders fans will now insist they should be in the top five.

10. Seahawks (4-4; No. 15): They’ve got extra time to prepare for the biggest game of the year so far — a visit from the Cardinals.

11. Falcons (6-2; No. 7): Remember when the Falcons were good? Neither do I.

12. Jets (4-3; No. 6): The Jets are the latest proof of the phenomenon now known as post-Pats-partum depression.

13. Steelers (4-4; No. 10): With Le’Veon Bell done for the year, it’s time to spread ’em out and throw it . . . just as the weather gets ready to turn.

14. Saints (4-4; No. 17): It took a while, but the post-Graham offense is finally clicking like baseball cards in bicycle spokes.

15. Dolphins (3-4; No. 12): Dan Campbell wants them to remember the feeling from Thursday night. There’s a chance they’ll be reliving it regularly.

16. Eagles (3-4; No. 16): Best part of the bye week? No interceptions from Sam Bradford, guaranteed.

17. Giants (4-4; No. 13): Coincidentally, the over/under on wins is also 8.5.

18. Cowboys (2-5; No. 18): “No, that’s not Tony Romo. It’s Matt Cassel. Seriously. It’s Matt Cassel.”

19. Washington (3-4; No. 19): Kirk Cousins won’t like that in New England.

20. Bills (3-4; No. 20): An upcoming three-game tour of the AFC East will show whether these Bills can contend.

21. Buccaneers (3-4; No. 26): Not many teams could recover from blowing a 24-point lead with a win on the road against a division opponent.

22. Chiefs (3-5; No. 27): Just like last year, we all may have written them off too early.

23. Colts (3-5; No. 21): The Colts play their best football when they’re down by two or more scores.

24. Ravens (2-6; No. 30): They could still make the wild-card race interesting.

25. Texans (3-5; No. 29): If they were the Colts, they’d hang a “Got Ken Whisenhunt Fired” banner.

26. Jaguars (2-5; No. 25): In the race to be the best of four bad teams, the Jaguars could be the least worst.

27. Bears (2-5; No. 24): Bears plus Chargers on Monday Night Football equals what else is on TV?

28. Browns (2-6; No. 22): Is it really a fire sale if no one buys anything?

29. Chargers (2-6; No. 23): At this rate, they’ll be offering taxpayer money to pay for the moving vans.

30. Titans (1-6; No. 31): The Chip Kelly bat signal officially is on.

31. 49ers (2-6; No. 28): It wasn’t a trade for Vernon Davis; it was an escape.

32. Lions (1-7; No. 32): They should just cross the border and join the CFL.

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NFL morning after: A wonderful, awful Sunday

Steve Smith AP

In terms of the sheer entertainment value of the games, yesterday was my favorite Sunday of this NFL season.

In terms of the sheer carnage of the players involved, yesterday was my least-favorite Sunday of this NFL season.

I’ll get to the incredible offensive display in the Saints-Giants game and the pitiful performance put on by the Lions and everything else in between, but first let’s talk about what a terrible day full of injuries we just witnessed.

We may have seen Steve Smith’s career end. Smith, the Ravens receiver who will probably end up in the Hall of Fame some day, had previously announced that he will retire at the end of the season. On Sunday, he caught a pass — the 961st catch of his career — and as he was tackled he immediately grabbed at his ankle. The Ravens confirmed after the game that his Achilles tendon ruptured on the play and his season is over. I’d love to see Smith change his mind about retirement because I’d love to see him play again, and he’s such a competitor that I’m sure he doesn’t want to go out that way. But his 961st catch might have been his last.

We saw Le’Veon Bell’s knee bend in a way it shouldn’t. Bell’s foot was planted when he was rolled up on a tackle in the Steelers’ loss to the Bengals, and his knee bent in a way that knees aren’t supposed to bend. It was an ugly injury to one of the best running backs in the league.

We saw Reggie Bush slip on concrete and tear up his knee. Bush, returning a punt for the 49ers, ran out of bounds in St. Louis and his momentum carried him onto the cement around the perimeter of the field. Football cleats aren’t meant for running on cement, and Bush slipped and fell, and reportedly suffered a severe knee injury. Why is there a cement surface in an NFL stadium? Good question. That’s an issue the NFL should have addressed before Bush wrecked his knee.

We saw Matt Forte exit with a knee injury. Forte, the running back who has been the Bears’ best player this season, suffered an injury to his knee and did not return in yesterday’s loss to the Vikings.

We saw Calvin Johnson exit with an ankle injury. The Lions’ ugly loss in London got even uglier when Megatron hurt his ankle in garbage time. Johnson missed three full games and most of two others with ankle injuries last year, and now he’ll head into the Lions’ bye week with another ankle ailment.

We saw Ryan Fitzpatrick exit on the first series. Fitzpatrick had the Jets’ offense off to a good start on the first series, but he didn’t last long. After completing his first three passes, Fitzpatrick suffered a hand injury and had to be replaced by Geno Smith.

We saw Ricardo Lockette get knocked unconscious on the field. Lockette was running down the field on a punt for the Seahawks and took a hard hit. He instantly fell to the turf, motionless, and was taken off the field on a stretcher. Fortunately, Lockette had full movement in all extremities and, but it was a season-ending injury and a disturbing scene that had players on both teams visibly shaken.

We saw the Chargers get absolutely devastated by injuries. The Chargers had already had a rough season from an injury perspective heading into yesterday’s game. But yesterday was just ridiculous. The Chargers had 12 different players leave the game with injuries.

What a brutal day. And now on to why it was a great day:

Todd Gurley is the NFL’s most fun young star. Gurley, the Rams’ rookie running back, has started four games. In those four games he has rushed for 146, 159, 128 and 133 yards. So far in the NFL this season, starting running backs have gained 128 or more yards in about 7 percent of all games. Gurley is doing it 100 percent of the time. Gurley’s 566 yards in his first four starts are the most for any player in his first four starts. Gurley is averaging 141.5 yards a start; in Jim Brown’s best year, 1963, he averaged 133.1 yards a start. Gurley is the best running back in the NFL right now, and he’s only 21 years old. He’s going to be fun to watch for years.

Peyton Manning came back to life. Even after last night’s game, Manning ranks dead last in the NFL in passer rating. But he played well in leading the Broncos to a 29-10 win over the Packers. The Broncos are still a team that will win first and foremost with defense — I don’t think I’ve ever seen a defense play any better against Aaron Rodgers — but Manning showed he can still play at a high level.

Drew Brees and Eli Manning put on a show. Brees tied the NFL record, with seven touchdown passes. Manning had six touchdowns, and the combined total of 13 touchdown passes was the most in one game in NFL history. Brees had a ridiculous 511 yards, while Manning had 350. The 101 total points in the Saints’ 52-49 victory were the third-most in NFL history. It was a wild, back-and-forth game that was a lot of fun, even if the defense was pretty awful.

The Buccaneers showed something in an exciting overtime win. There have been rumblings that Bucs coach Lovie Smith could be on the hot seat as his team has failed to show much progress this season. At least until yesterday, when the Bucs went to Atlanta and upended a previously 6-1 Falcons team, 23-20 in overtime. Jameis Winston wasn’t great, but he played efficient, turnover-free football, and he showed in marching the Bucs into field goal range in overtime that he’s starting to figure out how to run an NFL offense. Smith has to like what he sees of Winston, because Smith has to know that his job security depends on Winston’s development.

The Raiders are for real. The Raiders have been such a bad franchise for so long. It’s exciting to see how many good young players they have now, like quarterback Derek Carr, receiver Amari Cooper, running back Latavius Murray and defensive end Khalil Mack. The Raiders also have a great old player in Charles Woodson, who at age 39 is the oldest defensive player in the NFL. Woodson recorded his fifth interception of the season on Sunday, giving him the league lead and making him the oldest player ever to record five interceptions in a season. The win improved the Raiders’ record to 4-3, and they’re right in the thick of the playoff race.

Carson Palmer continues to amaze. When Palmer suffered his season-ending knee injury last year, some wondered if he’d ever be back in peak form. Boy, is he. Palmer threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns for the Cardinals in yesterday’s win over the Browns. Arizona is 6-2 and cruising toward a playoff spot, and if Palmer is healthy the Cardinals will be a tough team to beat.

Martin Mayhew’s seat should be hotter than Jim Caldwell’s. The Lions might fire both Mayhew, their G.M., and Caldwell, their coach. But if there’s one person to blame for the mess the 1-7 Lions are in, it’s Mayhew. Mayhew is the one who signed quarterback Matthew Stafford to an enormous contract. Mayhew is the one who spent huge resources on Stafford’s weapons (Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron) while allowing the Lions’ offensive line to wither and die. Mayhew is the one who allowed the Lions’ excellent pair of defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, to leave in free agency, and then made things worse by trading two draft picks for an expensive aging veteran defensive tackle in Haloti Ngata. It’s time for Mayhew to go.

I wrote that last observation on Sunday morning while the Lions’ loss in London was still being played, and I fell into the common trap of treating football players like commodities — and general managers like Mayhew like commodities traders — rather than like human beings. All those injuries that happened later in the day were a stark reminder that these are human beings, men who put their bodies on the line for our entertainment. It was an entertaining Sunday in the NFL. But it was also a brutal Sunday in the NFL.

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Week Eight early inactives

Baltimore Ravens v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. This week kicked off early with the Lions and Chiefs in London, so we’ll cover the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs here. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Buccaneers at Falcons

Buccaneers: DT Tony McDaniel, CB Tim Jennings, WR Vincent Jackson, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DT Clinton McDonald, S Major Wright, QB Ryan Griffin

Falcons: WR Leonard Hankerson, S William Moore, WR Nick Williams, CB Dez Southward, C Gino Gradkowski, T Brye Harris, DE Malliciah Goodman

Chargers at Ravens

Chargers: G Orlando Franklin, S Eric Weddle, LB Manti Te’o, LB Tourek Williams, RB Donald Brown, LB Denzel Perryman, CB Craig Mager

Ravens: T Eugene Monroe, WR Breshad Perriman, CB Tray Walker, DB Terrence Brooks, T De’Ondre Wesley, WR Jeremy Butler, DL Kapron Lewis-Moore

Vikings at Bears

Vikings: DT Sharrif Floyd, TE Rhett Ellison, DE Justin Trattou, LB Audie Cole, QB Taylor Heinicke, C Nick Easton, OL Jeremiah Sirles

Bears: CB Terrance Mitchell, RB Ka’Deem Carey, LB Shea McClellin, C Hroniss Grasu, T Jermon Bushrod, DT Bruce Gaston, WR Cameron Meredith

Cardinals at Browns

Cardinals:QB Matt Barkley, LB Shaq Riddick, LB Alex Okafor, T D.J. Humphries, G Earl Watford, TE Darren Fells, NT Xavier Williams

Browns: WR Andrew Hawkins, TE Rob Housler, S Jordan Poyer, TE E.J. Bibbs, LB Jayson DiManche, DB Don Jones, QB Austin Davis

Titans at Texans

Titans: QB Marcus Mariota, CB Perrish Cox, WR Harry Douglas, RB Terrane West, G Quinton Spain, DE Ropati Pitoitua, DT Mike Martin

Texans: WR Cecil Shorts, LB Akeem Dent, LB Bernardrick McKinney, CB Kareem Jackson, C Greg Mancz, LB Kourtnei Brown, S Rahim Moore

Giants at Saints

Giants: CB Prince Amukamara, WR Victor Cruz, DE Owa Odighizuwa, LB J.T. Thomas, LB Jon Beason, G Bobby Hart, DT Louis Nix

Saints: LB David Hawthorne, T Andrus Peat, QB Garrett Grayson, DE Obum Gwacham, LB Dannell Ellerbe, DT Kaleb Eulls, DE Tavaris Barne

Bengals at Steelers

Bengals: WR Mario Alford, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, LB P.J. Dawson, TE C.J. Uzomah, DT Marcus Hardison, DT Brandon Thompson, DE Margus Hunt

Steelers: DE Stephon Tuitt, LB Terence Garvin, S Will Allen, QB Mike Vick, TE Jesse James, T Byron Stingily, QB/WR Tyler Murphy

49ers at Rams

49ers: RB Carlos Hyde, WR DeAndrew White, G Brandon Thomas, OL Ian Silberman, WR Anquan Boldin, DT Mike Purcell, TE Blake Bell

Rams: DE Chris Long, QB Sean Mannion, S Christian Bryant, RB Trey Watts, TE Justice Cunningham, G Cody Wichmann, DT Doug Worthington

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Jets instigated sideline interrogation of three Kraft Sports employees


While it’s still unclear whether the Jets instigated the sweep of their locker room for bugs prior to last Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium (more on that later in the day), it’s crystal clear that the Jets prompted a separate investigation of the Patriots during the Week Seven contest between the two teams.

PFT has obtained a copy of an email message detailing the incident that happened during the third quarter of the game.

“Jets Security Director Robert Mastroddi made an inquiry with NFL Security regarding the presence of two individuals wearing headsets and Patriots attire, who were positioned outside of the bench area on the Patriots sideline,” the email states. “Mastroddi requested to know who they were, and expressed concern given their proximity to the Patriots bench.”

Lenny Bandy and Dick Farley of NFL Security thereafter investigated the situation, questioning three employees of Kraft Sports, whose responsibilities include in-stadium entertainment, such as the music and other sound coming through speakers in the stadium. (Kraft Sports is owned by Robert Kraft, who also owns the Patriots.)

One of the employees also is responsible for keeping fresh batteries in the referee’s in-stadium microphone. But Mastroddi didn’t initially accept the explanation that a team employee would be responsible for ensuring the performance of the referee’s microphone; Mastroddi said “people responsible for maintaining the referee’s microphone should be League contractors and not Kraft Sports employees wearing Patriots gear.” In response to Mastroddi’s concerns, Bandy called 345 Park Avenue and spoke with Jay Reid of the officiating department, who confirmed that the referee’s in-stadium microphone is handled by the teams, not by the league.

The Boston Globe first reported the inquiry, and the Boston Herald added details.

The email obtained by PFT points out that a reporter from Sports Illustrated had approached Mastroddi after the game, because the reporter noticed that Mastroddi had been “very active” with NFL Security on the sideline. Mastroddi said he declined comment on or off the record, but that he informed Jets executives about his concerns and the ensuing investigation.

Asked Friday by reporters about the “alleged locker room sweep” on Sunday, Jets coach Todd Bowles said, “I know nothing about it.”

It’s unclear whether Bowles knows about the separate investigation; he wasn’t asked that specific question. But it’s hard to imagine that Bowles didn’t know or hadn’t since heard about it.

Asked whether he’s suspicious of the Patriots, Bowles said, “No, we just go up there to play football.”

The team’s head of security was doing more than playing football on Sunday. Whatever his game was, Mastroddi struck out swinging. The league ultimately found that “there is nothing to indicate that the conduct or actions of the aforementioned individuals [on Sunday] were inappropriate,” and the league closed the matter on Monday.

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Week Eight injury report roundup

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 13:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week Eight of the 2015 season.

Lions vs. Chiefs (in London)

Lions tackle LaAdrian Waddle (knee) is questionable and linebacker DeAndre Levy (hip) remains out, but the Lions are otherwise healthy for their English breakfast game. The Chiefs won’t have defensive end Mike DeVito (concussion), guard Ben Grubbs (neck) or linebacker Ramik Wilson (ankle) on Sunday morning, but wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (concussion) is expected back after getting a probable tag.

Buccaneers at Falcons

Reports this week had wide receiver Vincent Jackson (knee) set to miss multiple weeks, but the Bucs have listed him as doubtful for this week rather than ruling him out. They may just like that tag, because they also gave it to defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (pectoral), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) and safety Major Wright (hamstring). They were willing to rule out tackle Reid Fragel (concussion) and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (groin). Falcons wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (hamstring) and safety William Moore (groin) are both out while wide receiver Nick Williams (hamstring) is listed as questionable.

Chargers at Ravens

The Chargers will take the field in Baltimore without guard Orlando Franklin (ankle), linebacker Manti Te’o (ankle), safety Eric Weddle (groin) and linebacker Tourek Williams (foot). Tight end Antonio Gates (knee) missed practice all week, but the team is holding out hope by listing him as questionable. There’s less hope for linebacker Denzel Perryman (biceps, doubtful). Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) is also doubtful while safety Kendrick Lewis (knee), guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) and tight end Maxx Williams (knee, ankle) are all questionable.

Vikings at Bears

Running back Adrian Peterson (hip, finger, ankle) is probable to play for the Vikings. Linebacker Audie Cole (finger), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (knee, ankle) and defensive end Justin Trattou (foot) are all out. The Bears don’t expect to have linebacker Shea McClellin (knee) after listing him as doubtful. Tackle Jermon Bushrod (shoulder), defensive tackle Bruce Gaston (illness), center Hroniss Grasu (neck) and safety Antrel Rolle (ankle) are all questionable.

Cardinals at Browns

The Cardinals listed wide receiver John Brown (hamstring) as questionable after a Friday return to practice. Tight end Darren Fells (shoulder) and linebacker Alex Okafor (calf) are out for the game and cornerback Jerraud Powers (hamstring) is also questionable. The Browns listed quarterback Josh McCown (shoulder, ribs) as questionable and indications are that he will start. Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (concussion), tight end Rob Housler (hamstring) and safety Jordan Poyer (shoulder) won’t play and safety Tashaun Gipson (ankle) is questionable. Cornerback Joe Haden (concussion, probable) is expected back in the lineup.

Titans at Texans

Zach Mettenberger will start at quarterback for the Titans with Marcus Mariota (knee) ruled out again this week. Cornerback Perrish Cox (hamstring) and wide receiver Harry Douglas (ribs) are also out. Center Andy Gallik (concussion) and cornerback Jason McCourty (hamstring) are listed as questionable. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (back) returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable. Linebacker Akeem Dent (hamstring), cornerback Kareem Jackson (ankle), center Greg Mancz (knee), linebacker Benardrick McKinney (concussion) and wide receiver Cecil Shorts (hamstring) have been ruled out.

Giants at Saints

Giants linebacker Jon Beason (ankle) is questionable after missing an entire week of practice. If he’s inactive, he’ll join cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral), wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (ankle) on the sideline. Linebacker David Hawthorne (hamstring) and tackle Andrus Peat (knee) are out for the home team with linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip, doubtful) likely to be out as well. Cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip) is questionable.

Bengals at Steelers

The Bengals have an injury report of one this week. Cornerback Leon Hall (back) is questionable. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (knee) is probable to return to action, but safety Will Allen (ankle), linebacker Terence Garvin (knee), defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee) and quarterback Michael Vick (hamstring) have been ruled out.

49ers at Rams

49ers running back Carlos Hyde (foot) has been ailing for a few weeks and has been ruled out for Sunday. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin (hamstring) is questionable after missing Friday’s practice, but said he will be in the lineup. The Rams ruled out defensive end Chris Long (knee) and listed defensive ends Robert Quinn (knee) and William Hayes (thigh) as questionable for the NFC West matchup.

Jets at Raiders

It doesn’t look like the Jets will have center Nick Mangold (neck) after listing him as doubtful, although he is traveling with the team to Oakland. Safety Calvin Pryor (ankle), running back Bilal Powell (ankle) and wide receiver Devin Smith (ankle) are all out while wide receiver Eric Decker (knee), guard Willie Colon (knee) and cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder, hand) are all questionable. Linebacker Neiron Ball (knee) has been ruled out for the Raiders, who don’t have anyone else listed as anything but probable.

Seahawks at Cowboys

The Seahawks initially labeled tackle Russell Okung (toe, ankle) as doubtful, but upgraded him to questionable before the injury report became final. The rest of the Seahawks on the injury report, including defensive end Cliff Avril (ankle) and running back Marshawn Lynch (hamstring), are probable to play. Wide receiver Dez Bryant (foot) is questionable for the Cowboys with signs pointing toward his return to the lineup for the first time since Week One. Running back Joseph Randle (oblique) has been ruled out after a busy week that didn’t include participation in practice.

Packers at Broncos

Packers wide receiver Davante Adams (ankle, probable) is expected back in the lineup, but there’s more uncertainty around wide receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle), linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder, hand), defensive tackle B.J. Raji (groin), cornerback Damarious Randall (ankle) and running back James Starks (hip) due to their questionable tags. Broncos tackle Ty Sambrailo (shoulder) is doubtful, but linebacker DeMarcus Ware (back, probable) should play. Linebacker Shane Ray (knee) has been ruled out for the battle of the unbeaten teams.

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PFT’s Week Eight picks

Ben Roethlisberger, Andy Dalton AP

Seven weeks in, it’s a dead heat. By trusting the Giants to beat the Cowboys, MDS finally closed the one-game gap, giving us an identical record in the picks contest through seven weeks.

This week, we disagree on two of the 14 games. And they’re two of the better games of Sunday.

Scroll down for more. But before you do, I’m required by law (or at least by habit) to point out that MDS was 10-4 last week, and I was 9-5. For the year, we’re knotted at 68-37 (64.7 percent).

Dolphins at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Dolphins look like a totally different team under Dan Campbell than they looked under Joe Philbin. But even this new and improved Dolphins team isn’t good enough to win at New England.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins have dramatically reversed an early-season slide that got its head coach fired. And if they get blown out by the Patriots after wins over the Titans and Texans, the new vibe under Dan Campbell will be tested. So maybe they won’t get blown out, but they’re not ready to shock the Patriots — especially after the league once again poked the bear with its #DeflateGate legal filing.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Dolphins 23.

Lions at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Big surprise, London gets another terrible football game. The Lions’ offense will show some new wrinkles with a new coordinator, but the Chiefs are a better team in all three phases of the game and will pull it out in the fourth quarter. A loss in London and a fall to 1-7 on the season will raise major questions about Jim Caldwell’s job security.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Lions 20.

Florio’s take: Was it wise for the Lions to change offensive coordinators six days before a game in London? Probably not. Will they beat the Chiefs in London? Probably not. Will the Lions make the sweeping changes needed after the season to finally become consistently relevant? Probably not.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Lions 20.

Buccaneers at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Falcons may not be a great team, but they keep beating bad teams. They’ll do it again on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: An upset here isn’t out of the question, given that the Falcons have looked sloppy and uninspired over the last few games. But it will be difficult if not impossible for a young team to quickly overcome blowing a 24-0 lead to the Washington You-Like-Thats.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 17.

Chargers at Ravens

MDS’s take: Before the season, this looked like a battle of potential AFC playoff teams. Now it looks like a battle of potential first overall pick teams. One area where the Ravens have a clear advantage is special teams, and I see a special teams play making the difference in a close game here.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Chargers 24.

Florio’s take: Finally, the Ravens play a West Coast team without having to travel to the West Coast. If they can’t win this one against a demoralized Chargers team, the Ravens should just move back to Cleveland.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Chargers 24.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: The Vikings are a bit like the Falcons: Not as good a team as their record suggests, but consistent enough to beat the bad teams. They should do it again in Chicago on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 21, Bears 20.

Florio’s take: The Vikings won at Soldier Field only once since 2000. They last won there when Adrian Peterson was a rookie. With the team’s most dynamic offensive rookie since Peterson (Stefon Diggs) stepping up in recent weeks, it could be time for Peterson to get his second career there.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Bears 20.

Cardinals at Browns

MDS’s take: Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Johnson are all showing they have more left than a lot of people thought. They’ll keep that going in Cleveland, whose defense just doesn’t have the personnel to keep up with the Cardinals’ big-play offense.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 31, Browns 17.

Florio’s take: The Cardinals continue to rough up on the mediocre teams on their schedule, as they wait for teams like the Seahawks, Packers, Bengals, and Vikings to bubble up on the slate.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Browns 20.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: This is an ugly game between two bad teams, and yet the winner will have every reason to believe they’re right in the thick of things in the AFC South. I think the Texans will manage to pull out a close win.

MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Titans 16.

Florio’s take: The team that used to be in Houston returns to face the team that currently is in Houston and everyone in Houston likely wishes they both would go away from Houston.

Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Titans 14.

Giants at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense is still a mess, but their offense has really played well, and Drew Brees appears to be healthy. I think New Orleans will put enough points on the board to take this one.

MDS’s pick: Saints 31, Giants 27.

Florio’s take: The up-and-down Giants visit the down-and-up Saints, and since the Giants beat the Cowboys after losing to the Eagles, the Giants are due to lose again. The Saints have found their footing post-Jimmy Graham, with an offensive that has suddenly diversified.

Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Giants 21.

Bengals at Steelers

MDS’s take: The return of Ben Roethlisberger makes this one interesting, but the Bengals are playing the best football in the division this season and will win a close one, taking a surprising 3.5-game lead in the AFC North.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Steelers 21.

Florio’s take: The Bengals may be 6-0 in 2015, but the Steelers are 6-2 all time against Andy Dalton. And the Steelers desperately need this one, if they have any hope of repeating as division champs. With Big Ben coming back, it’s time for one of the five remaining undefeated teams to pick up an “L”.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 20, Bengals 17.

49ers at Rams

MDS’s take: I love the young players on the Rams’ defense, and I think their pass rush is going to cause Colin Kaepernick fits. The Rams will take an early lead and then grind it out with Todd Gurley.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, 49ers 7.

Florio’s take: Last year, the 49ers were good. Which made the Rams focus a little more on beating them. This year, the 49ers aren’t good. Which could made the Rams complacent. Even if the Rams are complacent, they’re good enough to win this one.

Florio’s pick: Rams 24, 49ers 13.

Jets at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Raiders are getting better, and I’m excited to see the matchup of Darrelle Revis on Amari Cooper. But I think Oakland’s offense is going to struggle to move the ball against the excellent Jets’ defense, and as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t make too many mental mistakes, the Jets will win.

MDS’s pick: Jets 23, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: It’s one of the best games of the day, and the winner will be in the thick of the playoff picture. If the Raiders perform like they did against the Chargers, they should win. Besides, a loss to the Patriots tends to stick to the team’s biggest rivals.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 24, Jets 20.

Seahawks at Cowboys

MDS’s take: If Tony Romo were playing, this would be a great game. With Matt Cassel at the helm, it’s hard to see the Cowboys keeping it close. The Seahawks’ defense will shut the Cowboys’ offense down and Seattle will win easily.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Cowboys 10.

Florio’s take: If the Cowboys weren’t in the NFC East, a fifth loss could doom them. But they can drop yet another and still make a run at the crown once both Dez Bryant and Tony Romo are back. Which is the only good news for Dallas, because the Seahawks have started to turn the corner.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 21, Cowboys 17.

Packers at Broncos

MDS’s take: Both teams are undefeated, but there’s a big difference between them: The Broncos are winning solely with their defense, while the Packers are playing good football on both sides of the ball. That’s why Green Bay wins this one.

MDS’s pick: Packers 21, Broncos 14.

Florio’s take: The 6-0 Broncos will play three of the other four 6-0 teams, starting with the Packers. Which means the Broncos will play three teams that can take full advantage of offensive flaws that teams like the Chiefs, Raiders, Browns weren’t able to fully exploit.

Florio’s pick: Packers 31, Broncos 20.

Colts at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Colts are heading into a tough stretch in their schedule, which means they’re heading into a long losing streak. The Panthers will put plenty of pressure on Andrew Luck and win this one without much trouble.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Colts 14.

Florio’s take: It feels like it’s time for the Panthers to lose one. But it also feels like the Colts are inching toward a full-blown free fall. Carolina has managed to keep a major chip on its shoulder despite being 6-0, and that chip will serve the Panthers well in their second straight prime-time game.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 27, Colts 17.

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PFT’s Week Eight power rankings

Rob Gronkowski AP

1. Patriots (6-0; last week No. 1): The Patriots may wish they’d gotten on Thursday night the Joe Philbin Dolphins, not the Dan Campbell Dolphins.

2. Bengals (6-0; No. 2): Beating Pittsburgh in the regular season could be the key to avoiding a loss to them in January.

3. Packers (6-0; No. 3): Sunday’s trip to Denver could result in Aaron Rodgers seeing the best defense he’s ever faced.

4. Panthers (6-0; No. 4): If they can win when Cam Newton throws three interceptions, they won’t lose many times.

5. Broncos (6-0; No. 5): Of the four other 6-0 teams, Denver will play three of them.

6. Jets (4-2; No. 6): The Jets should emerge from their loss to the Patriots confident that they can beat anyone.

7. Falcons (6-1; No. 8): They’ll end up with a lot more than one loss if they can’t beat bad teams more convincingly.

8. Cardinals (5-2; No. 9): The Cards continue to pile up wins over bad teams.

9. Vikings (4-2; No. 10): How did Stefon Diggs last until round five?

10. Steelers (4-3; No. 7): The Landry Jones era is over. There was one?

11. Rams (3-3; No. 11): It’s probably time for teams playing the Rams to start game-planning to stop Todd Gurley.

12. Dolphins (3-3; No. 15): Those back-to-back wins won’t mean anything if the Dolphins get thumped on Thursday night in Foxborough.

13. Giants (4-3; No. 14): Consistent Inconsistency is the T-shirt slogan for the 2015 Giants.

14. Raiders (3-3; No. 18): The best team in the Bay Area is suddenly the one that doesn’t have a swanky new stadium.

15. Seahawks (3-4; No. 16): Michael Bennett hates Dallas. He now gets a chance to visit.

16. Eagles (3-4; No. 12): It’s not crazy to think that this team would instantly get better by trading for Colin Kaepernick.

17. Saints (3-4; No. 23): The division title could be difficult to win, but a wild-card berth is definitely in play.

18. Cowboys (2-4; No. 13): “My dog didn’t just bite you. He’s simply trying to show you how to properly eat your food.”

19. Washington (3-4; No. 22): If that’s how excited Kirk Cousins gets after beating the Bucs, he may have a Scanners moment if they ever beat a good team.

20. Bills (3-4; No. 17): Well, at least they’re not moving to Toronto.

21. Colts (3-4; No. 19): If Andrew Luck is still injured, it explains plenty. If he’s not injured, he has plenty of explaining to do.

22. Browns (2-5; No. 20): The owner’s hand is likely creeping toward the well-worn reset button.

23. Chargers (2-5; No. 21): The Major League strategy apparently is being employed in San Diego.

24. Bears (2-4; No. 24): If yelling at the G.M. gets a guy a one-way ticket out of town, a Rudy-style jersey line could soon be forming.

25. Jaguars (2-5; No. 32): It was obvious on Sunday that the Jaguars aren’t accustomed to leading in the second half.

26. Buccaneers (2-4; No. 25): Is it worse to blow a 24-point lead or lose by 24 points?

27. Chiefs (2-5; No. 30): Beating an NFL team led by Landry Jones is sort of like beating Missouri.

28. 49ers (2-5; No. 26): Can someone please explain how this team won two games?

29. Texans (2-5; No. 27): Can someone please explain how this team won two games?

30. Ravens (1-6; No. 28): Joe Flacco and company are now the opposite of elite.

31. Titans (1-5; No. 31): I hope Chip Kelly likes country music.

32. Lions (1-6; No. 29): The Lions handed out a different kind of trophy to their Lombardi.

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NFL morning after: Ryan Mallett shows he just doesn’t get it

Ryan Mallett AP

Maybe I should talk today about Tom Brady or Todd Gurley or one of the other great players who had a great day yesterday in the NFL, but I want to start by talking about a backup quarterback on a bad team: Ryan Mallett.

Mallett might be my least-favorite player in the NFL right now, because the players I don’t like are the ones who won’t do the work to get the most out of their natural talent. And there may be no one in the NFL who gets less out of his talent than Mallett.

The Texans’ team flight to Miami for yesterday’s game against the Dolphins took off without Mallett, because Mallett didn’t make it to the airport. Mallett explained that there was traffic in Houston, and he couldn’t get to the airport in time.

Do you buy that excuse? When you add up the players, the coaches, the trainers and the various support staff that travel with an NFL team, it can be 100 or so people. There’s no indication that any of them other than Mallett missed the flight. Did they all get to the Houston airport by hoverboard? Or did they get to the airport on time despite experiencing the same traffic in Houston that Mallett hit, because they — gasp — accounted for that traffic when they decided when to leave for the airport?

And, of course, stuff like this is par for the course from Mallett. After Mallett lost out to Brian Hoyer in the Texans’ quarterback competition in training camp, he no-showed a practice that week. When Mallett was at the Scouting Combine before the 2011 draft, he skipped a meeting with the Panthers after staying out late the night before.

Some players have such a drive to succeed in the NFL that they’ll do anything to make it. Mallett is not one of those players. It’s a shame because Mallett has a big arm and the talent to be a good NFL quarterback, but he just doesn’t have the mental makeup of a successful NFL quarterback.

Now let’s get past Mallett and move on to some of the good things from Sunday in the NFL:

We got a glimpse of the future of watching football on Sunday morning. Some day, streaming services — not cable, not satellite — will probably be the way we watch everything. On Sunday, with the Bills-Jaguars game in London streaming on Yahoo, we got a glimpse of that. I thought it was a good show, but there’s still work to do before the NFL would be ready to make streaming the primary way it shows all its games.

I was watching on my Apple TV, and I have good high-speed Internet from Comcast. For me, there was no buffering at all and a crystal-clear picture as good as I get when watching cable or satellite. Obviously, not everyone has a digital media player or high-speed Internet, and many users complained that on older computers or slower connections, the quality wasn’t as good. If you have a really slow computer or a really slow Internet connection, you wouldn’t be able to watch at all. That wasn’t a problem for me, but it would be a problem for tens of millions of Americans, and until the penetration of digital media devices and high-speed Internet rivals that of cable and satellite TV, it’s hard to envision the NFL showing many games online only.

But it’s coming some day. The NFL’s current deals run through the 2022 season, and you can bet that for the next seven years, the league will conduct more experiments with streaming games like the one it conducted yesterday. If it finds the right way to provide streaming games to fans, it’s possible that in 2023, the league will embark on a new contract with Netflix or YouTube or Hulu or some streaming video service that doesn’t exist yet, and that we’ll all watch all our football on the Internet.

Todd Gurley is the best running back in the NFL right now. Is it crazy to say that, just four games into Gurley’s NFL career? I don’t think it is. Gurley, the Rams’ sensational rookie, had 128 rushing yards on Sunday and is now averaging an NFL-high 110.5 rushing yards per game. Gurley has an unbelievable blend of strength and speed, and he’s also an extremely smart runner: Watch his 48-yard run against the Browns yesterday, and look at the way he scans the field, reads the defense and makes the decision to cut from the left side of the field all the way to the right sideline. He’s a special player just four games into his career, and he’s only going to get better.

Tom Brady was amazing against the Jets. Brady’s raw stats — 34-of-54, 355 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions — were plenty good. But the stats don’t even come close to telling the whole story. The Patriots’ receivers had some brutal dropped passes, and if they’d been caught, Brady might have had 10 more completions and 100 more yards. And that’s against a Jets team that probably has the best pass defense in the NFL right now. Oh, and on a day when starting running back Dion Lewis was injured and the Patriots’ backups combined for one yard on six carries, Brady was the Patriots’ leading rusher, with 15 yards and a rushing touchdown as well. Brady, who has 16 touchdown passes and just one interception, is playing at an incredible level this season.

Looks like Dolphins needed a coach who would kick them in the butt. When the Dolphins fired head coach Joe Philbin after Week Four, I was a little skeptical of interim coach Dan Campbell’s tough-guy act. But there’s little doubt that Campbell has gotten results. The Dolphins were a mess under Philbin, but now they’re 2-0 under Campbell, with a blowout win over the Titans last week and a blowout win over the Texans yesterday. They’re a different team under hard-ass Campbell than they were under the soft-spoken Philbin. Now they face an enormous test with a trip to New England next week.

Harvard guy makes a bonehead play. Everyone talks about how Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is brilliant, with his fancy-schmancy Harvard degree, but Fitzpatrick may have made the dumbest play of the day yesterday: With the Jets down by seven and only a few seconds left, Fitzpatrick threw a completion to the middle of the field. The Jets had no timeouts, so the game ended with them trying and failing to get set to spike the ball. Fitzpatrick needs to know better than that: If you’re out of timeouts, you have to throw to the sidelines, not the middle of the field. I guess Football Clock Management isn’t on the syllabus at Harvard.

Maybe the NFL should consider divisional realignment. Do we really want to put an AFC South team in the playoffs? The Colts are 3-4 and playing so badly that Chuck Pagano may be fired before the season is over. But they’re also in first place in their division and likely to host a playoff game in January. Bad teams shouldn’t host playoff games. Switching from eight four-team divisions to four eight-team divisions would be a simple way for the league to avoid a situation like we’re seeing in the AFC South this year, where there’s a division without a good team, and therefore a bad team in the playoffs.

A big moment for Eric Berry. Berry, the Chiefs safety who battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year, had his first interception since being declared cancer-free yesterday. That was the NFL’s best moment of the week.

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Week Seven early inactives

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 27:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans throws a pss during the game against the Indianapolis Colts  at LP Field on September 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. This week kicked off early with the Bills and Jaguars in London, so we’ll cover the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs here. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Vikings at Lions

Vikings: DT Sharrif Floyd, DE Justin Trattou, QB Taylor Heinicke, CB Jabari Price, C Nick Easton, T Jeremiah Sirles, TE Chase Ford

Lions: LB DeAndre Levy, TE Brandon Pettigrew, CB Josh Wilson, DT Khyri Thornton, DT Gabe Wright, T Michael Ola, T Corey Robinson

Saints at Colts

Saints: CB Keenan Lewis, T Andrus Peat, CB Damian Swann, FB Austin Johnson, QB Garrett Grayson, DE Obum Gwacham, DT Kaleb Eulls

Colts: S Mike Adams, RB Josh Robinson, S Clayton Geathers, T Denzelle Good, G Todd Herremans, C Jonotthan Newsome, DL Zach Kerr

Steelers at Chiefs

Steelers: QB Ben Roethlisberger, QB Mike Vick, S Will Allen, DE Stephon Tuitt, LB Terence Garvin, T Byron Stingily, TE Jesse James

Chiefs: DE Mike DeVito, QB Aaron Murray, LB Ramik Wilson CB Marcus Cooper, WR Jeremy Maclin, OL Jah Reid, TE Brian Parker

Texans at Dolphins

Texans: CB Kareem Jackson, WR Cecil Shorts, LB Bernardrick McKinney, LB Kourtnei Brown, OL Greg Mancz, G Brandon Brooks, DL Jeoffrey Pagan

Dolphins: CB Brice McCain, WR Matt Hazel, DL A.J. Francis, C Sam Brenner, OL Jeff Linkenbach, TE Jake Stoneburner, LB Chris McCain

Jets at Patriots

Jets: RB Bilal Powell, P Ryan Quigley, QB Bryce Petty, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, OL Jarvis Harrison, OL Ben Ijalana, DL T.J. Barnes

Patriots: T Marcus Cannon, LB Rufus Johnson, DE Jabaal Sheard, WR Keshawn Martin, RB Dion Lewis, RB Brandon Bolden, G Shaq Mason

Browns at Rams

Browns: CB Joe Haden, TE Rob Housler, QB Austin Davis, S Tashaun Gipson, LB Craig Robertson, TE E.J. Bibbs, WR Dwayne Bowe

Rams: DE Chris Long, LB Alec Ogletree, QB Sean Mannion, RB Tre Mason, LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, OL Andrew Donnal, TE Lance Kendricks

Falcons at Titans

Falcons: WR Justin Hardy, CB Dez Southward, LB Phillip Wheeler, LB Allan Bradford, C Gino Gradkowski, T Bryce Harris, DE Malliciah Goodman

Titans: QB Marcus Mariota, CB Perrish Cox, WR Harry Douglas, S Michael Griffin, DT Sammie Hill, RB Terrance West, G Quinton Spain

Buccaneers at Redskins

Buccaneers: OL Reid Fragel, DT Tony McDaniel, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, QB Ryan Griffin, CB Tim Jennings, S Keith Tandy, WR Russell Shepard.

Redskins: WR DeSean Jackson, CB Chris Culliver, CB DeAngelo Hall, C Kory Lichtensteiger, QB Robert Griffin III, RB Chris Thompson, DL Frank Kearse

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Week Seven injury report roundup

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 18:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans has the ball knocked loose by Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins at LP Field on October 18, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week Seven of the 2015 season.

Bills vs. Jaguars (in London)

There won’t be much mystery about the Bills’ inactive list after they ruled out wide receiver Percy Harvin (not injury related), tackle Seantrel Henderson (concussion), guard John Miller (not injury related), quarterback Tyrod Taylor (knee), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (ankle), running back Karlos Williams (concussion) and defensive tackle Kyle Williams (knee). The Jaguars didn’t bring wide receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring) to London and running back T.J. Yeldon (groin) is questionable after missing last week’s game.

Vikings at Lions

The Vikings are down two defensive linemen after ruling out Sharrif Floyd (knee, ankle) and Justin Trattou (foot), but Everson Griffen (illness) is good to go. Running back Adrian Peterson (finger) is also probable. Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy (hip) remains out after surgery and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (knee, elbow) has been ruled out as well. Cornerback Josh Wilson (concussion) is questionable and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf, probable) is set to return.

Saints at Colts

New Orleans expects tackle Terron Armstead (knee) back in the starting lineup, which is good since his backup Andrus Peat (knee) has been ruled out. Cornerbacks Keenan Lewis (hip, illness) and Damian Swann (concussion) have also been ruled out for the Saints. Safety Mike Adams (hamstring) is out for the Colts and Clayton Geathers (knee, doubtful) will likely leave them down two players at the position.

Steelers at Chiefs

Ben Roethlisberger (knee) is questionable and all signs in Pittsburgh point toward Landry Jones getting the start at quarterback. Tyler Murphy may need to come up from the practice squad because Mike Vick (hamstring) is out. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt (knee) and safety Will Allen (ankle) have also been ruled out and cornerback Cortez Allen (knee) is questionable. Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (concussion) returned to practice Friday and coach Andy Reid sounded optimistic that he’d play despite a questionable tag. Defensive end Mike DeVito (concussion) is out and linebacker Tamba Hali (knee), linebacker Josh Mauga (groin, achilles) and defensive tackle Dontari Poe (ankle) are all questionable.

Texans at Dolphins

The Texans ruled out cornerback Kareem Jackson (ankle), linebacker Benardrick McKinney (concussion) and wide receiver Cecil Shorts (hamstring) during the week. Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (ankle) is questionable after missing a week. Thirteen other members of the team are listed as probable. Dolphins cornerback Brice McCain (knee) is doubtful, but the other 10 players on the Miami injury report are probable.

Jets at Patriots

Running back Bilal Powell (ankle) will miss the game and the Jets don’t expect to have safety Jaiquawn Jarrett (knee) either. Guard Willie Colon (knee) is questionable but expected to play while wide receiver Brandon Marshall (calf), cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion) and wide receiver Eric Decker are all probable. The Patriots ruled out three players — tackle Marcus Cannon (toe), linebacker Rufus Johnson (illness) and defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard (ankle) — and listed eight as questionable, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower (rib) and special teams ace Matthew Slater (knee).

Browns at Rams

Cornerback Joe Haden (concussion, finger) and tight end Rob Housler (hamstring) won’t be in the lineup for the Browns and safety Tashaun Gipson (ankle) is doubtful. Linebacker Tank Carder (shoulder), defensive end John Hughes (knee), wide receiver Marlon Moore (hamstring), linebacker Craig Robertson (ankle) and defensive tackle Danny Shelton (knee) are all questionable. Defensive end Chris Long (knee) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (ankle) are out for St. Louis. Wide receiver Tavon Austin (thigh) is questionable after returning to practice on Friday.

Falcons at Titans

The Falcons had every player on the 53-man roster practicing on Friday and they don’t have anyone listed as anything other than probable for Sunday’s game. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (knee) is out, leaving Zach Mettenberger to make his first start of the season. Cornerback Perrish Cox (hamstring) and wide receiver Harry Douglas (ribs) are also out while safety Michael Griffin and defensive tackle Sammie Hill are questionable with knee injuries.

Buccaneers at Redskins

Tackle Reid Fragel (concussion), defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (groin) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder) were all ruled out for the Buccaneers. Linebacker Bruce Carter (thigh), guard Logan Mankins (groin), wide receiver Russell Shepard (hamstring) and center Evan Smith (ankle) are questionable. Cornerback Chris Culliver (knee), cornerback DeAngelo Hall (toe), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (hamstring) and center Kory Lichtensteiger (neck) are out for the Redskins. Running back Chris Thompson (back) is doubtful to play and the Redskins listed defensive end Jason Hatcher (knee), defensive end Stephen Paea (back), tight end Jordan Reed (concussion), linebacker Keenan Robinson (heel) or tackle Trent Williams (concussion) as questionable.

Raiders at Chargers

The Raiders return from their bye with a relatively brief injury report. Defensive tackle Denico Autry (concussion) is out, defensive tackle Justin Ellis (ankle) is doubtful and three players are probable. Chargers safety Eric Weddle (groin) will miss his first game since 2009 and tight end Antonio Gates (knee) is questionable after missing practice all week. Wide receiver Keenan Allen (hip), tackle King Dunlap (concussion) running back Melvin Gordon (ankle) and center Chris Watt (groin, concussion) are all questionable after practicing this week.

Cowboys at Giants

It looks like at least another week on the sideline for Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (foot, doubtful) but the Cowboys should have rookie defensive end Randy Gregory (ankle, probable) in the lineup. It will be another week without wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (pectoral) for the Giants. Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring) is questionable, but all signs point to him playing on Sunday. The Giants also expect to have linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring, probable) in the lineup.

Eagles at Panthers

The Eagles will play without wide receiver Nelson Agholor (ankle) and linebacker Kiko Alonso (knee). Defensive end Brandon Bair (groin), wide receiver Riley Cooper (knee), linebacker Mychal Kendricks (hamstring) and linebacker DeMeco Ryans (hamstring) are questionable to play. Panthers defensive end Jared Allen (back) is probable to make his return to the lineup, but the Panthers have ruled out defensive tackle Dwan Edwards (ankle), linebacker Shaq Thompson (knee) and tackle Daryl Williams (knee).

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PFT’s Week Seven picks

Rashad Jennings, Kyle Wilber AP

Another week of NFL games is here. Another 14 contests for part of the broader PFT picks contest between MDS and yours truly.

We split the four games on which we disagreed last week en route to pathetic, matching 8-6 records. This week, we disagree on only one game — arguably one of the biggest of the week.

Through six weeks, I’m at 59-32 (64.8 percent), and MDS has a record of 58-33 (63.7 percent).

Seahawks at 49ers.

MDS’s take: I don’t think the NFL thought this would be a matchup of two 2-4 teams when the league scheduled this for a Thursday night game. But while these two teams have the same record, it’s the Seahawks who still have a realistic hope of turning things around and getting to the playoffs. They’ll take a step toward that with a big win in San Francisco.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, 49ers 10.

Florio’s take:  Not long ago, the winner of this one landed in first place in the NFC West. Now, the loser lands in last place. Before the season began, it was assumed that both of these games would be romps for the two-time defending NFC champs. It likely won’t be a blowout this time, but the Seahawks realize that if they can’t win this one, they can forget about a third straight Super Bowl appearance. (Actually, it’s a safe bet that they can already forget about that.)

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 20, 49ers 13.

Bills vs. Jaguars.

MDS’s take: London gets yet another bad game. No surprise there. And it will be no surprise when the Bills’ defense shuts down Blake Bortles and wins a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Bills 17, Jaguars 7.

Florio’s take: The up-and-down Bills need to stay on the right side of .500, especially when facing a team with wins that match its losses only when their record is 0-0. If the Bills lose this one, things could unravel quickly in Buffalo. Or, perhaps more accurately, more quickly than they already are.

Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Jaguars 10.

Vikings at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions finally got their offense moving and got their first win on Sunday, but they won’t make it two in a row with a better Vikings team coming to town. Minnesota hasn’t been great this year, but a win Sunday makes the Vikings the clear No. 2 in the NFC North and a legitimate wild card candidate.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Lions 14.

Florio’s take: The Vikings aren’t yet good enough to blow anyone out, but they’re good enough to find ways to outscore the majority of their opponents. If the Vikings are going to make good on their perceived potential for 2015, they’ll need to do better than last year’s 1-5 divisional record. Here’s their chance to get to 2-0, by competing a sweep of the overmatched Lions.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 28, Lions 20.

Saints at Colts

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck returned and looked pretty good against the Patriots on Sunday night. He should look even better against a Saints defense that has a knack for making opposing quarterbacks look great. This should be the Colts’ biggest win of the year.

MDS’s pick: Colts 34, Saints 20.

Florio’s take:  The only way to turn the page on Sunday night’s fake punt fiasco is to win. With games coming up against the 5-0 Panthers and 6-0 Broncos, the Saints could present the best chance of a victory before the bye. If the Colts lose this one, the bye week could result in a farewell to Chuck Pagano.

Florio’s pick: Colts 24, Saints 20.

Steelers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Landry Jones getting the first start of his career at Arrowhead Stadium ought to be a recipe for a defense to put a beating on a young quarterback. But Jones looked good last week, and the Chiefs haven’t looked good at all this year. I like the Steelers to take this one.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take: Landry Jones, arguably dangling on the roster by a fraying thread during the preseason, has shown that he can win games. When he faces on Sunday a Chiefs team that won’t have Jamaal Charles and may not have Jeremy Maclin, Jones could win his first career start. Especially since the team’s defense has improved considerably.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 20, Chiefs 13.

Texans at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Dolphins coach Dan Campbell certainly had his team ready to play in his debut last week against the Titans. I think he’ll keep it going against a Texans offense that looks better with Brian Hoyer, but still isn’t great.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 27, Texans 24.

Florio’s take: The new-look Dolphins look good, so far. In what amounts to a Mulligan of a home opener, the Dolphins get back to .500, laying the foundation for an unlikely playoff run.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Texans 17.

Jets at Patriots

MDS’s take: If the Jets are going to dethrone the Patriots in the AFC East, they’re going to need to win this game. I don’t see it happening. The Patriots are still the best team in the division, and they’ll remain undefeated.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Jets 17.

Florio’s take: The Jets have the defense to slow down the New England offense, but they don’t yet have the offense to outscore the New England defense. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is 1-8 during his career against the Patriots. Make it 1-9.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Jets 23.

Browns at Rams

MDS’s take: Browns quarterback Josh McCown has been pretty good for most of this year, but the Broncos showed that a good pass rush can pressure McCown into turnovers. The Rams have a good pass rush that will do the same, and St. Louis will win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Rams 17, Browns 14.

Florio’s take: The Rams ordinarily play up and down to the level of the competition. With a week off to get ready for a visit from the Browns, it may not matter; the Rams have a shot at winning the division, and the race starts with a win over one of the teams against which past Rams teams may have found a way to lose.

Florio’s pick: Rams 23, Browns 17.

Falcons at Titans

MDS’s take: Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt has won just four of his last 33 games as a head coach, stretching back to the end of his tenure in Arizona. He’s going to be on the hot seat if he doesn’t turn things around soon, but it’s not going to happen against a good Falcons team.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 30, Titans 17.

Florio’s take: The one-loss Falcons have had extra time to get ready for the one-win Titans. The Falcons shouldn’t need it — and they have every reason to keep close to the no-loss Panthers.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 30, Titans 17.

Buccaneers at Washington

MDS’s take: I’m expecting a sloppy game, as Kirk Cousins and Jameis Winston may throw three interceptions apiece. But ultimately Washington will make a couple of plays on offense and win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Washington 20, Buccaneers 16.

Florio’s take: The Bucs have had two weeks to get ready for this one, after surprisingly winning two of their first five games. Washington remains in the race for the None-oF-the-above-C East, and they should be able to hold serve at home. As long as it’s not too windy for the quarterback.

Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Buccaneers 20.

Raiders at Chargers

MDS’s take: With Philip Rivers on pace to set new NFL records for completions and passing yards, the Chargers’ offense is sure to move the ball well against the Raiders. I don’t think the Raiders’ offense can keep up.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Raiders 21.

Florio’s take: The Raiders have had two weeks to get ready for a Chargers team that is moving in the wrong direction. Philip Rivers still has enough in his arm to lead the Chargers to what could be their last San Diego victory over the Raiders.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 31, Raiders 27.

Cowboys at Giants

MDS’s take: Brandon Weeden is out and Matt Cassel is in for the Cowboys, but it won’t make much of a difference, and the Giants will bounce back from an ugly Monday night game to earn an NFC East win.

MDS’s pick: Giants 27, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys need this one badly, badly enough to perhaps risk bringing back Dez Bryant before he’s ready. The Giants don’t have the offensive line to buy Eli Manning the time to avoid looking like Peyton.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 20.

Eagles at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Eagles’ defense is playing good football while the Eagles’ offense falters. But the Panthers are playing well on both sides of the ball, and they should be able to beat an Eagles team that still makes too many mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Eagles 17.

Florio’s take: Sure, the Eagles have put together a couple of wins. But the Panthers are for real, and they get their chance with back-to-back prime-time games to prove it.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 33, Eagles 24.

Ravens at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Ravens have completely collapsed and are one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Cardinals have pounded bad teams this year. This has all the makings of a Monday night game you can turn off at halftime.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 35, Ravens 16.

Florio’s take: Joe Flacco isn’t elite. The rest of the team definitely isn’t. With the sixth loss looming, it’s time to start planning for 2016.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 34, Ravens 21.

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PFT’s Week Seven power rankings

Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount AP

1. Patriots (5-0; last week No. 1): Revenge is a dish best served when the adversary runs one of the dumbest plays in the history of organized sports.

2. Bengals (6-0; No. 3): At some point, the Bengals will be on to New England. And that could be bad news for the Patriots.

3. Packers (6-0; No. 2): It’s hard to hold the No. 2 spot when giving up more than 500 yards passing.

4. Panthers (5-0; No. 7): Cam Newton is old enough to make a clutch throw in a hostile environment.

5. Broncos (6-0; No. 4): Even if they lose no games in the regular season, one and done is looming in January.

6. Jets (4-1; No. 8): When does the Jets coach start spouting off about how much he hates Bill Belichick and Tom Brady? Oh wait, that guy’s gone.

7. Steelers (4-2; No. 10): The Steelers haven’t won with this many quarterbacks since the days of Bradshaw, Gilliam, and Hanratty.

8. Falcons (5-1; No. 5): The only good news from Thursday night is there likely won’t be another Falcons punter immortalized by a statue outside the Superdome.

9. Cardinals (4-2; No. 6): Maybe the Cardinals really haven’t beaten anyone.

10. Vikings (3-2; No. 15): With Mike Wallace, Stefon Diggs, and Charles Johnson, the Vikings could have the best three wideouts in the NFL.

11. Rams (2-3; No. 12): The good news? The Rams finally have climbed past Seattle and San Francisco in the standings. The bad news? Both of those teams stink right now.

12. Eagles (3-3; No. 24): If they can win by 20 when Sam Bradford throws three interceptions, how would they do if he threw, you know, none?

13. Cowboys (2-3; No. 14): At some point, they’ll be healthy. And they should then be able to run away with the division.

14. Giants (3-3; No. 9): How does a team go from looking so bad to so good to so bad?

15. Dolphins (2-3; No. 22): If he puked on his shoes before the game, the Gatorade shower washed it off.

16. Seahawks (2-4; No. 11): The Legion of Boom is about to become the Legion of Booed.

17. Bills (3-3; No. 13): First, Sammy Watkins. Next, Mario Williams. Who’s the next Bills player to publicly complain?

18. Raiders (2-3; No. 18): A playoff run remains possible, but the wins need to start coming this Sunday in San Diego.

19. Colts (3-3; No. 16): For his next trick, Chuck Pagano will make his job disappear.

20. Browns (2-4; No. 17): Too many close games, too many failures to win close games.

21. Chargers (2-4; No. 19): Philip Rivers‘ new contract should have included a clause that voids it immediately if he ever throws for 500 yards and no interceptions and the rest of the team isn’t good enough to manage the win.

22. Washington (2-4; No. 21): Why is Kirk Cousins still playing? Because the longer he plays the greater the chances that RGIII won’t.

23. Saints (2-4; No. 31): Another week, another Super Bowl rematch involving teams that don’t have much of a chance to get back in 2015.

24. Bears (2-4; No. 23): Hey, at least they filled their quota for pre-Thanksgiving wins.

25. Buccaneers (2-3; No. 25): Jameis Winston quietly is putting together a good rookie year.

26. 49ers (2-4; No. 27): If you’d told 49ers fans before the season that the team would have the same record as the Seahawks heading into their Week Seven showdown, 49ers fans would have been very excited.

27. Texans (2-4; No. 29): Yes, 26 teams passed on DeAndre Hopkins.

28. Ravens (1-5; No. 20): That was the worst Harbaugh Brothers weekend since the 49ers and Ravens lost conference championship games on the same day in January 2012.

29. Lions (1-5; No. 32): The Lions finally figured out how to win a game — play in a way that suggests they really don’t want to.

30. Chiefs (1-5; No. 26): The Sea of Red may soon be demanding some slips of pink.

31. Titans (1-4; No. 28): Since starting 4-0 with the Cardinals in 2012, Ken Whisenhunt is 4-29 as a head coach.

32. Jaguars (1-5; No. 30): Do they take the pools to London?

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