Week 15 injury report roundup

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Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Chargers and it continues with two more games on Saturday. The Jets, Texans, Browns and Broncos submitted their final injury reports on Thursday and the 24 teams in Sunday’s games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

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

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

Cowboys at Colts

Cowboys G Zack Martin (knee) will miss a game due to injury for the first time in his NFL career, but LB Sean Lee (hamstring) could return after being listed as questionable. DE David Irving (ankle) and TE Geoff Swaim (wrist) have also been ruled out. WR Tavon Austin (groin), DE Randy Gregory (not injury related), WR Lance Lenoir (illness) and T Tyron Smith (neck) are listed as questionable.

WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) is questionable for the Colts while G Mark Glowinski (ankle), S Mike Mitchell (calf) and LB Skai Moore (neck) have been ruled out. S Clayton Geathers (knee) is also listed as questionable.

Cardinals at Falcons

Cardinals S Budda Baker (knee), LB Deone Bucannon (chest) and WR Chad Williams (hamstring) are listed as questionable for Sunday.

WR Julio Jones (foot, calf, illness) returned to practice Friday and did not get an injury designation. DT Terrell McClain (toe) is out and RB Ito Smith (neck, knee) is listed as questionable.

Lions at Bills

The Lions listed QB Matthew Stafford (back) as questionable for the second week in a row. WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring), DE Da'shawn Hand (knee), RB Kerryon Johnson (knee), T Rick Wagner (concussion) and S Charles Washington (hamstring) have been ruled out. LB Trevor Bates (ankle), RB Nick Bellore (ankle), CB Marcus Cooper (back), T Taylor Decker (shoulder) and LB Devon Kennard (hip) round out the questionable group.

Bills running backs LeSean McCoy (hamstring) and Chris Ivory (shoulder) are both listed as questionable. K Steven Hauschka (hip) and TE Logan Thomas (hamstring) are in the same group, but CB Ryan Lewis (concussion) is out.

Packers at Bears

Packers T Bryan Bulaga (knee) is considered doubtful for Sunday’s game. CB Bashaud Breeland (groin, not injury related) and DT Kenny Clark (elbow) are listed as questionable.

All three players on the Bears’ injury report — S Eddie Jackson (shin), DT Bilal Nichols (knee), WR Allen Robinson (hip) — are listed as questionable.

Raiders at Bengals

The Raiders listed DT Maurice Hurst (ankle), G Gabe Jackson (elbow, ankle), G Kelechi Osemele (toe) and LB Kyle Wilber (hamstring) as questionable for Sunday afternoon.

LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion) remains out for the Bengals and CB KeiVarae Russell (finger) is set to join him on the inactive list due to a doubtful tag. T Cordy Glenn (back), DE Michael Johnson (concussion), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle) and CB Tony McRae (concussion) are listed as questionable.

Dolphins at Vikings

Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (knee) is set to miss another game after being listed as doubtful. S T.J. McDonald (ankle) is the only Dolphin listed as questionable for Sunday.

The Vikings ruled out WR Chad Beebe (hamstring) on Friday and TE David Morgan (knee), G Mike Remmers (back) and DT Sheldon Richardson (hip) are listed as questionable.

Titans at Giants

Titans QB Marcus Mariota (abdomen) was limited in Friday’s practice, but he didn’t get an injury designation. RB David Fluellen (knee), LB Brian Orakpo (elbow) and TE Cole Wick (shoulder) were ruled out for Sunday.

WR Odell Beckham (quad) will miss his second straight game for the Giants. Everyone else on the active roster avoided an injury designation.

Washington at Jaguars

Washington ruled out LB Ryan Anderson (hamstring), G Tony Bergstrom (knee, ankle), QB Colt McCoy (fibula) and TE Jordan Reed (ankle, foot) for the trip to Jacksonville. WR Josh Doctson (concussion), DE Matt Ioannidis (shin), T Morgan Moses (ankle), S Montae Nicholson (illness), T Ty Nsekhe (knee), LS Nick Sundberg (back) and RB Chris Thompson (illness) are all listed as questionable.

The Jaguars signed Kai Forbath on Friday because K Josh Lambo (right groin) is questionable to play. DE Lerentee McCray (illness) is also listed as questionable while WR D.J. Chark (quadricep), LB Leon Jacobs (quadricep) and T Jermey Parnell (knee) have been ruled out.

Buccaneers at Ravens

WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) is out again for the Buccaneers and S Justin Evans (toe) will miss the game as well. DT Beau Allen (wrist), CB Carlton Davis (knee), T Demar Dotson (knee), S Isaiah Johnson (concussion), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee, hip) and LB Adarius Taylor (not injury related) all drew questionable tags.

QB Joe Flacco (hip) is listed as questionable by the Ravens, but head coach John Harbaugh said this week that he’ll back up Lamar Jackson on Sunday. G Alex Lewis (shoulder) is listed as doubtful and Flacco’s joined by CB Marlon Humphrey (groin), S Tony Jefferson (ankle), LB Anthony Levine (ankle), LB Tim Williams (ankle) and CB Tavon Young (groin) in the questionable group.

Seahawks at 49ers

The Seahawks will play without S Maurice Alexander (concussion), RB Rashaad Penny (knee) and LB K.J. Wright (knee) this weekend. G D.J. Fluker (hamstring) hasn’t been ruled out, but will likely be inactive after being listed as doubtful. WR Doug Baldwin (hip) is listed as questionable along with S Bradley McDougald (knee) and DT Jarran Reed (oblique), but head coach Pete Carroll gave him a good chance to play.

S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) is out for the 49ers. The others listed on the injury report — RB Matt Breida (ankle), WR Marquise Goodwin (calf), DE Cassius Marsh (concussion), LB Mark Nzeocha (groin), WR Dante Pettis (foot), CB K'Waun Williams (knee) — fall into the questionable category.

Patriots at Steelers

The Patriots have no players with injury designations for Sunday’s trip to Pittsburgh.

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable. WR Ryan Switzer (ankle) is also questionable after being a Friday addition to the injury report. T Marcus Gilbert (knee) is out for the eighth straight game.

Eagles at Rams

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson initially said QB Carson Wentz (back) would be listed as questionable, which was at odds with reports he’s going to miss the game as well as Pederson’s own comments about a three-month recovery timetable. Wentz was actually listed as doubtful while LB Jordan Hicks (calf), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), CB Sidney Jones (hamstring) and G Isaac Seumalo (pectoral) were all ruled out. DE Michael Bennett (foot), WR Shelton Gibson (wrist) and S Avonte Maddox (ankle, knee) are listed as questionable.

The Rams did not list any players on their final injury report of the week.

Four teams have clinched playoff berths, five more can clinch this weekend

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The Los Angeles Chargers became the fourth team to clinch a playoff berth.

With their win over the Chiefs on Thursday night, the Chargers have joined the Chiefs as the only two AFC teams to clinch a spot in the playoffs. They are still battling it out for the AFC West title, with one of them likely to earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and the other team stuck as a wild card.

Two teams in the AFC can clinch playoff berths and join the Chiefs and Chargers this weekend, while in the NFC, the Saints and Rams are already in and three more teams could join them this weekend.

Here are the playoff scenarios for this weekend:

AFC

CLINCHED: Kansas City Chiefs-Playoff berth
Los Angeles Chargers-Playoff berth

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4) (at Pittsburgh (7-5-1), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1) NE win + MIA loss or tie OR

2) NE tie + MIA loss

New England clinches a playoff berth with:

1) NE win + TEN loss or tie OR

2) NE tie + BAL loss + TEN loss + IND loss or tie


HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4) (at New York Jets (4-9), Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, NFL Network)

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

1) HOU win + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

2) HOU tie + IND loss + TEN loss

Houston clinches a playoff berth with:

1) HOU win + MIA loss or tie + PIT loss OR

2) HOU win + MIA loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR

3) HOU tie + IND loss or tie + BAL loss + MIA loss OR

4) HOU tie + IND loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL loss + MIA tie OR

5) HOU tie + IND loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL win + MIA loss OR

6) HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + BAL loss + MIA loss OR

7) HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL loss + MIA tie OR

8) HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL win + MIA loss


NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams-NFC West
New Orleans Saints-NFC South

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-2) (at Carolina (6-7), Monday night, 8:15 PM ET, ESPN)

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

1) NO win + CHI loss or tie OR

2) NO tie + CHI loss


LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-2) (vs. Philadelphia (6-7), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)​​

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:

1) LAR win + CHI loss or tie OR

2) LAR tie + CHI loss


CHICAGO BEARS (9-4) (vs. Green Bay (5-7-1), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Chicago clinches NFC North division title with:

1) CHI win OR

2) MIN loss OR

3) CHI tie + MIN tie

Chicago clinches a playoff berth with:

1) CHI tie OR

2) WAS loss or tie


DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5) (at Indianapolis (7-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

1) DAL win OR

2) DAL tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie OR

3) PHI loss + WAS loss


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-5) (at San Francisco (3-10), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:

1) SEA win OR

2) SEA tie + MIN loss + CAR loss or tie OR

3) SEA tie + MIN loss + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie OR

4) SEA tie + CAR loss or tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie

AFC playoff picture: Chargers make the AFC West a race

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The Chargers’ comeback win over the Chiefs on Thursday night created a tie atop the AFC West.

The bad news for the Chargers is, the Chiefs still own the tiebreaker, and only have to win out to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. That would require the Chargers to win on the road three times in January to make it to the Super Bowl.

So the Chargers will be trying to win out, and hoping the Chiefs lose at least one of their last two games. Here’s how the AFC playoff race looks after Thursday night.

LEADERS
1. Chiefs (11-3): Win the tiebreaker with the Chargers based on better AFC West record.

2. Patriots (9-4): They’re still heavy favorites in the AFC East heading into Sunday’s big game in Pittsburgh.

3. Texans (9-4): Could clinch the AFC South as soon as this week, if they win and the Colts and Titans lose.

4. Steelers (7-5-1): A big game at home against the Patriots looms.

5. Chargers (11-3): Tied in the AFC West, but they need to win out while the Chiefs lose or tie one of their last two games.

6. Ravens (7-6): They remain the top wild card team, and have a good chance of catching the Steelers in the division. The Ravens own the tiebreaker over Miami based on common games, and over Indianapolis based on AFC games.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Colts (7-6): Win the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami and Tennessee.

8. Dolphins (7-6): Playoff hopes are still alive.

9. Titans (7-6): Tiebreaker scenarios aren’t great for Tennessee.

10. Broncos (6-7): Their playoff hopes are slim.

11. Browns (5-7-1): It may be too little too late, but give Cleveland credit for getting things in the right direction.

12. Bengals (5-8): Marvin Lewis can do no better than .500 this season.

13. Bills (4-9): After making the playoffs last year, they’re not even close this year.

14. Jaguars (4-9): From the AFC Championship Game to out of contention.

15. Jets (4-9): Todd Bowles’ guys are still playing hard, even though they won’t save his job.

16. Raiders (3-10): Still playing hard, but long out of playoff contention.

PFT’s Week 15 picks

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I’m finally getting some separation. Just in time to blow it.

A 10-6 week, including a 3-1 record against MDS on games where we conflicts, has turned a three-game lead into a five-game wedge with three weeks left.

I’m at 131-77 (62.9 percent) for the year, and MDS is at 126-82 (60.5 percent).

We’ve also got a new “best bets” video for your consideration. Last week, I went 2-1 against the spread. MDS was 1-2.

For all picks in all games, scroll away. You’ll see four disagreements.

Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Chargers have been at the outskirts of the truly elite all season. That can change with a win at Kansas City. But I don’t see it happening. This Chiefs team is just too good.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 28, Chargers 27.

Florio’s take: The team with no real home-field advantage still has a shot at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Just enough Chiefs are banged up to create a real opening for the Chargers. But the Chiefs have beaten the Chargers nine times in a row, and the Chiefs have Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 24.


Texans at Jets

MDS’s take: Jets quarterback Sam Darnold showed a little bit of promise last week, and the Texans suffered a tough loss. That makes this game just a little more interesting, but I can’t see the Jets making it two in a row.

MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Jets 17.

Florio’s take: Houston picks itself up, dusts itself off. Which is much easier to do when the opponent is the Jets.

Florio’s pick: Texans 23, Jets 10.


Browns at Broncos

MDS’s take: Not exactly a marquee Saturday prime time game, but Baker Mayfield against the Denver defense will make things interesting. I like the Broncos to win a close one.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 23, Browns 20.

Florio’s take: The Browns keep laying the foundation for a special 2019.

Florio’s pick: Browns 27, Broncos 20.


Packers at Bears

MDS’s take: The Bears are about to clinch the NFC North. How many people saw that coming when the Packers beat them in Week One?

MDS’s pick: Bears 28, Packers 20.

Florio’s take: The Packers have been getting plenty of help in their unlikely quest for the playoffs. But they will have a hard time helping themselves.

Florio’s pick: Bears 24, Packers 17. 


Lions at Bills

MDS’s take: The Lions’ offense has struggled to complete anything downfield, and the Bills’ defense is strong. I think Buffalo wins a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Bills 14, Lions 13.

Florio’s take: Matt Patricia finishes 3-1 against the division he spent years competing in.

Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Bills 21.


Buccaneers at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens’ defense should shut down Jameis Winston, and Baltimore will keep running the ball with Lamar Jackson now officially the starter.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 20, Buccaneers 13.

Florio’s take: The Ravens know they can still win the division — and they probably will.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Buccaneers 16.


Cardinals at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Falcons have been perhaps the NFL’s most disappointing team this season, but even still, they really can’t lose to the Cardinals at home. Can they?

MDS’s pick: Falcons 21, Cardinals 20.

Florio’s take: Less than two months before the Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta, we get this in the same stadium.

Florio’s pick: Falcons 21, Cardinals 13.


Raiders at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Raiders showed last week that they’re playing to win, but I have a hunch that Bengals quarterback Jeff Driskel is going to have a good game against a bad Raiders defense.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 28, Raiders 24.

Florio’s take: The Raiders are determined to screw up their shot at the No. 1 overall pick, and the Bengals just aren’t good.

Florio’s pick: Raiders 20, Bengals 16.


Titans at Giants

MDS’s take: The Giants have played much better over the second half of the season, and I think they’ll keep it going and end the Titans’ playoff hopes.

MDS’s pick: Giants 21, Titans 20.

Florio’s take:  The Giants have sparked the kind of late-season run that will make it even harder to draft Eli Manning’s replace, or to even replace him at all. The Titans will do their part to help on both counts.

Florio’s pick: Titans 23, Giants 17.


Dolphins at Vikings

MDS’s take: The Vikings should have a few new wrinkles in their offense this week, and I expect them to make some big plays in the passing game to beat the Dolphins.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 30, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: Lose this one, and it’s likely over for Minnesota.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 23, Dolphins 14.


Washington at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Josh Johnson vs. Cody Kessler should be something. I’m not sure what it will be, but it’s something.

MDS’s pick: Jaguars 9, Washington 6.

Florio’s take: Josh Johnson will wish he had stayed in the AAF after this one.

Florio’s pick: Jaguars 24, Washington 10.


Cowboys at Colts

MDS’s take: This is a big one between two teams in the playoff hunt. The Colts need it more, and I think they’ll get the win.

MDS’s pick: Colts 24, Cowboys 23.

Florio’s take: The Cowboys have won enough games to not be facing a “must” win situation. The Colts are. Sometimes, it’s that simple.

Florio’s pick: Colts 24, Cowboys 20.


Seahawks at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Seahawks are cruising toward the playoffs, where they’ll be a dangerous road opponent for an NFC division winner in January.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, 49ers 13.

Florio’s take: The Seahawks will end up as the No. 5 seed, win or lose. That won’t stop them from trying to stomp the 49ers.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 30, 49ers 17.


Patriots at Steelers

MDS’s take: Both teams are reeling after disappointing losses on Sunday. I trust Bill Belichick more than Mike Tomlin to get his team back on track.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 20, Steelers 17.

Florio’s take: The Steelers are getting the worst possible team at the worst possible time.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 17.


Eagles at Rams

MDS’s take: Jared Goff has played poorly two weeks in a row, but he should bounce back and keep the Rams in contention for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Rams 24, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take: Philly’s slim playoff hopes officially fall to none.

Florio’s pick: Rams 38, Eagles 21.


Saints at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Panthers are collapsing, and the Saints will keep that going.

MDS’s pick: Saints 20, Panthers 10.

Florio’s take: Not long ago, this looked like one of the best games of the year. Now? Not.

Florio’s pick: Saints 30, Panthers 20.

Nine teams have playoff scenarios in Week 15

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The NFL playoff race is heating up, and nine teams have playoff berths or seeds to play for in Week 15.

Here are the playoff scenarios for this week, as distributed by the NFL:

NFC

CLINCHED: Los Angeles Rams-NFC West
New Orleans Saints-NFC South

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-2) (at Carolina (6-7), Monday night, 8:15 PM ET, ESPN)

New Orleans clinches a first-round bye with:

1) NO win + CHI loss or tie OR

2) NO tie + CHI loss


LOS ANGELES RAMS (11-2) (vs. Philadelphia (6-7), Sunday night, 8:20 PM ET, NBC)​​

Los Angeles clinches a first-round bye with:

1) LAR win + CHI loss or tie OR

2) LAR tie + CHI loss


CHICAGO BEARS (9-4) (vs. Green Bay (5-7-1), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Chicago clinches NFC North division title with:

1) CHI win OR

2) MIN loss OR

3) CHI tie + MIN tie

Chicago clinches a playoff berth with:

1) CHI tie OR

2) WAS loss or tie


DALLAS COWBOYS (8-5) (at Indianapolis (7-6), Sunday, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Dallas clinches NFC East division title with:

1) DAL win OR

2) DAL tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie OR

3) PHI loss + WAS loss


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (8-5) (at San Francisco (3-10), Sunday, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)

Seattle clinches a playoff berth with:

1) SEA win OR

2) SEA tie + MIN loss + CAR loss or tie OR

3) SEA tie + MIN loss + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie OR

4) SEA tie + CAR loss or tie + PHI loss or tie + WAS loss or tie

AFC

CLINCHED: Kansas City Chiefs-Playoff berth

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (11-2) (vs. Los Angeles Chargers (10-3), Thursday night, 8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

Kansas City clinches AFC West division title and a first-round bye with:

1) KC win

Kansas City clinches home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs with:

1) KC win + NE loss or tie


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (9-4) (at Pittsburgh (7-5-1), Sunday, 4:25 PM ET, CBS)

New England clinches AFC East division title with:

1) NE win + MIA loss or tie OR

2) NE tie + MIA loss

New England clinches a playoff berth with:

1) NE win + TEN loss or tie OR

2) NE tie + BAL loss + TEN loss + IND loss or tie


HOUSTON TEXANS (9-4) (at New York Jets (4-9), Saturday, 4:30 PM ET, NFL Network)

Houston clinches AFC South division title with:

1) HOU win + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

2) HOU tie + IND loss + TEN loss

Houston clinches a playoff berth with:

1) HOU win + MIA loss or tie + PIT loss OR

2) HOU win + MIA loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR

3) HOU tie + IND loss or tie + BAL loss + MIA loss OR

4) HOU tie + IND loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL loss + MIA tie OR

5) HOU tie + IND loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL win + MIA loss OR

6) HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + BAL loss + MIA loss OR

7) HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL loss + MIA tie OR

8) HOU tie + TEN loss or tie + PIT loss + BAL win + MIA loss


LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (10-3) (at Kansas City (11-2), Thursday night, 8:20 PM ET, FOX/NFL Network/Amazon)

Los Angeles clinches a playoff berth with:

1) LAC win or tie OR

2) MIA loss or tie + PIT loss OR

3) MIA loss or tie + BAL loss or tie OR

4) MIA loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

5) PIT loss + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie OR

6) BAL loss or tie + IND loss or tie + TEN loss or tie​

Week 15 power rankings

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1. Chiefs (11-2; last week No. 2): More no-look passes, please.

2. Saints (11-2; No. 3): They snapped out of a six-quarter funk, and now they have the No. 1 seed in their grasp, again.

3. Rams (11-2; No. 1): They should be very happy that this year’s Super Bowl isn’t being played outdoors in a cold-weather city.

4. Chargers (10-3; No. 5): If you haven’t been paying attention to the Chargers, you may be in for a surprise on Thursday night.

5. Patriots (9-4; No. 4): Bill Belichick brushed off the loss to Miami by saying, “No one died.” Their shot at the top seed did, however.

6. Bears (9-4; No. 8): When the season ends, the Bears will be kicking themselves for losing to the Packers in Green Bay and the Dolphins in Miami (and as a commenter noted the Giants in New Jersey), because the difference may end up being a bye.

7. Cowboys (8-5; No. 7): If Amari Cooper played in Oakland like he’s played in Dallas, it would have taken a lot more than a first-round pick to get him.

8. Texans (9-4; No. 6): Apparently, they took the cheese.

9. Seahawks (8-5; No. 9): No one in the NFC is going to want to play them in January.

10. Ravens (7-6; No. 10): No one in the AFC is going to want to play them in January.

11. Titans (7-6; No. 15): Great game, Derrick Henry. Now, play like that more often.

12. Colts (7-6; No. 16): How did they get shut out by the Jaguars?

13. Steelers (7-5-1; No. 11): A failure to make the playoffs could result in a potential fan revolt, which could test the commitment to rarely changing coaches.

14. Dolphins (7-6; No. 17): The play called “Boise” helped keep the team’s playoff hopes from being sent to Belize.

15. Vikings (6-6-1; No. 12): The playoffs start on Sunday.

16. Eagles (6-7; No. 14): The playoffs continue on Sunday.

17. Broncos (6-7; No. 13): The playoffs were never going to start anyway.

18. Browns (5-7-1; No. 21): The fact that the playoffs are still a possibility with three games left is one of the biggest surprises of the year.

19. Packers (5-7-1; No. 22): If they somehow draw an inside straight to the playoffs, will they have to keep Joe Philbin?

20. Panthers (6-7; No. 18): With an explosion of great young quarterbacks, how much longer will Cam Newton be the quarterback in Carolina?

21. Giants (5-8; No. 23): The Giants are playing just well enough to give Eli Manning another year.

22. Lions (5-8; No. 24): Who would have guessed that practicing in the snow would help them play in the desert?

23. Washington (6-7; No. 19): This team has collapsed faster than a Jenga tower in a wind tunnel.

24. Buccaneers (5-8; No. 20): All those empty seats nearly witnessed a big upset.

25. Jets (4-9; No. 30): Way too little. Way too late.

26. Bills (4-9; No. 25): Glass half empty.

27. Bengals (5-8; No. 26): Glass empty.

28. 49ers (3-10; No. 31): Don’t blow your shot at Nick Bosa, Kyle.

29. Raiders (3-10; No. 32): Don’t blow your shot at a guy you’ll eventually refuse to pay, Jon.

30. Jaguars (4-9; No. 27): Celebrating the fact that they kept Derrick Henry from scoring a fifth touchdown is a microcosm (Chris Simms’ favorite word) of the team’s current culture.

31. Falcons (4-9; No. 28): It’s still better than blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl.

32. Cardinals (3-10; No. 29): The NFC West basement could be this team’s place of residence for a while.

NFC playoff picture: Seahawks take a commanding wild card lead

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The Seahawks are heading to the playoffs.

Although Seattle hasn’t actually clinched a playoff berth yet, Monday night’s win over Minnesota just about ensured that the Seahawks will be there in January. They now have a two-game lead in the wild card race with three games to play, and considering that the 49ers and Cardinals are two of their three remaining opponents, it’s extremely hard to believe they won’t do what they need to do to make the playoffs.

Here’s how the playoff picture looks heading into Week 15:

LEADERS
1. Saints (11-2): Moved back into first place thanks to the Rams’ loss.

2. Rams (11-2): Two poor games in a row for Jared Goff is alarming as they head into the home stretch.

3. Bears (9-4): A bye week is still a long shot, but the win over the Rams puts it in play.

4. Cowboys (8-5): Have all but clinched the NFC East.

5. Seahawks (8-5): They’ll be a dangerous opponent for the Bears or Cowboys in the wild card round.

6. Vikings (6-6-1): They don’t look much like a playoff team, but they still have a great chance of making it.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Panthers (6-7): Carolina is in a tailspin.

8. Eagles (6-7): The defending champs are almost certainly not making the playoffs.

9. Washington (6-7): It’s not just Mark Sanchez at quarterback. The whole team looks like it quit on the season.

10. Packers (5-7-1): Joe Philbin won his first game, but he’s not going to get the Packers to the playoffs.

11. Buccaneers (5-8): By losing to the Saints did they miss a chance to save Dirk Koetter’s job?

12. Giants (5-8): Playing better, but still stuck in last place in the NFC East.

13. Lions (5-8): Matt Patricia has already lost more games this year than Jim Caldwell lost in either of the last two years.

14. Falcons (4-9): This season has been a major disappointment.

15. Cardinals (3-10): At least they swept the 49ers.

16. 49ers (3-10): A surprising win over the Broncos may cost them the first pick in the draft.

NFC playoff picture: The division races are basically done

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The Saints, Rams, Bears and Cowboys will win the four NFC divisions.

That’s only official in the case of the NFC South and NFC West, where the Saints and Rams have already clinched. But we can pencil in the Bears as champions of the NFC North and the Cowboys as champions of the NFC East. Both teams have a two-game lead and the tiebreaker edge over their nearest division rival, with three games to play.

But there’s still plenty to play for in terms of playoff seeding, as the Saints and Rams are vying for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Here’s how the playoff picture looks heading into Monday night:

LEADERS
1. Saints (11-2): Moved back into first place thanks to the Rams’ loss.

2. Rams (11-2): Two poor games in a row for Jared Goff is alarming as they head into the home stretch.

3. Bears (9-4): A bye week is still a long shot, but the win over the Rams puts it in play.

4. Cowboys (8-5): Have all but clinched the NFC East.

5. Seahawks (7-5): If they beat the Vikings tonight they have a wild card just about wrapped up, and even if they lose they’re in good shape.

6. Vikings (6-5-1): If they beat the Seahawks tonight they have a wild card just about wrapped up, and even if they lose they’re in good shape.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Panthers (6-7): Carolina is in a tailspin.

8. Eagles (6-7): The defending champs are almost certainly not making the playoffs.

9. Washington (6-7): It’s not just Mark Sanchez at quarterback. The whole team looks like it quit on the season.

10. Packers (5-7-1): Joe Philbin won his first game, but he’s not going to get the Packers to the playoffs.

11. Buccaneers (5-8): By losing to the Saints did they miss a chance to save Dirk Koetter’s job?

12. Giants (5-8): Playing better, but still stuck in last place in the NFC East.

13. Lions (5-8): Matt Patricia has already lost more games this year than Jim Caldwell lost in either of the last two years.

14. Falcons (4-9): This season has been a major disappointment.

15. Cardinals (3-10): At least they swept the 49ers.

16. 49ers (3-10): A surprising win over the Broncos may cost them the first pick in the draft.

FMIA Week 14: On Mahomes, Midway Monsters And The Miracle In Miami

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The Miami Miracle. Mahomes. Midway Monsters. Where do you start after a day like that. Peter King kicks off Week 14 of his Football Morning in America column with everything that went down Sunday, including:

• Kenyan Drake and the play dreams are made of … the ending of Miami 34, New England 33 will never be forgotten, and the play’s star takes us through all the details.

• The man, the myth, the Mahomes … it was a stiff test against the Ravens and the Chiefs young quarterback passed in more ways than one.

• The NFC is far from decided … the Rams looked lost in Chicago, thanks to a menacing defense that will be a Bear to deal with next month.

• More thoughts, notes and opinions on Mike McCarthy’s legacy; the Colts’ snapping Houston’s streak; the Cowboys choking out Philly; Week 14 awards; MVP Watch.

• Plus 10 things, factoids, beernerdness, a Monday night prediction and the NFL player who Kyler Murray needs to have a conversation. [more]

AFC playoff picture: Chiefs were Sunday’s big winners

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What a day for the Chiefs.

Kansas City won on Sunday, and the leaders of the other three divisions in the AFC all lost. That means everything is setting up beautifully for the Chiefs to earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

But there’s one big game ahead: Thursday night, when the Chargers are in Kansas City. Lose that one, and the Chiefs are in danger of losing the division.

Here’s how the AFC playoff picture looks after Week 14:

LEADERS
1. Chiefs (11-2): Two more wins would earn the Chiefs home-field advantage, and let them rest in Week 17 regardless of what anyone else in the conference does.

2. Patriots (9-4): They’re still heavy favorites in the AFC East, but Sunday’s loss hurt them in the playoff seeding.

3. Texans (9-4): Still the clear division favorites, but missed a big opportunity to put the Colts away in the AFC South.

4. Steelers (7-5-1): A big loss today and a tough schedule ahead has the Steelers in trouble.

5. Chargers (10-3): Thursday night in Kansas City is their biggest game of the season.

6. Ravens (7-6): Despite today’s loss in Kansas City, they remain the top wild card team, and have a good chance of catching the Steelers in the division. The Ravens own the tiebreaker over Miami based on common games, and over Indianapolis based on AFC games.

OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
7. Colts (7-6): Win the head-to-head tiebreaker over Miami and Tennessee.

8. Dolphins (7-6): Kept their playoff hopes alive with a tremendous final play.

9. Titans (7-6): Tiebreaker scenarios aren’t great for Tennessee.

10. Broncos (6-7): A loss to the 49ers probably ends their playoff hopes.

11. Browns (5-7-1): It may be too little too late, but give Cleveland credit for getting things in the right direction.

12. Bengals (5-8): Marvin Lewis can do no better than .500 this season.

13. Bills (4-9): After making the playoffs last year, they’re not even close this year.

14. Jaguars (4-9): From the AFC Championship Game to out of contention.

15. Jets (4-9): Todd Bowles’ guys are still playing hard, even though they won’t save his job.

16. Raiders (3-10): A huge upset over the Steelers.

Week 14 early inactives

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Every week we bring you all the inactives from the early games in one post, constantly updated with the latest information. Check back to see the full list as it becomes available 90 minutes ahead of the 1 p.m. ET kickoffs.

Panthers at Browns

Panthers: K Graham Gano, CB Lorenzo Doss, WR Mose Frazier, DE Marquis Haynes, RB Travaris Cadet, LB Andre Smith, DT Vernon Butler

Browns: CB Denzel Ward, OL Austin Corbett, QB Drew Stanton, DB Phillip Gaines, OL Desmond Harrison, DL Chad Thomas, DL Carl Davis

Jets at Bills

Jets: QB Davis Webb, WR Deontay Burnett, CB Derrick Jones, CB Jeremy Clark, OL Ben Braden, DL Bronson Kaufusi, DL Foley Fatukasi

Bills: QB Derek Anderson, CB Taron Johnson, WR Da'Mari Scott, TE Jason Croom, G Vladimir Ducasse, G Ike Boettger, DE Mike Love

Falcons at Packers

Falcons: TE Logan Paulsen, K Giorgio Tavecchio, FB Ricky Ortiz, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, LB Bruce Carter, T Matt Gono, DT Justin Zimmer

Packers: S Raven Greene, QB Tim Boyle, DB Natrell Jamerson, G Lane Taylor, G Byron Bell, T Bryan Bulaga, LB Kendall Donnerson, DL James Looney

Ravens at Chiefs

Ravens: QB Joe Flacco, WR Jordan Lasley, S Tony Jefferson, FB/DL Patrick Ricard, LB Tim Williams, OL Alex Lewis, DT Zach Sieler

Chiefs: S Eric Berry, WR Sammy Watkins, WR Kelvin Benjamin, RB Charcandrick West, OL Jimmy Murray, TE Deon Yelder, OL Kahlil McKenzie

Patriots at Dolphins

Patriots: OL James Ferentz, CB Duke Dawson, CB Keion Crossen, DL Danny Shelton, DE Keionta Davis, TE Dwayne Allen, DE Derek Rivers

Dolphins: CB Xavien Howard, OL Jake Brendel, QB David Fales, G Isaac Asiata, T Zach Sterup, DE Jonathan Woodard, WR Isaiah Ford

Saints at Buccaneers

Saints: T Terron Armstead, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Dan Arnold, LB Manti Te'o, C Will Clapp, DE Trey Hendrickson, DL Mitchell Loewen

Buccaneers: WR DeSean Jackson, S Justin Evans, S Isaiah Johnson, QB Ryan Griffin, CB Carlton Davis, LB Riley Bullough, DT Rakeem Nuñez-Roches

Giants at Washington

Giants: WR Odell Beckham, QB Alex Tanney, DB Tony Lippett, DB Kenny Ladler, C Evan Brown, TE Garrett Dickerson, DT John Jenkins

Washington: LB Ryan Anderson, OL Tony Bergstrom, QB Colt McCoy, RB Samaje Perine, RB Kapri Bibbs, C Demetrius Rhaney, DL Caleb Brantley

Colts at Texans

Colts: TE Mo Alie-Cox, WR Dontrelle Inman, C Ryan Kelly, S Mike Mitchell, RB Jonathan Williams, T Le’Raven Clark, DT Hasaan Ridgeway

Texans: G Zach Fulton, CB Deante Burton, WR Keke Coutee, RB D’Onta Foreman, DE Joel Heath, WR Vyncint Smith, DE Carlos Watkins

Week 14 injury report roundup

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Week 14 of the 2018 NFL season kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Titans and it continues with 14 more games on Sunday, which means that the 28 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

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

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

Lions at Cardinals

Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) is questionable after a week of limited practices. LB Trevor Bates (ankle) and RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) aren’t going to be in the lineup. RB Nick Bellore (ankle), WR Bruce Ellington (back), DE Kerry Hyder (illness), LB Devon Kennard (hip), WR Brandon Powell (calf), TE Michael Roberts (shoulder) and CB Darius Slay (ankle) are also listed as questionable.

The Cardinals have a shorter injury report. LB Deone Bucannon (chest) is out and S Budda Baker (knee) is questionable.

Colts at Texans

The Colts will play without TE Mo Alie-Cox (calf), WR Dontrelle Inman (shoulder), C Ryan Kelly (knee) and S Mike Mitchell (calf).  WR T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) fronts a group of questionable players that also includes DT Margus Hunt (knee), CB Chris Milton (hamstring) and CB Nate Hairston (ankle; questionable).

Texans OL Zach Fulton (hand) is out ths week. WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), CB Johnathan Joseph (neck, shoulder) and LB Brennan Scarlett (ankle) are listed as questionable for the home team.

Falcons at Packers

The Falcons took WR Julio Jones (foot) off the injury report, but TE Logan Paulsen (knee, ankle) won’t play and K Matt Bryant (back) is questionable.

S Raven Greene (ankle) is out for the Packers and T Bryan Bulaga (knee, illness) is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful. G Byron Bell (knee), LS Hunter Bradley (ankle), CB Bashaud Breeland (groin), S Kentrell Brice (ankle, concussion) and G Lane Taylor (foot) are listed as questionable for Sunday.

Jets at Bills

QB Sam Darnold (foot) is off the injury report, but the Jets listed four players as questionable. RB Isaiah Crowell (toe), WR Robby Anderson (ankle), TE Jordan Leggett (knee) and CB Buster Skrine (shoulder, hip) make up that group.

Bills QB Derek Anderson (concussion) has been ruled out again. CB Taron Johnson (shoulder) will also miss the game and TE Jason Croom (groin) is considered doubtful. WR Isaiah McKenzie (toe) drew a questionable tag on Friday.

Panthers at Browns

The Panthers signed Chandler Catanzaro with Graham Gano (knee) ruled out. S Colin Jones (illness) is considered questionable.

Browns rookie CB Denzel Ward (concussion) is out for the first time in his NFL career. DB Phillip Gaines (knee), DL Larry Ogunjobi (bicep) and C J.C. Tretter (ankle) are listed as questionable. OL Austin Corbett (foot) is also out for the Browns.

Ravens at Chiefs

QB Joe Flacco (hip) could dress for the first time since Week Nine after practicing in full on Friday and being listed as questionable. CB Marlon Humphrey (groin), T James Hurst (back), LB/DB Anthony Levine (ankle), G Alex Lewis (shoulder), LB Tim Williams (ankle) and CB Tavon Young (groin) are also listed as questionable while S Tony Jefferson (ankle) is considered doubtful.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (foot) is listed as doubtful, but reports on Friday indicated he’ll be out for at least a couple more weeks. S Eric Berry (heel) is questionable for the second straight week and TE Demetrius Harris (knee, illness) joins him in that group.

Patriots at Dolphins

CB Stephon Gilmore (ankle) was added to the injury report Friday and the Patriots listed him as questionable. TE Dwayne Allen (knee) is also listed as questionable.

Dolphins CB Xavien Howard (knee) and OL Jake Brendel (calf) are out this weekend. WR Danny Amendola (knee) and C Travis Swanson (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Saints at Buccaneers

T Terron Armstead (pectoral) remains out for the otherwise healthy Saints.

WR DeSean Jackson (thumb) is out for the second straight Buccaneers game. Safeties Justin Evans (thumb) and Isaiah Johnson (concussion) will join him on the sideline. CB Carlton Davis (knee) is likely to join them after being listed as doubtful. T Demar Dotson (hamstring), CB Brent Grimes (knee), M.J. Stewart (foot) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) got questionable tags from the team.

Giants at Washington

The Giants have two linebackers on the injury report. Both B.J. Goodson (neck, foot) and Tae Davis (ankle) are listed as questionable.

LB Ryan Anderson (hamstring) and OL Tony Bergstrom (knee, ankle) are out for Washington. LB Zach Brown (illness), WR Josh Doctson (hip), DL Matt Ioannidis (shin) and C Chase Roullier (knee) are listed as questionable.

Bengals at Chargers

The Bengals ruled out LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), T Cordy Glenn (back), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle) and CB Tony McRae (concussion). WR Josh Malone (hamstring) rounds out the injury report as the lone questionable listing.

RB Melvin Gordon (knee) is out again for the Chargers. He’ll be joined on the sideline by TE Sean Culkin (back) and CB Trevor Williams (knee). DT Brandon Mebane (not injury related) is considered doubtful for Sunday.

Broncos at 49ers

LB Shaq Barrett (hip), CB Tramaine Brock (ribs) and CB Chris Harris (fibula) were ruled out for the Broncos. LB Brandon Marshall (knee) is listed as questionable.

The 49ers will play without RB Matt Breida (ankle), WR Pierre Garçon (knee) and S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder). CB K'Waun Williams (ankle) is the lone player in the questionable category.

Eagles at Cowboys

LB Jordan Hicks (calf) and CB Jalen Mills (foot) are out again for the Eagles. DE Michael Bennett (foot), DT Timmy Jernigan (back) and CB Avonte Maddox (ankle, knee) have been listed as questionable.

WR Tavon Austin (groin), DE David Irving (ankle), LB Sean Lee (hamstring) and TE Geoff Swaim (wrist) are out for the Cowboys this week. WR Michael Gallup (illness) and T Tyron Smith (neck) are listed as questionable for the NFC East matchup.

Steelers at Raiders

Steelers RB James Conner (ankle) was ruled out early in the week and T Marcus Gilbert (knee) also will not play this Sunday. S Morgan Burnett (back) and LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle) are in the questionable category.

All six players on the Raiders injury report — DT Maurice Hurst (ankle), RB Doug Martin (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (toe), WR Seth Roberts (concussion), LB Kyle Wilber (hamstring) and CB Daryl Worley (shoulder) — are listed as questionable.

Rams at Bears

RB Malcolm Brown (shoulder) is expected to miss the rest of the season, but remains on the roster and is ruled out for Sunday.

QB Mitchell Trubisky (shoulder) is set to start for the Bears as he’s off the injury report. S Deon Bush (hamstring) is listed as doubtful while S Eddie Jackson (shin) and DT Bilal Nichols (knee) are listed as questionable.

PFT’s Week 14 picks

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Last week, MDS and I agreed on all 16 games. We should have disagreed on at least some.

We finished the week at 9-7 each, putting me at 121-71 (63 percent) for the year and MDS at 118-74 (61.4 percent).

Before exploring this week’s picks (or after), check out our weekly best bets video. Last week, I was 2-1 against the spread. MDS was 0-3.

Jaguars at Titans

MDS’s take: This is not exactly the kind of late-season game FOX was hoping for when it broke the bank for the Thursday Night Football package, but those are the breaks. I think the Titans win this one to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

MDS’s pick: Titans 21, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take: The schedule is favorable but can the Titans show enough consistency to nail down the No. 6 seed? Maybe not, but they should be able to find a way to win against a more-down-than-up Jaguars team.

Florio’s pick: Titans 16, Jaguars 10.


Jets at Bills

MDS’s take: Neither of these teams is going anywhere, but the Bills seem to be trending in a better direction than the Jets.

MDS’s pick: Bills 20, Jets 10.

Florio’s take: Josh Allen quietly is blossoming into a star, and the Jets are loudly falling apart.

Florio’s pick: Bills 27, Jets 17.


Giants at Washington

MDS’s take: Eli Manning could tie Brett Favre for the second-most losses for a starting quarterback in NFL history, but he’s playing Mark Sanchez.

MDS’s pick: Giants 21, Washington 14.

Florio’s take: Mark Sanchez gets thrust into the starting lineup on a short week against a Giants team that seems to be determined to squander a once-prime draft spot.

Florio’s pick: Giants 27, Washington 17.


Saints at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Bucs have been playing better the last couple weeks, and the Saints turned in an ugly performance in their loss to the Cowboys. But I just don’t see the Saints losing again to Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Saints 30, Buccaneers 20.

Florio’s take: The Bucs surprised the Saints in Week One. The Saints will be ready for it this time.

Florio’s pick: Saints 34, Buccaneers 24.


Patriots at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Tom Brady hasn’t played well in Miami through the years, but the Patriots should pull out a close one on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 21, Dolphins 20.

Florio’s take: The Dolphins have had New England’s number when playing in Miami in recent years, and the Patriots finally are paying attention.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 24, Dolphins 16.


Ravens at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Ravens are 3-0 with Lamar Jackson as their starting quarterback, but they haven’t faced an opponent nearly as good as the Chiefs. The run-first offense Baltimore is employing with Jackson won’t be able to keep up with Kansas City.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take: A sneaky great December game for which the home team won’t want a January rematch.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 27, Ravens 24.


Colts at Texans

MDS’s take: This is a must-win for the Colts, and I don’t think they’re going to win it. The Texans’ league-best winning streak will extend to 10 games.

MDS’s pick: Texans 20, Colts 17.

Florio’s take: The Texans began their nine-game winning streak with a memorable overtime win over the Colts. Houston has an easier time of it during the rematch.

Florio’s pick: Texans 30, Colts 24.


Falcons at Packers

MDS’s take: Two teams that thought they were playoff contenders are far, far from contention. I’ll take the home team to win one in Joe Philbin’s first game as head coach.

MDS’s pick: Packers 24, Falcons 21.

Florio’s take: Less than two years after these teams met for a spot in the Super Bowl, they’re both falling apart. The Packers benefit from the interim coach bump.

Florio’s pick: Packers 30, Falcons 20.


Panthers at Browns

MDS’s take: I keep thinking the Panthers are sure to turn things around, and I keep being wrong. I guess I’m a slow learner.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Browns 20.

Florio’s take: Carolina’s four-game slide began in the stadium of an AFC North team. Can it end in another one? At this point, the Browns may be the better team.

Florio’s pick: Browns 27, Panthers 23.


Broncos at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Broncos still have a great chance of winning out and making the playoffs. They should win easily in San Francisco.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 28, 49ers 13.

Florio’s take: The banged-up Broncos have an outside shot at the playoffs. The 49ers would be better off folding the tents and improving their draft stock.

Florio’s pick: Broncos 24, 49ers 13.


Bengals at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chargers are probably not going to catch the Chiefs in the AFC West, but they might just be the second-best team in the conference.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 31, Bengals 17.

Florio’s take: The Chargers can’t look past this one, with a short-week Kansas City showdown looming.

Florio’s pick: Chargers 34, Bengals 17.


Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: Both of these teams stink, but the game is a “big” one for the 2019 NFL draft order. I think the Cardinals win their second in a row.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 23, Lions 20.

Florio’s take: The win over Green Bay likely secured a second season for Steve Wilks. Which is good for Wilks, because the Lions are better than their 4-8 record suggests.

Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Cardinals 17.


Steelers at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Steelers should bounce back in a big way from a disappointing loss.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 31, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take: The Steelers can’t afford to slip, with the Patriots and Saints up next and the Ravens breathing on their necks.

Florio’s pick: Steelers 31, Raiders 17.


Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: First place in the NFC East is on the line, and I like the home team to more or less wrap up the division.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 21, Eagles 20.

Florio’s take: The Eagles have won two in a row, but the next three opponents are a combined 26-9. First up, a team that already beat the Eagles on their own field.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 24, Eagles 20.


Rams at Bears

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the Bears to pull the upset, but I just think the Rams’ defense is going to be too much for Mitchell Trubisky in his return from a shoulder injury.

MDS’s pick: Rams 21, Bears 17.

Florio’s take: The Rams managed only 23 points on a cold day in Denver. It will be a cold night in Chicago, and the Rams will have an even harder time scoring points.

Florio’s pick: Bears 24, Rams 21.


Vikings at Seahawks

MDS’s take: This is a big one in the NFC wild card race, and I’m expecting the Seahawks to win and show their “rebuilding” season is actually a playoff season, while the Vikings lose and suffer a big blow to their hopes of getting back to the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, Vikings 17.

Florio’s take: It’s desperation time for the Vikings, who may be abandoning John DeFilippo in Seattle if he abandons the run, again.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 24, Seahawks 22.

NFL announces 32 nominees for Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

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The NFL has released the names of 32 players who are nominees for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which goes to a player who demonstrates excellence on the field and off the field.

The award has been presented since 1970 and was renamed in 1999 to honor Walter Payton, the Hall of Fame Bears running back who received the award in 1977.

Five active players — Drew Brees, Thomas Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning and J.J. Watt — have received the award, and they wear patches on their jerseys in recognition of the honor. All 2018 nominees will wear a helmet decal recognizing the honor for the rest of this season.

This year’s nominees are:

Arizona Cardinals: Antoine Bethea
Atlanta Falcons: Grady Jarrett
Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Carr
Buffalo Bills: Lorenzo Alexander
Carolina Panthers: Julius Peppers
Chicago Bears: Trey Burton
Cincinnati Bengals: Carlos Dunlap
Cleveland Browns: Christian Kirksey
Dallas Cowboys: Dak Prescott
Denver Broncos: Von Miller
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford
Green Bay Packers: Kenny Clark
Houston Texans: Whitney Mercilus
Indianapolis Colts: Jabaal Sheard
Jacksonville Jaguars: Blake Bortles
Kansas City Chiefs: Dustin Colquitt
Los Angeles Chargers: Corey Liuget
Los Angeles Rams: Andrew Whitworth
Miami Dolphins: Kenny Stills
Minnesota Vikings: Kyle Rudolph
New England Patriots: Devin McCourty
New Orleans Saints: Mark Ingram
New York Giants: Michael Thomas
New York Jets: Kelvin Beachum
Oakland Raiders: Marshawn Lynch
Philadelphia Eagles: Chris Long
Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron Heyward
San Francisco 49ers: Robbie Gould
Seattle Seahawks: K.J. Wright
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Gerald McCoy
Tennessee Titans: Jurrell Casey
Washington Redskins: Vernon Davis

Week 14 power rankings

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1. Rams (11-1; last week No. 2): There’s a good chance they’ll keep this spot through the balance of the season.

2. Chiefs (10-2; No. 3): Kareem Hunt or no Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs will keep rolling as long as they have Patrick Mahomes.

3 Saints (10-2; No. 1): With games against the Bucs, Panthers, Steelers, and Panthers on deck, we’ll find out quickly whether last Thursday was an aberration.

4. Patriots (9-3; No. 4): After making it to 1,000 career rushing yards, Tom Brady will be sending his ski boots to Canton.

5. Chargers (9-3; No. 6): Fingers crossed for a playoff game in a 30,000-seat stadium.

6. Texans (9-3; No. 7): They’re starting to feel like a potential Team of Density.

7. Cowboys (7-5; No. 9): An all-Texas Super Bowl would have to be moved to Texas, right?

8. Bears (8-4; No. 5): And now we know why Chase Daniel had only two career starts in nine prior seasons.

9. Seahawks (7-5; No. 11): This is the team that should be keeping Sean McVay up at night.

10. Ravens (7-5; No. 13): This is the team that should be keeping Bill Belichick up at night.

11. Steelers (7-4-1; No. 8): This is the team that keeps Steelers fans up at night.

12. Vikings (6-5-1; No. 10): This is the team that allows Vikings fans to sleep peacefully. Because they know it’s over.

13. Broncos (6-6; No. 17): Vance Joseph has earned a third year in Denver.

14. Eagles (6-6; No. 18): They won’t beat the Cowboys, Rams, and/or Texans if they play like they did on Monday night.

15. Titans (6-6; No. 16): They’ve gone from making the Jekyll and Hyde transformation from week to week to doing it within the same game.

16. Colts (6-6; No. 12): Even with five wins in a row, one loss can change everything.

17. Dolphins (6-6; No. 22): Somehow, they’re still alive for the playoffs.

18. Panthers (6-6; No. 14): Somehow, they’re on the brink of blowing a once-certain playoff spot.

19. Washington (6-6; No. 15): Somehow, they have Mark Sanchez as their starting quarterback.

20. Buccaneers (5-7; No. 24): Somehow, free tickets didn’t fix anything.

21. Browns (4-7-1; No. 19): At least John Dorsey won’t have to worry about the fans clamoring for Gregggggg.

22. Packers (4-7-1; No. 20): This is not how the 100th season was supposed to go.

23. Giants (4-8; No. 27): They never quit, except when trying to field an onside kick.

24. Lions (4-8; No. 21): A late-season push to .500 isn’t out of the question.

25. Bills (4-8; No. 23): A late-season push to .500 isn’t out of the question.

26. Bengals (5-7; No. 25): A late-season push to .500 is probably out of the question.

27. Jaguars (4-8; No. 29): Nothing improves a defense like benching the quarterback.

28. Falcons (4-8; No. 26): Jobs may not be on the line this year, but they definitely will be next year.

29. Cardinals (3-9; No. 32): Steve Wilks, coach killer.

30. Jets (3-9; No. 28): 50 years after a Western Pennsylvania kid led the team to a Super Bowl win, could Pittsburgh native Mike McCarthy be the answer at head coach?

31. 49ers (2-10; No. 30): Bay.

32. Raiders (2-10; No. 31): Of pigs.