Buccaneers schedule 2018: Tampa Bay will be challenged as breakout hopeful

The Buccaneers have a talented roster, but Tampa Bay has its work cut out with the list of teams on its 2018 schedule.

Biggest breaks: The schedule overall is tough, but the Buccaneers caught a few breaks in drawing some of their more difficult opponents at home. Aside from the Bucs’ divisional foes, the Eagles, Steelers and 49ers all have to travel to Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay of late has not had the greatest home-field advantage, but anything helps.

Bottom line: The Buccaneers have been the same team for a few years — on the cusp of breaking out. But that breakout hasn’t happened yet, and their 2018 slate won’t help. Having to play six games against the Saints, Panthers and Falcons is rough enough, but throw in teams like the Eagles and Steelers, and it’s tough to see a winning season for Tampa Bay. Record prediction: 6-10

“We know what it takes,” Lue said after the Cavs’ film session on Sunday. “We did it before. We’ve got a lot of veterans, a veteran crew and they know what it takes to win. We can’t get satisfied with just one win. It’s just one; we’ve got to come out [Monday] night and duplicate it again.”

Indeed, four of the current Cavs were on the 2016 team that were a part of the first 3-1 comeback in NBA Finals history. And this year’s Cavs team came back from down 2-1 to beat the Indiana Pacers in the first round.

A few things jump out when you look at Google search trends. Athletes who are often in the news for off-the-field stories, are in trade or free-agency rumors, or are the best players on championship-level teams get searched for the most.

No trade talks involving Rob Gronkowski

The Patriots provided Tuesday’s biggest news when they traded wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Rams, but it doesn’t look like there’s another big deal brewing with another one of their receiving threats.

There’s been chatter about the possibility of a trade involving tight end Rob Gronkowski in various corners since the Super Bowl, but no smoke indicating that a deal is close to happening. According to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, there’s good reason for that.

Rapoport reports that the Patriots have had no trade talks involving Gronkowski this offseason. As a result, they expect to have him on the roster for the 2018 season.

The 2018 NFL Draft will begin Thursday, April 26 and run through Saturday, April 28. Round 1 will take place Thursday; Rounds 2-3 will take place Friday; Rounds 4-7 will take place Saturday.

For the first time in history, the NFL Draft this year will take place inside an NFL stadium. The league in October announced the Cowboys would host the 2018 NFL Draft, meaning AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, will serve as the host venue.

The interest in Walford makes sense given the state of Miami’s depth chart at tight end. Julius Thomas was released as the offseason got underway and Anthony Fasano is a free agent, which leaves MarQueis Gray and A.J. Derby as the only players at the position to see action for the team last season.

They’ll be looking elsewhere for help with Walford joining their AFC East rival and the draft may provide the best chance for them to add a player.

76ers, Cavs bring all the drama in potential playoff previewBen Simmons drops a triple-double, only to be outdone by LeBron James’ 44-point triple-double, but Philly gets the victory as Cleveland’s rally from 30 points down comes up short when LeBron misses a free throw late.
Note: The Clippers were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday after the publication of this article.

Here we go, into the final five days of the season.

Jets trade puts No. 4 pick in play, but Browns should be cautious in trading down

The Jets trading up from No. 6 to No. 3 overall in the draft doesn’t really impact the Browns at No. 1. Sure, there was a contingent of fans lobbying for the Browns to take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall, but it was always more likely than not that the Browns were going to take a quarterback to start the draft off. The risk in not doing so was always that a team like the Jets could trade up ahead of them at No. 4 if they chose to go a different direction with the top pick. The Jets simply did them a favor by doing it now instead of on draft night.

Which is fine, of course, but the Browns should proceed with caution in giving up that pick.

“You can’t have enough good football players,” Dorsey said on Thursday afternoon when he was asked if signing Carlos Hyde ruled out drafting Barkley. I would go beyond that and say the Browns can’t have enough impact players.

When the Browns traded out of the No. 2 pick in 2016, they not only traded away the opportunity to pick Carson Wentz, they also passed on a Top 5 that included, along with the quarterbacks, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, defensive end Joey Bosa and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Instead of sitting on his hands with around $40 million to spend at the beginning of free agency, Spielman and the Vikings took the plunge and signed the best free-agent quarterback to hit the market since Peyton Manning. In addition to Kirk Cousins, he also inked defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. This massive risk was properly characterized by head coach Mike Zimmer, who said that if they chose incorrectly, he’ll get fired, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

Cousins has a lot to prove after he received a fully guaranteed three-year deal. His success in Washington was obvious on the stat sheet, but the eye test didn’t always show a top five or 10 quarterback. His play late in games was erratic, and at times he seemed more like the product of an elite system with great playmakers. He’s entering a situation similar to what the Redskins gave him in 2016, with elite receivers and a favorable scheme, and with the Vikings, he must lift the team above their biggest competitors.patriots_037

Tom Brady already has the record for the most wins as a starter thanks to his extensive postseason success.

He now stands alone in first place for the most regular-season wins with his 187th career victory, which came over the New York Jets. Now Brady’s at 196 regular-season wins, and it feels like his 196th NFL record.

But Brady doesn’t own many regular season records. Almost all of the all-time marks that belong to the New England Patriots quarterback are postseason bests. He also owns just about every Super Bowl record, thanks to eight trips to the big game.

The gambling edge usually represents a race to that information, sometimes resulting in double-digit line moves right before tipoff. Both oddsmakers and bettors monitor social media of beat writers and national journalists.

“The NBA has always been about information and trying to see who’s in and who’s out,” Bogdanovich said. “It’s not like the old days when the trainer or [public relations] guy knew something before everyone. It seems like with Twitter everyone’s on a level playing field.”

“It’s important to follow not only Twitter but Instagram,” professional bettor and handicapper Bill Krackomberger noted.

None of those hits resulted in ejections, but if the NFL adopted an equivalent to college football’s targeting rule they likely would have. That’s a reality that may be part of the NFL’s future.

Spagnuolo immediately began trying to make amends by reinserting Manning as his starter and not giving backups Geno Smith and Davis Webb snaps like McAdoo and Reese had planned.

New York’s new brain trust of coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman continue trying to rebuild the relationship, as well, and plan on having Manning as their starter in 2018. But even if the 37-year-old QB regains his old form personally, the Giants still need improvements at running back and across their offensive line — not to mention a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. — for team success.

The Cowboys have averaged 134.5 yards per game on the ground this season.

Left tackle Tyron Smith is arguably the best in the league at that position, and he was sidelined for the Cowboys’ games against the Falcons in Week 10 and the Eagles in Week 11 with back and groin injuries. Any replacement would be a downgrade, but it was disastrous for Prescott to have Smith out for two games. Making matters worse, the Cowboys lost right guard Zack Martin in the second quarter of Thursday’s game with a concussion. But the absence of Ezekiel Elliott is an even bigger factor for Dallas.

The Mariners are hoping for a strong outing from up-and-down starter Taijuan as he get the ball another must-win game against the Athletics.It was cool to me, because we were just these -haired, dope-smoking hippies, Pope says.Each year this epic event gathers close to 20 participants who walk together with ultimate pursuit of inspiring the world to embrace autism acceptance.That’s him.When the offense stalled, it was actually due to indecision and overpassing, very different from the typical iso-ball that has plagued the Magic this .

But the good news is $850 million of that was financed from banks and investors, and Falcons owner Arthur Blank covered some of it, too.

In addition to the $850 million in loans, $200 million of the construction cost comes from bonds backed by Atlanta hotel-motel taxes, $200 million from the NFL and a yet-undetermined amount from sales of personal seat licenses. Blank is responsible for cost overruns.

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Lonzo Ball Jersey says LaVar, LeBron James Jersey taught him to take blame for a loss

Rookie guard Lonzo Ball continues Womens Marcus Sherels Jersey to shoulder the blame for the Lakers’ loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday, and Los Angeles’ deficiencies so far. It’s something he learned from his father, LaVar, and from watching LeBron James while growing up.
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“It’s nice to finally beat the Cavs for the first time in my career,” Porzingis said. “Hopefully we can be in the playoffs where that really matters.”

Hardaway came in shooting 27 percent in four games but scored 24 points in the first half. He was 11 of 19 from the field and hit 5 of 10 3-pointers.

“I did a lot more attacking,” Hardaway said. “I took the 3s when they were there. Seeing one go down opens up a lot.”

Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 22 points while James had 16. Derrick Rose returned after missing four games because of a sprained left ankle and scored 15 points.

Cleveland led 13-10, but Hardaway scored 10 points, including two 3-pointers and a dunk off an alley-oop pass from Jarrett Jack, as New York went on a 14-0 run.

The Cavaliers tied it at 49 late in the second quarter, but the Knicks scored seven straight points and pushed the lead to 62-54 at halftime.

“The only thing that still resonates is she said, ‘If you don’t Womens Raekwon McMillan Jersey do this, I don’t want you to regret not doing this,’ which is the thing that stayed with me,” Casey said.

He will not officially rejoin until the last week in November and plans to play his first European Tour event in Abu Dhabi next January.

“I want to play another Ryder Cup, and that’s why I need to do this,” Casey said. “It was really important to me. But it’s not just the Ryder Cup. I missed playing on the European Tour and being part of English golf. It’s home. I know that I’m in Arizona and I’ll continue to live there. But I missed a piece of me the last three years.”

NFL playoff odds and predictions for all 32 teams after Week 4

We’re only four weeks in, but 2017 has certainly been a topsy-turvy season so far. Just a month ago, many fans were talking about the chances of New England going 16-0; now the Patriots are just 2-2 and somehow tied in the standings with the New York Jets. Other powerful teams from last year have also gotten off to 2-2 starts, including Dallas, Oakland and Seattle.

Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs are the last undefeated team despite cutting their No. 1 receiver in the offseason and losing their best defensive player to an Achilles tendon tear in Week 1. Even more shocking are the 3-1 starts from the Los Angeles Rams, who had one of the worst offenses in history a year ago, and the Buffalo Bills, who haven’t made the playoffs this century.

Players attending Tuesday’s meeting included New York Giants LB Mark Herzlich, Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins and New York Jets LB Demario Davis, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter

Smith, the NFLPA’s executive director, told Outside The Lines that commissioner Roger Goodell did not mention the meeting during a call with him on Monday. He told OTL that he viewed the late notification of the meeting as insulting to our players’ leadership.

The league tries to use some of our guys to give them cover, to get them on their side, Smith told OTL. Our players’ leadership wasn’t pleased, and I wasn’t pleased.

The statement did not reveal the substance of Tuesday’s meeting but called it a productive conversation and concluded by saying we are all committed to an ongoing dialogue.nike_steelers_2063

Colts take QB Andrew Luck off PUP list

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed the entire preseason, was taken off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Saturday.

Luck underwent labrum surgery in January, but he has not been seen throwing by anyone leading up to the season. But by taking him off the PUP list, the Colts at least have the option to consider using him in the regular-season opener against the Rams.

Wagner, who lives in Seattle, helped police discover who stole Brady’s jersey after the Patriots defeated the Falcons in Super Bowl 51. He said he is an avid sports memorabilia collector who began exchanging messages with Martin Mauricio Ortega, a former executive of a tabloid newspaper in Mexico City.

According to Wagner, Ortega sent him photos of his collection of jerseys in December, including Brady’s Super Bowl 49 jersey. Wagner said he was suspicious but let it go.

Once news broke that Brady’s Super Bowl 51 jersey was stolen, Wagner said he put two and two together and tipped off the FBI and NFL.

Both of Brady’s jerseys were recovered, and Wagner became a Patriots hero.

Savage went through one in Cleveland after he was hired away from Baltimore’s front office to rebuild the Browns along with first-time head coach Romeo Crennel. During their four seasons together, the 2007 Browns posted what remains their best record (10-6) since the franchise resumed play in 1999. But that was overshadowed by three other losing seasons, leading to the firing of Savage and Crennel following the 2008 campaign.

Cleveland’s drafts and free-agent decisions under the Savage regime were a mixed bag. Mistakes made while trying to politically navigate through a toxic behind-the-scenes environment contributed to his failure, as well.nike_steelers_2063

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott ‘surprised and disappointed’ by NFL discipline

It was rumored in recent weeks that Ezekiel Elliot could receive a short suspension prior to the start of the NFL season. No one expected him to get six full games, including Elliott.

The 22-year-old running back tweeted a statement Friday in response to the NFL’s six-game suspension saying he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the decision.

“There’s a certain standard we have and it’s something we weren’t very pleased with,” Bears coach John Fox said. “I haven’t had a chance to visit with him yet, but it’s something that we’ll handle it internally.”

Long has been sidelined since November when he tore a ligament in his right ankle against the Buccaneers. The team has been working with him to increase his practice and workout time as he recovers.

As to why Long got into several fights, Fox didn’t offer any information nor did he try to dive into the issue.

“I really can’t answer that at this point, I’m sure obviously there was some frustration — again, that’s not how we operate,” Fox said. “I didn’t really see everything, just know that there was a disturbance and we don’t need that. That’s why he left the field.”

Paul George appeared on the cover of “NBA 2K17.” The Pacers, fearing they would lose him for nothing after the 2017-18 season, traded him to the Thunder for a fairly meager return (Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis).

There’s little need to rehash the events that led to the departure of Kevin Durant, who was on the cover of “NBA 2K15.” He left the Thunder for the powerhouse Warriors to go after his first ring. Mission accomplished.

Houston went on a 12-3 run with Westbrook on the bench to end the third

So one of those guys could be MVP, but Kawhi Leonard is right there, too. He had a ridiculously efficient season. When the Spurs played the Rockets in March, he had 39 points.

That’s not all that impressive.

That’s not the fun part. With less than a minute to go, he hit a clutch 3-pointer, then ran down the other end to block Harden’s shot. It sealed the win and showed everyone why Leonard is such a fantastic player in two clutch possessions.

What happened: We got the MVP battle we wanted. Russell Westbrook posted 51 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds — the first 50-point triple-double in NBA playoff history — while James Harden put up 35 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. The Thunder jumped on the Rockets early, starting the game on a 16-4 run and holding a six-point lead at the half. Then, it all went south for OKC at the end of the third quarter.

Turning point: Houston went on a 12-3 run with Westbrook on the bench to end the third. Watching OKC’s advantage shrink to three points must have changed Westbrook’s mentality. He had done a good job finding his teammates and picking his spots up to that point, shooting 13 of 25 entering the fourth quarter.

However, Westbrook finished 17 of 43 from the field, choosing to put the entire offense on his shoulders, even if it meant declining to pass to open teammates. It’s hard to blame the guy who has a 50-point triple-double, but Westbrook’s “me against the world” mentality hurt the Thunder’s chances of stealing Game 2.

Maybe the team can get him in a sign-and-trade using the non-guaranteed contracts they’ve cobbled together in recent days if the reported discussions for Iman Shumpert fail. That would allow them to keep their mid-level exception intact, and not necessarily hard cap themselves at this stage. Toronto, Tucker’s old team, would be able to pick up a trade exception in the process that may be useful down the road.

For a team trying to contend sooner rather than later, though, this is a smart acquisition. falcons_059