Joe Mixon, Jonah Williams miss another Bengals practice

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It’s looking like the Bengals have a good chance of playing without running back Joe Mixon against the Titans this weekend.

Mixon missed practice on Thursday with the foot injury that he picked up in Week 6. He has not practiced since getting hurt and missed last Sunday’s loss to the Browns as well.

The Bengals were also without three offensive linemen for the second straight day. Left tackle Jonah Williams (neck), right tackle Bobby Hart (knee), and center Trey Hopkins (concussion) joined Mixon on the sidelines.

Cincinnati acquired offensive lineman B.J. Finney when they dealt defensive end Carlos Dunlap to the Seahawks this week, but Finney will not be eligible to play this week because of the timing of the deal.

Panthers call up three as COVID replacements for Thursday night

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The Panthers did not activate running back Christian McCaffrey for Thursday night’s game against the Falcons, but they did flex three practice squad players to the active roster as COVID-19 replacements.

The team announced that guard Mike Horton, defensive back Natrell Jamerson, and wide receiver Marken Michel will be eligible to play on Thursday night.

Cornerback Rasul Douglas, offensive lineman Tyler Larsen, and offensive lineman Michael Schofield are currently on Carolina’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

Jamerson is the only one of the three players with previous regular season experience in the NFL. He had three tackles in five games for the Panthers last season and played for the Texans and Packers in 2018.

 

Report: Jalen Reagor cleared to return for Sunday Night Football

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Doctors have cleared receiver Jalen Reagor to return this week, and the first-round choice will play in the Eagles’ Sunday Night Football game against the Cowboys, Geoff Mosher of insidethebirds.com reports.

Reagor returned to practice Monday.

He had thumb surgery after tearing a UCL in Week 2. Reagor has five catches for 96 yards in two games.

Reagor’s return is a welcome sight for the Eagles, who placed DeSean Jackson on injured reserve this week. Reagor re-joins a receiving corps that includes Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward and John Hightower.

Carson Wentz has seen enough of Reagor to believe the former TCU product’s return to the lineup can help.

“I think it can,” Wentz said, via Dave Zangaro of NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com. “I think it can change the dynamic, just what you can do with him in the screen game, and down the field. He’s a guy that has run-after-the-catch ability. Obviously, it’s been very limited, the sample size, like you said, is very limited, both in the games and in training camp.

“But we see it in practice. We see the explosiveness that he brings and how he can change a game in a heartbeat. We saw it early in the Washington game, on the third-and-long play. That’s just the type of guy he is.”

Reagor missed time in training camp with a small tear in his labrum.

Super Bowl Opening Night will be virtual-only in 2021

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Yes, the pandemic will disappear the moment the election ends.

The 2021 Super Bowl will look and feel very different from past Super Bowls. Apart from not having a full stadium (the league disputes that a decision has been made to fill Raymond James Stadium to only 20-percent capacity), Sports Business Daily reports that multiple major events associated with Super Bowl week will be virtual only.

Opening Night, for example, will have no ticketed access and all-virtual player interviews, in accordance with the agreement reached between the NFL and NFL Players Association. Likewise the NFL Honors awards show will be a virtual, made-for-TV production, without a red carpet or tickets to the event.

“Plans continue to evolve,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Sports Business Daily in confirming the changes to Opening Night and NFL Honors.

None of this should surprise anyone. The usual activity of Super Bowl week simply won’t be happening this year. And it’s impossible to imagine the full week of broadcasts and player interviews and everything else that normally happens in the host city.

Hopefully, it’s a one-year-only deviation from normalcy.

Jadeveon Clowney out again on Thursday

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Titans edge defender Jadeveon Clowney missed practice last Wednesday with a knee injury before returning for two full practices and playing against the Steelers.

Clowney missed practice again this Wednesday, but remained out on Thursday this time around. A knee injury remains the reason for his absence and his status for this Sunday against the Bengals would seem to be in some doubt as a result.

The Titans added wide receiver A.J. Brown (knee) to the injury report as a non-participant Thursday. Additions during the week are often bad signs, but Brown did the same thing last week and practiced fully on Friday before catching six passes for 153 yards and a touchdown in a losing cause.

Cornerbacks Kristian Fulton (knee) and Johnathan Joseph (illness) did not practice for the second straight day. Right tackle Dennis Kelly (knee) also remained out on Thursday.

Ryan Groy goes on COVID-19 list as well as injured reserve

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Ryan Groy is not having a good day.

The Chargers offensive guard went on the reserve/COVID-19 list as well as injured reserve Thursday. He has a biceps injury.

The team canceled practice Thursday after a positive COVID-19 test — presumably Groy’s — and Anthony Lynn said the Chargers would double up on their work over the next two days.

Groy, 30, has started the past three games at right guard.

The Chargers also placed tight end Virgil Green on injured reserve. He has a lateral ankle sprain.

Green played 20 of 81 snaps, exiting the victory over the Jaguars with the injury. X-rays were negative.

Green has appeared in six games with three starts this season. He has three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Groy and Green will have to miss three games before becoming eligible to return.

Michael Thomas returns to practice for the Saints

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Saints receiver Michael Thomas last played in Week One. It remains to be seen whether he’ll play in Week Eight, at Chicago.

Thomas has taken a step in that direction on Thursday, returning to practice for the first time in eight days.

In addition to the ankle injury Thomas sustained during the first game of the season, Thomas recently has developed a hamstring problem. He was limited last Wednesday before not practicing on Thursday and Friday.

Last weekend, ESPN reported that Thomas likely wouldn’t play this weekend against the Bears. In response, a source with knowledge of the situation said that only Thomas knows how his hamstring is feeling, and that he doesn’t know how it will feel in a week.

It’s unclear whether Thomas will be listed as fully participating in practice or practicing on a limited basis.

The Saints visit the Bears this week before traveling to Tampa in Week Nine for a Sunday night showdown with the Buccaneers.

Patriots add Stephon Gilmore, Shilique Calhoun to injury report

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The Patriots added cornerback Stephon Gilmore to their injury report Thursday. A knee injury limited him.

It marks the first time Gilmore, the NFL’s defensive player of the year in 2019, has appeared on the team’s injury report this season.

He has 20 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and two pass breakups, playing 99 percent of the defensive snaps.

The Patriots also added outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun (knee) to the report as a limited particpant.

In addition, safety Kyle Dugger (ankle), defensive tackle Lawrence Guy (ankle), running back Damien Harris (ankle), offensive lineman Justin Herron (ankle), offensive guard Shaq Mason (calf), outside linebacker John Simon (shoulder) and offensive guard Joe Thuney (ankle) were limited.

Receiver Julian Edelman, of course, didn’t practice after undergoing knee surgery Thursday. Receiver N’Keal Harry (concussion) and defensive tackle Carl Davis (concussion) also sat out practice Thursday.

No fans at Vikings game on November 8

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Some actually believe that the pandemic will go away after the election comes and goes next Tuesday. The powers-that-be in Minnesota have yet to get that memo.

Via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com, the Vikings won’t have fans at their next home game, on November 8 against the Lions.

The Minnesota Department of Health guidelines continue to restrict capacity at indoor venues to 250, due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The Vikings have not received any type of exemption or dispensation from this restriction.

The Vikings have five remaining home games. After Week 10 against the Lions, the Vikings host the Cowboys (Week 11), the Jaguars (Week 12), the Panthers (Week 13), and the Bears (Week 15).

At 1-5 and with 1-6 likely looming on Sunday at Green Bay, the Vikings fall squarely into the category of teams that give the NFL real concern in the final two months of the season: Non-contenders whose players become lackadaisical when it comes to avoiding the virus.

Panthers don’t activate Christian McCaffrey for Thursday Night Football

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Running back Christian McCaffrey officially is out of Thursday Night Football.

The Panthers did not activate him off injured reserve by the 4 p.m. ET deadline to play against the Falcons.

It was deemed a long shot for McCaffrey to return this week.

McCaffrey took part in two practices, perhaps laying groundwork for more work next week in advance of a return to the lineup against the Chiefs on Nov. 8.

McCaffrey’s high-ankle sprain has kept him out since Week 2.

The Panthers have leaned on Mike Davis since McCaffrey’s injury, and he has 108 touches for 517 yards and four touchdowns in McCaffrey’s stead.

McCaffrey has 48 touches for 223 yards and four touchdowns.

Cowboys are NFL’s only winless team against the spread

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If you’ve bet against the Cowboys this season, you’ve done quite well for yourself.

The Cowboys are 0-7 against the spread this season, as noted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. They’re the only team in the league that’s winless against the spread.

Their record against the spread shows what a disappointing season this has been in Dallas. Expected to be a good team, the Cowboys have won just two games, by one point at home against the 1-6 Falcons and by three points at home against the 1-6 Giants. The Cowboys’ losing margins have grown bigger as the season has gone on; their losses have been by three, seven, nine, 22 and 28 points.

The Cowboys are nine-point underdogs against the Eagles on Sunday night. If the trend continues they’ll lose by double digits.

Falcons elevate Edmond Robinson for Thursday Night Football

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The Falcons promoted linebacker Edmond Robinson from the practice squad to the active roster as a COVID-19 replacement for tonight’s game, the team announced.

Robinson has one tackle and one quarterback hit on defense. He also has three special teams tackles in four games this season.

He has seen action in three games as a COVID-19 replacement and one as a standard practice squad elevation.

Robinson, 28, has played 27 defensive snaps and 44 on special teams.

He has played 26 games with two starts in his career after entering the NFL as a seventh-round choice of the Vikings in 2015.

Chargers cancel practice as precaution after positive COVID-19 test

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The Chargers had one player return a positive test for COVID-19 on Thursday, but out of an abundance of caution, they canceled practice.

All players were sent home from the team facility and went through virtual meetings.

“Well, we’ve done a really good job with the contact tracing,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “Players take this very seriously. As of right now, we feel like we have it contained. We’ll get another round of testing back tonight, and we’ll know more. As of right now, I just wanted to make sure we keep it contained and give the players a little more peace of mind.”

Lynn said the team will make up the work with more extensive practices the next two days.

“We will pick up tomorrow where we left off today,” Lynn said. “We knew we were going to have to adjust and adapt, and that’s what we’re doing today.”

Lynn said he has heard nothing from the league about potentially postponing Sunday’s game at the Broncos.

“Not that I know of,” Lynn said.

Cardinals will host 4,200 fans in each of next two home games

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The Cardinals welcomed 1,200 fans to last Sunday’s home victory over the Seahawks. The Arizona Department of Health Services is allowing the Cardinals to have more for each of their next two home games.

The Cardinals announced Thursday they are allowed to have 4,200 fans for games against the Dolphins on Nov. 8 and the Bills on Nov. 15.

“Any determination concerning attendance for the remaining three regular-season home games will be made at a later date,” the team said in a statement.

The Cardinals will sell tickets to season ticket holders starting in account seniority order with those who did not purchase for the Seahawks game.

The team will allocate the 4,200 tickets in pods of two and assign on the east and west sidelines as well as the north end zone.

Ken Crawley removed from COVID-19 list

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The Saints removed cornerback Ken Crawley from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Crawley went on the list Oct. 23 after close contact with receiver Emmanuel Sanders. He missed Sunday’s victory over the Panthers as a “precaution.”

Crawley has played two games this season, making one tackle. He has seen action on six defensive snaps and 13 on special teams.

The Saints also designated linebacker Chase Hansen to return from injured reserve.

Hansen went on injured reserve Oct. 4 with a hip injury. He has never played a regular-season game.