Green Bay will have a very tough challenge facing Jay Gruden’s squad

They’ll have to get by the Steelers, though, who snuck into the postseason with the help of a Week 17 loss by the Jets. Pittsburgh has been hot and cold of late, but obviously boast one of the most dynamic and explosive passing offenses in the NFL. When Ben Roethlisberger gets things going in the passing game, he’s tough to stop, and he’s throwing to one of the league’s best in Antonio Brown.

On the other hand, Minnesota’s passing game is underwhelming, but it features the NFL rushing champion in Adrian Peterson, a strong defensive group, and explosive special teams group. The Vikings finished the year on a high note as well by beating the Packers in Lambeau to win the NFC North, so they’ll look to ride that wave of confidence into the playoffs.

Authentic Mens Kelvin Herrera Jersey Washington is playing great ball as well right now, and it all starts with Kirk Cousins. The fourth-year signal caller set passing records for Washington this year and passed for a touchdown in all 16 games, and with a healthy DeSean Jackson and an emerging Jordan Reed, that passing game can be as dangerous as any.

Elite Womens Pat McAfee Jersey The Giants got off to a roaring 11-2 start the next year, but their progress was derailed after Burress shot himself in the leg and was forced to miss the rest of the season. The team was later upset by the Eagles in the playoffs, and didn’t make it back until 2011 when they won the NFC East for the first and only time in Couglin’s career.

Coughlin, who previously worked at Syracuse and Boston College, got his first NFL head coaching job with the then-expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. He quickly built a drill sergeant reputation and led the Jaguars to four playoff victories. But three consecutive losing seasons led to his firing in 2002. He spent a year out of football after that and was hired by the Giants to replace the player-friendly Jim Fassel the following season.

Two years later the Giants were in the playoffs, but consecutive Wild Card round exits, and his notorious “Coughlin Time,” put his job in jeopardy. In response, he decided to adjust his coaching temperament, and a year later the Giants were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Ramirez seemed like a logical choice to take the baton from Ortiz

Moreland, 31, is coming off a season in which he batted only .233 with 22 home runs and a career-low .720 OPS in 460 at-bats for the Texas Rangers. But he won a Gold Glove at first base and has hit well throughout his career at Fenway Park, going 14-for-41 with four home runs and eight RBIs.

“Staying up the middle, going the other way (to left field) is one of my strengths when I’m going well, and you’ve got a little help out there (with the Green Monster),” Moreland said on a conference call Thursday night. “I’ve always felt comfortable here. Being able to feed off the atmosphere, it reinforces the love of the game when you’re out there on the field.”

Authentic Youth Joe Crede Jersey More importantly, though, Moreland represents an affordable bridge to first-base prospect Sam Travis, who is expected to open the season in Triple-A. With the Red Sox preferring to avoid paying a luxury-tax penalty for a third consecutive year, they never seriously considered signing a big-ticket free agent (Encarnacion, for example) or adding an expensive slugger through a trade.

Corey Crawford Authentic Jersey Both Fowler and Eaton are good, but not elite, baserunners. Fowler stole 13 bases in 17 attempts last season. He has averaged 15 steals the last three seasons and has an eight-season streak of at least 10 stolen bases. Fowler had a four-season streak of at least 10 triples in Colorado. At age 30, he’s slowed down a little. He had 15 triples combined the last two seasons for the Cubs.

Eaton stole 14 bases in 19 attempts in 2016. He is averaging 16 steals per season the last three seasons. Eaton led the AL in triples in two of the last three seasons. His 28 triples the last three seasons is the most in the majors.

FanGraphs’ baserunning metric, which takes into account taking extra bases on hits in addition to base stealing, gives Fowler an edge. He ranked sixth in the NL in that stat. Eaton’s total would have ranked 13th in the NL.

The Steamer projection system used by FanGraphs has the players reasonably close, with Eaton at 3.6 WAR for 2017 and Fowler at 3 WAR.

In other words, though both systems are skeptical about these players duplicating their 2016 success, Fowler and Eaton still provide reasonable to modest value to the teams that obtained them.

The starters listed who did not practice are DE Jadeveon Clowney and CB Johnathan Joseph.

The Texans are pretty banged up and head to Indianapolis for a crucial divisional game with 16 players on their injury report. The starters listed who did not practice are DE Jadeveon Clowney (wrist/elbow) and CB Johnathan Joseph. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said both players are day-to-day and that he’d know more about their statuses later in the week. While the front seven had a solid performance in Green Bay without Clowney, the secondary struggled after Joseph left the game.

Thomas dreads coaching changes more than anything. It means that everything the team has studied for two years is meaningless and that the “middle class,” all of the good role players, are usually cut, replaced by ones the new coach trusts. But most of all, it means the team is probably another two or three years away from winning again.
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Thomas has soldiered through countless new faces and team slogans, but in January 2016, he finally lost patience. The Browns fired Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after the season, and Manziel, the team’s supposed quarterback of the future, had disappeared on a trip to Las Vegas. Thomas was starting all over again, right after his 31st birthday.

And the news got worse. Within a few months, the Browns let linemates Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, two of Thomas’ best friends, walk away. Mack went to Atlanta, Schwartz to Kansas City. Thomas was bummed.
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“[Thomas] told me he’d like me to be around because I’m his friend and a good player,” Mack says. “Without a doubt, leaving the guys was the hardest part about leaving Cleveland. It was a good place, a good time, and I liked it there, but the friends on the team were what made it special. But there’s no guarantee that [if] I had re-signed with Cleveland, they [wouldn’t have] traded Joe the next day.”

Emotional Jeremy Maclin carted off with knee injury, no indication yet it was a tear

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Jeremy Maclin left Saturday’s Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans after getting tackled in the third quarter and seemingly twisting his knee. He was carted off the sideline to the locker room and later ruled out of the game.

He may have avoided a serious injury. After the Chiefs’ win, head coach Andy Reid said that Maclin suffered a strained knee and will undergo an MRI on Sunday. It was later reported that Maclin suffered an ACL injury, with no indication yet that it is torn.
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Maclin was emotional on the sideline.

The NFC Wild Card games will take place Sunday. Unlike the early game Saturday, the winners of Sunday’s frigid noon game between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings will know who their opponent is. The Seahawks will face the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte if they win, while the Vikings would take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale.

Roethlisberger got carted off the field late in the third quarter after taking a sack from Vontaze Burfict, suffering a shoulder injury. The Bengals finally got on the board on their next drive, with Hill punching it into the end zone from 1 yard out. With a 15-7 lead and Landry Jones now starting for Pittsburgh, the fourth quarter promised plenty of drama.

The Bengals’ defense forced a punt with Jones under center and McCarron drove his offense down the red zone despite missing both Bernard and Hill in the backfield. They ended up settling for a 35-yard field goal from Mike Nugent, cutting the deficit to five points with 5:12 left in the game.

Roethlisberger returned to the sideline with his helmet on, but did not re-enter the game. Jones stayed in and Cincinnati forced another three-and-out, giving McCarron his shot at a game-winning drive. That set up the wild finish that will surely have people talking for weeks afterwards.

Former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips found dead in prison, suicide suspected

Former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips was found dead in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison in California in a suspected suicide, according to a release from the prison:

DELANO – Officials at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) are investigating the death of inmate Lawrence Phillips as a suspected suicide.

Adreian Payne Jersey The incident occurred at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, when staff conducting security checks found Phillips, 40, unresponsive in his cell. He was transported to an outside hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 1:27 a.m. Next-of-kin has been notified.
Phillips was facing charges of murdering his former cell mate, which carried the possibility of the death penalty. He was already serving a 31-year sentence for driving his car into three teenagers, and for domestic violence charges that arose in 2005.

Jeremiah Attaochu Youth Jersey Phillips was a star player for Nebraska’s National Championship teams in the mid-90s. He rushed for 1,722 yards in 1994. The next year, he was a Heisman Trophy favorite, but after two games, he was dismissed from the team for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend, a Nebraska basketball player.

The Packers started the season 6-0 but struggled after their bye, losing six of their last 10 games. Despite a rocky offensive start, Green Bay is coming off a big win in the Wild Card round against Washington. The Packers gave up a safety and punted three times on their first four possessions, and Washington jumped out to an 11-0 lead. Green Bay’s line protected Rodgers well, allowing just one sack, and the Packers surged back to win, 35-17.

The Cardinals should be well rested after a first-round bye, and they likely have a chip on their shoulder after their abysmal Week 17 performance against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle dominated throughout the game, beating the Cardinals 36-6. The quarterback combination of Carson Palmer, who sat out the second half, and backup Drew Stanton threw three interceptions.

Alderson said the answer may be using some of the Mets¡¯ starting-pitching depth in relief next season

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Although a simple-assault charge may be dropped against Jeurys Familia at a Dec. 15 hearing in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the Mets still are bracing for MLB to suspend Familia. Alderson plans to have Addison Reed slide into the closer role in Familia¡¯s expected absence. The team potentially will add a couple of middle relievers, ideally on one-year deals.

¡°The first guy we signed was a two-year deal, and that didn¡¯t work out,¡± Alderson said, referring to the Mets¡¯ signing of D.J. Carrasco in December 2010, shortly after Alderson took over as GM.

Authentic Youth Michael Ryder Jersey Alderson said the answer may be using some of the Mets¡¯ starting-pitching depth in relief next season, assuming everyone is healthy. Alderson listed Zack Wheeler as a potential reliever, presumably with Robert Gsellman in the rotation. Wheeler has missed the past two seasons while dealing with setbacks from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in March 2015.

He¡¯s definitely changed his approach since his injury-wrecked 2014 season, selling out a little more for power at the expense of some OBP, but overall he has hit enough to be about a three-win DH, destroying left-handed pitching and hitting right-handers well enough that he¡¯s still a full-time option.

The two players most directly affected by the Beltran signing are prospect A.J. Reed and veteran Evan Gattis, the latter of whom was just brought back for 2017 a month ago, when the Astros picked up his $5.2 million option. Reed appears to be blocked right now, with Yulieski Gurriel the likely first baseman and Beltran at DH. Gurriel might be able to play a corner outfield spot, but the Astros have at least four outfielders — George Springer, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick and Nori Aoki — likely to take up all that playing time.

Everyone was responsible for the steroids era — players, agents, managers, front offices, owners — but the commissioner oversees the game and while the BBWAA has, for the time being, vetoed those players they view as PED users, another electorate has just chosen a man who helped enable the whole era to happen in the first place. Logic says Selig’s election should open the door for Bonds and Clemens, but we know there isn’t always logic when it comes to the Hall of Fame.

He flew to Seattle and apologized to Carroll and to a few executives in the Seahawks’ front office

So Chancellor decided the only way to begin this 2016 season was by making a series of apologies. He didn’t regret holding out, but he regretted the way it had affected everyone around him. He flew to Seattle and apologized to Carroll and to a few executives in the Seahawks’ front office. He text-messaged Sherman and asked him to meet in the locker room. “I should have been there,” Chancellor told him.

“It was powerful,” Sherman remembers. “It cleared the air. He didn’t have to do it, but I think that apology showed how much respect he had for us and moved us all forward.”

Then, for his final apology, Chancellor flew to Houston in April, where he was serving as a groomsman in Thomas’ wedding. A few hours before the ceremony, he pulled Thomas aside at the hotel and told him how much the holdout had been weighing on his mind.

Knowing the problem might consume him if he let it, Allen used last Tuesday to attend foundation meetings and prep for Thanksgiving. In his home, Allen was in charge of deep-frying the turkey and making the greens, for which he has a top-secret Cajun recipe. He marinated the turkey with creole butter sauce well in advance, and then greased it with peanut oil.

The widespread misinformation “kind of crushed me,” Allen said. His life is nothing like the other Allen’s, yet many won’t know the difference.

“You get all the negativity and [people] can say whatever — I can’t really do anything about that,” Allen said. “You kind of have to stop and pause for a minute. … But there’s no telling who reads that and how they perceive it. We’re in a society where it’s largely about perception.”
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Limited Kids Patrick Ewing Jersey Allen can handle probes from friends who knew he didn’t commit those crimes. But he has also had to quell a few concerns on the foundation trail over the last 18 months, forcing him to explain things anytime someone asks if he’s “that guy.”

n interaction with the other Allen. Before a game, Willie once approached Will with a joke. “Will the real Will Allen please stand up?” Willie James Allen said.

Derek Carr called his dislocated right pinkie finger

“When you get a matchup like that, you’ve got to take that chance.”

Even if your pinkie is killing you.

Derek Carr called Joe Namath Youth Jersey his dislocated right pinkie finger “some of the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life” after returning to help lead another comeback victory.

Imagine the pain, then, felt by Carolina after Carr’s injured digit actually improved his deep passing game — helped, of course, by a black glove on his right hand that resembled something Luke Skywalker wore after getting his hand chopped off by Darth Vader.

Brooks has been one of the team’s more consistent offensive linemen this season. The former Houston Texan signed a five-year, $40 million contract to join the Eagles via free agency this offseason, and the move helped solidify a guard position that gave them considerable trouble in 2015.

With Brooks out, quarterback Carson Wentz operated behind a line missing two of its original Johnny Hekker Youth Jersey members, with a third, Barbre, playing out of his intended position. Wentz was sacked four times.

That defense stopped the bleeding after giving up 40-plus points in consecutive weeks.

About the only thing unsightly about the Packers offense was hidden by whatever Rodgers did behind the bench in the third quarter, when he disappeared into a tent that’s used for either a bathroom break or a medical exam. Rodgers limped his way through the rest of the game, favoring his left leg, but said after the game that he’ll be “good to go” moving forward.

“It’s been a rough four weeks,” Rodgers said. “We haven’t played a complete game yet maybe this season, so this was a great effort in all three phases for us.”

But we didn’t have that anymore. It was gone. Just like the energy in the building. That stuff quickly evaporated over the last month and a half of the season. Now we were just football zombies throughout the week. Clock in and clock out. Take some notes, and head home.

rookie backup Paxton Lynch started at QB in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons

Running back Devontae Booker. Siemian has taken too much punishment, and what he’s done in the face of that has been undervalued. The best way for the Broncos to finally slow down those opposing pass-rushers, especially those who are consistently coming from off the ball to lay some of the biggest hits on Siemian, is to run the ball with some intent. Booker, a rookie, needs to play like a veteran. If Booker can power some semblance of a run game, Siemian will show what he can do with more room to work in the pocket, and an offense Stephen Paea Womens Jersey that has been stuck in neutral plenty will finally get moving.

When it comes to stretch drives, the Broncos know the way. They have won five consecutive division titles and made two Super Bowl trips in the past three seasons because they know how to handle business during the holiday season. They’re coming off a bye, so they are as healthy as they’ve been since September and will have all of their defensive regulars available for the first time since Week 2. And the Chiefs have injuries on defense, most notably to Dee Ford and Marcus Peters, so if the Broncos are dialed in, this should be their eighth win of the season.

The former first overall pick also deserves credit for adjusting to his new environs so quickly. Bradford was acquired just days before the season and stepped into the lineup for a critical NFC North matchup against the Packers in Week 2 to deliver what might have been his best game of the season. I know I certainly expected Bradford to struggle at first, given the complexity of NFL playbooks and the time it takes to develop a level of chemistry and familiarity with a new offense. It would have been fair to argue against the Bradford trade under the logic that it would take him a few weeks to settle in, which would have crushed the value of the trade as a way of keeping Minnesota’s playoff hopes alive for 2016. Bradford proved that argument wrong.

Are the Vikings better with Bradford than we could have expected?

They are about where we could have expected they would have ended up after 11 games, but Terrelle Pryor Womens Jersey the shape of that performance is wildly different from what we might have believed. The defense, which was good last year, has taken an enormous leap forward. The Vikings were fifth in points allowed last season but just 14th in defensive DVOA, owing to the way their offense ground out games and extended drives. Minnesota faced the fourth-fewest drives and defended the fifth-longest average fields in the league.

Raiders sign Dan Williams, Curtis Lofton, per report

The Oakland Raiders addressed their defense on Wednesday by signing linebacker Curtis Lofton and defensive tackle Dan Williams, according to Michael C. Wright of ESPN.

Williams, 27, will receive about $6 million per year and $15 million guaranteed, according to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic, and will fill the nose tackle void that the Raiders originally targeted free George Blanda Authentic Jersey agent defensive tackle Terrance Knighton to fill. The Raiders originally brought in Knighton, but the former Denver Broncos defensive tackle said the offer he received was “not close” to what he was looking for.

It will be a three-year deal for Lofton, according to Josina Anderson of ESPN.

Johnson signed a three-year, $21 million deal, per Ian Rapoport.

The Lions needed to go 99 yards for a win, and with Stafford running the show, they likely believed. After all, this is all too typical territory for Detroit these days. This game-winning scenario wasn’t quite the last-minute heart-stopper others have been, but the degree of difficulty was equally high.

The Vikings’ offense essentially amounts to interim coordinator Pat Shurmur’s various attempts to solve a math problem: How he can call plays that sustain drives, or even procure big chunks of yardage, behind a line that can’t be counted on to protect long enough for many downfield routes to develop. Bradford completed only two passes of longer than 10 yards on Thursday.

After Kirk Cousins connected with DeSean Jackson for a 67-yard touchdown to cut the gap to five points once again, Prescott completed two of his next three passes. He also converted a third-and-7 with his legs and had 15 yards tacked on when Donte Whitner hit him while sliding.

His best play was the most important. With a three-wide-receiver set and the Redskins Howie Long Authentic Jersey bringing pressure, Prescott slid to his right and found Bryant for 26 yards while blanketed by Kendall Fuller. On the next play, Elliott bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out.