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Week 17 injury report roundup

Greg Olsen, Dont'a Hightower AP

Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday. In Week 17, that’s all 32 teams so, without further delay, the final injury report roundup of the regular season.

Saints at Falcons

Wide receiver Marques Colston (chest), linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip) and offensive lineman Andrus Peat (concussion) will not play for the Saints. Tackle Terron Armstead (knee) is questionable. Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (concussion) remains out after his ill-fated shower tumble and the Falcons’ 53-man roster is otherwise in good shape for the final game of the year.

Jets at Bills

Tackle Breno Giacomini (ankle) and running back Bilal Powell (ankle) are both questionable and Powell missed practice all week. The Bills will try to spoil the Jets’ playoff hopes without the help of linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) and running back LeSean McCoy (knee).

Lions at Bears

Lions center Travis Swanson (shoulder) won’t play and defensive end Jason Jones (neck, doubtful) is expected to miss the game as well. Running back Ameer Abdullah (shoulder) and wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) are listed as questionable and expected to play. Center Hroniss Grasu (knee) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (illness) are doubtful for the Bears. Running back Matt Forte (back) is questionable, but expressed no doubt about what could be his final game for the franchise.

Ravens at Bengals

Linebacker Albert McClellan (ankle) is questionable for the Ravens and the rest of the current roster is healthy for Week 17. Quarterback Andy Dalton (right thumb) and tight end Ryan Hewitt (knee, illness) won’t play for the Bengals, but tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion) is expected back in the lineup and quarterback AJ McCarron (left wrist) is probable.

Steelers at Browns

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant (illness) and cornerback Doran Grant (groin) are questionable to play in a must-win game for the Steelers. Quarterback Johnny Manziel (concussion), wide receiver Marlon Moore (concussion), cornerback Tramon Williams (concussion) and running back Glenn Winston (concussion) are all out for the Browns. Tackle Joe Thomas (knee) is questionable, but his consecutive games and snaps streaks are expected to continue.

Redskins at Cowboys

The Redskins ruled out cornerback Quinton Dunbar (quadricep) and safety Dashon Goldson (shoulder, rib). Running back Matt Jones (hip) and linebacker Perry Riley (foot) are doubtful to play and five regulars — cornerback DeAngelo Hall (calf), defensive end Jason Hatcher (neck, knee), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (knee), running back Pierre Thomas (knee) and tackle Trent Williams (knee, foot) — are questionable. Dallas rookie guard La’El Collins (ankle) is doubtful while cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) are questionable.

Jaguars at Texans

Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (knee) will miss the final game of his rookie season. Defensive tackle Abry Jones (knee) and linebacker Telvin Smith (shoulder) are going to miss the game as well. Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer (concussion) is set to return to the lineup, but linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (foot) and wide receiver Cecil Shorts (hamstring) won’t play.

Titans at Colts

The season is already over for Titans tackle Taylor Lewan (concussion), quarterback Marcus Mariota (knee) and wide receiver Kendall Wright (knee). The same is true for Colts linebacker Trent Cole (concussion), quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (shoulder, rib) and quarterback Andrew Luck (abdomen, kidney) unless a perfect storm of results lifts Indy into the playoffs.

Patriots at Dolphins

Cornerback Justin Coleman (concussion), wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot), linebacker Jonathan Freeny (hand), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee), defensive end Chandler Jones (abdomen, toe) and tackle Sebastian Vollmer (ankle) will all sit out for the Patriots. Nine others are questionable, including wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee) and safety Devin McCourty (ankle). The Dolphins listed linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle) and center Mike Pouncey (foot, ankle) as doubtful while guard Jamil Douglas (ankle), tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe), wide receiver Rishard Matthews (ribs), defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (calf) and wide receiver Kenny Stills (thigh) are all questionable.

Eagles at Giants

Eagles interim coach Pat Shurmur won’t have wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (ankle), defensive tackle Bennie Logan (calf) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (shoulder) in the lineup for a finale between disappointing clubs. The Giants will go without safety Craig Dahl (concussion), tackle Marshall Newhouse (concussion) and safety Cooper Taylor (concussion). Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (ankle) is questionable.

Seahawks at Cardinals

It’s another game without running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) for the Seahawks. Guard J.R. Sweezy (concussion) and tight end Luke Willson (concussion) are also out while tackle Russell Okung (calf) is doubtful. Safety Kam Chancellor (pelvis) is questionable. Wide receiver Michael Floyd (knee), linebacker Dwight Freeney (knee), safety Rashad Johnson (ankle, illness) and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle) are questionable for the Cardinals after getting in limited practices on Friday. Linebacker Markus Golden (knee) and defensive tackle Josh Mauro (calf) are out.

Buccaneers at Panthers

The Buccaneers placed safety Chris Conte (knee) on injured reserve Friday, leaving them with no one listed as anything other than probable. Running backs Jonathan Stewart (foot) and Fozzy Whittaker (ankle) are out for Carolina. Wide receiver Ted Ginn (knee) and safety Kurt Coleman (foot) are likely out after being listed as doubtful.

Chargers at Broncos

Offensive line injuries have been a constant for the Chargers this season and Week 17 brings more of the same. Guard Orlando Franklin (concussion) is out, tackle King Dunlap (ankle) is doubtful and tackle Chris Hairston (abdomen) and center Trevor Robinson (concussion, shoulder) are questionable. Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (foot) is probable and expected to back up Brock Osweiler on Sunday. Linebacker Brandon Marshall (ankle) and safety T.J. Ward (ankle) are questionable.

Raiders at Chiefs

Cornerbacks D.J. Hayden (ankle) and Neiko Thorpe (neck) are questionable for the Raiders. Safety Charles Woodson (shoulder) is probable for his final NFL contest. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (knee) practiced Friday for the first time in more than a month. He’s listed as questionable, as are safety Husain Abdullah (concussion), linebacker Tamba Hali (thumb, knee) and tackle Jah Reid (knee).

Rams at 49ers

Rams running back Todd Gurley (foot) is doubtful for the final game of a strong rookie season and tackle Andrew Donnal (knee) is questionable. 49ers defensive tackle Quinton Dial (back) and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (ankle) won’t play and center Marcus Martin (concussion) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (knee) are expected to join them on the inactive list after drawing doubtful tags.

Vikings at Packers

Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot) is expected to miss the game after being listed as doubtful, but the Vikings are otherwise in good shape healthwise for Sunday night. Tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (groin), linebacker Mike Neal (hip), defensive tackle B.J. Raji (concussion) and cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) are questionable for the Packers, who didn’t practice Friday and often update the status of players after a Saturday workout.

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PFT’s Week 17 picks


The Colts need nine games to fall their way in order to get to the postseason. In comparison to that, I feel pretty durned good about my chances of overcoming the two-game lead in the picks contest to which MDS clings.

I feel even more durned good about it given that, after two weeks of no disagreements, we differ on five games this weekend.

And so the chips are in to the middle of the table. If I sweep the five games or go 4-1, the season title is mine. If I win 3-2 or if he prevails by any margin, it’s his.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear: MDS and I are the only people on the planet who give a durned about it.

With that said, here are our picks for the last weekend of the regular season.

(Before I get to that, here’s the part where I point out that last week we were both a pathetic 8-8. For the year, he’s 153-87 (63.75 percent), and I’m at 151-89 (62.9 percent).)

Saints at Falcons

MDS’s take: Both of these teams showed last week that they’re still playing hard late in a rough season. This should be a fairly entertaining game, as meaningless Week 17 games go, and I’ll take the Falcons to win at home.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 24, Saints 21.

Florio’s take: The Falcons won their bowl game last week against the Panthers. The Saints are committed to finishing strong.

Florio’s pick: Saints 24, Falcons 20.

Jets at Bills

MDS’s take: Can Rex Ryan knock his old team out of the playoffs? I don’t see it. The Jets are playing very well on offense, and Rex’s defense has struggled. The Jets will win and clinch a wild card.

MDS’s pick: Jets 28, Bills 17.

Florio’s take: The Bills are giving off the vibe of a franchise that already has given up on the season, making a victory that could keep the Jets out of the playoffs less likely. New York has continued to improve in recent weeks, and coach Todd Bowles’ calm demeanor will keep the team from getting too freaked out by the unlikely opportunity they now have.

Florio’s pick: Jets 27, Bills 20.

Buccaneers at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Panthers are no longer undefeated, but they are one win from home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They’ll get that win on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 16.

Florio’s take: The Bucs have lost three in a row, and they may as well make it four in order to enhance their draft position. The Panthers are trying to get their swagger back before the postseason, and to ensure that they get the top seed in the NFC.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.

Lions at Bears

MDS’s take: In the battle for last place in the NFC North, the Bears’ defense will turn in a good game and win a low-scoring affair.

MDS’s pick: Bears 13, Lions 10.

Florio’s take: Adam Gase makes his closing argument for a head-coaching job. Jim Caldwell makes his closing argument to keep the one he has.

Florio’s pick: Bears 27, Lions 21.

Ravens at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Bengals need to win and get help for a first-round bye. I don’t think they’ll get the help they need, but I do think they’ll win.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take: Coach John Harbaugh is trying to instill a culture of winning among the various losers who remain available to play. The Bengals are sliding toward another potential one-and-done playoff berth.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 27, Bengals 20.

Steelers at Browns

MDS’s take: Last week’s loss to the Ravens means the Steelers are now a long shot to make the playoffs. They’ll take their frustrations out on the Browns and dominate, winning a game that does nothing more than show Pittsburgh is the best team not to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 38, Browns 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers can only blame themselves for missing the playoffs, if the Bills don’t beat the Jets.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 30, Browns 13.

Washington at Cowboys

MDS’s take: It’s a meaningless game for Washington, which is locked into the NFC No. 4 seed, which means they may rest many of their top players. But I still think they should beat a Kellen Moore-led Cowboys team.

MDS’s pick: Washington 20, Cowboys 12.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys beat Washington in their building. Washington now gets a chance to return the favor. It’s a meaningless game for both teams, but it’s one last chance for the Cowboys to do something positive in one of the most negative seasons the team has had in recent years.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 17, Washington 13.

Jaguars at Texans

MDS’s take: The Texans can clinch the AFC South with a win, and that’s exactly what they’ll do. Although the injury-plagued offense has its problems, the Texans’ defense is pretty good and should force Blake Bortles into some game-changing turnovers.

MDS’s pick: Texans 17, Jaguars 14.

Florio’s take: Houston storms into the postseason with the kind of momentum that should make their first-round playoff game not a blowout loss.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Jaguars 17.

Titans at Colts

MDS’s take: The Colts may be starting a quarterback who’s been on the team less than a week. But I just can’t pick a Titans team that is one loss away from the first overall pick. The Colts’ defense will find a way to win this one.

MDS’s pick: Colts 13, Titans 10.

Florio’s take: The Titans only need to lose one more time to get the No. 1 overall pick. Even they can’t screw that up, right? Right?

Florio’s pick: Colts 17, Titans 6.

Raiders at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are playing as well as anyone in the AFC right now and will keep their winning ways going with a big regular-season finale.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Raiders 20.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have won nine games in a row. The Raiders stand in their way of finishing the season with 10. And the Raiders are good enough to do it. It’s Oakland’s bowl game, with a chance to send Charles Woodson into retirement with a win, to end the season 8-8, and to lay the foundation for a run at the postseason in 2016.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Chiefs 24.

Patriots at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Patriots are a win away from home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they should get that win against a Dolphins team that looks beaten up and ready to pack it in.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 34, Dolphins 14.

Florio’s take: The Patriots are vulnerable, but the Dolphins gave up on this season a while ago.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 30, Dolphins 17.

Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: There’s nothing to play for but pride on Sunday, and I think the Giants’ players will be playing to show they haven’t quit on Tom Coughlin, against a team that quit on its coach long ago.

MDS’s pick: Giants 31, Eagles 10.

Florio’s take: Giants coach Tom Coughlin still has a sliver of hope. The Eagles are turned upside down. Advantage, team that hasn’t gotten its coach fired yet.

Florio’s pick: Giants 23, Eagles 16.

Seahawks at Cardinals

MDS’s take: There’s no team in the NFL I’d pick to win at Arizona right now. The Cardinals are a dangerous team heading into January.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Seahawks 20.

Florio’s take: Arizona treats every game like a playoff game, and this one could give them the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 27, Seahawks 24.

Chargers at Broncos

MDS’s take: The Broncos can secure the division and a bye with a win, and that’s exactly what they’ll do against an overmatched Chargers team.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, Chargers 17.

Florio’s take: The Broncos are on a short week after an emotional, overtime win that clinched a playoff berth. The Chargers had four extra days to get ready for this one. And Peyton Manning will be looming over Brock Osweiler’s shoulder. But the importance of a bye will be enough to help the Broncos overcome what should be a stiffer challenge than expected.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 23, Chargers 17.

Rams at 49ers

MDS’s take: In a meaningless game to end the season, Jeff Fisher will get the Rams to eight wins for the first time since 2006.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, 49ers 20.

Florio’s take: The climb to 8-8 is complete for the most up-and-down team in the league.

Florio’s pick: Rams 27, 49ers 13.

Vikings at Packers

MDS’s take: The Packers have been an inconsistent and at times disappointing team this year, but they played well in their previous game against the Vikings and should wrap up the NFC North with a win at home.

MDS’s pick: Packers 28, Vikings 21.

Florio’s take: The Vikings lose by winning, with an NFC North crown giving them the right to host the Seahawks again. But the Vikings desperately need the burst of confidence that comes from beating the Packers at Lambeau Field. If the Lions and Bears can do it, so can the Vikings.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Packers 20.

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Taking a look at Chip Kelly’s possible options

Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Chip Kelly has become available for a ride on the looming coaching carousel, five days before the annual game of musical chairs begins. Which puts him in play for both of the current vacancies and some of the other ones that will arise.

Indeed, one or more vacancies could arise simply because Kelly is now available.

So where could he land in 2016? Let’s take a look at the possibilities.

1. Tennessee.

From the moment Commissioner Roger Goodell declared that the Titans had selected Marcus Mari-o-to in late April, the possibility of Kelly reuniting with his Oregon star quarterback loomed. But as Frank Wycheck of the Titans Radio Network pointed out during Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, the Titans may not be interested in Kelly primarily because the Titans are committed to employing an offense that keeps Mariota healthy. Kelly’s system isn’t conducive to that.

Of course, Kelly could try to persuade the Titans that he’ll use the modified version that helped keep perpetually brittle Sam Bradford in one piece (mostly) this year. And then, if Kelly gets the job, he can do whatever he wants — as long as he wins.

2. Cleveland.

The Browns tried to hire Kelly three years ago, before they drafted the quarterback that Kelly once recruited to play at Oregon. With the Browns trying to figure out what to do with Johnny Manziel, keeping him and hiring Kelly becomes an option.

3. San Francisco.

The fact that the job isn’t available hasn’t kept Mike Holmgren from openly politicking for it. And the fact that Kelly is available should make the powers-that-be at least consider the possibility of hiring Kelly. He could resurrect the career of Colin Kaepernick. Kelly also could make the 49ers relevant after a season in purgatory, which has seen more and more empty seats at the team’s home stadium.

Of course, the 49ers would have to be willing to tolerate Kelly, who is prone to power struggles and generally pissing people off. But he can’t be any worse than Jim Harbaugh, and if it helps them win games again, who cares?

4. Miami.

The Dolphins recently fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the former Eagles quarterback coach who tried to implement Kelly’s system. But having Kelly implement it himself could bring about different results — and quarterback Ryan Tannehill definitely has the athleticism to make it work.

5. Indianapolis.

The prospect of quarterback Andrew Luck, who has the same size and physical attributes at Cam Newton, running Kelly’s system is intriguing. But after Luck missed half the year with a lacerated kidney, the Colts won’t want to take risks with him.

Also, if G.M. Ryan Grigson remains, he knows enough of the folks in Philly to hear all of the horror stories about Kelly.

Ultimately, whoever hires Kelly will have to take a leap of faith regarding his position that he’s not interested in running the team’s personnel department. Then again, just two days ago Kelly said he wasn’t running the personnel department in Philadelphia. So if he doesn’t want to run the personnel department with his next team the way he wasn’t running the personnel department in Philly, he wants to run the personnel department with his next team.

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Letter from Jeffrey Lurie regarding Chip Kelly

Jeffrey Lurie AP

[Editor’s note: Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie issued on Tuesday night a letter explaining the decision to release coach Chip Kelly. The full text of the letter appears below.]

I have made a decision to release Chip Kelly this evening. I spent the last three seasons evaluating the many factors involved in our performance as a team. As I watched this season unfold, I determined that it was time to make a change.

As we move forward, the search for a new head coach will begin and will be led by myself, Don Smolenski and Howie Roseman. To the extent that we are able, we will try to keep you informed as we go through this process.

Pat Shurmur will be our interim coach for the Giants game Sunday.

We have also released Ed Marynowitz, vice president of player personnel. Tom Donahoe, who has been our senior football advisor since 2012, will assume the role of senior director of player personnel.

I am determined and excited to select a new coach to help us obtain our ultimate goal.

Thank you for your consistent and enthusiastic support. It is always appreciated.

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Transcript of Drew Brees on PFT Live


[Editor’s note: Saints quarterback Drew Brees appeared on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. Hopefully, you heard it. If you didn’t, you can read it.

Q: When you hear someone say future ‘Hall of Famer,’ does that make you feel good? Or do you think don’t jinx it, don’t give me the label yet?”

Brees: “No there’s still a long way to go for me before any of that talk. You know, I still feel like I have a lot to prove.”

Q: “You don’t feel like the hay is already in the barn though to get to Canton?”

Brees: “Regardless I kind of cringe a little bit. I’ve got a lot of football games left to be played, I hope. So that’s where my minds at.”

Q: “You said back in July of 2014 when you guys were at the Greenbrier here in West Virginia for the first time, that you’d like to play until you’re 45. You’ve got two more football seasons that you’ve played since then. Are you still feeling 45 is attainable?”

Brees: “I certainly think it’s attainable, you know. I think physiologically it’s possible. I think we can push the envelope with that. I mean, there’s challenges. Obviously, as you kind of get up there in age and that kind of thing but I think so much of it’s just what’s in your mind and what’s in your heart. And that kind of controls your body. But I said it then and I’ll say it now. As long as I’m having fun and I’m playing at a high level and I’m able to stay healthy then why wouldn’t I? Obviously I’m different than when I started in this league. I have a family now with four kids ages six, five, three, and one. So that presents its level of challenges but also excitement and fun. They’re starting to get into football and football season and they know players from other teams. They follow it and every time I get home they want to play catch and wrestle and tackle and all that stuff. They love going to games. They love being a part of that Superdome atmosphere and so that too also makes me want to play even longer.”

Q: “You have the injury that you suffered last Monday night, the torn plantar fascia in your foot. How did that effect you, turning around on a short week and playing on a Sunday? How did that make it different for you than a normal game?

Brees: “Just mobility, really. The challenge was obviously being a short week and Christmas and just all those things last week. Last week was crazy and just trying to experiment with how I could be as functional as possible on Sunday. So different tape jobs and orthotics and this and that. Just trying to play with how effective I could be in throwing the ball and pushing off and just all those things. So I felt like we had a really good plan going into the game. Obviously I was limited but felt like the game plan and just kind of the way everything unfolded I ended up being okay.”

Q: “Do you anticipate it being any better this weekend against the Falcons? Or are you going to have to deal with the same challenges to get yourself into a position where you can go out and perform? Not just perform but perform very well?”

Brees: “I’m sure there will be challenges but I can definitely say I feel better right now as I talk to you versus last week at this time. So hopefully the foot will continue to improve. I mean, the fact that I’m playing on it, it’s not really giving it a chance to rest and heal. That’s what the offseason will be for but, yeah, I’m hoping that I will be able to do a little bit more come this Sunday

Q: “Where does the motivation come from once the playoffs are unattainable? The motivation to go out and play hard, win. That same motivation you had back when the postseason is still a possibility.”

Brees: “Well, first of all, I take a lot of pride in what I do as a professional football player and representing the fleur-de-lis that’s on my helmet. The New Orleans Saints, our city, our community, I mean I really do. And so regardless of what we’re playing for with playoffs or not, I feel like I always have something to prove and something to represent. Like a great sense of responsibility.

“I’m also thinking about next year. I’m also thinking about could something happen in these last few weeks with our team that becomes a catalyst for something in the future. Like some type of tipping point. Maybe it’s just for one individual player. Or all of a sudden there’s just this moment where it’s a huge confidence boost and then that’s going to allow them to accomplish something great in the future that’s going to help us win and win a championship. I mean because that’s what it’s all about. And I feel like we’re building something really great with our team. I feel like we have great character, great leadership, and some young talent that will continue to get better and better with experience. This is where you begin to build and create that type of culture and foundation for what you’re going to accomplish in the future.”

Q: “How do you reconcile thinking about a future with the Saints with the business side of it that could get in the way of what happens next year?”

Brees: “I think that lingers for every team come the offseason. I mean there’s, ‘Where do we need to make changes?’ or ‘Where are we trying to improve? What are we trying to add?,’ and that kind of thing. So bottom line is I don’t see myself in any other helmet but a Saints helmet. I don’t see myself playing for any other coach than Sean Payton, but I know there’s all kinds of speculation. Especially when you’re not heading to the playoffs. Everybody immediately wants to jump to, ‘Well what are they gonna do this offseason and how is it gonna look for next season?’ But I’m confident that a plan was laid out last offseason for how kind of how we were going to build this thing back to a point where we can make a run. Like we made a run in ’09, ’10, ’11 and that’s where my mind’s at and I feel like there’s a lot of people that feel that same way.”

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PFT’s Week 17 Power Rankings


1. Cardinals (13-2; last week No. 2): Nine straight wins, and a much-deserved leapfrogging of a team with one less loss.

2. Panthers (14-1; last week No. 1): If 16-0 in the regular season makes it harder to go 3-0 in the postseason, it’s better to go 15-1 en route to 18-1.

3. Patriots (12-3; No. 3): Marty Mornhinweg says, “Does this mean I finally get another head-coaching job?”

4. Broncos (11-4; No. 9): Peyton Manning will now have plenty of time to issue statements and give interviews disputing that Al Jazeera report.

5. Chiefs (10-5; No. 7): Nine straight wins makes them the hottest team in the AFC. And still no one believes in them.

6. Packers (10-5; No. 4): Last week, I said they’re just good enough to lose in the divisional round. I was wrong. They’re just good enough to get blown out in the divisional round.

7. Seahawks (9-6; No. 5): Suddenly, Marshawn Lynch’s return seems inevitable.

8. Vikings (10-5; No. 11): Are they better off as the No. 3 seed at home against Seattle or as the No. 5 seed on the road at Washington?

9. Bengals (11-4; No. 8): A.J. McCarron already plays as well as Andy Dalton — in prime time.

10. Jets (10-5; No. 10): Rex Ryan guaranteed to take Buffalo to the playoffs. He’ll have to settle for trying to knock out the team that fired him last year.

11. Washington (8-7; No. 12): At the outset of the season, Washington would have been ranked this high only if they had moved to the CFL.

12. Steelers (9-6; No. 6): They’re the most dangerous team in the AFC. Especially to themselves.

13. Texans (8-7; No. 13): The only thing standing in the way of a playoff berth is a chain of events that would end up being far more memorable that the inevitable one-and-done that’s looming.

14. Falcons (8-7; No. 19): Sunday’s performance against Carolina makes all the losses even more confounding.

15. Raiders (7-8; No. 14): The Raiders belong in Oakland, and the folks in Oakland deserve a better Raiders team. Maybe both will happen.

16. Rams (7-8; No. 20): They’re cobbling together just enough hope to justify staying the course, again.

17. Bills (7-8; No. 17): Rex Ryan guarantees that the Bills will field a team next year. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make good on that one.

18. Eagles (6-9; No. 15): Chip Kelly now says he wasn’t the G.M. Plenty of fans wish he also wasn’t the head coach.

19. Giants (6-9; No. 16): Tom Coughlin thinks his players shouldn’t worry about the coach’s future. Based on Sunday night’s game, they apparently aren’t.

20. Bears (6-9; No. 21): They should be better. They could be worse.

21. Buccaneers (6-9; No. 18): Three straight losses have killed what once seemed to be a stunning turnaround. They’ve still tripled their wins from a year ago.

22. Colts (7-8; No. 22): They’re getting closer and closer to signing Tim Tebow or Vince Young.

23. Lions (6-9; No. 23): Cooterball could still save Jim Caldwell.

24. Saints (6-9; No. 26): Based on Drew Brees‘ performance, quarterbacks throughout the league will be trying to tear their plantar fascia tendons.

25. Ravens (5-10; No. 29): Long dead, the Ravens were happy to potentially take the Steelers with them.

26. Jaguars (5-10; No. 24): That 51-point outburst seems like it happened a long time ago.

27. Dolphins (5-10; No. 25): Hopefully the Dolphins won’t cut Brent Grimes; his wife’s Twitter page is the most entertaining thing about the team.

28. Chargers (4-11; No. 27): Eric Weddle’s squabble with the team provides a nice distraction from the fact that the team is about to leave town.

29. Cowboys (4-11; No. 28): Sean Payton has long been linked to the Cowboys. After the team’s performance in 2015, maybe those rumors will finally gather some steam.

30. Browns (3-12; No. 30): If Johnny Manziel is posting those videos in order to get cut, he’s smarter than anyone realizes.

31. 49ers (4-11; No. 31): Jim Tomsula said he’s the coach until someone tells him otherwise. More than 75 percent of the fan base already has volunteered to be the messenger.

32. Titans (3-12; No. 32): They don’t know how to do much, but they know how to nail down the No. 1 seed.

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Sunday has 11 games with playoff implications

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

We basically know which teams are in the playoffs: Carolina, Arizona, Minnesota, Green Bay, Washington and Seattle have clinched the six NFC spots. New England, Denver, Cincinnati and Kansas City have clinched four spots in the AFC, with Houston almost certain to win the AFC South and the Jets having the inside track for the final wild card.

But with one exception — Washington is the NFC No. 4 seed — we don’t know what order those teams will be in for the playoffs. Here are the 11 Sunday games that will determine that:

Seahawks at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m.: The Cardinals clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if they win and the Panthers lose. The Seahawks will be the No. 6 seed if they lose or the Vikings beat the Packers. The Seahawks will be the No. 5 seed if they win and the Packers beat the Vikings.

Vikings at Packers, 8:30 p.m.: The winner is the NFC North champion and the NFC No. 3 seed. If the Packers lose, they’re the No. 5 seed. If the Vikings lose and the Seahawks win, the Vikings are the No. 6 seed. If the Vikings and Seahawks both lose, the Vikings are the No. 5 seed.

Jets at Bills, 1 p.m.: If the Jets win, they clinch a wild card.

Patriots at Dolphins, 1 p.m.: If the Patriots win, they clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Ravens at Bengals, 1 p.m.: If the Bengals win out and the Broncos lose, the Bengals earn a first-round bye.

Steelers at Browns, 1 p.m.: If the Steelers win and the Jets lose, the Steelers are a wild card.

Jaguars at Texans, 1 p.m.: The Texans clinch the AFC South with a win. The Texans will also clinch the AFC South if they win the strength of victory tiebreaker with the Colts, which will probably happen. So this game, though not meaningless, is not particularly important.

Titans at Colts, 1 p.m.: The Colts can still win the AFC South, but they need to beat the Titans, the Texans need to lose to the Jaguars, and a lot of other things have to happen. The Colts will probably miss the playoffs even if they win. So this game, though not meaningless, is not particularly important.

Panthers at Buccaneers, 4:25 p.m.: The Panthers clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win. The Panthers also clinch home-field advantage if the Cardinals lose.

Raiders at Chiefs, 4:25 p.m.: The Chiefs clinch the AFC West with a win and a Broncos loss.

Chargers at Broncos, 4:25 p.m.: The Broncos clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win and a Patriots loss. The Broncos clinch a first-round bye with a win.

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AFC playoff picture: Broncos are in, with plenty to play for

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 28:  Tight end Owen Daniels #81 of the Denver Broncos dives forward after a reception as cornerback Shawn Williams #36 and outside linebacker Vincent Rey #57 of the Cincinnati Bengals cover the play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 28, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos are in the playoffs after Monday night’s win over the Bengals. But they still have a lot to play for with one more game to go.

Denver can earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a Week 17 win and a Patriots loss, but Denver can also lose the division and have to go on the road as a wild card with a loss and a Chiefs win.

Here’s how the AFC playoff race shapes up heading into Week 17:

1. Patriots (12-3): New England will earn home-field advantage with a win over Miami next week, or a Broncos loss.

2. Broncos (11-4): Denver owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with New England, so if the Broncos win and the Patriots lose next week, the Broncos will be the AFC No. 1 seed. But if the Broncos lose and the Chiefs win, the Chiefs will win the AFC West and the Broncos will be a wild card.

3. Bengals (11-4): Cincinnati has clinched the AFC North but would lose the tiebreaker to both Denver and New England, so Cincinnati needs to win and Denver needs to lose next week for the Bengals to earn a bye.

4. Texans (8-7): The AFC South race has technically not yet been clinched, although the Texans will clinch with a win and will almost certainly win the division even with a loss.

5. Chiefs (10-5): The Chiefs have clinched a playoff spot and can still win the AFC West if they win next week and the Broncos lose.

6. Jets (10-5): The Jets are in the playoffs if they beat the Bills next week. They’d also make it if they lose and the Steelers also lose.

7. Steelers (9-6): To make the playoffs, the Steelers have to beat the Browns next week, and the Jets have to lose to the Bills.

Colts (7-8): The Colts need to win next week, have the Texans lose next week, and hope other games break their way so that they earn the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Texans. That’s a tall order.

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NFL morning after: The ’72 Dolphins deserve to celebrate

<> on August 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. Getty Images

If the 1972 Dolphins celebrated yesterday following the Panthers’ loss to the Falcons, I say good for them.

Members of the ’72 Dolphins contend that their celebrations have been overstated, and they don’t really get together for champagne every year when the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team loses. But what we saw yesterday when the Panthers fell from 14-0 to 14-1 with a loss to the Falcons is a good reminder of just how special a team the ’72 Dolphins were.

It’s really, really hard to finish an NFL season undefeated. The Panthers looked like they were the team with the best chance to do it since the Patriots came thisclose in 2007, but yesterday they simply had an off day while the Falcons had a good day, and Atlanta won 20-13. That’s the thing about life in the NFL: You’re going to have some off days, and your opponents are going to have good days. The gap between a very good team like Carolina and a mediocre team like Atlanta is really not that great, which means that if you’re not playing your best every single week, you’re going to lose at some point.

Unless you’re the ’72 Dolphins.

The ’72 Dolphins weren’t the only undefeated, untied champions in the history of the NFL because they never had a day like the Panthers had yesterday. The ’72 Dolphins were the only undefeated, untied champions in the history of the NFL because even when they had bad games like the Panthers had yesterday, they found a way to win. They were an incredible football team that always found a way to win. In Week 3 of the 1972 season, the Dolphins trailed 14-6 in the fourth quarter at Minnesota. They won 16-14. In Week 6, the Dolphins trailed the Bills 13-7 at halftime. They won 24-23. In Week 10, the Dolphins trailed the Jets 24-21 in the fourth quarter. They won 28-24. In the playoffs, the Dolphins trailed the Browns 14-13 in the fourth quarter. They won 20-14.

You can argue that the ’72 Dolphins weren’t the best team in NFL history precisely because they were involved in a lot of close games. The ’72 Dolphins weren’t a dominant team like the ’85 Bears, a wrecking crew that crushed the opposition, but the ’72 Dolphins were the only team in NFL history that found a way to win, every single week.

That’s a special thing, and a hard thing to do, as the Panthers found out yesterday. If the ’72 Dolphins want to celebrate their status as a unique team in the history of football, let them celebrate.

Here are my other thoughts from Sunday:

Johnny Football can run, but can he play quarterback? Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel had 108 rushing yards yesterday, the second-highest total for a quarterback in the NFL so far this year. But we’ve always known Manziel is a good athlete. The question is whether he’s a good quarterback, and that question remains unanswered. Manziel completed just 13 of 32 passes for 136 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception. That’s just not good enough. I like Manziel because he’s an exciting player to watch, but I’m just not convinced he has what it takes to be an NFL passer.

The rest of the season just got a lot more interesting. I thought heading into yesterday that we might be in store for a boring end of the season, but the results of yesterday changed all that: The Patriots lost, which means they don’t have home-field advantage wrapped up yet. The Jets won and the Steelers lost, which makes the AFC wild card race more competitive. The Chiefs won, which means the Broncos don’t have the AFC West wrapped up yet. We’ve got a good game tonight when the Broncos play the Bengals, and we’re in for a good Week 17.

Brandon Marshall has had a heck of a career. Marshall helped the Jets beat the Patriots yesterday and in the process recorded the sixth 100-catch season of his career. He’s the only player in NFL history with six 100-catch seasons, and he’s done it for three different teams, the Jets, Bears and Broncos. No one else has even had 100 catches with two different teams. Marshall has also had a 1,200-yard season with four different teams and is the only player to do so; only Terrell Owens has even managed 1,200 yards with three different teams. Marshall hasn’t always been the best presence in the locker room (which is why he’s been on so many different teams) but from all indications he’s been a good teammate as a Jet. He’s a special player.

Two big trades for the Jets. The Jets traded a fifth-round pick for Marshall and a sixth-round pick for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick this offseason, and those two have been arguably the two most important players on a Jets team that’s now one win from the playoffs. It’s remarkable how much the Jets improved themselves by trading two late-round picks.

We should have a measured conversation about human growth hormone. Peyton Manning is strongly denying a report that he took HGH, which is banned by the NFL. If he’s telling the truth, it’s terrible that his reputation is being smeared. If he’s lying, it’s going to catch up to him eventually, as lies about PEDs caught up to Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, and hundreds of other PED cheats in sports history. But I wish we could have a discussion about HGH that isn’t about Manning so much as it’s about what HGH does and whether it should be banned. There’s very little evidence that HGH actually enhances performance for a quarterback like Manning: Researchers studying the effects of HGH say the only athletes it seemed to help were sprinters, and if there’s one thing we can say about Manning over the last few years it’s that he doesn’t seem to have done anything that boosted his speed. Some people think HGH can help an athlete recover from an injury, but if that’s what it does, why should it be banned? We don’t ban vitamin supplements or cortisone shots.

The Lions can no longer justify Calvin Johnson’s salary. Johnson had 77 yards for the Lions in yesterday’s win over the 49ers, which is one of his best recent games. But that’s just the problem: Johnson has reached a point in his career where 77 yards is one of his best games. And yet at $20.6 million, Johnson’s cap hit is by far the biggest for any wide receiver in the NFL. That cap hit rises to more than $24 million next year, and there’s simply no way to justify paying a declining player anything close to that kind of money. There’s no way any other team would trade for a contract like Johnson’s, so unless Johnson is willing to take a massive pay cut next year, the Lions are going to have to cut him in the offseason. It sounds crazy to say Detroit would cut the great Megatron, but that’s life in the NFL.

Cam Newton runs like no other quarterback, ever. Newton scored the 41st rushing touchdown of his career yesterday, taking him one step closer to the NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. The current record of 43, by Steve Young, will surely fall to Newton, likely some time early next season. This despite the fact that Newton has only played 77 games in his career, while Young played 169 games. Newton is a unique player in NFL history, even though he’s disappointed today that his team failed to accomplish something unique in NFL history.

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NFC playoff picture: Panthers, Cardinals vie for top seed

Wild Card Playoffs - Arizona Cardinals v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

Washington is the No. 4 seed. That’s the one thing we know for sure in the NFC playoff picture.

The rest of the NFC still has much to be determined: The Panthers will win the No. 1 seed if they win or the Cardinals lose next week, but the Cardinals can still take the top seed with a win and a Panthers loss. Next week’s Vikings-Packers winner will be the NFC North champion and the 3 seed. The Seahawks will be a wild card, as will the Vikings-Packers loser.

Here’s how it all works out:

1. Panthers (14-1): Carolina wins home-field advantage with a win in Week 17.

2. Cardinals (13-2): Arizona would win a tiebreaker with Carolina.

3. Packers (10-5): Green Bay would win the NFC North and the 3 seed with a Week 17 win. The Packers will be a wild card if they lose next week.

4. Washington (8-7): Locked into the 4 seed.

5. Vikings (10-5): Minnesota wins the NFC North and the 3 seed with a Week 17 win and clinched a playoff spot with a win over the Giants.

6. Seahawks (9-6): Seattle has clinched a wild card.

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Tom Benson’s statement in response to Times-Picayune article urging him to sell


[Editor’s note: Sunday’s New Orleans Times-Picayune included a front-page column from Jeff Duncan arguing that Tom Benson should sell the NFL’s Saints and NBA’s Pelicans. Benson, who told Duncan in connection with the story that there will be no sale, issued a separate statement on Sunday night in response to the column. The full text appears below.]

I rarely respond to preposterous media reports as I understand them to be part of our business. Many are rarely based in fact, as is the case with the open letter to me from the Times Picayune imploring me to sell our teams for the benefit of the city. The letter is fraught with inaccuracies especially as they pertain to our partnership with the State of Louisiana or the structure of our organization. To be clear, the State of Louisiana has not paid the New Orleans Saints a nickel in inducement payments since 2009 and never since I purchased the then Hornets in 2012. In fact, I have most recently committed $25 million in upgrades towards the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and millions more towards the Smoothie King Center.

However, I respond tonight only for the benefit of our fans. We have the most passionate fans in both the NFL and NBA, and they deserve better than to read this scurrilous story, which the editors of the TP decided to blast on the front page of Sunday’s edition.

I will repeat today as I did yesterday to the reporter. I am not selling either team. That is not in my makeup. I am not retiring or stepping aside, while I do appreciate all of the sincere concern for my health. The legacy of both these teams are still yet to be written and my legacy can be discussed when I am long gone, which by the way is not that important to me right now. What is important to me is getting both our teams back to winning and challenging for championships. That is what our fans want most, and no one is more keenly aware of the urgency of that objective than me. We have had tremendous success both on and off the field and remain model franchises in both leagues, something I am very proud of. Another important part of our legacy is continuing to rebuild our city, our hospitals and our schools to make them leading institutions in this country. My wife Gayle and I do not take this for granted and cherish our ability to participate and contribute annually.

But what strikes me the most is the pure irony of the Times Picayune imploring me to sell for the benefit of the city. I recall in May 2012, reaching out to the Newhouse family imploring them to sell to me or other local ownership as they threatened to become and then became a part-time newspaper. Since then the newspaper has done nothing but layoff staff and move operations out of town.

I take great pride in promoting New Orleans as a big league city — securing a record number of Super Bowls, getting naming rights deals for both the Superdome and Arena, and infusing millions of tax revenue into our state’s general fund. This is on top of the large investments I have made in this city, and I will soon announce more major projects that will showcase our great city.

Our fans must know that both of our organizations are tasked with seeing that we field a winning product both on and off the field. Something that they will be proud of. Despite the misstatements in today’s article, I have always been and continue to be in complete control of our teams, and that is not in dispute. Furthermore, my plan to transfer complete control to Gayle is unassailable and designed to provide the long term stability and resources that all franchises need to produce consistently winning teams. It is our determined objective that our fans, our City, our State, and our entire region will continue to join in and benefit from our success. Selling these teams is not part of a solution, rather it is detrimental to those goals.

Gayle and I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.

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Week 16 early inactives

Marcus Mariota, Olivier Vernon AP

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

Patriots at Jets

Patriots: WR Danny Amendola, S Devin McCourty, WR Julian Edelman, S Patrick Chung, LB Jonathan Freeny, CB Troy Hill, G Josh Kline

Jets: CB Dee Milliner, QB Bryce Petty, S Dion Bailey, LB Taiwan Jones, G Dakota Dozier, T Ben Ijalana, LB Josh Martin

Panthers at Falcons

Panthers: LB David Mayo, RB Jonathan Stewart, WR Brenton Bersin, S Dean Marlowe, RB Brandon Wegher, WR Kevin Norwood, DT Kyle Love

Falcons: RB Tevin Coleman, DT Grady Jarrett, CB Akeem King, LB Tyler Starr, G Ben Garland, T Bryce Harris, NT Joey Mbu

Steelers at Ravens

Steelers: QB Mike Vick, KR Jacoby Jones, WR Sammie Coates, RB Jordan Todman, LB Anthony Chickillo, T Byron Stingily, DE Leterrius Walton

Ravens: WR Marlon Brown, QB Jimmy Clausen, RB Terrence Magee, CB Jumal Rolle, CB Jermaine Whitehead, LB Albert McClellan, DE Kapron Lewis-Moore

Cowboys at Bills

Cowboys: WR Dez Bryant, G Ronald Leary, OL Chaz Green, CB Morris Claiborne, QB Jameill Showers, LB Mark Nzeocha, DE Jeremy Mincey

Bills: LB Nigel Bradham, RB LeSean McCoy, TE Charles Clay, CB Ronald Darby, LB Max Valles, DE LaVar Edwards, QB Josh Johnson

49ers at Lions

49ers: RB Shaun Draughn, LB Michael Wilhoite, C Marcus Martin, WR Jerome Simpson, CB Chris Davis, G Brandon Thoms, LB Corey Lemonier

Lions: WR Corey Fuller, CB Bill Bentley, C Gabe Ikard, T Corey Robinson, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DT Gabe Wright, RB George Winn

Browns at Chiefs

Browns: RB Glenn Winston, WR Terrelle Pryor, CB Justin Gilbert, RB Daryl Richardson, LB Jayson DiManche, WR Rannell Hall, LB Armonty Bryant

Chiefs: LB Justin Houston, S Husain Abdullah, LB Tamba Hali, QB Aaron Murray, WR De’Anthony Thomas, DE David King, DE Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Colts at Dolphins

Colts: QB Andrew Luck, S Winston Guy, G Lance Louis, DT Kelcy Quarles, LB Josh McNary, DB Tay Glover-Wright, S Colt Anderson

Dolphins: QB Logan Thomas, T Ja’Wuan James, C Mike Pouncey, WR Rishard Matthews, CB Jamar Taylor, OL Shelley Smith, DT Earl Mitchell

Bears at Buccaneers

Bears: WR Alshon Jeffery, LB Shea McClellin, DB Bryce Callahan, OL Nick Becton, DB Jacoby Glenn, OL Tayo Fabuluje, DE Bruce Gaston

Buccaneers: WR Vincent Jackson, QB Ryan Griffin, S Chris Conte, RB Mike James, DE Kourtnei Brown, TE Brandon Myers, WR Evan Spencer

Texans at Titans

Texans: S Rahim Moore, WR Cecil Shorts, QB Brian Hoyer, TE Garrett Graham, G Oday Aboushi, CB Darryl Morris, LB Justin Tuggle

Titans: QB Marcus Mariota, WR Damaris Johnson, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, S Josh Aubrey, OL Jeremiah Poutasi, WR Andrew Turzilli, DE Ropati Pitoitua

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Plenty of G.M. jobs could open up after the season, too


It’s a given that plenty of coaching jobs will become available within the next two weeks. It’s also likely that several G.M. vacancies will arise.

Already, the Lions have an opening, and they’ll surely move quickly to fill it — especially if the new G.M. will be determining as his first order of business whether to keep coach Jim Caldwell. If Caldwell will be replaced, the Lions need to enter the coaching market before all of the best candidates are claimed.

Here’s a look at the other potential hot spots where General Managers may get the specific news that their services are no longer needed.

Buffalo: A disconnect has lingered throughout the season between G.M. Doug Whaley and coach Rex Ryan. Since Ryan has the bigger buyout, he becomes more likely to survive any potential face off. While Ryan likely hasn’t done enough to secure final say with a G.M.-in-name-only to do Rex’s bidding, the Bills need someone who can identify players who will mesh with the systems Ryan wants to use. The situation becomes problematic for Rex if ownership decides to hire a G.M. who will supervise (and potentially hope to replace) the head coach.

Miami: Dennis Hickey has become a forgotten man with the Dolphins, and the thinking is that he has lost all of his power to Mike Tannenbaum. Look for Tannenbaum to replace Hickey — possibly by pulling an Elway and becoming the G.M. himself.

Cleveland: At a time when many think owner Jimmy Haslam plans to hit the reset button, there’s a chance Ray Farmer survives. Some believe Haslam could hire an executive to oversee the football operations, which would make Farmer that person’s puppet instead of what Farmer possibly has been the last two years: Haslam’s puppet.

Indianapolis: It’s becoming more and more likely that coach Chuck Pagano will be gone. Some think G.M. Ryan Grigson definitely will join Pagano as former Colts employees, but others believe Grigson has sufficiently ingratiated himself to the Irsay family that he’ll stay. The final answer could depend on the next head coach; if Jim Irsay goes after a big-name coach, that big-name coach may not want Grigson getting in the way of the big-name coach’s desire to control the football operation.

Houston: When the team was struggled, G.M. Rick Smith was catching plenty of flak for it. Now that a playoff berth is within grasp, he’s most likely safe. Still, owner Bob McNair should give final say over the roster to Smith or coach Bill O’Brien.

Tennessee: With a coaching vacancy already in existence, the Titans could clear out G.M. Ruston Webster for the same reasons the Colts may fire Ryan Grigson. To attract the kind of coach who could turn the team around, the Titans may need to clear the decks and let the coach rebuild the front office from scratch.

San Diego: G.M. Tom Telesco quietly received a contract extension before the season started. Which suggests that he’s safe.

Philadelphia: Chip Kelly the head coach has struggled this season due in large part to the misadventures of Chip Kelly the de facto G.M. Would owner Jeffrey Lurie install someone to handle the personnel side of the business for Chip? Would Chip welcome that? Could the Eagles find someone who would work with Chip, given last year’s early-offseason wrestling match with Howie Roseman?

New York Giants: With the Giants now out of the playoffs, ownership can begin to decide on whether to changes the coach and/or the General Manager. The roster currently isn’t in very good shape, and that falls on the G.M. more than the coach.

Atlanta: Last year’s uncertainty surrounding G.M. Thomas Dimitroff has created speculation that he could be in trouble, if/when the Falcons fail to get back to the postseason. But owner Arthur Blank seems to be very fond of Dimitroff — and owner Dan Quinn has said publicly (and presumably privately) that he wants to keep working with Dimitroff.

New Orleans: G.M. Mickey Loomis is sufficiently entrenched in the basketball team owned by Tom Benson to be inherently safe. The question becomes whether Loomis elevates to a higher level in the organization, with a new G.M. hired beneath Loomis.

St. Louis: Coach Jeff Fisher is reportedly safe. Is that same statement true for G.M. Les Snead? Some think that the team will need to do something to address another season of failed expectations. Still, Fisher has shown no indication to move on from Snead.

San Francisco: The news that G.M. Trent Baalke has been coaching defensive backs prompted speculation that coach Jim Tomsula is in trouble. It also could be a sign that Baalke is feeling the heat, and that he’s doing whatever he has to do to improve the team. Regardless, the surprise decision to demote Paraag Marathe has created a sense that anything can happen once the season ends. Something needs to happen, given the suddenly sparse attendance in Santa Clara.

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Week 16 injury report roundup

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills in action against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Saturday night and Sunday. So, without further delay, the injury report roundup for Week 16 of the 2015 season.

Redskins at Eagles (Saturday night)

Linebacker Perry Riley (foot) is out for the Redskins, who will be making decisions before kickoff about safety Dashon Goldson (rib, knee, shoulder), wide receiver Ryan Grant (abdomen), running back Matt Jones (hip), center Josh LeRibeus (ankle) and tackle Morgan Moses (ankle). Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (foot, knee) is probable. Eagles cornerback Eric Rowe (knee) is probable while wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (ankle), defensive tackle Bennie Logan (calf) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (shoulder) are all questionable.

Panthers at Falcons

The Panthers ruled out running back Jonathan Stewart (foot) for the second straight week. Linebacker David Mayo (hamstring) is also out and defensive tackle Kyle Love (concussion) is questionable. Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (concussion) is out after slipping in the shower this week. Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (shoulder) is also out and defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman (knee) is questionable.

Steelers at Ravens

Everyone on the 53-man roster is probable or not listed on the injury report for the Steelers. The Ravens ruled out wide receiver Marlon Brown (back) and listed linebacker Albert McClellan (ankle) as doubtful.

Cowboys at Bills

Wide receiver Dez Bryant (ankle, foot) is doubtful to be in the Cowboys lineup. Wide receiver Cole Beasley (knee, illness), cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) and linebacker Kyle Wilber (shoulder) are all listed as questionable. The Bills won’t have linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle), tight end Charles Clay (back) or running back LeSean McCoy (knee). Cornerback Ronald Darby (groin) is questionable to play.

49ers at Lions

The 49ers will hit the field in Detroit without guard Alex Boone (knee), running back Shaun Draughn (knee), center Marcus Martin (concussion) and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (ankle). The Lions didn’t rule anyone out and listed cornerback Bill Bentley (illness), linebacker Josh Bynes (foot), wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (neck), tackle Michael Ola (knee), safety Glover Quin (concussion), defensive tackle Caraun Reid (ankle) and guard Larry Warford (quadricep) as questionable to play.

Browns at Chiefs 

The Browns didn’t practice on Christmas, which may explain why they held off on more definitive calls on guard Cameron Erving (ankle), running back Duke Johnson (hamstring), center Alex Mack (calf), wide receiver Marlon Moore (ribs), tackle Joe Thomas (knee) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (shoulder). All are questionable, as is Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali (knee, thumb). Linebacker Justin Houston (knee) remains out for Kansas City.

Colts at Dolphins

It is another week without quarterback Andrew Luck (kidney, abdomen) for the Colts, who listed wide receiver Donte Moncrief (toe) as questionable. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (back, rib) is probable to start. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins (ankle), wide receiver Rishard Matthews (ribs) and center Mike Pouncey (foot, ankle) are questionable to be in the Dolphins lineup. Tackle Ja’Wuan James (toe) is doubtful to play.

Patriots at Jets

The Patriots listed wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) as doubtful, so his return will likely come another week. Wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee), tight end Scott Chandler (knee), safety Patrick Chung (foot), safety Nate Ebner (ankle), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (knee), guard Josh Kline (shoulder), wide receiver Brandon LaFell (foot) and safety Devin McCourty (ankle) all drew questionable tags. Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (neck) is questionable, but the Jets are otherwise in good health as they try to improve their playoff chances.

Bears at Buccaneers

Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and linebacker Shea McClellin (concussion) are unlikely to play after drawing doubtful tags. Safety Adrian Amos (shoulder), cornerback Bryce Callahan (quadricep), linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee), cornerback Tracy Porter (ankle) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (knee) were all listed as questionable. The Buccaneers will go without wide receiver Vincent Jackson (knee) and defensive tackle Akeem Spence (ankle) again this week. Defensive end Kourtnei Brown (groin) and safety Chris Conte (knee) are doubtful to be in Tampa’s lineup and guard Logan Mankins (knee) is questionable.

Jaguars at Saints

Two Jaguars — linebacker Telvin Smith (shoulder, finger) and running back T.J. Yeldon (knee) — are listed as doubtful and probable players make up the rest of the Jacksonville injury report. Saints quarterback Drew Brees (foot) is questionable, but said he plans to play. Tackle Terron Armstead (knee), wide receiver Marques Colston (chest), tackle Zach Strief (elbow) and tight end Benjamin Watson (knee) are also listed as questionable while linebacker Dannel Ellerbe (hip) has been ruled out.

Texans at Titans 

Quarterback Brian Hoyer (concussion, ankle) is questionable, leaving the call about who starts on Sunday to be made this weekend. Defensive end Jared Crick (back) is also questionable and wide receiver Cecil Shorts (hamstring) is out. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (knee) was ruled out early in the week, but the Titans are otherwise healthy on their active roster.

Packers at Cardinals

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the team would decide on Saturday whether cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) and tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) will play. Bakhtiari is questionable while Shields drew a doubtful listing. Defensive tackle Letroy Guion (foot) is also questionable. The Cardinals hung questionable tags on running back Andre Ellington (toe), safety Rashad Johnson (ankle), defensive tackle Cory Redding (ankle) and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle).

Rams at Seahawks

Rams tackle Andrew Donnal (knee) won’t play and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (back), wide receiver Bradley Marquez (knee) and cornerback Eric Patterson (ankle) are questionable. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring), defensive end Michael Bennett (toe), safety Kam Chancellor (pelvis) and tackle Russell Okung (calf) are all questionable for the Seahawks. Bennett is the only one that practiced on Wednesday and Thursday. Defensive tackle Jordan Hill (toe) and tight end Anthony McCoy (knee, ankle) are doubtful and running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) remains out.

Giants at Vikings

Wide receiver/kick returner Dwayne Harris (shoulder) is questionable for the Giants, who won’t have linebacker Devon Kennard (calf) or safety Cooper Taylor (concussion). Everyone on the Vikings’ injury report is probable, including running back Adrian Peterson (ankle, shoulder), linebacker Anthony Barr (knee), safety Harrison Smith (knee, hamstring) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (foot).

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PFT’s Week 16 picks


For the second straight week, MDS and I agree on all 16 games. Which means that, for the second straight week, it’ll be impossible for me to close the two-game gap in the season-long competition.

Last week, we both got 13 of 16 games correct.

For the year, MDS is 145-79 (64.7 percent), and I’m at 143-81 (63.8 percent).

For all Week 16 picks, scroll.

Chargers at Raiders

MDS’s take: Charles Woodson’s last appearance in Oakland is the most interesting reason to watch this Christmas Eve game between two teams that are out of playoff contention. I think Woodson will go out a winner.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 24, Chargers 17.

Florio’s take: It could be the last NFL game in Oakland. It’s definitely the last home game for Charles Woodson. Advantage Raiders, which actually is an advantage for the Chargers, since a loss will help them land higher on the draft order.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 27, Chargers 20.

Washington at Eagles

MDS’s take: Washington can clinch the NFC East with a win, but I think the Eagles, with their backs against the wall, will come out with a surprisingly good game and keep the division competitive into Week 17.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 21, Washington 20.

Florio’s take: I apparently helped give Jay Gruden ammunition for motivation before the season by putting his team at No. 32. Here’s a little more motivation for Gruden’s gang.

Florio’s pick: Eagles 24, Washington 17.

Panthers at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Panthers should cruise to 15-0 and clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a big win over a Falcons team that looks like it doesn’t have much gas left in the tank.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 24, Falcons 20.

Florio’s take: Carolina has outscored the Falcons 72-3 in the last two games between the two teams. Analysis: That’s not good.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 30, Falcons 13.

Cowboys at Bills

MDS’s take: Rex Ryan’s defense has been one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL this season, but with Kellen Moore making the first start of his young career, I figure the Bills should be able to bring enough pressure to shut the Cowboys down.

MDS’s pick: Bills 30, Cowboys 10.

Florio’s take: A Super Bowl rematch involving a pair of teams that have fallen on hard times, and that could benefit from losing now in order to win in April. Advantage Cowboys.

Florio’s pick: Bills 24, Cowboys 21.

49ers at Lions

MDS’s take: The Lions have been disappointing this season, but the 49ers have been disastrous. Neither team has anything to play for, but Detroit is playing at a higher level and should win comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Lions 28, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take: Four years ago, Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh nearly came to blows after a game between these teams. Current coaches Jim Tomsula and Jim Caldwell aren’t quite as intense. Which could have something to do with the current status of both franchises.

Florio’s pick: Lions 27, 49ers 17.

Browns at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are playing some of the best football in the NFL right now and are going to be a tough team to beat in January. They won’t have any problem with the Browns.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 35, Browns 14.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have won eight in a row. The Browns have managed to win at least eight games in a season only once since 2002.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Browns 17.

Colts at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Both of these teams looked pretty awful last week, but I have a feeling the Dolphins’ defense will play a little better this week against a beaten-up Colts offense, and Miami will win at home.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 17, Colts 14.

Florio’s take: Chuck Pagano has been linked to the Dolphins’ coaching vacancy. After Sunday, maybe he won’t be.

Florio’s pick: Dolphins 23, Colts 13.

Giants at Vikings

MDS’s take: Depending on how the Philadelphia-Washington game goes, the Giants might not have anything to play for by kickoff on Sunday night. The Vikings, however, are still fighting for the NFC North title, and I think they’ll turn in a good game on both sides of the ball.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 31, Giants 17.

Florio’s take: The Giants have two great players and 51 who are average at best. And one of the great players has been suspended. And that pretty much sums this one up.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 27, Giants 17.

Jaguars at Saints

MDS’s take: Blake Bortles has showed some promise recently, and the Saints’ pass defense is terrible. I like Bortles to have a big game and the Jaguars to win in New Orleans.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 28, Saints 24.

Florio’s take: The up-and-down Jaguars face the up-and-down Saints in a game that is relevant only to moving up and down in the draft order. Given the struggles the Saints are experiencing when trying to win with Drew Brees, it’s hard to imagine them winning without him.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 27, Saints 20.

Patriots at Jets

MDS’s take: If the Jets can pull the upset, it turns the whole AFC playoff race on its ear. But I think the Patriots will win, and take a lot of the drama out of the playoff picture.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 21, Jets 17.

Florio’s take: To ensure they won’t have to risk a repeat of the 2010 divisional round in the 2015 postseason, the Patriots should do all they can to knock the Jets out of the playoffs now.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 34, Jets 20.

Bears at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Buccaneers have taken a step backward in the last couple of weeks, but I think Jameis Winston can put together a big game against the Bears’ defense, and the Bucs should win this one comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Buccanners 28, Bears 14.

Florio’s take: Lovie Smith gets a shot at his old team. More importantly, he continues to lay the foundation for future playoff runs in Tampa.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Bears 10.

Texans at Titans

MDS’s take: Brandon Weeden vs. Zach Mettenberger isn’t exactly the kind of quarterback matchup the NFL wants to showcase, but the Texans are fighting for the AFC South crown and should win in Tennessee.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Titans 21.

Florio’s take: The Texans are trying to win the division. The Titans are hoping to secure the No. 1 pick in the draft.

Florio’s pick: Texans 20, Titans 9.

Packers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: This looks at first glance like the best game of the weekend, although the reality is that it probably won’t affect either team’s playoff position: The Cardinals will likely be the No. 2 seed win or lose, and the Packers’ seed will likely come down to next week’s game against the Vikings. I like the Cardinals simply because they’ve been a better team all season.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 34, Packers 20.

Florio’s take: The Cardinals will have a hard time replacing Tyrann Mathieu. But they’re still good enough to outscore a Packers team that has been winning despite a spotty offense in recent weeks.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 30, Packers 24.

Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Seahawks don’t have a lot to play for in the final two weeks of the season, as they’re locked into a wild-card berth. But they’re playing some of the best football in the league right now, and they should beat the Rams comfortably.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 21.

Florio’s take: Both teams have changed a lot since Week One, when the Rams upset Seattle. It would be a major upset if the Rams complete the sweep.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 20.

Steelers at Ravens

MDS’s take: This rivalry always seems to involve close games, but I can’t see this depleted Ravens team keeping up with the Steelers. Pittsburgh should win big.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 35, Ravens 13.

Florio’s take: If Ryan Mallett beats the Steelers . . . his alarm clock eventually will go off and he’ll wake up from that dream.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 33, Ravens 13.

Bengals at Broncos

MDS’s take: After a lot of lousy Monday night games, we get a great one to end the season, with a first-round bye likely at stake. I see the Broncos winning a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 20, Bengals 17.

Florio’s take: A.J. McCarron is about to realize the difference between the San Francisco defense and the Denver defense.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 23, Bengals 20.

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