ESPN just nuked the Patriots and NFL for Spygate

It may be hard to believe, but Roger Goodell’s seemingly tenuous position as commissioner of the NFL is more secure following his handling of the DeflateGate scandal, according to a bombshell of a story co-written by ESPN’s Don Van Natta, Jr. and Seth Wickersham under the Outside the Lines banner. The reason goes all the way back to Spygate, the 2007 New England Patriots videotaping scandal.
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Owners and others were disappointed that the NFL did not issue stronger discipline to the Patriots in the wake of the investigation over video taping opposing teams’ hand signals. The ESPN report, in talking with owners, executives and others around the league, found that many inside the NFL view Goodell’s tough stance on DeflateGate as a “makeup call” for how the league handled the Spygate.

The game was similar to Pittsburgh’s 30-12 playoff win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The Dolphins allowed two long touchdown passes to Brown early in the game. Then they showed signs of life but lost two fumbles to kill any realistic chance of a comeback. The Dolphins scored their only touchdown in the fourth quarter, with the outcome no longer in doubt.

So a fast start by the Chiefs, perhaps spurred by some aggressive playcalling, would help as well.

“They’ll probably be the first ones to tell you you’ve got to take care of the ball,” Reid said of the Dolphins. “You’ve got to block and tackle well and you’ve got to play well. They’re a good football team. There are only a few teams remaining that are playing. They’re all good football teams. That’s an important thing to know.

Youth Ernie Stautner Jersey “You’ve got to do what got you here. There’s not a lot of room for error. That’s not what this time of year is about.”

Ravens vs. Broncos 2015 odds: Denver gives points at home

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The Denver Broncos are 10-1 straight up in their last 11 games as a betting favorite at home. The Broncos will look to continue that home dominance hosting the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday afternoon at Sports Authority Field.

Mens Chuck Howley Jersey Denver is a 4.5-point betting favorite in its season opener according to sportsbooks monitored by The Broncos opened their season with a home game against the Ravens in 2013 and won 49-27 as a 7.5-point favorite.

Why then will players try to make the jump? Money. The highest-paid player in the NRL is Cameron Smith, and he makes just over $1 million a year. Obtaining a position on the back-end of an NFL roster is paying Hayne $435,000 this year, and if he earns a second contract he’ll be making far more than the highest-paid player in his former sport. More important than the money is the challenge. The reason Hayne switched in the first place. The endorsement deals and what he’ll become as Australia’s best-known NFL player remain to be seen.

That’s what’s up for grabs for Rugby League players making the jump. America provides them with a chance to earn that money for a few touches in 16 games, not playing a full 80 minutes each week over a 26-game season. Hayne will spark a slew of talented players to try their hands at the NFL, and there will be a lot of horror stories.

Think of this like a PSA for all the amazing Rugby League players out there. Guys, don’t quit your day jobs. Hopefully you don’t share in the well-worn laziness of assuming the NFL is for players who aren’t “tough enough” to play without pads, or think because linemen are large they’re also unathletic.

There is nothing more difficult in team sports than becoming a player in the NFL. Jarryd Hayne’s rise to prominence has been amazing to see and it’s fine to admire the Hayne Plane from afar — just don’t think you can use its slipstream to coast into one of the most difficult games on the planet.

Fantasy hoops: How high is Otto Porter Jr.’s ceiling?

The Wizards’ fourth-year forward is posting career-best numbers across the board this season. ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, Kyle Soppe and Joe Kaiser debate whether he has peaked.
Because of back-to-backs (and one random rest day), Embiid missed 10 out of his first 33 games. That’s 30 percent of his production, right out the window.

Look at it in Player Rater terms. A 30 percent drop turns James Harden (19.48 points) into John Wall (13.31 points). It turns Rudy Gobert into Steven Adams. Marreese Speights into Luc Mbah a Moute.

The drop becomes more pronounced when you measure Embiid’s 2017 Player Rater average versus his season-long score. Based on his average, Embiid clocks in at 28th overall despite the minutes restriction. He generates 4.61 points on blocks alone. Beyond impressive.

But switch to the season-long Player Rater score. This score is tabulated in the aggregate across all games played … and missed.

If scoring becomes too easy, the NBA could always soften handcheck enforcement or give defenders the benefit of the doubt when airborne shooters leap into them.
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We’re not there yet — or even close. The league should set the record for scoring efficiency — but only by something like one or two points per 100 possessions. That’s meaningful, but not worth a red-alert examination of the game. Offense may vault even higher as more teams exchange midrange 2s for 3-pointers.

Game Mens Tyrell Williams Jersey There is a hard ceiling somewhere, and probably not too far from where the league is now. The game will still slow down in the playoffs, when teams have more time to scout. “Give a team seven games,” Thibodeau said, “and they can really lock into you.”

How should we value his free agency years though, so many years in advance?

Eric Rowe Authentic Jersey How should we value his free agency years though, so many years in advance? Here¡¯s how I decided to do it. I started with his projection for 2017, and applied an average aging curve. I started with a $8.5M price of a win in free agency, and applied 5% inflation for each year after. Here¡¯s how Carlos¡¯ worth stacks up:

Dan Bailey Authentic Jersey The first three years are already years the Cards¡¯ have under control, but it also shows how valuable of an asset Carlos is already. Taking his projected value over the next three years, minus the average arbitration cost figured above, his next three years figure out to a $66.4M Surplus Value. That doesn¡¯t quite make him as valuable as Chris Sale, who netted one of the very best prospects in baseball, plus three other decent prospects, but maybe it makes him one or two tiers below. If the Cardinals made him available, they would get some great offers.

The hit wasn¡¯t illegal, and it didn¡¯t incur a penalty. But Moore fell limply to the ice immediately and remained there, nearly motionless, as trainers and emergency medical personnel rushed to his aid. The entire arena went silent, with one Devils broadcaster describing it as quiet as he¡¯d ever seen it.

Even Wilson looked concerned.

Devils players hung around and helped load their fallen teammate into a stretcher and off the ice in a touching moment.

You¡¯d expect Wilson to answer with a fight, but the first fight immediately after was between Capitals forward Brett Connolly and Devils winger Devante Smith-Pelly. So this might get ugly.

Kam Chancellor suffers tailbone injury vs. Ravens

Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor left Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens with a tailbone injury. Chancellor seemed to take himself out of the game and went to the sideline, before going to the locker room without his helmet.

The Seahawks then announced that Chancellor Elite Kids Nick Vannett Jersey was questionable to return to the game with a tailbone injury.

Chancellor is one of the leaders on Seattle’s vaunted defense, a Womens Dan Williams Jersey member of the “Legion of Boom” who is among the best strong safeties in the NFL. A sixth-year veteran, Chancellor has 74 total tackles, a forced fumble and a pair of interceptions on the season.

Chancellor and free safety Earl Thomas comprise what is probably the best safety pairing in the whole league. They were dominant for Seattle’s Super Bowl run, and Chancellor himself has been named a second-team All-Pro twice and has been named to three Pro Bowls. Missing him for any amount of time hurts the Seahawks, who are currently in a battle for a Wild Card spot in the NFC.

Bortles’ No. 1 target is Allen Robinson, who quietly tied Tyler Eifert for the NFL lead in touchdown catches (12) on Sunday. This Jaguars offense can upset the balance in the AFC South if things continue spiral for the Colts and Texans.

I’m not enlightening anyone when I tell you that Steelers receiver Antonio Brown is ridiculously talented, but a few statistical benchmarks he reached on Sunday paint a vivid picture anyway.

After catching 7 passes for 87 yards in Pittsburgh’s win over the Bengals, he broke the century mark and moved to 100 catches on the season, his third consecutive season reaching that milestone. He’s just the sixth player in NFL history to do that.

Previous to Brown’s emergence in Pittsburgh as a true dual-threat, only two players had ever recorded 100-catch seasons while adding a punt return touchdown to the mix — Troy Brown in 2001 and Eric Metcalf in 1995 — and amazingly, Brown has now done that three years running.

J.J. Watt will play with broken hand vs. Patriots on ‘Sunday Night Football’

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will play against the New England Patriots on Sunday. Watt was a surprise addition to the injury report after he broke his hand in practice Wednesday.

Despite the injury and the fact that he missed practice on both Thursday and Friday, Watt was listed as probable on the official injury report and everyone expected he would be able to play.

A three-year veteran, Eifert came into Week 14 leading the NFL in total touchdowns with 12. All of those have been on receptions and he’s had multi-touchdown games four times this season. The tight end has 46 catches for 522 yards on the year.

Missing Eifert, a breakout star this year, is a huge deal for a Bengals’ offense that lost quarterback Andy Dalton to a thumb injury earlier in the game. Being without two of their top offensive weapons has the Bengals in a precarious position going forward.
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Ford would beat Stephenson again with another dip-and-rip move with a little less than seven minutes left in the second quarter to get another pressure on Siemian on third-and-10. Siemian felt him coming and tried to drift away from him, but Ford was too fast and Siemian ended up just having to throw it in the direction of tight end Jeff Heuerman who was covered like a blanket.

Elite Kids Mike Webster Jersey Just before halftime, Ford was at it again. This time he hit Stephenson with a quick long arm and then swatted Stephenson’s outside hand off before he ripped off the block outside. Once again Siemian had to throw the ball in Heuerman’s direction to avoid the sack. This time, however, the pressure came on first-and-15, so in theory, the Broncos could have still overcome it and scored, seeing as how they were already at the Kansas City 40-yard line.

Antonio Brown reminds Brandon Marshall that he owes him a Porsche

During the offseason leading up to the 2016 NFL season, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown made a bet that included lavish cars.

Brown was always showing off his Rolls Royces in his Snapchat story, and Marshall, unimpressed, showed off his Porsche, and made a bet over Instagram.

Marshall said that if Brown gets more receiving yards than him, he’d give Brown his Porsche. If Marshall finished on top, he’d get the Rolls Royce. As it stands today, Brown has 1,284 yards, and Marshall has 788. Unless Marshall goes off on Sunday with over 500 yards, this one’s gonna stand.

So, Brown reminded Marshall of the bet on Twitter, with the video Marshall had initially posted to Instagram:

Brown kindly gave Marshall an alternative, by saying that he could donate the car to Project 375, which is dedicated to promoting awareness for mental health, and was co-founded by Marshall.

That’s probably the way Marshall will go, which makes the bet even better, since it will be going for a great cause.

There’s no question that Brown had the upper hand on this one, with Ben Roethlisberger throwing to him as opposed to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, and Bryce Petty.

But, a bet is a bet.

Last week, in an uncharacteristic move, the Patriots and Gronkowski issued a joint statement saying the star tight end’s status would be evaluated on a week-to-week basis. But Gronkowski returned to practice Thursday and Friday and will apparently be ready to help the Patriots try to snap their two-game losing streak Sunday night. Gronkowski leads the Patriots with 931 receiving yards and is second on the team with 57 receptions.

MVP candidate Matt Ryan looks ready for playoffs in rout of Panthers

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It was a Matty Ice moment, for sure.

Early in the fourth quarter Saturday, right after Matt Ryan absorbed a sack and his team got whistled for 12 men on the field, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback and MVP candidate showed his poise under pressure. On third-and-21 from his own 14-yard line, Ryan ignored the Carolina Panthers’ home-crowd cheers and took the snap from center Alex Mack. Ryan stepped up to avoid pressure, bypassed his first two targets, threw the ball with a defender corralling him, and found a wide-open target in Tevin Coleman. The running back collected the pass at the 30-yard line and dashed for the first down on a 31-yard pickup. Coleman then followed up on the next play with a 55-yard touchdown sprint.

The entire operation needs improvement next week, too. The Minnesota Vikings are a mess. The fine people of Minneapolis are probably waiting for locusts to swarm into the city the way things are going for that franchise.

Authentic Mens Paul Kariya Jersey The Bears can’t afford to sleepwalk on New Year’s Day. Otherwise, Fox’s reputation of fighting until the bitter end — the only thing he has going for him — may vanish into thin air.

“I know this team, these guys around me, this staff. This organization will do a great job of helping me out and embracing me, just making sure we continue to move in the right direction.”

McGloin has started six games in his career, though none since his rookie season of 2013, and he appeared in one series this season on Nov. 27, when Carr dislocated his right pinkie in two places against the Carolina Panthers.

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas trying to decide about retirement

Two weeks after suffering a fractured tibia, Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said Tuesday that he is still contemplating retirement.

“I’m kind of enjoying just waking up in the mornings without the pressure,” Thomas said on “The Rich Eisen Show.”

“Peace is starting to return to me, and I think that’s my ultimate goal in life. I just want to have peace. But I can say when I went back to the VMAC [practice facility] the other day, my competitive juices came right back. I don’t know, man. I’m kind of caught in between right now.”

After a broken leg ended his season, Earl Thomas started thinking about walking away from the game.

A few months ago, of course, nothing the Cowboys did in December was supposed to have any consequence whatsoever. In August, Tony Romo hurt his back and was replaced by Prescott, the fourth-round draft choice and eighth quarterback picked overall.

Game Youth Zach Ertz Jersey So much for the season. Then, in keeping with the overall theme of 2016 — “Wait, what?” — Prescott turned out to be nothing short of extraordinary. With him and sensational rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys somehow went from zero expectations to the projected top seed in the NFC.

“The Dallas offensive line is unbelievable. They’re by far the best in the league that I’ve seen.”

But the real reason for Dallas’ unlikely run is its five wide-bodies up front, a unit so dominant there has been talk of naming the entire group the 2016 NFL MVP. It’s now in perfect sync at the start of this critical drive. As Prescott’s right foot hits the turf, Witten’s right hand lifts off the ground.
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He moves with purpose behind the line, first passing right tackle Doug Free, then right guard Zack Martin, center Travis Frederick and left guard Ronald Leary, before coming to a stop just behind the outside shoulder of left tackle Tyron Smith, the man who set this juggernaut into motion.

Freeman always talks about how he gets better with more touches

The Falcons are 9-5 and remain atop the NFC South, awaiting the result of Sunday night’s Tampa Bay-Dallas game to see if the Buccaneers remain tied with them. Although the Ryan-led, high-powered offense seems to be able to generate 30 points in its sleep, having a strong running game should only help the Falcons become that much more dangerous come the postseason.
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Freeman, who has shared carries with Tevin Coleman throughout the season, still has to be the catalyst of that running game with his rugged style and tremendous vision. He leads the team with 12 touchdowns, including 10 on the ground. Remember, Freeman was the fantasy star a year ago with 14 touchdowns.

Winston, the No. 1 overall pick last year out of Florida State, has 8-5 Tampa Bay on a five-game winning streak and in playoff contention. Prescott has helped the Cowboys to an 11-2 record, tied with Brady’s New England Patriots for the NFL’s best.

Despite one more year of NFL experience, Winston is a year younger than the 23-year-old Prescott.

Game Cody Zeller Jersey A few years ago, they met at the Manning Passing Academy.

“I like his game. He’s a great leader,” Prescott said of Winston. “It showed in college, to go undefeated and win the national championship as a freshman, you’re doing something right.”

Winston has more touchdown passes in 13 games (23) than he did last season (22). He is completing 61.7 percent of his passes, compared to just 58.3 percent a year ago. After throwing eight interceptions in the first four games this season, he has just four in the past nine games.

Most importantly, Winston has the Buccaneers in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

“At any position, but especially at the quarterback position, experience is still the best teacher,” Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said.