Week 16 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 Panthers

Buccaneers: DE Robert Ayers, WR DeSean Jackson, QB Ryan Griffin, CB Ryan Smith, LB Nigel Harris, OL Adam Gettis, DE Patrick O’Connor

Panthers: G Trai Turner, WR Russell Shepard, QB Garrett Gilbert, CB Ladarius Gunter, FB Alex Armah, DE Zach Moore, C Greg Van Roten

Browns at Bears

Browns: QB Cody Kessler, WR Matt Hazel, CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, DB B.W. Webb, LB Jeremy Cash, OL Marcus Martin, OL Geoff Gray

Bears: QB Mark Sanchez, DB Deiondre Hall, RB Taquan Mizzell, DL Rashaad Coward, G Josh Sitton, OL Tom Compton, TE Adam Shaheen

Lions at Bengals

Lions: C Travis Swanson, WR Bradley Marquez, RB Zach Zenner, RB Dwayne Washington, T Rick Wagner, G T.J. Lang, DT Rodney Coe

Bengals: T Cedric Ogbuehi, WR Cody Core, CB KeiVarae Russell, RB Jarveon Williams, DT Josh Tupou, DT Justin Murray, DT Andrew Billings

Dolphins at Chiefs

Dolphins: QB Matt Moore, RB Damien Williams, CB Cordrea Tankersley, S Michael Thomas, G Isaac Asiata, T Eric Smith, TE Thomas Duarte

Chiefs: QB Tyler Bray, CB Phillip Gaines, LB Ramik Wilson, CB Keith Reaser, DT Justin Hamilton, OL Parker Ehinger, S Leon McQuay

Bills at Patriots

Bills: WR Andre Holmes, CB E.J. Gaines, CB Breon Borders, T Conor McDermott, G John Miller, TE Logan Thomas, WR Brandon Reilly

Patriots: RB Rex Burkhead, DT Alan Branch, WR Chris Hogan, LB Kyle Van Noy, RB James White, LB Trevor Reilly, OL Cole Croston

Falcons at Saints

Falcons: WR Nick Williams, CB Deji Olatoye, CB Leon McFadden, LB Sean Weatherspoon, OL Sean Harlow, G Andy Levitre, TE Eric Saubert

Saints: TE Michael Hoomanawanui, DE Trey Hendrickson, TE Garrett Griffin, RB Jonathan Williams, OL Cameron Tom, WR Austin Carr, DL Al-Quadin Muhammad

Chargers at Jets

Chargers: DT Corey Liuget, LB Denzel Perryman, QB Cardale Jones, WR Geremy Davis, T Russell Okung, TE Sean Culkin, DE Jeremiah Attaochu

Jets: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, G Brian Winters, CB Jeremy Clark, CB Rashard Robinson, RB Akeem Judd, LB Freddie Bishop, OL Ben Ijalana

Rams at Titans

Rams: LB Matt Longacre, RB Lance Dunbar, LB Mark Barron, S Isaiah Johnson, RB Justin Davis, LB Kasim Edebali, OL Cornelius Lucas

Titans: QB Brandon Weeden, CB Logan Ryan, LB Josh Carraway, DL David King, OL Corey Levin, CB Demontre Hurst, WR Harry Douglas

Broncos at Redskins

Broncos: RB Jamaal Charles, WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Cody Latimer, OL Elijah Wilkinson, OL J.J. Dielman, CB Brendan Langley, DB Michael Hunter

Redskins: WR Maurice Harris, S DeAngelo Hall, RB Kenny Hilliard, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Zach Brown, G Kyle Kalis, C Demetrius Rhaney

Week 16 injury report roundup

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Week 16 kicks off on Saturday with a pair of games and closes on Monday with two more. In between are 12 Sunday games and 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.

Buccaneers at Panthers

DE Robert Ayers (shoulder) and WR DeSean Jackson (ankle) won’t play for the Buccaneers this weekend. CB Ryan Smith (ankle) is listed as doubtful while TE Cameron Brate (hip, knee), LB Lavonte David (hamstring), DT Gerald McCoy (biceps) and DE Ryan Russell (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

Panthers G Trai Turner (concussion) will miss another game. DE Mario Addison (hip), WR Devin Funchess (shoulder), G Tyler Larsen (foot), WR Russell Shepard (shoulder) and LB Shaq Thompson (foot) drew questionable tags.

Browns at Bears

The Browns listed CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee), WR Matt Hazel (hamstring) and CB Jamar Taylor (foot) as questionable for Sunday’s game.

G Josh Sitton (ankle) is doubtful to play as the Bears try to avoid being the first team to lose to the Browns this year. T Tom Compton (concussion), S Chris Prosinski (concussion) and TE Adam Shaheen (chest) are all listed as questionable.

Lions at Bengals

The Lions may get T Rick Wagner (ankle) back after listing him as questionable, but they appear set to still be down two starters on the offensive line. C Travis Swanson (concussion) is out and G T.J. Lang (foot) is doubtful to play. DT Rodney Coe (illness) and T Brian Mihalik (illness) join Wagner in the questionable category.

T Cedric Ogbuehi (shoulder) is out for the Bengals and S George Iloka (shoulder) is considered questionable.

Dolphins at Chiefs

The Dolphins don’t expect to have QB Matt Moore (foot) or RB Damien Williams (shoulder) after listing them as doubtful. DE Andre Branch (knee), DE Terrence Fede (knee), S T.J. McDonald (shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (ankle), CB Cordrea Tankersley (ankle) and S Michael Thomas (knee) are all listed as questionable for Miami.

LB Justin Houston (illness) is questionable for the Chiefs and makes up their entire injury report.

Bills at Patriots

WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee), CB E.J. Gaines (knee), G John Miller (ankle), TE Nick O'Leary (back) and DT Kyle Williams (groin) are all listed as questionable for the Bills. WR Andre Holmes (neck) was ruled out on Friday.

The Patriots ruled out DT Alan Branch (knee) and RB Rex Burkhead (knee). RB Brandon Bolden (groin), WR Chris Hogan (shoulder), S Brandon King (hamstring), DE Eric Lee (ankle), WR Matt Slater (hamstring), LB Kyle Van Noy (calf), T LaAdrian Waddle (ankle) and RB James White (ankle) make up the group of questionable players for New England.

Falcons at Saints

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle/thumb) is good to go after a quiet practice week, which leaves G Andy Levitre (triceps) as the only player with an injury designation. Levitre is questionable to play.

The Saints have a brief injury report as well, although none of the players on theirs have a chance of playing. TE Garrett Griffin (foot), DE Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) have all been ruled out.

Chargers at Jets

The Chargers defense won’t have DT Corey Liuget (knee) or LB Denzel Perryman (hamstring) this weekend. T Joe Barksdale (hip), RB Austin Ekeler (hand) and T Russell Okung (groin) drew questionable tags.

G Brian Winters (abdomen) has been ruled out for the Jets. RB Matt Forte (knee), C Wesley Johnson (hip) and RB Elijah McGuire (illness) are listed as questionable.

Rams at Titans

LB Matt Longacre (back) is out for the Rams, but everyone else on the 53-man roster is expected to play.

CB Logan Ryan (ankle) is questionable for the Titans, who also expect to have everyone else on the active roster available on Sunday.

Broncos at Redskins

The Broncos have intimated that Paxton Lynch will start at quarterback if he’s healthy, but it’s unclear if that will be the case after Lynch was listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Wide receivers Cody Latimer (thigh) and Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) are also listed as questionable.

A season filled with injuries continues for the Redskins this week. LB Ryan Anderson (knee), LB Zach Brown (achilles, toe, hamstring) and RB LeShun Daniels (hand) have been ruled out while WR Jamison Crowder (hamstring), CB Kendall Fuller (foot), WR Maurice Harris (back), DE Terrell McClain (toe), T Morgan Moses (illness, ankle) and RB Samaje Perine (groin) are listed as questionable.

Jaguars at 49ers

The Jaguars ruled out wide receivers Marqise Lee (ankle) and Larry Pinkard (concussion), so it would be nice if they get Allen Hurns (ankle) back after five games on the sideline. LB Lerentee McCray (neck) is also listed as questionable.

There are two players on the 49ers injury report this week. CB Greg Mabin (calf) is doubtful to play and TE Garrett Celek (knee, rib) is listed as questionable.

Giants at Cardinals

Giants LB B.J. Goodson (ankle) and WR Tavarres King (concussion) have been ruled out for Sunday’s trip to Arizona. S Nat Berhe (hamstring), S Landon Collins (ankle) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) make up the team’s contingent of questionable players.

LB Josh Bynes (ankle), TE Troy Niklas (ankle) and G Earl Watford (ankle) won’t play for the Cardinals. S Antoine Bethea (knee), WR John Brown (toe), LB Karlos Dansby (knee), LB Gabe Martin (hamstring), DT Olsen Pierre (illness), WR Chad Williams (illness) and RB Kerwynn Williams (quadricep, ribs) are all listed as questionable.

Seahawks at Cowboys

LB D.J. Alexander (concussion) is out for the Seahawks and DT Nazair Jones (ankle) is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful. S Bradley McDougald (knee) and TE Nick Vannett (shoulder) are considered questionable.

DE David Irving (concussion) remains out for the Cowboys, who will wait to make determinations about DT Richard Ash (shoulder), WR Brice Butler (foot), T La'el Collins (back), DE Benson Mayowa (back), CB Orlando Scandrick (back) and T Tyron Smith (back, knee) after listing them as questionable.

Papa John’s CEO stepping down

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The CEO of Papa John’s is on the way out two months after criticizing the NFL over the national anthem controversy. John Schnatter, the pizza chain’s founder, will step down next month, the company announced Thursday.

Schnatter will remain chairman, but Chief Operating Officer Steve Ritchie will assume chief executive duties January 1.

Schnatter blamed NFL player protests for the company’s disappointing third-quarter earnings and criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for failing to solve the issue. Some believed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, in what became a failed attempt to derail Goodell’s extension, put Schnatter up to his rant, which draw widespread attention.

Jones owns more than 100 Papa John’s stores and has appeared in commercials for the company.

Ritchie would not say if Schnatter’s NFL comments played a role in the job change, via the Associated Press.

PFT’s Week 16 picks

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I’m way behind MDS as the season comes to an end, and since we disagree on only one game this weekend, the chances of narrowing the gap are approaching the territory of slim and none.

Thus, I suppose I’ll concede the crown to MDS. Which means he gets the cash prize (there is none), the trophy (none), and the two weeks of paid vacation (also, none) that go with winning.

So congrats, MDS. Enjoy the victory. Until I win the postseason contest. Maybe.

Colts at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Colts are just playing out the string and the Ravens are fighting for a playoff spot, and I can’t see this one being very close.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 35, Colts 10.

Florio’s take: The Colts return to Baltimore, where the best revenge for their middle-of-the-night departure would be sending them limping back to Indy.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 30, Colts 17.


Vikings at Packers

MDS’s take: This game took a big hit with the Packers’ decision to shut down Aaron Rodgers for the season. The Vikings shouldn’t have too much trouble winning this one to stay in contention for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 14.

Florio’s take: Green Bay has significant motivation to throw a wrench in Minnesota’s effort to get a bye week. But do they have the horsepower to do it? Brett Hundley and Joe Houlihan/Callahan/O’Hallahan are back, and that may not be enough to give the Vikings their fourth loss of the year.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 17.


Lions at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Bengals have looked like they’re ready to quit on the season amid reports that Marvin Lewis is ready to quit on the Bengals. The Lions are a long shot to make the playoffs, but they’ll stay alive heading into Week 17.

MDS’s pick: Lions 30, Bengals 20.

Florio’s take: The Bengals are falling apart. The Lions are fighting for a playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Lions 23, Bengals 10.


Dolphins at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Despite a mid-season swoon, the Chiefs seem to be regaining their footing as they head to the playoffs. They’re going to win the AFC West and be a tough team to beat in January.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Dolphins 14.

Florio’s take: Adam Gase historically has done well against Bob Sutton’s defense. Yes, the Chiefs are trying to close out a division title. But they still have flaws on both sides of the ball, and the Dolphins showed not that long ago they know how to beat a playoff team.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 27, Chiefs 16.


Bills at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Patriots now control their destiny for home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs, and they’ll take care of business against the Bills.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 30, Bills 17.

Florio’s take: The Pats are closing in on the No. 1 seed. And they learned the hard way two years ago the consequences of tripping over division rivals in the final weeks of the season.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 31, Bills 17.


Browns at Bears

MDS’s take: Can the Browns stave off 0-16? They can, but I don’t think they will: The Bears will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: Either the Browns will get their first win of the year, or the Bears will get their first win under John Fox when favored. It probably will be a tie.

Florio’s pick: Bears 13, Browns 10.


Buccaneers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers competed hard in Monday night’s loss to the Falcons, but this time around I think they’ll be running on fumes on a short week. The Panthers should win comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 33, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: The Bucs emptied the tank on Monday night. The Panthers still have a real shot at the No. 2 seed.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 10.


Falcons at Saints

MDS’s take: This is one of the biggest games of the year, with both teams still fighting for playoff berths. I think the Saints are going to have too much offensive firepower for the Falcons to beat them in New Orleans.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Falcons 17.

Florio’s take: Three teams are clustered around the top of the NFC South, and the loser of this one will be relegated to wild-card status at best.

Florio’s pick: Saints 28, Falcons 24.


Broncos at Washington

MDS’s take: Neither team has anything to play for, but I think Kirk Cousins wants to put on a show as he heads toward free agency and will have a big game.

MDS’s pick: Washington 31, Broncos 17.

Florio’s take: The Broncos have found their stride in recent weeks, but Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing for a lot more than a meaningless late-season win.

Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Broncos 20.


Rams at Titans

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are likely to make the playoffs, but the Rams are rolling as Super Bowl contenders, whereas the Titans are more likely to sneak in because the AFC is weak this year.

MDS’s pick: Rams 28, Titans 14.

Florio’s take: The Rams are peaking, the Titans are slipping, and Tennessee could be sliding out of the playoff chase.

Florio’s pick: Rams 27, Titans 20.


Chargers at Jets

MDS’s take: The Jets were a much better team than anyone expected with Josh McCown at quarterback, but with Bryce Petty running the show they’re going nowhere.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, Jets 10.

Florio’s take: The Chargers return to MetLife Stadium, site of their first win of the season. They desperately lead another one to have any chance to play in January.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Jets 13.


Jaguars at 49ers

MDS’s take: Jimmy Garoppolo has the 49ers playing so well that I’m tempted to pick them in an upset. But the Jaguars’ pass defense is so good that I think Garoppolo is bound to suffer his first loss as a starting quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 20, 49ers 13.

Florio’s take: The 49ers are on a hot streak, but they haven’t faced anyone like the Jaguars. They’ll find out the difference, the hard way.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 31, 49ers 16.


Seahawks at Cowboys

MDS’s take: This is a must-win game, as the team that loses will be eliminated. I think that’s going to be the Seahawks, who just haven’t been playing well of late.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Seahawks 14.

Florio’s take: This would have been a great game if the Seahawks hadn’t fallen apart in recent weeks.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 35, Seahawks 14.


Giants at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Drew Stanton is back in as the Cardinals’ starting quarterback, and Arizona should move the ball just enough to win a close and probably boring game.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 17, Giants 16.

Florio’s take: We’re gonna need a bigger carton of egg nog to get through this one.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 20, Giants 17.


Steelers at Texans

MDS’s take: The Steelers are still in contention for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, but they could also still drop behind the Jaguars for the No. 3 seed. Pittsburgh will be motivated and will play well.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 30, Texans 17.

Florio’s take: This one went from being an official Red Ryder, carbine-action 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time to a pile of reindeer pellets the moment Deshaun Watson’s ACL popped.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 27, Texans 10.


Raiders at Eagles

MDS’s take: This one is hard to pick in advance because we don’t know if either team will have anything to play for: The Raiders might be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs before this game, and the Eagles might have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs wrapped up before this game. With that caveat aside, I like the better team to win at home.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 30, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: Four years after Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Raiders, he gets a chance to do it again. He won’t need to do quite that much to nail down the win and the No. 1 seed.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 27, Raiders 23.

Steelers lead Pro Bowl selections with eight

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The Steelers had a league-best eight selections to the 2018 Pro Bowl.

The NFL announced the rosters Tuesday night, and receiver Antonio Brown, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell, kicker Chris Boswell, linebacker Ryan Shazier, tackle Alejandro Villanueva, guard David DeCastro and center Maurkice Pouncey will represent Pittsburgh.

The Saints and Eagles each had six players selected. The Rams had five players chosen.

The Jaguars, Patriots and Vikings were among the teams with four players picked.

The only rookies to earn all-star recognition were Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, Saints running back Alvin Kamara, Cardinals special teamer Budda Baker and Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, hosts the game on Jan. 28.

Here are the complete rosters:

AFC Pro Bowl Roster

Offense

Wide receiver: Antonio Brown*, Steelers; DeAndre Hopkins*, Texans; A.J. Green, Bengals; Keenan Allen, Chargers

Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva*, Steelers; Taylor Lewan*, Titans; Donald Penn, Raiders;

Guard: Kelechi Osemele*, Raiders; David DeCastro*, Steelers; Richie Incognito, Bills

Center: Maurkice Pouncey*, Steelers; Rodney Hudson, Raiders

Tight end: Travis Kelce*, Chiefs; Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

Quarterback: Tom Brady*, Patriots; Philip Rivers, Chargers; Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers

Running back: Le’Veon Bell*, Steelers; Kareem Hunt, Chiefs; LeSean McCoy, Bills

Fullback: James Develin*, Patriots

Defense

Defense end: Joey Bosa*, Chargers; Calais Campbell*, Jaguars; Khalil Mack, Raiders

Interior linemen: Geno Atkins*, Bengals; Jurrell Casey*, Titans; Malik Jackson, Jaguars

Outside linebacker: Von Miller*, Broncos; Jadeveon Clowney*, Texans; Terrell Suggs, Ravens

Inside/middle linebacker: C.J. Mosley*, Ravens; Ryan Shazier, Steelers

Cornerback: A.J. Bouye*, Jaguars; Jalen Ramsey*, Jaguars; Aqib Talib, Broncos; Casey Hayward, Chargers

Free safety: Eric Weddle*, Ravens

Strong safety: Reshad Jones*, Dolphins; Micah Hyde, Bills

Special Teams

Punter: Brett Kern*, Titans

Kicker: Chris Boswell*, Steelers

Return specialist: Tyreek Hill*, Chiefs

Special teamer: Matthew Slater*, Patriots

NFC Pro Bowl Roster

Offense

Wide receiver: Julio Jones*, Falcons; Adam Thielen*, Vikings; Michael Thomas, Saints; Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

Tackle: Tyron Smith*, Cowboys; Trent Williams*, Redskins; Lane Johnson, Eagles

Guard: Zack Martin*, Cowboys; Brandon Brooks*, Eagles; Brandon Scherff, Redskins

Center: Alex Mack*, Falcons; Travis Frederick, Cowboys

Tight end: Zach Ertz*, Eagles; Jimmy Graham, Seahawks

Quarterback: Carson Wentz*, Eagles; Russell Wilson, Seahawks; Drew Brees, Saints

Running back: Todd Gurley*, Rams; Alvin Kamara, Saints; Mark Ingram, Saints

Fullback: Kyle Juszczyk*, 49ers

Defense

Defensive end: Everson Griffen*, Vikings; DeMarcus Lawrence*, Cowboys; Cameron Jordan, Saints

Interior linemen: Fletcher Cox*, Eagles; Aaron Donald*, Rams; Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers;

Outside linebacker: Chandler Jones*, Cardinals; Ryan Kerrigan*, Redskins; Anthony Barr, Vikings

Inside/middle linebacker: Luke Kuechly*, Panthers; Bobby Wagner, Seahawks

Cornerback: Xavier Rhodes*, Vikings; Patrick Peterson*, Cardinals; Marshon Lattimore, Saints; Darius Slay, Lions

Free safety: Earl Thomas*, Seahawks

Strong safety: Landon Collins*, Giants; Malcolm Jenkins, Eagles

Special teams

Punter: Johnny Hekker*, Rams

Kicker: Greg Zuerlein*, Rams

Return specialist: Pharoh Cooper*, Rams

Special teamer: Budda Baker*, Cardinals

* Indicates starter

Week 15 power rankings

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1. Patriots (11-3; last week No. 2): Situational football once again puts the Patriots in a prime situation.

2. Eagles (12-2; No. 3): Barely beating the Giants hardly means that all is well with Wentz gone.

3. Steelers (11-3; No. 1): Little brother had a chance to beat big brother in ping pong, and little brother choked when up 20-19. Again.

4. Vikings (11-3; No. 4): Can a coach and a quarterback with limited playoff experience win against a coach and a quarterback with plenty? That question could be answered in the divisional round.

5. Jaguars (10-4; No. 5): Most impressive accomplishment this year? Making two-tone helmets look good.

6. Panthers (10-4; No. 6): Mark Cuban may want to reconsider not being interested in buying the team if it wins the Super Bowl.

7. Saints (10-4; No. 7): Arguably the best team in the conference may not win its division.

8. Rams (10-4; No. 8): If the Rams that showed up in Seattle show up in the playoffs, they’ll be showing up in the Super Bowl.

9. Falcons (9-5; No. 11): Matt Ryan would very much like you to get properly lined up, please.

10. Ravens (8-6; No. 12): They can’t wait for a chance to keep the Steelers from losing to the Patriots in the AFC title game.

11. Cowboys (8-6; No. 13): Zeke is back, and the window is open for an unlikely playoff berth. The Eagles are surely hoping they don’t slide through it.

12. Chiefs (8-6; No. 18): They can win the division, but can they win in the playoffs?

13. Seahawks (8-6; No. 9): Sometimes when it ends, it ends suddenly. And shockingly. And violently.

14. Chargers (7-7; No. 10): They worked and worked and worked to get themselves to a game that meant everything. And then they blew it.

15. Lions (8-6; No. 17): The dream of ending 26 years without a playoff win continues. Somehow.

16. Bills (8-6; No. 15): The dream of ending 18 years without a playoff appearance continues. Somehow.

17.  Titans (8-6; No. 14): The dream of winning on the road against a pair of subpar NFC West teams is unfulfilled.

18. Packers (7-7; No. 16): They should use the next two games to get Brett Hundley some extra reps in advance of next year’s Aaron Rodgers injury.

19. Dolphins (6-8; No. 19): Jay Cutler learned how hard it is to light a December cigarette outdoors in Buffalo.

20. Raiders (6-8; No. 20): Gene Steratore’s white sheet of paper could lead to Jack Del Rio’s pink slip.

21. Jets (5-9; No. 21): With a few right moves, the Jets could be a contender. Eventually.

22. Cardinals (6-8; No. 22): With a few right moves, the Cardinals could be a contender. Eventually.

23. Washington (6-8; No. 23): If they’d made a few right moves, they’d be a contender.

24. Broncos (5-9; No. 27): They’re a great quarterback away from being a great team, again.

25. 49ers (4-10; No. 25): They’re everything that goes around a great quarterback from being great, again.

26. Bengals (5-9; No. 24): Marvin Lewis knows what he’ll be doing. Based on his demeanor from Monday, he seems to know he’ll finally be exiting Cincinnati.

27. Bears (4-10; No. 26): Losing the regular-season home finale to a winless team would be the best way to put a giant red bow on another very bad season.

28. Buccaneers (4-10; No. 28): They showed plenty of fight on Monday night, which makes sense; they wanted to impress their next coach.

29. Texans (4-10; No. 29): If Deshaun Watson stays healthy, 2018 should be a fascinating season in the AFC South.

30. Colts (3-11; No. 30): If  Andrew Luck gets healthy, 2018 should be a fascinating season in the AFC South.

31. Giants (2-12; No. 31): There are few moral victories. There are few victories, too.

32. Browns (0-14; No. 32): Hue Jackson says he’s not running from the Browns. Cleveland fans have bought him track shoes, a heart monitor, and a compass.

13 of this week’s 16 games have playoff implications

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With two weeks to go in the NFL season, five teams have clinched playoff berths. But no team has clinched a playoff seed, and 19 teams remain in contention.

How to keep it all straight? Take a look at our cheat sheet for this week’s games, telling you which ones have playoff implications for both teams, which ones have playoff implications for one team, and which ones you can comfortably ignore.

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS FOR BOTH TEAMS
Rams at Titans: The Rams can clinch the NFC West with a win. The Titans would win the AFC South with two wins and a Jaguars loss on Sunday.

Dolphins at Chiefs: The Dolphins have very slim playoff hopes, which rest on winning out and getting a lot of help. The Chiefs clinch the AFC West with a win.

Bills at Patriots: The Patriots control their own destiny for home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Bills are still fighting for a wild card and will have a great chance if they can upset the Patriots.

Falcons at Saints: The winner of this game clinches a playoff berth. The loser will still have a good chance of making the postseason.

Seahawks at Cowboys: The loser of this game is eliminated from playoff contention. The winner still has a chance, but will need help.

Raiders at Eagles (Monday): Right now this game has implications for both teams, but it might be meaningless before kickoff. The Eagles would clinch home-field advantage with either one more win or a Vikings loss. The 6-8 Raiders’ very slim playoff hopes hinge on winning out and getting a whole lot of help, including the 8-6 Chargers, 8-6 Bills and 8-6 Titans all losing out. If any of those teams win on Sunday, the Raiders are out of it.

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS FOR ONE TEAM
Colts at Ravens (Saturday): At the moment the Ravens are the AFC No. 7 seed, but if they win out they’ll be a wild card team. The Colts are out of it.

Vikings at Packers (Saturday): The Vikings have clinched the NFC North but are still fighting for a first-round bye and a chance at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs — which for the Vikings would include the Super Bowl. The Packers were eliminated when the Falcons won on Monday night.

Lions at Bengals: The Lions can make the playoffs with two wins, and help in the form of either the Falcons or Panthers losing twice. The Bengals are playing only for pride — which they don’t have much of, judging by their last couple games.

Chargers at Jets: The Chargers are still alive but will be eliminated with a loss. The Jets are out of it.

Buccaneers at Panthers: Carolina clinches a playoff berth with a win. Tampa Bay is out of it.

Jaguars at 49ers: Jacksonville has already clinched a playoff berth and will clinch the AFC South with a win. San Francisco is out of it but may be a tougher test than expected with Jimmy Garoppolo leading the 49ers on a three-game winning streak.

Steelers at Texans (Monday): Pittsburgh can clinch a playoff bye by winning out, and can still earn home-field advantage if the Patriots stumble. The Texans are out of it.

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS FOR NEITHER TEAM
Browns at Bears: The Browns are trying to avoid going 0-16, while the Bears are trying to avoid the embarrassment of losing to the Browns.

Broncos at Washington: Two of this year’s more disappointing teams are already out of it.

Giants at Cardinals: A lump of coal on Christmas Eve.

NFC playoff picture: Everybody wins

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There was a new quarterback in Philly, a trip to Seattle for the Rams and a visit from Aaron Rodgers for the Panthers, but all three teams wound up as winners in Week 15.

That was the case for the other three teams that entered the week in playoff position as well, which means that the meaningful part of the snapshot looks exactly the same as it did at this time last week.

With the Saints hosting the Falcons on Sunday, everyone can’t win again next week but Atlanta’s tiebreaker edge over its closest competitors means that the picture won’t be changing much.

LEADERS
1. Eagles (12-2): They clinched a bye and can wrap up the top spot by beating the Raiders this week.

2. Vikings (11-3): A division championship is guaranteed and there’s a path to securing a bye in Week 16.

3. Rams (10-4): Sunday’s slaughter of the Seahawks felt like a passing of the torch, but the NFC West hasn’t been clinched yet.

4. Saints (10-4): They hold the tiebreaker over the Panthers so winning out gives them the division.

5. Panthers (10-4): Their chances at a division title would increase if the Falcons can beat the Saints this week.

6. Falcons (9-5): Monday night’s win was a big help to the defending NFC champions as they try to return to the postseason.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN

7. Lions (8-6): They have the tiebreaker edge on the 8-6 teams, but their loss to the Falcons may make that moot.

8. Seahawks (8-6): A loss to the Cowboys this weekend will end the Seahawks’ run of playoff appearances.

9. Cowboys (8-6): They remained alive long enough for Ezekiel Elliott‘s return, but just winning out isn’t enough for the Cowboys.

10. Packers (7-7): There will be no fairy tale ending for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

11. Redskins (6-8): They held off the Cardinals, but it’s too little too late.

12. Cardinals (6-8): Finishing with a .500 record is the only upside left in Arizona.

13. Buccaneers (4-10): Did Monday’s loss push them closer to a coaching change?

14. 49ers (4-10): Thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo, the Niners are feeling better about being a four-win team than most in recent memory.

15. Bears (4-10): Mitch Trubisky’s future looks good, but those four wins don’t feel so good in Chicago.

16. Giants (2-12): Their offense showed up against the Eagles, so the defense and special teams did their part to make sure the Giants keep losing.

AFC playoff picture: Patriots go back on top

AP

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said there would be fireworks when his team matched up with the Patriots in Week 15 and the AFC’s top two teams did not disappoint on Sunday.

New England’s 27-24 win featured big plays, lead changes, a crucial call by the officials and an interception by the Patriots in the end zone as the Steelers passed on the chance to tie the game with a field goal in the final seconds. The end result shook things up at the top of the playoff ladder with two games left to play.

The rest of Sunday’s games left the same six teams in the playoff picture as there were when Week 15 got underway, but things are tighter in the Wild Card race and much closer to being settled in both the AFC South and West.

LEADERS
1. Patriots (11-3): Home games against the Bills and Jets stand between them and the first seed in the AFC playoffs

2. Steelers (11-3): They need to finish with a better record than the Jaguars to sew up a first-round bye and it looks like they’ll have to do it without Antonio Brown‘s help.

3. Jaguars (10-4): A win or a Titans loss locks up the division and the Jaguars can still aim for one of the top two seeds.

4. Chiefs (8-6): The Chiefs got their closest divisional rivals back to back and beat both of them convincingly.

5. Titans (8-6): Losing to the 49ers hurt a lot less than losing to an AFC team when it comes to breaking ties with the Bills and Ravens.

6. Bills (8-6): They lead on strength of victory, but record against common opponents will come into play next week and that could drop the Bills even if they beat New England.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Ravens (8-6): Beating the Colts would put them ahead of the Bills, although the Titans could still open the door for both teams.

8. Chargers (7-7): It’s time to win out and hope for help.

9. Raiders (6-8): The particulars of Sunday night’s loss were painful, but the Raiders had already done their best to erase their playoff chances.

10. Dolphins (6-8): Things didn’t play out as hoped in Miami this year.

11. Jets (5-9): Five wins may be more than many predicted, but a losing season won’t be avoided.

12. Bengals (5-9): The blowouts keep on coming in what looks like Marvin Lewis’ swan song.

13. Broncos (5-9): A two-game winning streak won’t erase the stink of the season, but it will shift the draft order.

14. Texans (4-10): Jadeveon Clowney called Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles “trash” after getting blown out for Houston’s 10th loss of the year, so it may be one of those “it takes one to know one” things.

15. Colts (3-11): Andrew Luck rehab updates take precedence over game results these days.

16. Browns (0-14): Two chances left for a win this year.

Rams’ win was a changing of the guard, and other Week 15 thoughts

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Seattle has been so dominant at home in recent years that when you looked up in the second quarter yesterday and saw the score was 34-0, it almost looked like a mistake.

The Seahawks are losing 34-0 at CenturyLink Field?

But that’s what happened. The Rams blew out the Seahawks in Seattle and we witnessed a changing of the guard in the NFC West.

That game wasn’t just a good day for the Rams and a bad day for the Seahawks. That was a demonstration of the fact that the Rams are better than the Seahawks in all three phases of the game.

And the Rams are also younger than the Seahawks, and in much better salary cap shape than the Seahawks heading into 2018. While the Seahawks’ best players are getting older and more expensive, the Rams’ best players are just entering their primes. You could argue that the Seahawks will be better next year because Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor will be back from injuries — except that Sherman and Chancellor are both turning 30 next offseason, and will cost a combined $23 million against the salary cap next season. The Seahawks are aging and expensive. That’s not a recipe for a quick turnaround.

The Rams have a young head coach, a young quarterback, the best young defensive player in the league in Aaron Donald. The Rams are the team of the future. The Seahawks are the team of the past. There’s a new king of the NFC West.

Here are my other thoughts from Week 15:

Another 100 for Antonio Brown. The 100-catch season isn’t as special as it used to be. I’m old enough to remember Art Monk’s 106-catch season in 1984, and back then catching 100 passes in a season was stunning. Now Brown is making 100 catches in a season look ordinary. Before he was hurt yesterday, Brown caught two passes, bringing his season total to 101. In the last four seasons, he caught 106, 136, 129 and 110 passes. He’s the first player in NFL history with 100 catches in five straight seasons. Now the Steelers have to hope he’s healthy for the playoffs.

A big statement from Nick Foles. When Carson Wentz went down last week, some thought the Eagles were doomed. All Foles did in his first start of the season yesterday was throw four touchdown passes and lead Philadelphia to a 34-29 win. Foles made a statement that he can lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl, and there’s every reason to believe he can. Although Foles did not play well the last time he was a starter, with the St. Louis Rams, that was in the Jeff Fisher offense that every quarterback struggled in. Foles threw seven touchdown passes and 10 interceptions with the Rams, but for the rest of his career he has 53 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.

A continuing statement from Case Keenum. The Vikings made Keenum their starter in Week Two after Sam Bradford was hurt in Week One, and all Keenum has done is play at an MVP level. Yesterday he was an incredible 20-for-23 for 236 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. We could have a Nick Foles-Case Keenum NFC Championship Game. Remember nine months ago when Keenum was available for one year, $2 million and Foles was available for two years, $11 million, and the Bears gave Mike Glennon three years, $45 million?

Aaron Rodgers should go back to the bench. Rodgers showed toughness by getting back on the field just eight weeks after breaking his collarbone, but he threw three interceptions in Carolina and the Packers’ playoff hopes came to an end. If I were Mike McCarthy, I’d put Rodgers back on the bench for the last two games of the season. There’s no need to risk further injury to the franchise player when the season is effectively over.

Teddy Bridgewater had Sunday’s best moment. With the Vikings’ blowout win in hand, Bridgewater got back on the field in Minnesota yesterday for the first time since a knee injury a year and a half ago that some feared would end his career. It was great to see him back on the field and great to see what an ovation Minnesota fans gave him. It was such a loud ovation, in fact, that Bridgewater had to cover the ear holes on his helmet so that he could hear the play call over the fans screaming, “Teddy! Teddy!” That was a wonderful sight to see.

NFL needs a tougher rule against helmet-to-helmet hits. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis knocked Packers receiver Davante Adams out of the game with a brutal head shot, and although Davis was penalized 15 yards, he was allowed to stay in the game while Adams was removed with a concussion. That’s not right. Some have proposed that the NFL adopt the college targeting rule, where an illegal hit to the head is an automatic ejection. I’d prefer a rule that requires players to be removed from the game for as long as the player they injured. So yesterday, when Adams was removed from the game with a concussion, Davis would have been removed from the game for injuring him. If a player comes out of the game for only a few plays after taking an illegal hit to the head, then the player who delivered the hit is allowed to come back after a few plays. Yes, that would create some perverse incentives: If one team’s best linebacker gets flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on another team’s third-best running back, then the running back might get benched for the rest of the game solely to keep the linebacker off the field. But you know what? Those are the breaks. Don’t commit an illegal hit if you don’t want to get taken off the field.

The Jaguars are legit. Everyone talked about yesterday’s Patriots-Steelers game like it was Part One of the AFC Championship Game. But don’t forget about Jacksonville. The Jaguars, who absolutely destroyed the Texans yesterday, have the best defense in the league and an improving offense as well. I won’t be at all surprised if the Jaguars beat either the Steelers or the Patriots in January. Or maybe beat both of them.

Jimmy Garoppolo is for real. The 49ers were 1-10. Then they made Garoppolo their starting quarterback. Now they’re 4-10. Garoppolo’s stats in his young NFL career are sensational: He has completed 154 of 209 passes, a 73.7 percent completion rate. He has thrown for 1,716 yards, an 8.2-yard average. He has eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He has a 106.5 passer rating. And his teams are 5-0 in games he starts. But you have to really watch him and not just look at the numbers to see how special he is. There are very, very few quarterbacks in the NFL who can make the play Garoppolo made in the second quarter of Sunday’s win over the Titans, when he scrambled around, found a receiver in the end zone and drilled the throw on the run for a touchdown. He is a tremendous talent. The Rams are the future of the NFC West, but the 49ers, with Garoppolo in the fold, have the biggest piece of the puzzle in place to create a great California rivalry with the Rams for years to come.

Week 15 early inactives

AP

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 Bills

Dolphins: G Jermon Bushrod, QB Matt Moore, RB Damien Williams, S Michael Thomas, CB Cordrea Tankersley, DE Andre Branch, G Isaac Asiata

Bills: G John Miller, QB Nathan Peterman, RB Mike Tolbert, CB Breon Borders, T Conor McDermott, TE Khari Lee, WR Brandon Reilly

Packers at Panthers

Packers: CB Davon House, CB Demetri Goodson, T Ulrick John, OL Adam Pankey, WR Michael Clark, DL Montravius Adams, LB Chris Odom

Panthers: LB Shaq Thompson, G Trai Turner, CB Captain Munnerlyn, QB Garrett Gilbert, FB Alex Armah, DE Zach Moore, C Tyler Larsen

Ravens at Browns

Ravens: RB Terrance West, LB Tim Williams, G Jermaine Eluemunor, G Maurquice Shakir, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, DE Chris Wormley, DE Bronson Kaufusi

Browns: QB Cody Kessler, DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, DB Justin Currie, OL Marcus Martin, OL Geoff Gray, WR Matt Hazel, TE Matt Lengel

Texans at Jaguars

Texans: LB Jelani Jenkins, T Kendall Lamm, WR Braxton Miller, QB Tom Savage, CB Treston Decoud, TE MyCole Pruitt, LB Ufomba Kamalu

Jaguars: RB Leonard Fournette, WR Allen Hurns, WR Larry Pinkard, DT Eli Ankou, OL Chris Reed, OL Josh Walker, OL William Poehls

Bengals at Vikings

Bengals: RB Joe Mixon, LB Vontaze Burfict, LB Nick Vigil, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, OL Christian Westerman, DT Josh Tupou, WR Tyler Boyd

Vikings: CB Mackensie Alexander, QB Kyle Sloter, WR Stacy Coley, T Riley Reiff, DE Tashawn Bower, DT Jaleel Johnson, RB Mack Brown

Jets at Saints

Jets: DE Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Jeremy Clark, CB Derrick Jones, RB Akeem Judd, LB Freddie Bishop, OL Ben Ijalana, OL Jonotthan Harrison

Saints: DE Trey Hendrickson, LB A.J. Klein, WR Ted Ginn Jr., RB Jonathan Williams, WR Austin Carr, C Cameron Tom, LB Jonathan Freeny

Eagles at Giants

Eagles: CB Rasul Douglas, LB Dannell Ellerbe, WR Marcus Johnson, DL Steven Means, DL Elijah Qualls, RB Wendell Smallwood, G Stefan Wisniewski

Giants: S Nat Berhe, WR Travis Rudolph, RB Paul Perkins, LB Jeremy Cash, OL Damien Mama, WR Hunter Sharp, QB Davis Webb

Cardinals at Redskins

Cardinals: WR John Brown, G Earl Watford, LB Gabe Martin, QB Matt Barkley, DL Josh Mauro, CB C.J. Goodwin, TE Jermaine Gresham

Redskins: LB Zach Brown, S Montae Nicholson, WR Robert Davis, G Kyle Kalis, T Trent Williams, C Demetrius Rhaney, DL Terrell McClain

Week 15 injury report roundup

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Week 15 kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Broncos and it continues with this season’s first two Saturday games. 12 more games will be played 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.

 

Dolphins at Bills

The Dolphins put the doubtful category to good use by listing QB Matt Moore (foot), CB Cordrea Tankersley (ankle, shoulder), S Michael Thomas (knee) and RB Damien Williams (shoulder, illness) that way for Sunday’s game. G Jermon Bushrod (foot) is definitely out and three players — DE Andre Branch (knee), CB Xavien Howard (illness), DT Jordan Phillips (ankle) — are considered questionable.

QB Tyrod Taylor (knee) returns to the starting lineup while Nathan Peterman (concussion) is out. T Cordy Glenn (foot, ankle) and G John Miller (ankle) are also out and WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) is questionable.

Packers at Panthers

CB Davon House (shoulder, back) will miss Aaron Rodgers‘ return to the Packers lineup. CB Demetri Goodson (hamstring), LB Nick Perry (foot, shoulder), LB Jake Ryan (knee) and T Jason Spriggs (hip) are questionable to play.

Panthers WR Devin Funchess (shoulder) is listed as questionable, although coach Ron Rivera said he will play. LB Shaq Thompson (foot) and G Trai Turner (concussion) were ruled out and C Tyler Larsen (foot) joins Funchess in the questionable category.

Ravens at Browns

All of the Ravens on this week’s injury report — CB Maurice Canady (knee), G Jermaine Eluemunor (shoulder), C Ryan Jensen (ankle), QB Ryan Mallett (hips), WR Chris Moore (hip), LB Za'Darius Smith (shoulder) and WR Mike Wallace (ankle) — are considered questionable to play.

Three cornerbacks appear on the Browns’ injury report. Briean Boddy-Calhoun (knee) is likely going to sit after being listed as doubtful while Darius Hillary (knee) and Jamar Taylor (foot) are questionable. WR Matt Hazel (hamstring) is in the same category.

Texans at Jaguars

Texans LB Jelani Jenkins (concussion), T Kendall Lamm (concussion), WR Braxton Miller (concussion) and QB Tom Savage (concussion) are out for Sunday’s game. LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee, illness), WR DeAndre Hopkins (toe) and  TE MyCole Pruitt (calf) are listed as questionable with Clowney and Hopkins expected to wind up on the right side of that question.

RB Leonard Fournette (quadricep) missed practice all three days this week, but the Jaguars left the door open by listing him as questionable. Wide receivers Allen Hurns (ankle) and Larry Pinkard (concussion) are out.

Bengals at Vikings

The Bengals ruled out LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion) and LB Nick Vigil (ankle) on the same day they put LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) on injured reserve. C T.J. Johnson (pectoral) is listed as doubtful. RB Joe Mixon (concussion) and S Shawn Williams (hamstring) drew questionable tags.

It looks like the Vikings will have to go without T Riley Reiff (ankle) and TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle) after listing them as doubtful. CB Mackensie Alexander (ribs) was ruled out and LB Emmanuel Lamur (foot) is questionable.

Jets at Saints

DE Muhammad Wilkerson is out for the game, but the reason is a coach’s decision rather than an injury. RB Matt Forte (knee) and G Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle) are listed as questionable.

DE Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and LB A.J. Klein (groin) won’t play for the Saints. WR Ted Ginn (rib) and G Andrus Peat (groin) drew questionable tags.

Eagles at Giants

The biggest Eagles injury isn’t on the injury report after Carson Wentz was placed on injured reserve. G Stefen Wisniewski (ankle) is the only member of the active roster on the list and he’s questionable to play.

Safety is likely to be a thin spot for the Giants. Nat Berhe (hamstring) is out and Landon Collins (ankle) is doubtful. CB Brandon Dixon (heel, hamstring), WR Roger Lewis (ankle) and WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring) are all listed as questionable.

Cardinals at Redskins

The Cardinals ruled out WR John Brown (toe), LB Gabe Martin (hamstring) and G Earl Watford (ankle). RB Adrian Peterson (neck) was initially ruled out before being placed on injured reserve. TE Jermaine Gresham (illness), DT Josh Mauro (ankle) and DT Corey Peters (ankle) were all listed as questionable.

Redskins LB Zach Brown (illness, toe, achilles, hip) takes this year’s honor for most reasons why he was ruled out of a game. S Montae Nicholson (concussion) was also ruled out while LB Ryan Anderson (ankle), WR Ryan Grant (ankle), WR Maurice Harris (concussion), DE Terrell McClain (toe), T Morgan Moses (ankle), C Chase Roullier (hand) and T Trent Williams (knee) are listed as questionable.

Rams at Seahawks

QB Brandon Allen (back) is doubtful and the rest of the Rams, including WR Robert Woods (shoulder) and LT Andrew Whitworth (knee), are good to go.

LB Bobby Wagner (hamstring) is questionable for the Seahawks. If he doesn’t go, they’ll likely be down two linebackers with K.J. Wright (concussion) listed as doubtful. S Kam Chancellor (neck) is out and DT Nazair Jones (ankle) is doubtful.

Patriots at Steelers

Patriots DT Alan Branch (knee) won’t play in the matchup of the AFC’s top two teams. DE Trey Flowers (rib), CB Stephon Gilmore (ankle), LB David Harris (ankle), WR Chris Hogan (shoulder), S Brandon King (hamstring), DE Eric Lee (ankle), WR Matt Slater (hamstring), LB Kyle Van Noy (calf), T LaAdrian Waddle (ankle) and DE Deatrich Wise (foot) are all listed as questionable.

The Steelers are waiting to make calls on CB Joe Haden (fibula), CB Coty Sensabaugh (shoulder) and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (hamstring) after listing them as questionable. TE Vance McDonald (shoulder) has been ruled out.

Titans at 49ers

LB Derrick Morgan (knee) is out for the Titans, who listed S Johnathan Cyprien (back) and TE Phillip Supernaw (ankle) as questionable.

Cornerbacks Greg Mabin (calf) and Ahkello Witherspoon (knee) are questionable to play for the 49ers. T Trent Brown (shoulder) is out and expected to have season-ending surgery.

Cowboys at Raiders

The Cowboys ruled out LB Justin Durant (concussion), DE David Irving (concussion) and CB Orlando Scandrick (back). WR Brice Butler (foot), T La'el Collins (back), DT Maliek Collins (foot), TE James Hanna (knee), LB Sean Lee (hamstring, back) and T Tyron Smith (back) are questionable to play in Sunday’s final game.

Raiders WR Amari Cooper (ankle), DE Mario Edwards (ankle), S Obi Melifonwu (hip), TE Clive Walford (concussion, neck) were ruled out with Melifonwu heading to injured reserve after having surgery on Thursday. CB David Amerson (foot) is set to join them on the sideline after being listed as doubtful. DE Denico Autry (hand, ankle), G Jon Feliciano (concussion) and S Keith McGill (knee) are listed as questionable.

PFT’s Week 15 picks

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Like Doug Jones, MDS has an insurmountable lead (seven games) with three weeks left. Like Roy Moore, I’m not conceding.

Although it’s going to require plenty of skill and luck. This week, we disagree on only three games. Which means I need a sweep in order to even have a remote chance to catch him.

For all of the Week 15 picks, do the mouse/finger thing.

Broncos at Colts

MDS’s take: The season’s last Thursday night game is not a good one. But the Broncos showed enough signs of life last week that I’ll pick them to win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 16, Colts 13.

Florio’s take: John Elway stuck it to the Colts decades ago, when he told them not to draft him. He’ll stick it to them again tonight.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 27, Colts 20.


Bears at Lions

MDS’s take: Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has been playing better football of late, and that makes me tempted to pick an upset. But with Jim Caldwell coaching for his job, I think the Lions will do just enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 24, Bears 23.

Florio’s take: A team that had won three games in 13 weeks isn’t going to be winning twice in six days. #analysis.

Florio’s pick: Lions 30, Bears 14.


Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: This is a huge game that may determine the winner of the AFC West, and I think the Chargers’ late-season surge is going to continue and push them toward a playoff game in their tiny stadium.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 34, Chiefs 31.

Florio’s take: One of the hottest teams in football gets a chance to show the Chiefs (and everyone else) how far they’ve come.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 31, Chiefs 21.


Texans at Jaguars

MDS’s take: The Jaguars’ pass defense is going to make life miserable for T.J. Yates.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 20, Texans 3.

Florio’s take: If the Jaguars truly have matured, they’ll avoid stepping into a pothole against an overmatched Texans team.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 30, Texans 13.


Ravens at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns may have missed their best opportunity to eat a W on Sunday against the Packers. I can’t see them beating a Ravens team that is hungry to earn a wild card spot.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Browns 13.

Florio’s take: Nearly 10 years to the day after the Ravens “helped” the Dolphins avoid an 0-16 season, the team that used to be the Browns gets a chance to assist the current Browns in the avoidance of the ultimate embarrassment. Don’t count on it happening; after blowing a 14-point lead against the Packers and bungling a chance to salvage victory in overtime, the Browns seem to be ready to accept their fate.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Browns 10.


Packers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The return of Aaron Rodgers will be spoiled by a good Panthers defense that will hold a rusty Rodgers in check and pretty much end the Packers’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Packers 17.

Florio’s take: If the Packers make the playoffs, they’ll make it to the Super Bowl. But if they lose to the Panthers, the Packers won’t make it to the playoffs. Ipso facto, don’t make reservations for Minnesota in late January, Cheeseheads.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 27, Packers 23.


Dolphins at Bills

MDS’s take: The Dolphins surprised me on Monday night, but I think the Jay Cutler-led offense is going to struggle on a cold day in Buffalo.

MDS’s pick: Bills 13, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins finally found the gas pedal. Is it too late?

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 24, Bills 21.


Bengals at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Vikings have a good shot at earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and they’re not throwing away their shot against the Bengals.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 28, Bengals 10.

Florio’s take: Old friends Mike Zimmer and Marvin Lewis meet, with Marvin on the hot seat. If Zimmer blows this one, he should be, too.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 31, Bengals 17.


Cardinals at Washington

MDS’s take: Two teams that thought they were playoff contenders but now find themselves playing out the string. Kirk Cousins still has something to play for, and I think he’ll have a big game.

MDS’s pick: Washington 31, Cardinals 17.

Florio’s take: A pair of former NFC East rivals get together. And that’s the only thing interesting about this game.

Florio’s pick: Washington 23, Cardinals 20.


Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: Nick Foles gets an easy opponent in his first start, and he’ll play well as the Eagles cruise to another win.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 14.

Florio’s take: It’s easy to exude confidence to the point of delusion about succeeding without Carson Wentz . . . before actually playing a game without Carson Wentz.

Florio’s pick: Giants 21, Eagles 20.


Jets at Saints

MDS’s take: Josh McCown played well this year, but now that he’s done the Jets are going to look like the team everyone thought they’d be back in September. The Saints will win this one easily.

MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Jets 7.

Florio’s take: Extra time to prepare plus a sense of urgency to get a win minus Josh McCown for the Jets equals an easy 10th win for the home team.

Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Jets 17.


Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: In a huge game for the NFC West race, I like the Seahawks to do just enough on defense to slow down the Rams’ high-scoring offense, and Russell Wilson to make a couple of big plays late to win a close game.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Rams 27.

Florio’s take: The Rams got their nine wins, but they may not get their playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 27, Rams 24.


Titans at 49ers

MDS’s take: The 49ers are 2-0 since switching to Jimmy Garoppolo. Make it 3-0.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 28, Titans 21.

Florio’s take: The Titans could be in the process of squandering what once seemed like a sure-fire playoff berth. If they don’t get it right now, it could be over.

Florio’s pick: Titans 23, 49ers 16.


Patriots at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Patriots will bounce back from an ugly Monday night loss to win what is the biggest game of the regular season so far.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 24.

Florio’s take: The Patriots lose so rarely that whenever they do some assume they’ll never win again. Ass. U. Me.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Steelers 27.


Cowboys at Raiders

MDS’s take: Derek Carr has been a disappointment this season, and the Cowboys’ defense is going to have a good game against him on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 24, Raiders 16.

Florio’s take: Derek Carr was wise to take the $25 million per year; if he hadn’t, he’d be lucky to get half that now.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 23, Raiders 14.


Falcons at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Falcons are still fighting for a playoff berth, and they’re doing it against the Buccaneers, who may be this year’s most disappointing team. Atlanta should get an important win on the road.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 21, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: Jon Gruden will be joining the Ring of Honor. Dirk Koetter may soon be performing the walk of shame.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 34, Buccaneers 20.

Jerry Jones calls Commissioner’s power “antiquated”

AP

In a show of unity, Roger Goodell and Jerry Jones entered the post-meetings press conference together. They exchanged a man-hug as the NFL Commissioner left the podium.

By appearances, all is well. The Cowboys owner insists he supports the contract extension for Goodell despite a four-month fight. At the same time, though, Jones made it clear he wants to take power back from the Commissioner by changing the league’s constitution.

‘This bunch [of owners] is the most qualified people I know to set the course . . . for the future of this league,” Jones said. “That’s going to take some constitutional changes. One of the things that we’ve agreed to, and this process did or didn’t influence it, but we’ve agreed to really address this league for some constitutional changes that is the real way to address not only the Commissioner and some of these issues, on all areas, that’s the real way to address it is right there on how you affect decisions.

“I’m very rewarded that this exercise of extending Roger has brought that about. That is the way that I see it, and it’s going to be. I want to emphasize, I didn’t do it. It took the will of 32 owners to get that done. I am rewarded. What is neat is that Roger, who always has the league in mind, Roger has agreed to be a leader in implementing those changes. And there’s nobody that doesn’t see the need for changes in the NFL in several areas. We’re doing a lot of things good. But there’s some areas we need to change. One of it, it’s an antiquated constitution, an antiquated situation as to the power of the commissioner, this will address that.”

Although Jones didn’t derail the deal, as he had hoped, he did declare victory (as Mike Florio predicted three weeks ago). Or maybe it was more like Jones didn’t concede defeat.

Goodell signed the five-year performance-based extension worth up to $200 million if owners approve all bonuses and incentives are met. Most owners will have oversight on the bonuses and incentives.

“I hope Roger earns every dime,” Jones said. “That means he’s doing a great job, and we’re doing good.”

Jones was one of the owners who voted 32-0 in May to grant the six-member Compensation Committee authority to execute the contract. Jones began fighting the deal after Goodell suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games, but Jones said Elliott’s suspension had nothing to do with it.

So, Jones was asked, what then changed between May and August?

“They have a term in business called a mac,” Jones said. “Material adverse circumstances happen between the time that you shook hands and the time you did the deal. It’s a very valid change of scenery. It’s called a mac. Anybody who says we haven’t had any changes since last spring would be an exaggeration. Certainly that was a part of it. But more importantly than anything, I really felt that something as sensitive as owners giving their vote to a group to make these decisions needed to have a clarity. It needed to have specificity and not three lines to get that ability to make that decision for all the owners. I really did think we had a complaint there. I agreed to drop that [threat of a lawsuit], and I did. I agreed not to have that decided by somebody other than us. So we didn’t do that. What we did was come up to where we are today, and I’ll go with what we’ve got today, because we’ve got more to come that I know will improve the National Football League.”

Arthur Blank: Commissioner’s contract has Jerry Jones’ support

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Jerry Jones spoke for “5 to 10 minutes” during the NFL owners meetings Wednesday morning. By all accounts, the Cowboys owner is on board with the contract extension for Roger Goodell.

Jones is scheduled to speak with the media when the meetings conclude this afternoon.

“He was fine. He was a Texas gentleman,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said during a break.

Owners likely did not grab hands and sing Kumbaya, but they are singing the same song. Jones seems to have made peace with Goodell’s performance-based extension, which will pay him up to $200 million.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the chairman of the Compensation Committee, joined Committee member Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner, in a conference call with Jones a few days before the contract was signed by Goodell.

“I’ve got a great respect for Jerry,” Blank said. “. . . It was a very good conversation. I thanked him, which I didn’t get a chance to do, or chose not to do really, the time we [the Falcons and Cowboys] played because I didn’t think it was the right setting. I thanked him for the help he’s been to myself and to many owners throughout the league, his leadership in stadium development and branding and marketing and a variety of issues. Jerry has been an active owner and an important owner in the progress of the league over the last 28 years.

“We were not necessarily connected totally on how this process should have been handled.”

Jones tried to derail the deal for Goodell, which will run through the 2023 season and into the spring of 2024. Jones failed because owners gave the Compensation Committee unanimous authorization in May 2017 to execute the contract.

Jones threatened to sue at one point in his fight, prompting the six owners on the Compensation Committee to send Jones a letter telling him to cease and desist. Blank would not comment on the letter.

“I was bothered by anything — and I think the owners are bothered by anything that was a distraction from the league and from the league’s business, both the issues and the opportunities that the league has,” Blank said. “I think there was a general strong feeling in the room that we need to bond together, be together, be a team on the field and off the field as a group of owners in dealing with the issues and the opportunities that the league has now. Our world is changing dramatically in terms of fans and how they’re receiving our content and the experience they have in the stadiums and obviously player relationships are critical, and player safety is critical. The view of the outside world of the league is very important to us. All of those issues we spent a great deal of time on this morning.”

Blank avoided Jones before the Falcons’ Nov. 12 game against the Cowboys, an unusual pregame occurrence between owners.

Jones has insisted that he has had the league’s best interests in mind, even as he fought the deal, and that his attempts to prevent the extension had nothing to do with his anger over Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension.

Blank was asked if Jones had mended fences, with the contract a single-issue disagreement or a long-term rift.

“I don’t know that there’s a rift going forward,” Blank said. “I think that Jerry, he loves the league; he loves the Cowboys; he’s very passionate about issues that he cares deeply about, which is great. I think it’s important to have different voices in the room. You’ve got a lot of very bright men and women in that room that care about not only their own franchise but care about the pillars of the National Football League, care about our fans, care about our players, care about our sponsors, care about media partners. I think we’re all committed to being connected and dealing with those issues.”