Oakland arguably has the toughest schedule of the three teams, still having to play at Kansas City and Los Angeles with a trip to NFC juggernaut Philadelphia in between. But the Raiders’ makeup last season was coming through consistently in the fourth quarter with Carr and being fearless on the road, no matter the distance, no matter the opponent.
The trick is carrying over the fire and intensity, which shouldn’t be a problem now with sudden life in the quest for a second consecutive playoff berth. It probably won’t take more than nine wins to capture a division that was expected to be the best in the NFL. Consider the Broncos were in third place at 9-7 last season, while both the Raiders and Chiefs were 12-4.
Give the slight edge to Kansas City because of desperation at Arrowhead.
What transpired Tuesday was even more embarrassing than New York’s 2-9 record for a team considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender entering the season. The Giants railroaded Manning into ceding his starting job when telling him backup Geno Smith would play in the second half of Sunday’s game at Oakland no matter how things unfolded in the first two quarters. New York knew someone as prideful as Manning wouldn’t accept such a cockamamie plan just to keep alive his string of 222 consecutive starts (including the postseason).
Manning bowed out as gracefully as he could under the circumstances and shifted to a second-string role.
Don’t be fooled by McAdoo’s gaga about this move being made because the Giants want “a complete evaluation of the roster top to bottom, especially at the quarterback position, moving on to next season.” This was all about putting New York in better position to lose its final five games with Smith and rookie Davis Webb under center and thus secure the highest draft pick possible to select a quarterback.
The players also received a lot of love from the crowd, but none got more than Stephen Curry. The crowd chanted “MVP” when the team captain received his ring last. These fans clearly view Curry above all others, including reigning Finals MVP, Kevin Durant. Curry thanked Dubnation fans before the official 2017 NBA Championship banner dropped from the rafters.
“It’s a league matter,” Kerley said. “My main focus right now is Thursday. It’s a quick turnaround. Any questions about that, I’d love to answer. As far as the suspension, I’m going to leave that up to the league.”
Asked if he expects to play Thursday night against the Bills, Kerley said, “I don’t know. As far as right now, I’m ready to play.”
Coach Todd Bowles also deferred to the league on the matter, but he said they’d be able to adjust if a suspension is handed down before Thursday.
Kerley will be a key loss for the Jets (3-5). He was their No. 3 receiver and played in 55 percent of the offensive snaps over the first eight games, compiling 22 catches (fourth on the team) for 217 yards and a touchdown.
Kerley also assumed the punt-returning role in recent weeks, and his fourth-quarter muff on Sunday proved costly in a 25-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Without Kerley, the Jets will use one of their two rookies — Chad Hansen or ArDarius Stewart — as the No. 3 receiver, behind Jermaine Kearse and Robby Anderson.
Kerley became the fourth Jets player to be suspended in 2017. Previously, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, wide receiver Jalin Marshall and defensive back Nick Marshall served suspensions. Seferian-Jenkins’ two-game ban (Weeks 1 and 2) stemmed from a DUI arrest that occurred in September 2016 while he was playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Los Angeles Rams are 6-18 straight up and 10-14 against the spread in their last 24 games against the Seahawks. The Rams have won three of the last four games in this head-to-head series, however, and are hoping to pick up another win over their division rivals on Sunday.
Los Angeles is a 2.5-point home favorite over Seattle at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. This marks the first time that the Rams have been a betting favorite against Seattle since back in 2011, when they lost 24-7 as a 3-point home favorite.
The Rams have been one of the biggest early surprises of the 2017 season with a 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS start to the year, and a win over Seattle would give Los Angeles an early commanding lead in the NFC West.
The 49ers have lacked consistency in the punt return game since Ted Ginn left, and it seems like a matter of time before Taylor busts one for a touchdown. In the passing game, he is showing confidence that receivers with significant experience lack. With Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson dealing with drops, Taylor is starting to emerge as the second wide receiver option behind Gar?on.
The title of “best Seahawks newcomer” realistically could only go to one of Griffin or Chris Carson, and while Carson has earned all of the accolades and it’s devastating to lose his services, Griffin is my choice because he’s been thrown into the unenviable role of “The guy quarterbacks target because Richard Sherman is on the other side,” and he’s handled it extremely well.
The Green Bay Packers are 7-1 straight up and 5-3 against the spread in their last eight road games against division rivals. The Packers will face a division rival on the road this Sunday when they visit the Minnesota Vikings.
Brett Hundley will step in as Rodgers’ replacement on Sunday as the Packers are a 6-point home underdog hosting the New Orleans Saints.
The week wraps up with two intriguing matchups. The Atlanta Falcons visit the New England Patriots (-3.5) in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl on Sunday Night Football and the 5-1 SU Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5) host Washington on Monday Night Football. Atlanta is 8-1 ATS in its last nine night games.John Harbaugh defends Ravens OC Marty Mornhinweg, anemic offense
John Harbaugh deflected some of the criticism aimed at offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on Monday, saying no one should point the finger at him even though the Baltimore Ravens rank among the worst offenses in the NFL.
There were no more miracles.
“Adrian made a great play,” Gould said. “They made blocks. They made a lot of good blocks. And we’re sitting here talking about a 55-yard game-winner.”
Peterson was named NFC offensive player of the week. Hester was named NFC special teams player of the week.
“All of the great things that happened are forgotten,” Hester said after.
More than any other game in 2007, this one summed up the Bears season. There were fireworks, and there was heartbreak. It was the second of five “must win” games that could have gotten the Bears back to .500. We lost all five.
The Chiefs can extend that streak with another win and cover this Thursday night against the Oakland Raiders.
“I thought EJ gave us a chance there at the end,” Del Rio said. “He did some things really well, and so there’s some definite positive, encouraging signs, that we can build on.”
If Carr just misses two weeks, Manuel may be just fine against the Ravens and Chargers. But if he misses more time, the Bills and Chiefs will be challenges for Manuel and the Raiders.
The four organizations are based in the three communities in which Long has played during his NFL career. The city that raises the most money during the season will receive an additional $50,000 donation.
“There’s a lot of opportunities to help out, and they’re wonderful organizations,” Long said. “We have such a great platform as football players, and hopefully fans get behind it.”
Long grew up in Charlottesville and starred in high school at St. Anne’s-Belfield before going to the University of Virginia. He was moved to start the scholarship program following the violent protests in Charlottesville in August.
“Our hometown is a wonderful place, and I feel like people got the wrong idea about what the residents of Charlottesville are all about,” he said.
It’s entirely possible that had the Lions needed to release an injury report this week, 20 players would be on it. How many will get back for next Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh? That’s the biggest question for the Lions right now. — Michael Rothstein
Cousins hasn’t been able to come to terms with Washington on a long-term deal, and back-to-back franchise tags have forced him to take big money up front while gambling on himself to earn the league’s next massive quarterback contract. On Sunday, the franchise’s inability to come to terms with its young passer looked like a positive.
Cousins put together a solid Brock Osweiler impression against the Eagles, needing 40 passes to gain just 240 yards. Despite getting paid nearly $24 million this season, he was outplayed by passers like Tyrod Taylor and Jared Goff. His team managed just one offensive touchdown.
But that’s not just bad for Washington. The San Francisco 49ers currently start the most-caretakerest of quarterbacks in Brian Hoyer, and a Cousins-to-Santa-Clara move has been rumored ever since his former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan took the head coaching job out west. With the quarterback and his current team nearing a breaking point in contract negotiations, the 49ers were in a prime position to swoop in and hand Cousins a starting job.
Chargers kicker and internet sensation, Younghoe Koo, had a chance for a game-winning field goal against the Dolphins on Sunday and missed, leading to a 19-17 loss for Los Angeles. It was the second week in a row Koo has missed a field goal in the closing seconds of the game.
He walked on to the football team at nearby Cal, earning kickoff duties as a true freshman and working his way into field goal duty as the season wore on. As a senior, he connected on 20 of his 23 attempts — and was somehow more accurate from long range than he was on extra points (36-of-42).
Place a single dollar on the Jets to win the Super Bowl this season and you’d win $1,000 if they were actually able to pull it off.
You’re better off keeping that dollar. Since the Jets moved to 1000-1 odds, ESPN reported the Westgate Casino in Las Vegas has taken just six bets on the Jets despite the giant odds.
To say the Jets are facing long odds this season would be a massive understatement. Unprecedented is more like it. The Browns and 49ers faced the longest odds last season at just 200-1. The Bills are 200-1 odds this year, but still a far cry from the Jets. The Bills are an eight-point favorite to beat the Jets on Sunday in the season opener.
“[I’ve] never seen any NFL team this high before any games are played,” Ed Salmons, a 30-year veteran Las Vegas oddsmaker and assistant manager at the Westgate, told ESPN. “I think the Jets will probably be the lowest team we’ve ever power-rated.”
Team captains are selected through a team vote and Bortles’ omission may say a lot about what his teammates think of his ability to lead the club. Bortles will be Jacksonville’s Week 1 starter against the Texans, but will likely have a short leash this season.
He nearly lost his starting job to veteran backup Chad Henne during the preseason, but Jaguars coach Doug Marrone stuck with Bortles despite his struggles. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has 51 interceptions in his first three seasons and the Jags have not won more than five games during that stretch. Bortles has also lost 12 fumbles, six of them coming last season when Bortles threw for 3,905 yards with 23 touchdowns and 16 picks in a 3-13 campaign.
The Bucs won’t be playing this week because of Hurricane Irma, and the first-week bye allows defensive end Jacquies Smith more time to recover from his torn ACL. Smith was just activated to the 53-man roster after spending all of training camp on the active/PUP list. He has just begun practicing this week, though, participating in some drills, so it might be a bit before he’s ready to play.
Coach Anthony Lynn said the health of his team has improved since last season, with all starters except for middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle) scheduled to start the season opener against the Broncos. Two receivers to keep an eye on this week are Tyrell Williams (groin) and Dontrelle Inman (sports hernia). Both were held out of the last preseason game against the Rams. Lynn said Inman is day-to-day as he works his way back from offseason surgery.
“It sucks that in the country that we live in now, sometimes you get profiled for the color of your skin,” Bennett said in a news conference. “It’s a tough situation for me. Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe there’s some people out there that judge people on the color of their skin? I do believe that.”
Yeah, it will toughen you. I feel like the sport is becoming flag football. The game is supposed to be physical. You got the helmet, shoulder pads on to protect yourself. I’m trying to kill you every time.
Let’s talk about your opponents: Of the players you faced last year, who’s the most challenging, competitive guy you saw?
“Michigan is very high up in tradition and their quarterbacks succeed in the NFL,” he said as a high schooler. “It is a big honor for me just to get notification from them.”
Even if you aren’t a regular college football fan, you’ll remember that Henne was the quarterback for the No. 5 ranked Wolverines that lost to Appalachian State in that wild 2007 CFB season.
Henne’s star faded from those dizzying days as hyped recruit to a brief stint as the Dolphins’ Tom Brady. Earlier in the offseason, back when Blake Bortles was still considered a starting QB, Henne got some praise as a perfectly mediocre backup. He was 10th on SI’s rankings for the backup QBs.
Joyner: Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons. New offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian calls a run-heavy offense, as his 2013 Washington Huskies team set program records for carries and rushing yards. Coleman will get more than enough work to easily best his mid-tier RB4 draft status.
Schatz: Mark Ingram, RB, Saints. Sorry, I’m not counting on a 32-year-old Adrian Peterson to take away a ton of Ingram’s carries all year long.
Seifert: Mike Gillislee, RB, Patriots. Rest assured, fantasy owners. Even as so many are backing off the hype of what once seemed a no-brainer, I still think he’ll get a big portion of the Patriots’ point opportunities. Hang in there, and we’ll get through this together.