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NFL morning after: It’s time for Jared Goff

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 06:  Quarterback  Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams runs on to the field to play in the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Los Angeles Coliseum on November 6, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

Fans in Los Angeles began chanting for rookie quarterback Jared Goff early in the Rams’ loss to the Panthers on Sunday, and who could blame them? The Rams gave up a bounty of draft picks to make Goff the future of their franchise in Southern California, and yet Goff stood on the sideline and watched while Keenum led the Rams’ abysmal offense to another loss.

So why is Goff, the first overall pick in this year’s draft, still on the Rams’ bench? Because head coach Jeff Fisher says so.

“Case was not the reason we lost this game today,” Fisher said after Sunday’s loss.

Well, Keenum was not the reason, but he was certainly a reason. Is Fisher really denying that? Is he really saying that the Rams’ quarterback bears none of the blame for a loss yesterday when they scored zero points in the first three quarters? Fisher similarly defended Keenum in the Rams’ loss to the Giants in their previous game — another game when the Rams went three quarters without scoring a point. And Fisher has defended Keenum over and over again while the Rams have lost their last four games.

At this point, Fisher sounds like he’s denying reality when he keeps defending Keenum. The Rams have the worst offense in the NFL. They have the first overall pick in the draft on the sideline. It’s time to make the change.

Goff won’t instantly turn the Rams’ offense into the Greatest Show on Turf, or even into an above-average offense. There are a lot of problems on the Rams’ offense that Goff alone can’t solve. But playing Goff now at least gives the franchise some idea of what kind of quarterback it has, and what kind of help he’ll need in the offseason. Keeping him on the sideline is holding the entire franchise back because it prevents the Rams from really finding out where Goff is in his development. Seeing what he does on the practice field can only tell you so much. The Rams need to see him in live action.

Fisher should change quarterbacks, and he should do it this week.

Here are my other thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Steelers erred in playing Ben. When Ben Roethlisberger had arthroscopic knee surgery three weeks ago, initial reports suggested he’d miss four to six weeks. So when the Steelers announced that Roethlisberger would start yesterday, it seemed like he was rushing to return. And that’s what it looked like yesterday against the Ravens as well, when Roethlisberger went into the fourth quarter with a brutal stat line of 9-of-21 for 61 yards with one interception, and the Steelers didn’t score any points until the middle of the fourth quarter. Yes, Roethlisberger put up some garbage-time numbers to make his final stats look OK, but he did not play well. The Steelers should have given him another week to recover.

The Browns stink, but don’t give up on the Moneyball approach As the Browns fell to 0-9 with an ugly loss to the Cowboys on Sunday, I saw some folks on Twitter suggesting that the Cleveand front office, with its Moneyball approach, has failed. I just think it’s way too early to say that right now. The whole idea behind the Browns’ approach is to stockpile future draft picks to build the Browns into a good team three, four or five years from now. I don’t know if those Moneyball guys in the Browns’ front office will succeed or fail with those picks they’ve stockpiled, but it would be crazy to give up on their plan now. Until we see what the Browns do with all their extra picks in the 2017 draft, we simply don’t know if their front office approach will bear fruit or not.

Ten stats from Sunday.

1. The Raiders’ time of possession edge over the Broncos last night (41:28 to 18:32) was the best for any team in any NFL game this season.

2. Remember how great Randy Moss was at the start of his career? He had 29 touchdowns in his first 35 career games. With two touchdowns yesterday, Giants receiver Odell Beckham has 30 touchdowns in his first 35 career games.

3. Melvin Gordon’s 261 yards from scrimmage in the Chargers’ win over the Titans were the most for any running back in any NFL game since 2012.

4. The Browns have already clinched a losing record, their ninth straight losing season.

5. Jordan Todman of the Colts had 160 kickoff return yards in the first quarter against the Packers. No other NFL player even has 160 kickoff return yards in an entire game this season.

6. The combined record of the AFC North is 11-21-1.

7. Minnesota’s Blair Walsh leads the NFL with three missed extra points.

8. Of the 29 NFL running backs with more than 75 carries, Todd Gurley of the Rams is dead last with an average of 3.1 yards a carry.

9. Andrew Luck has been sacked 33 times this season. No other quarterback has been sacked more than 25 times this season.

10. Colin Kaepernick had 398 pass yards on Sunday, in a good indication of just how bad the Saints’ defense is.

Stafford for MVP? I mentioned on Twitter during the Lions-Vikings game that I didn’t buy into the talk that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is an MVP candidate. After the Lions came back to win, I heard from a lot of Lions fans asking me to eat crow. Sorry, but I can’t. Yes, Stafford is having a very good season. But MVP isn’t “very good season.” MVP is the single best season of any player in the league. And there’s just no way to argue that Stafford is the single best player in the league this season. He certainly has to take a backseat to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who has better numbers than Stafford across the board. And he has to take a backseat to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as well, unless you don’t think a player who missed the first four games of the season deserves MVP consideration. Stafford has played very well in the fourth quarter and overtime of all five of the Lions’ wins, but that doesn’t make him the best player in the league.

Prater’s most impressive field goal. Speaking of the Lions, their kicker, Matt Prater, is one of the best in NFL history. He has the longest field goal ever, at 64 yards. And after yesterday’s win over the Vikings he has the two longest game-tying field goals in the final minute of the fourth quarter in NFL history: A 59-yarder in Denver in 2011 and yesterday’s 58-yarder. But one thing about those aforementioned 64- and 59-yard field goals: They were both in Denver, where the altitude makes it easier to kick long field goals. Yesterday’s kick was at sea level, which in my book makes it the best field goal of Prater’s very impressive career.

The Sam Bradford trade is looking like a bad move. When the Vikings gave up their 2017 first-round pick and 2018 fourth-round pick for Bradford, it was a move that showed they saw themselves as Super Bowl contenders, this year. And it was a move that only made sense if Bradford could take them to the playoffs. Now Bradford has played three consecutive subpar games, the Vikings have lost three in a row, and I’m not so sure their offense is any better than it would have been if they’d just turned to backup quarterback Shaun Hill after starter Teddy Bridgewater suffered his season-ending injury in training camp. The Vikings are now in a three-way race with the Lions and Packers in the NFC North. If the Vikings miss the playoffs, the decision to give up next year’s first-round pick will go down as a major mistake.

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Statement from Alexa Stabler-Adams and Marissa Stabler

[Editor’s note: The following statement was released by Alexa Stabler-Adams and Marissa Stabler, two of the three daughters of the late Hall of Fame quarterback Ken Stabler, in response to criticism of the Hall of Fame for not giving a gold jacket or Hall of Fame ring to the family.]

Our dad was an extremely private and humble person and we’ve always done our best to respect and honor this in both his life and in his death. We are in no way speaking on behalf of other families who have also had a loved one inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously. We are just trying to represent our father in the way he would want us to.

Dad led by example on the field and off the field. As a father, he taught us to be gracious, kind, and to never take anything for granted. He’d always say, “just keep your head down and keep working hard.”

We know the Hall of Fame ring and the jacket are two symbolic pieces of accomplishment. However, we also know Dad wouldn’t want us making a commotion over materialistic things. When he was alive he didn’t even want us to make a case for him being in the Hall of Fame, not publicly or even privately.

We so love and appreciate the passion of Dad’s loyal supporters who have fought tirelessly to get him into the Hall of Fame (there’s no nation like Raider Nation!). And we understand why they feel it is an injustice that he not be given all of the same things as a living Hall of Famer. But we also respect the Hall of Fame’s reasoning behind not awarding a ring and jacket to our father posthumously, as we know Dad would want to prevent any possible conflict among his family on who these should go to.

In September, the Hall presented his three daughters with a framed Hall of Fame crest that adorns the gold jacket. These are more than enough in our eyes and we will treasure them forever.

But what matters — what truly matters — is that Dad is finally in the Hall of Fame where he belongs and where he will continue to make memories for so many for years and years to come.

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Week Nine early inactives

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) leaves the field after getting hit during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) AP

Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post. Here are the inactives for the six games kicking off at 1 p.m. ET this Sunday.

Cowboys at Browns

Cowboys: QB Tony Romo, CB Morris Claiborne, RB Darius Jackson, S Barry Church, LB Mark Nzeocha, DE Ryan Davis, T Chaz Green

Browns: QB Joe Callahan, QB Kevin Hogan, LB Corey Lemonier, OL Gabe Ikard, OL Jonathan Cooper, WR Jordan Payton, DL Stephen Paea

Jaguars at Chiefs

Jaguars: QB Brandon Allen, WR Rashad Greene, RB Corey Grant, DE Jared Odrick, OL Bryce Harris, TE Neal Sterling, DT Richard Ash

Chiefs: RB Spencer Ware, QB Alex Smith, TE Ross Travis, OL Mike Person, CB Terrance Mitchell, CB D.J. White, RB Bishop Sankey

Jets at Dolphins

Jets: QB Christian Hackenberg, TE Kellen Davis, LB Darron Lee, LB Bruce Carter, C Nick Mangold, Brent Qvale, TE Eric Tomlinson

Dolphins: CB Jordan Lucas, CB Xavien Howard, CB Bene Benwikere, DE Nick Williams, DE Terrence Fede, OT Sam Young, TE Dion Sims

Eagles at Giants

Eagles: LB Kamu Grugier-Hill, OL Josh Andrews, OL Dillon Gordon, OL Allen Barbre, DT Taylor Hart, DT Bennie Logan

Giants: QB Ryan Nassib, WR Tavarres King, CB Leon Hall, S Darian Thompson, LB Deonte Skinner, OT Will Beatty, DE Kerry Wynn

Lions at Vikings

Lions: CB Darius Slay, RB Justin Forsett, LB DeAndre Levy, OT Riley Reiff, OL Joe Dahl, CB Johnthan Banks, TE Khari Lee

Vikings: WR Jarius Wright, LB Eric Kendricks, G Zac Kerin, DT Sharrif Floyd, G Alex Boone, TE Mycole Pruit, TE David Morgan

Steelers at Ravens

Steelers: WR Markus Wheaton, QB Zach Mettenberger, FB Roosevelt Nix, LB L.J. Fort, T Brian Mihalik, T Marcus Gilbert, DE Leterrius Walton

Ravens: CB Shareece Wright, LB Kamalei Correa, LB Elvis Dumervil, G Vladimir Ducasse, OL Ryan Jensen, DT Willie Henry, TE Crockett Gillmore

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Week Nine injury report roundup

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 30:  Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers tackles John Brown #12 of the Arizona Cardinals in the 4th quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Week Nine kicked off on Thursday night with a Falcons win and it continues with 11 more games on Sunday, which means that the 22 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 in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Steelers at Ravens

The Steelers listed QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee) as questionable, but reports from Pittsburgh and his history indicate he’ll play. CB William Gay (foot) and RB DeAngelo Williams (knee) are also questionable while C Cody Wallace (knee) has been ruled out.

LB Kamalei Correa (thigh), LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) and TE Crockett Gillmore (thigh) are out for the Ravens. CB Shareece Wright (thigh) is doubtful and LB C.J. Mosley (thigh), WR Steve Smith (ankle), T Ronnie Stanley (foot), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), CB Lardarius Webb (thigh), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder) and CB Tavon Young (concussion) make up a long list of questionable players.

Cowboys at Browns

S Barry Church (forearm), CB Morris Claiborne (groin), DE Ryan Davis (hamstring), T Chaz Green (foot) and QB Tony Romo (back) will not play for the Cowboys this week. WR Dez Bryant (knee, back), DT Maliek Collins (knee), RB Lance Dunbar (knee), LB Anthony Hitchens (knee), DE Demarcus Lawrence (back, shoulder) and T Tyron Smith (back) all drew questionable tags.

LB Tank Carder (concussion), C Cameron Erving (shoulder), WR Ricardo Louis (hamstring) and CB Jamar Taylor (groin) have been listed as questionable by the Browns.

Jaguars at Chiefs

The Jaguars had an extended break after a Thursday game last week, which may have helped keep their injury report on the short side. DE Jared Odrick (foot, ankle) is out and CB Aaron Colvin (calf) is questionable.

Chiefs G Parker Ehinger (knee), QB Alex Smith (head, ear), RB Spencer Ware (concussion) and CB D.J. White (hand) have been ruled out. Nick Foles will start in place of Smith. DE Jaye Howard (hip) and WR Jeremy Maclin (groin) are listed as questionable.

Jets at Dolphins

Jets C Nick Mangold (ankle) is set to miss a second straight game after drawing a doubtful tag. LB Bruce Carter (quadricep), TE Kellen Davis (elbow) and LB Darron Lee (ankle) are definitely out. T Brent Qvale (neck) is also doubtful and T Ryan Clady (shoulder), T Breno Giacomini (shoulder), T Brandon Shell (shoulder) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) are listed as questionable.

The Dolphins continue to be without TE Jordan Cameron (concussion), CB Xavien Howard (knee) and TE Dion Sims (concussion). Questionable tags mean decisions on S Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle), T Jermon Bushrod (shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring) and T Laremy Tunsil (abdomen) will wait for the weekend.

Lions at Vikings

Lions LB DeAndre Levy (knee, quadricep) will miss his eighth straight game. DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle), CB Adairius Barnes (hamstring), T Taylor Decker (ribs), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), T Riley Reiff (illness), RB Theo Riddick (ankle) and CB Darius Slay (hamstring) are all questionable to play.

The Vikings ruled out G Alex Boone (concussion, shoulder, knee), DT Sharrif Floyd (knee), LB Eric Kendricks (concussion) and G Zac Kerin (hand) for this Sunday. DT Tom Johnson (concussion), RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle) and S Andrew Sendejo (ankle) got questionable designations, although McKinnon said he’s confident he’ll return to the lineup.

Eagles at Giants

G Allen Barbre (hamstring) and LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (hamstring) are out for the Eagles. DT Taylor Hart (ankle) and DT Bennie Logan (groin) are listed as questionable.

The Giants won’t have S Darian Thompson (foot) or DE Kerry Wynn (concussion) as they return from their bye week. S Nat Berhe (concussion), QB Ryan Nassib (right elbow), T Marshall Newhouse (calf) and RB Bobby Rainey (calf) got questionable designations on Friday.

Panthers at Rams

The Panthers listed LB Luke Kuechly (groin) as questionable after two missed practices, but coach Ron Rivera said he expects Kuechly to play. DT Vernon Butler (ankle), T Michael Oher (concussion) and LB Shaq Thompson (knee) are out while DE Mario Addison (groin), C Ryan Kalil (shoulder) and CB Daryl Worley (elbow) are also questionable.

The Rams listed DT Michael Brockers (groin), G Jamon Brown (hand), DE William Hayes (ankle) and CB Trumaine Johnson (ankle) as questionable as they return from their bye week. WR Nelson Spruce (calf) has been ruled out.

Saints at 49ers

The Saints listed LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring), T Terron Armstead (knee), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), WR Jake Lampman (knee) and CB Sterling Moore (abdomen) as questionable. DT Sheldon Rankins (fibula) isn’t on the injury report, but the team expressed confidence he’d be activated from injured reserve for this game. LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring) and LB James Laurinaitis (quadricep) are out.

The 49ers defense will be without LB Aaron Lynch (ankle) and CB Rashard Robinson (knee). RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder) is a game-time decision after drawing a questionable tag.

Colts at Packers

Colts CB Vontae Davis (concussion) is questionable pending a visit to the neurologist on Saturday. S Mike Adams (groin), LB Chris Carter (hamstring), DE Kendall Langford (knee), G Jack Mewhort (tricep) and T Joe Reitz (concussion) have been ruled out already. TE Dwayne Allen (ankle), DT Henry Anderson (knee), G Denzelle Good (knee) and LB Curt Maggitt (ankle) are listed as questionable.

C J.C. Tretter (knee) joins TE Jared Cook (ankle), CB Damarious Randall (groin) and RB James Starks (knee) as players ruled out by the Packers. WR Randall Cobb (hamstring), CB Demetri Goodson (concussion), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) and CB Quinten Rollins (groin) are all questionable for the game with Cobb sounding unlikely to play based on what he and coach Mike McCarthy said late in the week.

Titans at Chargers

Titans G Quinton Spain (knee) is out. S Rashad Johnson (neck), TE Delanie Walker (groin) and LB Aaron Wallace (shoulder) are listed as questionable with Walker expressing hope he’ll feel well enough to play come Sunday.

Chargers wide receivers Travis Benjamin (knee) and Tyrell Williams (knee) are questionable after practicing on Thursday and Friday. LB Jatavis Brown (knee), TE Hunter Henry (knee) and CB Craig Mager (concussion) have been ruled out while S Jahleel Addae (collarbone), LB Jeremiah Attaochu (ankle) and LB Denzel Perryman (hamstring) all drew doubtful tags.

Broncos at Raiders

CB Aqib Talib (back) is out again for the Broncos. The team listed LB Brandon Marshall (hamstring), C Matt Paradis (hip) and CB Kayvon Webster (hamstring) as questionable.

G Vadal Alexander (ankle), WR Amari Cooper (back), C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), RB Jamize Olawale (ankle), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), CB Sean Smith (shoulder) and T Menelik Watson (calf) are all listed as questionable for the Raiders. DT Stacy McGee (ankle) is the only player ruled out.

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PFT’s Week Nine picks

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 30: Tackle Donald Penn #72 of the Oakland Raiders is congratulated by teammates after catching a touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to tie the game at 10-10 at Raymond James Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images) Getty Images

Last week, I took out the broom. And whacked MDS over the head with it. The three disagreements (Lions-Texans, Seahawks-Saints, Raiders-Bucs) went my way, stretching a two-game lead to five.

For the week, I was 11-2 and MDS was 9-5.

This week, we disagree on three more games. If I sweep this week, it’s over.

Falcons at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Falcons can practically lock up the NFC South with a win in Tampa Bay, and I think they’re going to do just that.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: The Falcons played 60 minutes on Sunday. The Buccaneers played nearly 75. Advantage team that played less football four days before their game — especially since the Bucs are struggling at home.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Buccaneers 20.

Steelers at Ravens

MDS’s take: Ben Roethlisberger’s questionable status makes this game a tough one to pick, but I’m going to guess we see a Ravens win, whether it’s because Roethlisberger is at less than 100 percent or because Landry Jones is under center.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 27, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take: The Ravens have lost their way after an 3-0 start. The Steelers are focused on proving that they can win on the road, with or without Ben Roethlisberger under center.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 19, Ravens 13.

Cowboys at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns aren’t playing as badly as their 0-8 record suggests. But they’re not playing well enough to beat a good team like the Cowboys, either.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 30, Browns 17.

Florio’s take: Trap game alert for the Cowboys, who suddenly are good enough to have trap games. They’ll avoid stepping in this one.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 34, Browns 20.

Jaguars at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The way the Jaguars are playing, I wouldn’t pick them to win on the road against anyone right now.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 13.

Florio’s take: Nick Foles gets a chance to re-establish his career against a team with a coaching staff that soon will be continuing their careers elsewhere.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 31, Jaguars 17.

Jets at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Expect to see a strong dose of Jay Ajayi against a suspect Jets defense. The Dolphins should win this one without too much trouble.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 24, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: The schedule is softening for the Dolphins, who could quickly find themselves in the thick of the AFC wild-card chase.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 30, Jets 20.

Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: Opposing defenses look like they’re starting to figure out Carson Wentz, and I think the Giants will keep him in check and manage to win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Giants 14, Eagles 13.

Florio’s take: Neither team is ready to challenge the Cowboys, but the winner could contend for a wild-card spot. Home team coming off of a bye week gets the edge.

Florio’s pick: Giants 24, Eagles 21.

Lions at Vikings

MDS’s take: Sam Bradford has turned in a couple of ugly performances the last two weeks, but that should change on Sunday. The Lions have the worst pass defense in the NFL.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 27, Lions 17.

Florio’s take: The Vikings are in disarray, but that’s typically when they seem to get their act together unexpectedly.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 23, Lions 17.

Panthers at Rams

MDS’s take: It’s been a disappointing season in Carolina, but I think the Panthers’ defense should shut down Case Keenum and lead the fans in Los Angeles to call for Jared Goff.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Rams 13.

Florio’s take: The Rams need to be careful or they’ll fall behind their 7-9 pace. The Panthers are starting to play like they did a year ago, and Cam Newton will relish his L.A. debut.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Rams 24.

Saints at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Saints’ defense is weak, and Colin Kaepernick will have his best game of the year against it. But the 49ers’ defense is weak, too, and Drew Brees will be even better.

MDS’s pick: Saints 35, 49ers 28.

Florio’s take: The Saints are a win away from .500, and the 49ers are a world away from it.

Florio’s pick: Saints 31, 49ers 20.

Titans at Chargers

MDS’s take: I like the way the Titans’ offense is playing, but I think Joey Bosa will tee off on Marcus Mariota on Sunday and the Chargers’ defense will lead them to a hard-fought win.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 21, Titans 17.

Florio’s take: San Diego keeps plugging away, despite long odds to make it to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 24, Titans 16.

Colts at Packers

MDS’s take: This season — a season when winning the AFC South should be doable — feels like it’s slipping away from the Colts. I have a hunch they’re in for an ugly performance in Green Bay.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Colts 14.

Florio’s take: No amount of over-the-top rhetoric from Chuck Pagano will help the Colts win this one at Lambeau.

Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Colts 13.

Broncos at Raiders

MDS’s take: In the best game of the week, I like the Broncos’ defense to do a pretty good job of containing Derek Carr and Denver to earn a big AFC West victory.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: It’s time for a statement game, even if the final score doesn’t scream it out. The Raiders are on the rise, and Denver will continue to have their hands full in the division.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Broncos 23.

Bills at Seahawks

MDS’s take: It’s never easy to play in Seattle in prime time, and I expect the Bills’ offense to get ground to a halt by the Seahawks’ defense.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 20, Bills 9.

Florio’s take: Until they give Russell Wilson a couple of weeks off, he’ll continue to play like a shadow of his recently-former self.

Florio’s pick: Bills 16, Seahawks 13.

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Week Nine Power Rankings

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 30:   Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots runs for extra yards against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at New Era Field on October 30, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

1. Patriots (7-1; last week No. 1): If the offense is capable of scoring 41 points per game, they can trade Jamie Collins. And anyone else on the defense.

2. Cowboys (6-1; No. 2): The smartest thing the Cowboys ever did was focus on building a quality offensive line.

3. Broncos (6-2; No. 6): They’re far from dominant, but they’re good enough to be in the right place at the right time to qualify for another Super Bowl.

4. Raiders (6-2; No. 10): If they want to be taken seriously, they need a signature win. The next chance for one comes on Sunday night.

5. Falcons (5-3; No. 7): The Second Annual Midseason Swoon ended early.

6. Chiefs (5-2; No. 9): Alex Smith has a concussion. Unless he doesn’t. Unless he does. Unless he doesn’t.

7. Packers (4-3; No. 5): Every NFC contender should hope that the Packers don’t make it to the playoffs.

8. Steelers (4-3; No. 8): They need to get Ben back, sooner than later.

9. Seahawks (4-2-1; No. 4): The Seahawks should be thinking about giving Russell Wilson a week or two off in order to get him healthy for the playoff run. Or there won’t be one.

10. Vikings (5-2; No. 3): But for the presence of plenty of mediocre teams below them, the Vikings would have fallen on this list like a rock tied to an anchor in a sack full of cement blocks.

11. Texans (5-3; No. 16): They continue to win the ones they should, and lose the ones they should.

12. Washington (4-3-1; No. 12): They may be better than they were a year ago. The only problem is that the rest of the division is a lot better.

13. Eagles (4-3; No. 13): They’re better than expected, but still not nearly good enough.

14. Giants (4-3; No. 14): They’re better than expected, but still not nearly good enough.

15. Lions (4-4; No. 11): Two games in 18 days against Minnesota will go a long way toward determining whether the Lions really are any better than they’ve been.

16. Bills (4-4; No. 15): Sure, they lost. But Sunday’s game could be the moment on which a new trend emerged regarding the ritual of throwing specific things onto the field.

17. Buccaneers (3-4; No. 18): All those fans who didn’t sell their tickets to Raiders fans surely wish they did.

18. Bengals (3-4-1; No. 19): Years of free-agency losses and coaching promotions have caught up with the Bengals.

19. Titans (4-4; No. 23): Of all the teams in the AFC South, this is the one that could be best built to thrive in January.

20. Dolphins (3-4; No. 20): Check the schedule. This percolating team could be getting very hot, quickly.

21. Cardinals (3-4-1; No. 17): The window by all appearances has slammed shut.

22. Saints (3-4; No. 26): Quietly, the Saints are racking up victories and becoming more and more relevant.

23. Chargers (3-5; No. 21): The Chargers would be leading three or four other divisions.

24. Ravens (3-4; No. 24): If the Ravens ever are going to wake up, it needs to happen now.

25. Rams (3-4; No. 25): A division title isn’t out of the question, given how bad their division suddenly is.

26. Panthers (2-5; No. 27): At a time when they’ve been trying to turn the page on 2015, a back-to-the-future moment against Arizona may have down the trick.

27. Colts (3-5; No. 22): Chuck Pagano says Sunday’s game at Green Bay is a “defining moment” for the team. But we already know the definition of the term “crappy underachievers.”

28. Jets (3-5; No. 29): Maybe the offense should consist of a direct snap to Matt Forte on every play.

29. Bears (2-6; No. 31): Jay Cutler definitely wasn’t who Bears fans thought he was.

30. Jaguars (2-5; No. 28): “So I get paid for the rest of the year and I no longer have to run this crappy offense? Thanks!”

31. 49ers (1-6; No. 30): With a bizarre dispute emerging in Santa Clara, the 49ers somehow managed to lose in the bye week, too.

32. Browns (0-8; No. 32): There aren’t many/any obvious chances to win at least one game in the second half of the season.

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NFL morning after: It’s time to get rid of ties

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30:  Giovani Bernard #25 of the Cincinnati Bengals fumbles the ball as he is tackled by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins during the NFL International Series Game between Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium on October 30, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) Getty Images

For the second Sunday in a row we had a tie game in the NFL on Sunday, when Cincinnati and Washington couldn’t settle things after 75 minutes of play in London. Ties are dumb. Let’s get rid of them.

The NFL is unique among the major American sports in having ties. College football got rid of ties with its new overtime rule in 1996. Baseball and basketball have always kept playing until someone won, and even hockey got rid of ties. Why is the NFL still playing ties when everyone else has figured out that a game is supposed to have a winner and a loser?

After his team tied the Cardinals last week, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson offered a novel idea: Get rid of ties by having one final field goal with the game on the line: Flip a coin, let the winner of the coin flip try a 53-yard field goal. Make the field goal, win the game. Miss the field goal, lose the game.

I don’t like Wilson’s idea, but I do like his way of thinking: We need to get rid of ties, and settle them with something more dramatic. I like what soccer and hockey have done to eliminate ties, by going to a shootout format. The NFL doesn’t have an equivalent of a shootout (and I wouldn’t want to settle a tie with a field goal contest), but I do have my own idea for a shootout-like format to settle ties.

If the game is still tied after overtime, let the teams take turns getting one play to score a touchdown: First the home team’s offense gets the ball for one play at the 1-yard line against the visiting team’s defense. Then the visiting team’s offense gets the ball for one play at the 1-yard line against the home team’s defense. If one offense scores and the other offense doesn’t the team that scores wins. If neither teams score or both teams score, line up and do it again. The game is over when one team scores and the other team doesn’t.

That would be simple, and it would be exciting. And “simple” and “exciting” are two words that seem to be getting lost in the NFL these days, where every rule seems complex and convoluted, and the TV ratings are down as fans complain that the games just aren’t as fun.

Ties aren’t fun. Winning and losing is fun. Give us a winner and a loser in every game, NFL.

Here are my other thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Tom Brady is the best player in the NFL right now. What Brady has done since the end of his four-game Deflategate suspension is nothing short of remarkable. Yesterday against the Bills, Brady completed 22 of 33 passes for 315 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. In four games he has 12 touchdowns and no interceptions, and the Patriots are 4-0. Brady’s passer rating isn’t just the best in the NFL this season, it’s the best in NFL history for a season. He’s off to an incredible start.

Can the Browns go 0-16? I’m not saying that the Browns will go 0-16. But I am saying they’re now halfway there, and yesterday they blew their best chance at winning when they threw away an early lead over the Jets and lost 31-28. The Browns’ remaining schedule isn’t easy. It’s entirely possible that they could join the 2008 Lions as the only 0-16 teams in NFL history.

Joey Bosa is a beast. Bosa, the Chargers’ rookie defensive end, had yet another good game yesterday against the Broncos. He’s been such an outstanding player this year that I believe if he had been healthy and ready to go in Week One, he’d be a strong candidate for defensive player of the year. Not defensive rookie of the year, defensive player of the year. Unfortunately, Bosa and the Chargers engaged in a lengthy contract standoff that led to Bosa missing training camp. When Bosa finally signed, he injured his hamstring, as players coming off a long layoff so often do. Bosa missed the first four weeks of the season, but since then he’s been as good as any defensive player in the NFL.

The Raiders have a keeper in Derek Carr. In Sunday’s win over the Buccaneers, Carr had preposterous numbers: 40-for-59, for 513 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Can you believe it was just a couple years ago that Blake Bortles and Johnny Manziel were drafted ahead of Carr?

Darrelle Revis isn’t even trying. Revis, the Jets’ $17 million cornerback, was once among the best players in the NFL. But these days he’s nowhere near that, and yesterday he was absolutely embarrassed: Browns receiver Terrelle Pryor whipped him all day, and at one point in the game Revis could be seen on TV not even trying to make a tackle. That’s an inexcusable lack of effort, whether you’re making $17 million a year or the league minimum.

The NFL should encourage celebrations. I wrote a couple weeks ago that the NFL should let players celebrate touchdowns, and as I watched games all day yesterday, I became convinced that an element of fun is missing from the NFL this year. So not only will I say that the NFL should allow players to celebrate, but I believe the NFL should actively encourage players to celebrate. Tell every player that he’s free to celebrate how he wants, as long as the celebration doesn’t delay the game, doesn’t involve taunting an opponent and doesn’t involve anything violent or sexually suggestive. Then, every week, put videos of the week’s five best celebrations online, let fans vote for the best one, and give a $10,000 donation to a charity of the winning player’s choosing. I’m serious: A celebration after a touchdown is a fun thing. It should be rewarded, not punished. Give me fewer ties and more celebrations.

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Week Eight early inactives

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) loses the ball momentarily as he is hit by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Tramaine Brock (26) during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes) AP

Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information.

This week got off to an earlier start than usual with the Redskins and Bengals in London, but eight other games kick off in the traditional early afternoon slot. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Patriots at Bills

Patriots: RB Tyler Gaffney, LB Kyle Van Noy, DL Woodrow Hamilton, RB D.J. Foster, T LaAdrian Waddle, CB Cyrus Jones, WR Malcolm Mitchell

Bills: WR Marquise Goodwin, S Aaron Williams, RB LeSean McCoy, QB Cardale Jones, T Seantrel Henderson, C Patrick Lewis, DL Jerel Worthy

Cardinals at Panthers

Cardinals: WR Chris Hubert, LB Alex Okafor, G Cole Toner, DT Olsen Pierre, TE Darren Fells, DT Ed Stinson, DT Xavier Williams

Panthers: CB James Bradberry, T Michael Oher, DT Vernon Butler, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, LB Jeremy Cash, TE Chris Manhertz, TE Scott Simonson

Jets at Browns

Jets: LB Bruce Carter, LB Darron Lee, CB Buster Skrine, C Nick Mangold, T Brent Qvale, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, QB Christian Hackenberg

Browns: QB Cody Kessler, WR Corey Coleman, QB Joe Callahan, DB Marcus Burley, OL Gabe Ikard, OL Jonathan Cooper, TE Connor Hamlett

Lions at Texans

Lions: CB Darius Slay, LB DeAndre Levy, DT Haloti Ngata, RB Dwayne Washington, DL Anthony Zettel, T Corey Robinson, TE Cole Wick

Texans: LB Brian Peters, QB Brandon Weeden, WR Keith Mumphery, S Quintin Demps, T Jeff Adams, G Oday Aboushi, DE Brandon Dunn

Chiefs at Colts

Chiefs: RB Jamaal Charles, G Jordan Devey, CB D.J. White, QB Tyler Bray, OL Bryan Witzmann, TE Ross Travis, LB Sam Barrington

Colts: DL Kendall Langford, G Jack Mewhort, TE Dwayne Allen, DT Henry Anderson, LB Curt Maggitt, WR Chester Rogers, T Le’Raven Clark

Seahawks at Saints

Seahawks: DE Michael Bennett, S Kam Chancellor, RB Thomas Rawls, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, TE Luke Willson, CB DeAndre Elliott, T Bradley Sowell

Saints: LB Stephone Anthony, CB Sterling Moore, WR Jake Lampman, CB Delvin Breaux, OL Khalif Barnes, C Landon Turner, RB Marcus Murphy

Raiders at Buccaneers

Raiders: DT Stacy McGee, QB Connor Cook, CB Dexter McDonald, T Menelik Watson, CB Antonio Hamilton, T Matt McCants, TE Ryan O’Malley

Buccaneers: RB Doug Martin, DT Clinton McDonald, QB Ryan Griffin, CB Johnthan Banks, OL Leonard Wester, DL Channing Ward, OL Caleb Benenoch

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Week Eight injury report roundup

Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) deflects a pass intended for Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016 in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson) AP

Week Eight kicked off on Thursday night with a Titans win and it continues with 11 more games on Sunday, which means that the 22 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 in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Redskins vs. Bengals (in London)

RB Matt Jones (knee) is the only Redskins player ruled out. CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle), WR Jamison Crowder (groin), TE Vernon Davis (groin), LB Terence Garvin (hip), WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring, shoulder), C Spencer Long (chest), CB Josh Norman (concussion, wrist), TE Jordan Reed (concussion), G Brandon Scherff (shoulder) and T Trent Williams (knee) are all listed as questionable.

The Bengals didn’t give any players injury designations for Sunday’s game.

Patriots at Bills 

TE Martellus Bennett (ankle), WR Julian Edelman (foot), DT Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder), CB Jonathan Jones (hip), WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring), LB Elandon Roberts (ankle) and DT Vincent Valentine (back) got questionable designations from the Patriots this week.

The Bills ruled out WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion) and S Aaron Williams (neck). RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) appears set to join them after missing practice all week and drawing a doubtful tag. DT Corbin Bryant (shoulder), TE Charles Clay (knee), DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring), RB Mike Gillislee (foot), T Cordy Glenn (ankle), LB Jerry Hughes (hand), LB Lerentee McCray (knee), G John Miller (shoulder) and WR Robert Woods (foot) are all listed as questionable.

Cardinals at Panthers

The Cardinals have ruled out TE Darren Fells (ankle), LB Alex Okafor (calf) and DT Ed Stinson (toe). WR John Brown (hamstring), WR Michael Floyd (hamstring), S Tony Jefferson (illness) and T Jared Veldheer (finger) are all listed as questionable.

DT Vernon Butler (ankle) and T Michael Oher (concussion) will miss another game for the Panthers. CB James Bradberry (foot), DE Kony Ealy (illness), CB Robert McClain (hamstring), DT Paul Soliai (foot) and CB Daryl Worley (concussion) drew questionable tags coming out of the bye week.

Jets at Browns

The Jets don’t expect to have C Nick Mangold (ankle), T Brent Qvale (neck), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) and CB Buster Skrine (knee) after listing them as doubtful. Linebackers Bruce Carter (quad) and Darron Lee (ankle) are out while T Ryan Clady (shoulder) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) are questionable.

Browns WR Corey Coleman (hand) and QB Cody Kessler (concussion) are out for Week Eight. Three cornerbacks —
Marcus Burley (hamstring), Joe Haden (groin), Jamar Taylor (groin) — are listed as questionable.

Lions at Texans

LB DeAndre Levy (knee, quadricep) remains out for the Lions and CB Darius Slay (hamstring) will join him on the sideline.
TE Eric Ebron (ankle, knee), CB Nevin Lawson (foot), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), T Riley Reiff (illness), T Corey Robinson (ankle) and TE Cole Wick (knee) are listed as questionable.

The Texans listed LB Jadeveon Clowney (elbow), S Quintin Demps (calf), RB Jonathan Grimes (ankle) and RB Lamar Miller (shoulder) as questionable to play. LB Brian Peters (quad) is out.

Chiefs at Colts

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles (knee), G Jordan Devey (ankle) and CB D.J. White (hand) will not play this weekend. T Mitchell Schwartz (ankle) is questionable to play.

The Colts hope to get WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder) back after missing several games. TE Dwayne Allen (ankle), DT Henry Anderson (knee), DE Kendall Langford (knee), LB Curt Maggitt (ankle), G Jack Mewhort (tricep) and WR Chester Rogers (hamstring, foot) will all be out, however.

Seahawks at Saints

A long list of Seahawks ruled out includes DE Michael Bennett (knee), S Kam Chancellor (groin), CB DeAndre Elliott (hamstring), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle), RB Thomas Rawls (fibula), T Bradley Sowell (knee) and TE Luke Willson (knee). WR Tyler Lockett (thigh) is listed as questionable.

Saints T Terron Armstead (knee) is listed as questionable and said Friday that he expects to play. LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), C Senio Kelemete (neck), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring) and T Andrus Peat (groin) are also questionable. LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), WR Jake Lampman (knee) and CB Sterling Moore (abdomen) have been ruled out.

Raiders at Buccaneers

The Raiders ruled out DT Stacy McGee (ankle). G Vadal Alexander (ankle), WR Andre Holmes (hip), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), S Brynden Trawick (shoulder) and T Menelik Watson (calf) are all listed as questionable.

RB Doug Martin (hamstring) is still out for the Buccaneers. DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring) will join him on the inactive list with DE Robert Ayers (ankle), C Joe Hawley (ankle) and DT Gerald McCoy (calf) listed as questionable.

Chargers at Broncos

Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (ankle) and CB Craig Mager (concussion) have been ruled out. S Jahleel Addae (collarbone) is doubtful to play and WR Travis Benjamin (knee), TE Hunter Henry (concussion), LB Denzel Perryman (shoulder, foot) and WR Tyrell Williams (knee) drew questionable designations.

The Broncos listed LB Brandon Marshall (hamstring), C Matt Paradis (hip), CB Aqib Talib (low back) and LB DeMarcus Ware (forearm) as questionable. If Ware plays, it will be his first game since Week Two.

Packers at Falcons

The Packers will be short on cornerbacks with Quinten Rollins joining Damarious Randall on the sideline with groin injuries. TE Jared Cook (ankle) and RB James Starks (knee) remain out as well. WR Randall Cobb (hamstring), G T.J. Lang (hip), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) and WR Ty Montgomery (illness) are all listed as questionable.

RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring) is out for the Falcons while DE Dwight Freeney (quad) is questionable.

Eagles at Cowboys

Eagles LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (hamstring) and DT Bennie Logan (groin) won’t play on Sunday night. DT Taylor Hart (ankle) is questionable after rejoining the team this week.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (knee) is listed as questionable, but has said he will be playing this weekend. CB Morris Claiborne (concussion), RB Lance Dunbar (knee), T Chaz Green (foot), DE David Irving (ankle), DE Demarcus Lawrence (back, shoulder), CB Orlando Scandrick (hamstring, hamstring), T Tyron Smith (back), LB Kyle Wilber (neck) and TE Jason Witten (chest) got the same designation on Friday. DE Ryan Davis (hamstring) and QB Tony Romo (back) have been ruled out, although Romo did have his first practice appearance of the regular season on Thursday.

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PFT’s Week Eight picks

star-trek-ii-the-wrath-of-khan-william-shatner

The good news is that MDS and I both stayed on the right side of .500 last week. The bad news is that it we weren’t very far above.

With 15 Week Seven games, we each went 8-7, splitting the two games on which we disagreed. This week, we disagree on three games.

Hopefully, we’ll be more that slightly above .500.

And by the way I’m still up by two games on the season. Which is all that really matters to me.

Jaguars at Titans

MDS’s take: It’s the annual Thursday night Jaguars-Titans game. That’s sure to bolster the NFL’s ratings. The Titans are actually a better team than most people thought, and the Jaguars are worse.

MDS’s pick: Titans 28, Jaguars 13.

Florio’s take: With the Mr. Spock/Captain Kirk Color Rush debacle returning on Thursday night and in light of the growing discontent of Jacksonville’s owner, it really will be Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.

Florio’s pick: Titans 24, Jaguars 16.

Washington at Cincinnati

MDS’s take: The Bengals’ defense and special teams have been a disappointment, but I like Andy Dalton and A.J. Green to have a big game with Josh Norman in the concussion protocol.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 31, Washington 28.

Florio’s take: Marvin Lewis just beat his most recent offensive coordinator. And now he gets a chance to beat the guy Hue Jackson replaced. The Bengals quietly are putting the pieces together after a slow start; the process continues in England.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Washington 17.

Chiefs at Colts

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck is playing well, but he’s been getting very little support, and no quarterback can do it himself. The Colts’ defense is terrible, and the Chiefs should rack up plenty of points on them.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Colts 21.

Florio’s take: One of the great moments in Colts franchise history came not long ago in a playoff game against the Chiefs. Sunday will prove just how long gone those days are.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Colts 21.

Raiders at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: I don’t think the Raiders are quite as good as their 5-2 record suggests, and I think the Buccaneers showed last week that they can take advantage of a bad defense. Tampa Bay wins a close one.

MDS’s pick: Buccaneers 24, Raiders 23.

Florio’s take: The Raiders are 4-0 at 1:00 p.m. ET this year. Their biggest regret should be that, after Sunday’s game in Tampa, Oakland won’t have another.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 31, Buccaneers 28.

Seahawks at Saints

MDS’s take: The Seahawks’ offense hasn’t been playing well, but a meeting with the weak Saints’ defense could be just what the doctor ordered.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Saints 21.

Florio’s take: Seattle’s gaudy record conceals deeper concerns about the offense, which hasn’t been the same since Russell Wilson suffered a pair of injuries. The Saints have the offense to outpace Wilson and company.

Florio’s pick: Saints 27, Seahawks 20.

Lions at Texans

MDS’s take: Detroit’s defense is bad, but Brock Osweiler is worse. The Lions will manage to hold Osweiler in check and win what could be an ugly game.

MDS’s pick: Lions 17, Texans 16.

Florio’s take: The Texans win the games they’re supposed to win, and they lose the games they’re supposed to lose. It’s harder to categorize this one, but the home-field advantage gives them the edge.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Lions 24.

Jets at Browns

MDS’s take: These may be the two worst teams in the league right now, and if Cody Kessler or Josh McCown were completely healthy I’d pick the Browns to get their first win of the season. But with Kessler suffering from a concussion and McCown still recovering from a broken collarbone, I’ll take the Jets.

MDS’s pick: Jets 17, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: It could be the last, best chance for the Browns to win a game. But for Geno Smith’s torn ACL, maybe they would.

Florio’s pick: Jets 23, Browns 13.

Patriots at Bills

MDS’s take: The Bills dominated their first meeting, but that was with Tom Brady suspended. Now that Brady is back, I’d expect the Patriots to win this game and take total control of the AFC East.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 27, Bills 20.

Florio’s take: The Bills haven’t swept the Patriots during the Brady-Belichick era. That streak continues.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Bills 20.

Cardinals at Panthers

MDS’s take: This may be the Panthers’ last chance to turn their season around, as a loss here would essentially mean there’s no hope of making the playoffs. I think they’ll rally with a big win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 31, Cardinals 17.

Florio’s take: It’s a rematch of the NFC title game; the loser has little chance to get back there. The winner doesn’t have much more of a shot. It’s the last stand for the Panthers, who played 75 minutes less football than the Cardinals in Week Seven.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 28, Cardinals 23.

Chargers at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ offense is playing well, but playing well in Denver is a tall order for any offense. I see a low-scoring game with the Broncos coming out on top.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 14, Chargers 13.

Florio’s take: The Chargers have an excellent opportunity to legitimize their season, shove the Broncos against the ropes, shake up the AFC West, and maybe nail down some votes for their futile stadium effort. They’ll nearly pull it off.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 24, Chargers 23.

Packers at Falcons

MDS’s take: Stopping Matt Ryan and Julio Jones is going to be too much to ask of the Packers’ secondary. The Falcons will put a lot of points on the board.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 35, Packers 28.

Florio’s take: Six years ago, the sixth-seeded Packers took down the top-seeded Falcons, 48-20. That was a long time ago, and the Falcons have new urgency to get things back on track against a still-flawed Packers team.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 27, Packers 23.

Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: In one of this year’s better prime time games, the Cowboys should beat the Eagles and take control of the NFC East.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Eagles 21.

Florio’s take: Has a game this consequential ever had three rookies in such key roles? This one does, and the team with two of the key rookies has the edge.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Eagles 24.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: Jay Cutler is back, and he’s about to get a rude awakening against the Vikings’ defense. This could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 20, Bears 3.

Florio’s take: The Vikings have a tough five-game stretch coming up; if they stub their toe in Chicago, things could quickly fall apart.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Bears 17.

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Week Eight Power Rankings

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  A couple of fans holds up a Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots sign during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

1. Patriots (6-1; last week No. 2): They may be here for a while, especially if they can avenge their only loss of the season to date.

2. Cowboys (5-1; No. 4): A return to glory is entirely possible.

3. Vikings (5-1; No. 1): They weren’t going to win them all. On Sunday, they wouldn’t have won against anyone.

4. Seahawks (4-1-1; No. 3): There’s a sense that the wheels could come off at any point for this team. There’s also a sense they’ll eventually mash on the gas pedal. It remains to be seen which one happens first.

5. Packers (4-2; No. 7): As long as they play inferior opponents, the offense will look just fine.

6. Broncos (5-2; No. 9): “This one’s for Brock.”

7. Falcons (4-3; No. 5): The Second Annual Collapse has begun. How long will it last?

8. Steelers (4-3; No. 8): Linebacker Ryan Shazier says the team is “garbage” right now. Plenty of teams would love to smell that bad.

9. Chiefs (4-2; No. 12): This may be the one team no one wants to play in January.

10. Raiders (5-2; No. 13): Maybe they should start their home games at 10:00 a.m. PT, too.

11. Lions (4-3; No. 18): Maybe Matthew Stafford will start getting the credit he deserves.

12. Washington (4-3; No. 6): The closest this team will come to No. 1 happened on the sideline of Sunday’s game in Detroit.

13. Eagles (4-2; No. 15): Shrugging off a couple of losses and three first-quarter turnovers from  Carson Wentz, the Eagles have re-established themselves as an unlikely postseason contender.

14. Giants (4-3; No. 17): Based on his interception return for a touchdown against the Rams, maybe Landon Collins should play running back.

15. Bills (4-3; No. 10): The Bills last swept the Patriots in the same year the Bills last went to the playoffs. Ending one streak on Sunday would go a long way toward ending the other one.

16. Texans (4-3; No. 11): They could have won the division and made a quick exit from the playoffs by spending a lot less than $18 million per year on a quarterback.

17. Cardinals (3-3-1; No. 14): They get a chance to exorcise their lingering 2015 demons with a trip back to Charlotte. And if the Cardinals lose this one, it could be over.

18. Buccaneers (3-3; No. 20): The next two games will tell us plenty about whether this team is ready to contend.

19. Bengals (3-4; No. 21): They’ll fly a long way to try to extend the winning streak against former Bengals offensive coordinators to two.

20. Dolphins (3-4; No. 25): At a time when plenty of NFL players are the last ones to realize it’s over, Arian Foster deserves credit for being quick to admit it.

21. Chargers (3-4; No. 26): Could this be the best team in the division?

22. Colts (3-4; No. 28): Could this be the best team in the division?

23. Titans (3-4; No. 16): This could have been the best team in the division.

24. Ravens (3-4; No. 19): This could be a problem for John Harbaugh, eventually.

25. Rams (3-4; No. 22): This could be the formula for 7-9.

26. Saints (2-4; No. 23): This could be a little awkward when Jimmy Graham returns to New Orleans on Sunday.

27. Panthers (1-5; No. 27): This could be the first step in a slow climb out of the basement.

28. Jaguars (2-4; No. 24): If they don’t win in the Star Trek uniforms, Gus Bradley could be teleported to a new job.

29. Jets (2-5; No. 29): “How dare you react to the fact that I wasn’t good at my job.”

30. 49ers (1-6; No. 30): Those “traffic problems” in Santa Clara that made the stadium seem sparsely attended for a Thursday night game are here to stay.

31. Bears (1-6; No. 31): The Cubs are providing the Bears with the cover they need to keep stinking.

32. Browns (0-7; No. 32): The Indians are providing the Browns with the cover they need to keep stinking.

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NFL morning after: The decline of Colin Kaepernick

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers has his helmet knocked off during a play in their NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick is the NFL’s most significant player off the field, a player whose simple act of declining to stand during the national anthem has led to wide-ranging discussions across America about race, police brutality, free speech and the role of sport in society. That has been the subject of thousands of commentaries.

But it’s not the subject of this commentary. Instead, I want to talk about why I also consider Kaepernick the most fascinating NFL player off the field. And the reason for that is simple: He has rapidly declined from a very good quarterback to a terrible quarterback, at an age when most quarterbacks are still getting better.

It was less than four years ago that Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith in the middle of the 2012 season and putting an absolute beating on the Bears in his first NFL start. Do you remember how good Kaepernick was that year? The game that sticks with me is when he went to New England in just his fifth NFL start. Everyone said Bill Belichick would have the key to stopping this upstart young quarterback. Instead Kaepernick threw for four touchdown passes as the 49ers put up 41 points in a win over the Patriots. Quarterbacks making career start No. 5 aren’t supposed to shred Belichick’s defense. Kaepernick did.

That year Kaepernick led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, with a ridiculous 263-yard passing, 181-yard rushing playoff win over the Packers along the way. In the Super Bowl he threw for 302 yards, ran for 62 yards and came up just short of delivering the game-winning touchdown. If the 49ers had beaten the Ravens, Kaepernick would have been the Super Bowl MVP.

In his second year as a starter Kaepernick was just as good, again leading the 49ers to the playoffs and this time coming up just short in an NFC Championship Game loss to the Seahawks. That was the year when Ron Jaworski famously said, “I truly believe Colin Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks ever.”

People enjoy needling Jaworski for that hyperbole, but here’s the thing: At the time, everyone was saying Kaepernick had the potential to be a Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s easy to find people who criticize Jaworski’s statement now; it’s hard to find people who disagreed with it on the merits at the time.

And then Kaepernick began to decline in 2014. In 2015, that decline reached such a depth that he was benched for Blaine Gabbert, of all people. This year Kaepernick. has finally taken the job back from Gabbert, but he isn’t very good: Yesterday he averaged a pathetic 4.2 yards per pass and completed less than 50 percent of his passes in an ugly loss to the Buccaneers.

So what happened to Kaepernick? I think it’s three things:

1. Jim Harbaugh left. Harbaugh is a singularly great coach, a coach who has proven everywhere he’s been that he can get the most out of his players. When 49ers owner Jed York and General Manager Trent Baalke foolishly decided they couldn’t get along with Harbaugh anymore, they lost a coach who could find ways to win with Kaepernick’s skill set.

2. Defenses figured him out. Kaepernick always had a strong arm, but he lacks touch on short passes. Defenses seem to be taking away the deep ball and forcing Kaepernick to throw short, and he just doesn’t do that very well. That’s why his average yards per pass has declined every season, from 8.3 in his first season as a starter, to 7.7 in his second year, 7.0 in his third year, 6.6 in his fourth year and now just 5.2 this year.

3. He doesn’t have a supporting cast. In Kaepernick’s first couple seasons, the 49ers were loaded. They’re now a worse team across the board: Worse receivers, worse offensive linemen, worse running backs and a worse defense, which means the 49ers’ offense often ends up having to throw more and run less.

4. He has physically declined. Just looking at Kaepernick, it’s obvious that he’s skinnier and less muscular than he used to be. He had three surgeries that severely limited his ability to work out this offseason, and he has also lost weight after radically changing his diet. He’s just not the big, imposing athlete he was three or four years ago.

Kaepernick may some day find himself playing with a better supporting cast, and it’s possible he’ll get bigger and stronger, but I’m skeptical that he’ll ever be the same player he once was. I don’t think he’s going to end up with another coach who understands his skill set as well as Harbaugh did, and I think the deficiencies opposing defenses have found in his game are going to follow him around. Far from becoming “one of the greatest quarterbacks ever,” I don’t think Kaepernick is even going to be an above-average starter ever again. He had two incredible years, but the Colin Kaepernick of old isn’t coming back.

Here are my other thoughts from Sunday:

Smart move, Doug Pederson. After the Eagles scored a touchdown in the second quarter, they kicked the extra point. But the Vikings were flagged for roughing the kicker, and that’s when Pederson did something smart: Instead of declining the penalty and taking the extra point, Pederson accepted the penalty and went for two, from the 1-yard line after the half-the-distance penalty. Carson Wentz ran the ball in from a yard out, and the Eagles got an additional point. It surprises me how scared NFL coaches are of going for two. Pederson showed some guts, and it paid off.

Tom Brady is as great as ever. After Sunday’s win over the Steelers, Brady is currently leading the league with a whopping 132.6 psaser rating, a number that no quarterback has ever sustained for a full season. He’s showing no sign of age at 39, and he’s showing no sign of rust after his four-game Deflategate suspension.

This is a different Raiders team. We’ve become accustomed in the last decade or so to view the Raiders as an incompetent franchise, and so I think some people haven’t yet caught on to just how good the Raiders are. In Derek Carr they have one of the league’s best young quarterbacks, and they’re keeping him upright. You may remember that Carr’s big brother David was sacked an NFL-record 76 times as a rookie. Carr has now been in the NFL for two and a half seasons, and he still hasn’t been sacked 76 times: Carr has now been sacked 62 times in 39 NFL starts. There’s every reason to believe the Raiders will compete for a playoff spot this year, and for many years to come, with Carr as their leader.

Why play Shady? Playing LeSean McCoy yesterday may turn out to be a huge, season-altering mistake by the Bills. McCoy suffered a hamstring injury in practice last week, and there were conflicting reports about whether he could play. McCoy ended up playing in the loss to the Dolphins but left the game early after another hamstring injury. If this hamstring becomes a chronic problem for McCoy, it would seriously damage the Bills’ offense. The 4-3 Bills are fighting for playoff position, and they can’t afford to be at less than full strength.

An ugly game for Sam Bradford. When the Vikings traded a first-round draft pick and a fourth-round draft pick for Bradford, my immediate reaction was that they overpaid. In his first four starts for the Vikings, Bradford played very well, and rewarded the Vikings’ faith in him. But yesterday’s performance in Philadelphia was awful: Bradford was sacked six times, fumbled four times and threw an interception. The Vikings are using the washed-up offensive tackle Jake Long because they don’t have anybody healthy to play the position, and Bradford looked incredibly uncomfortable behind a patchwork offensive line. The Vikings’ trade for Bradford only makes sense if he can lead them to the playoffs, and he can’t do that if he keeps playing Kaepernick-like games the way he did on Sunday.

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Week Seven early inactives

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins 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 got off to an earlier start than usual with the Giants and Rams in London, but eight other games kick off in the traditional early afternoon slot. Check back often to see the full list as it becomes available.

Ravens at Jets

Ravens: LB Elvis Dumervil, LB C.J. Mosley, CB Shareece Wright, LB Terrell Suggs, G Marshal Yanda, T Ronnie Stanley, WR Steve Smith

Jets: LB Darron Lee, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, OL Brent Qvale, DL Muhammad Wilkerson, QB Bryce Petty, QB Christian Hackenberg, WR Jeremy Butler

Browns at Bengals

Browns: WR Corey Coleman, TE Seth DeValve, CB Marcus Burley, QB Josh McCown, CB Joe Haden, FB Dan Vitale, LB Corey Lemonier

Bengals: QB Jeff Driskel, WR Cody Core, CB KeiVarae Russell, CB Chykie Brown, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, G Christian Westerman, DT DeShawn Williams

Redskins at Lions

Redskins: TE Jordan Reed, QB Nate Sudfeld, OL Vinston Painter, WR Rashard Ross, CB Dashaun Phillips, DE Anthony Lanier, S Josh Evans

Lions: TE Eric Ebron, LB DeAndre Levy, DT Haloti Ngata, RB Theo Riddick, T Corey Robinson, RB Dwayne Washington, CB Adarius Barnes

Raiders at Jaguars

Raiders: QB Connor Cook, RB Taiwan Jones, CB Dexter McDonald, S Brynden Trawick, T Menelik Watson, OL Vadal Alexander, TE Ryan O’Malley

Jaguars: QB Brandon Allen, CB Josh Johnson, RB Corey Grant, TE Neal Sterling, WR Bryan Walters, DE Chris Smith, OL Bryce Harris

Saints at Chiefs

Saints: LB Stephone Anthony, CB Delvin Breaux, RB Daniel Lasco, CB Sterling Moore, OL Andrus Peat, LB Dannell Ellerbe, RB Marcus Murphy

Chiefs: QB Tyler Bray, CB Phillip Gaines, CB Terrance Mitchell, LB Sio Moore, OL Jordan Devey, OL Bryan Witzmann, TE Ross Travis

Bills at Dolphins

Bills: T Seantrel Henderson, WR Robert Woods, DT Marcell Dareus, RB Jonathan Williams, T Michael Ola, C Patrick Lewis, QB Cardale Jones

Dolphins: TE Jordan Cameron, TE Dion Sims, CB Xavien Howard, CB Bene Benwikere, DT Terrance Fede, DL Nick Williams, DL Julian Warmsley

Vikings at Eagles

Vikings: DT Sharrif Floyd, TE MyCole Pruitt, WR Jarius Wright, WR Laquon Treadwell, LB Kentrell Brothers, C Nick Easton, OL Willie Beavers

Eagles: DT Bennie Logan, WR Bryce Treggs, S Terrence Brooks, CB C.J. Smith, OL Josh Andrews, OL Dillon Gordon, OL Isaac Seumalo

Colts at Titans

Colts: TE Dwayne Allen, DT Henry Anderson, WR Phillip Dorsett, DT Zach Kerr, WR Donte Moncrief, G Jack Mewhort, LB Curt Maggitt

Titans: TE Jace Amaro, LB Aaron Wallace, CB Cody Riggs, DB Curtis Riley, G Sebastian Tretola, WR Harry Douglas, DL Austin Johnson

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Week Seven injury report roundup

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 22:  Tight end Tyler Eifert #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals hauls in a fourth quarter touchdown over strong safety Tony Jefferson #22 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Bengals 34-31.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

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

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Giants vs. Rams (in London)

Giants S Nat Berhe (concussion), T Marshall Newhouse (calf) and S Darian Thompson (foot) have been ruled out. LS Zak DeOssie (ankle) is questionable.

The Rams won’t have DT Michael Brockers (thigh) or CB Trumaine Johnson (ankle) on Sunday. WR Nelson Spruce (calf) and G Jamon Brown (hand) are listed as doubtful while DE Robert Quinn (shoulder) and DE William Hayes (ankle) are questionable.

Browns at Bengals

CB Joe Haden (groin) is doubtful for the Browns. The team ruled out CB Marcus Burley (hamstring), WR Corey Coleman (hand), TE Seth DeValve (knee) and QB Josh McCown (left shoulder). DE Xavier Cooper (shoulder), WR Terrelle Pryor (hamstring) and TE Randall Telfer (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (back) is questionable to make his first appearance of the 2016 season and the only player with an injury designation this week.

Redskins at Lions

Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) is out again this week and WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is questionable.

TE Eric Ebron (ankle, knee), LB DeAndre Levy (quadricep, knee), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), RB Theo Riddick (ankle) and T Corey Robinson (ankle) have been ruled out by the Lions. DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), G Larry Warford (groin), RB Dwayne Washington (ankle) and LB Tahir Whitehead (abdomen) have been listed as questionable.

Raiders at Jaguars

The Raiders listed OL Vadal Alexander (ankle) as doubtful. They also listed OL Jon Feliciano (calf), C Rodney Hudson (knee), G Gabe Jackson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), S Brynden Trawick (shoulder) and T Menelik Watson (calf) as questionable.

Jaguars T Kelvin Beachum (ankle), TE Julius Thomas (ankle), WR Neal Sterling (foot) and DE Jared Odrick (hip) all got questionable tags.

Saints at Chiefs

Saints LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring), CB Sterling Moore (abdomen) and T Andrus Peat (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday. DE Paul Kruger (back) and T Terron Armstead (knee) are listed as questionable.

RB Jamaal Charles (knee) is listed as questionable after a limited practice for the Chiefs on Friday. CB Phillip Gaines (knee) is also questionable.

Bills at Dolphins

Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) is listed as questionable along with TE Charles Clay (ankle), RB Jerome Felton (back), T Cordy Glenn (ankle), C Patrick Lewis (knee), CB Kevon Seymour (shoulder) and DT Kyle Williams (neck). T Seantrel Henderson (back) is out while DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring) and WR Robert Woods (foot) are doubtful.

The Dolphins ruled out TE Jordan Cameron (concussion), CB Xavien Howard (knee) and TE Dion Sims (concussion). RB Arian Foster (hamstring), LB Jelani Jenkins (groin), CB Tony Lippett (hamstring) and LB Spencer Paysinger (hamstring, calf) have been listed as questionable.

Ravens at Jets

The Ravens are set to play without several starters on Sunday, although QB Joe Flacco (shoulder, questionable) looks in good shape after returning to practice Friday. LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) and LB C.J. Mosley (thigh) have been ruled out while S Kendrick Lewis (thigh), WR Steve Smith (ankle), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), CB Shareece Wright (thigh) and G Marshal Yanda (shoulder) are unlikely to play after getting doubtful tags. WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), WR Devin Hester (thigh), CB Jerraud Powers (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (concussion) and T Ronnie Stanley (foot) are all listed as questionable.

T Ryan Clady (shoulder), C Nick Mangold (knee) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) were listed as questionable by the Jets. TE Braedon Bowman (knee), LB Darron Lee (ankle), T Brent Qvale (neck) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) have been ruled out.

Vikings at Eagles

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs (groin) and WR Laquon Treadwell (thumb) are both questionable to play and WR Jarius Wright (ankle) is doubtful. DT Sharrif Floyd (knee) and TE MyCole Pruitt (knee, back) have been ruled out.

The Eagles listed CB Ron Brooks (calf), LB Mychal Kendricks (ribs), DT Bennie Logan (groin) and CB Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) as questionable.

Colts at Titans

The Colts won’t have much work to do on an inactive list with TE Dwayne Allen (ankle), DT Henry Anderson (knee), WR Phillip Dorsett (foot, hamstring), DT Zach Kerr (ankle), LB Curt Maggitt (ankle), G Jack Mewhort (tricep) and WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder) ruled out already. CB Darius Butler (calf, hamstring), S T.J. Green (knee), C Jonotthan Harrison (illness) and WR T.Y. Hilton (hip) got designated as questionable.

The Titans are in better shape than their AFC South rivals as they have no players with injury designations.

Chargers at Falcons

The Chargers will play without S Jahleel Addae (collarbone), LB Jeremiah Attaochu (ankle) and CB Brandon Flowers (concussion). WR Travis Benjamin (knee) is questionable.

WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and CB C.J. Goodwin (hamstring) are out for the otherwise healthy Falcons.

Buccaneers at 49ers

The bye week wasn’t enough time for Buccaneers DE Robert Ayers (ankle), RB Doug Martin (hamstring) and DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring) to get healthy. They’re out for Sunday and CB Jude Adjei-Barimah (knee), C Joe Hawley (knee), DT Gerald McCoy (calf), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and TE Luke Stocker (ankle) are listed as questionable.

RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder) is out for the 49ers. DT Glenn Dorsey (knee), CB Rashard Robinson (concussion) and WR Torrey Smith (back) are questionable.

Patriots at Steelers

TE Martellus Bennett (ankle), RB Brandon Bolden (knee), LB Jamie Collins (hip), WR Julian Edelman (foot), DT Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder), LB Shea McClellin (concussion), WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring), LB Elandon Roberts (ankle) and DT Vincent Valentine (back) were this week’s recipients of questionable designations from the Patriots.

The Steelers ruled out QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee), RB DeAngelo Williams (knee), WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Cam Heyward (hamstring), S Shamarko Thomas (groin) and C Cody Wallace (knee).

Seahawks at Cardinals

S Kam Chancellor (groin) is doubtful to play after missing last week’s Seahawks win. DE Quinton Jefferson (knee), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle), RB Thomas Rawls (fibula) and TE Luke Willson (knee) will not play.

Arizona QB Carson Palmer (hamstring) is listed as questionable, but got in a full practice on Friday. WR Jaron Brown (knee) is also questionable while WR John Brown (leg) and LB Gabe Martin (knee) are doubtful. DT Ed Stinson (toe) is out.

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Full text of NFL’s letter to Josh Brown regarding Commissioner’s exempt list

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28: Roger Goodell announces a draft pick during the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theater on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL announced on Friday that Giants kicker Josh Brown has been placed on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt list pending their review of material relased by the King County (WA) Sheriff’s Office regarding their investigation into allegations that Brown abused his ex-wife.

The full text of the letter from NFL Senior Vice President of Labor Policy and League Affairs Adolpho Birch informing Brown of the decision appears below.

“Dear Mr. Brown:

On October 19, the King County (WA) Sheriff’s Office announced publicly that it had closed its investigation in connection with the May 22, 2015 altercation between you and your former wife, Molly Brown. As part of its report, the Sheriff’s Office released a volume of documents from its investigation, including in particular a transcript of Ms. Brown’s interview with law enforcement investigators and numerous e-mails, journal entries and other materials, many of which were reportedly authored by you.

As you may be aware, the NFL made multiple requests of the Sheriff’s Office for any and all pertinent information developed through its investigation. Because the Sheriff’s Office was treating its investigation as an open matter, however, the NFL’s requests were rejected and the materials first became known and available to us at the same time they were released publicly. The released materials appear to contain information regarding other incidents of abuse separate from the May 22, 2015 incident for which you were disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy. As a result, further investigation by the league into those separate incidents is needed.

Accordingly, this will advise that, pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Goodell has placed you on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt list on a limited and temporary basis to permit the league fully to review the materials and determine whether further action is necessary. We expect to conduct this review expeditiously and make any appropriate adjustments to your roster status in a timely manner.

Your placement on Commissioner Exempt does not represent a finding that you have violated the Personal Conduct Policy. Prior to any determination in that respect, you will be given an opportunity to review our investigatory report, meet with the league, and/or present relevant information on your behalf as provided for by the Policy.

While on Commissioner Exempt, you may not practice or attend games, but with club permission you may be present at the club’s facility for meetings, individual workouts, therapy and rehabilitation, and other permitted non-football activities. You will be paid your salary pursuant to the terms of your contract and will continue to participate in all applicable benefit plans for which you otherwise qualify under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. You also will continue to accrue free agency and pension credit pursuant to the terms of the CBA.

You may appeal this decision to place you on Commissioner Exempt by providing written notice to xxx@nfl.com or by fax to xxx xxx xxxx within three business days of receiving this letter. If you appeal, a hearing will be held promptly before the Commissioner or his designee pursuant to Article 46 of the CBA.

The league will soon contact you regarding the other incidents and any additional investigatory steps that must be taken. The NFLPA will be fully advised and your full cooperation is expected and appreciated. In the interim, if you have any questions concerning this matter, you or your representative may contact me at the address or number below.”

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