Aaron Rodgers’ ‘guarantee’ could join Rex, others in NFL lore

We in the media have perfected an unflattering routine of asking newsmakers for predictions and, when offered, inflating them into guarantees. There is a phonic difference between “I think we’ll win” and “we will win” that sometimes gets lost in the excitement.

Aaron Rodgers’ “I think we can run the table” contention in Week 11 falls somewhere in between.

Game Mens Shane Doan Jersey To be sure, he’s no Rex Ryan, whose bold predictions couldn’t allow him to avoid his second firing in the past three years. Rodgers didn’t promise a six-game winning streak to end the season, but his assertion was bold nonetheless.

He’ll turn 30 in September, but he should have plenty to offer a Cardinals team that only managed to average 3.29 yards per carry last season, the lowest in the NFL. Arizona is hurting at the position as both Johnson and Marion Grice are dealing with hamstring injuries, while Ellington only recently returned to practice from his own injuries.

Last week, head coach Bruce Arians said he has been disappointed in his running back corps.

“I am not pleased with the time (Andre) and David have lost, and I was not fired up about the running backs’ performance on Saturday,” Arians said.

Arians added that the team would be looking elsewhere for help. It landed on Johnson, who is coming off a good season in a limited role with the Jets. He appeared in 16 regular season games last season but started just six, finishing with 663 yards and one touchdown on 155 carries. His 4.3 yards per carry average was his best since his 2012 season in Tennessee.

Game Mens Vincent Valentine Jersey On March 8, 2015, Johnson sustained injuries during a drive-by in his home state of Florida that claimed the life of another. Johnson was taken to the hospital where he recovered.

Trent Richardson probably had a perfectly good reason for running away from that hole, jerks

Trent Richardson has not had the NFL career everyone thought he would coming out of college. The first-round pick has spent time on multiple teams, and is now playing for the Oakland Raiders. Friday night, in a preseason game, Richardson performed his patented “run away from the hole the line has opened and into a group of people trying to tackle you” move.

maybe Trent Richardson just wanted to go hang out with his friends in the pile did you ever think about that jerks?

Rivers was making an average of just over $15 million per season on his previous contract, and his play hasn’t declined at all since he signed that deal. San Diego hasn’t found the success it wants, but that hasn’t had much to do with Rivers’ play. He’s been excellent for years, and is coming off a season in which he completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 4,286 yards, 31 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.

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There’s no video of this one, but apparently Cleveland Browns wide receiver Marlon Moore took off his helmet and traded blows with Buffalo Bills linebacker Preston Brown, who said Moore “came at [him]” as he walked off the field. More like a skirmish than a fight, but at least nobody’s JAW WAS BROKEN.

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I only ranked five fights, so that’s why this is fifth. If I ranked 25 fights, it would’ve ranked 25th. This is everything bad about training camp fights rolled into one. The fight happened over a $600 plane ticket and ended with the starting quarterback’s jaw broken and the other player immediately waived from the team, although he was later claimed by the Bills. Todd Bowles has the ongoing challenge now of not allowing the fight to split the team after some players said Smith deserved it, while only Brandon Marshall has publicly come to the quarterback’s defense.

The Chiefs’ one loss to a high-scoring opponent was against the Steelers when the teams met in October in Pittsburgh

Hakeem Nicks Mens Jersey It might sound crazy for the Chiefs to try to win a high-scoring battle against the Steelers. But that strategy has worked well for them against similarly constructed opponents.

The best example was a Dec. 5 game against Atlanta, which wound up leading the NFL in scoring by 4.5 points, at 33.8 points per game. Coach Andy Reid realized the Chiefs weren’t going to hold the Falcons much below their season average for points. Few of their opponents did.

So the Chiefs put everything into giving their offense a boost. They scored two touchdowns on fourth-down plays, one being a 55-yard run from a punt formation by Albert Wilson.
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The Chiefs’ one loss to a high-scoring opponent was against the Steelers when the teams met in October in Pittsburgh. The game got away early from the Chiefs, who made some uncharacteristic mistakes. They committed two turnovers on their first three possessions and were down 22-0 at the end of the first quarter. They didn’t score until the fourth quarter and lost 43-14 as Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns, two to Brown. Bell rushed for 144 yards.

The commissioner denied any link between the two investigations and disciplinary actions for the Patriots during a Tuesday morning appearance on ESPN radio’s Mike and Mike show. Nevertheless, Goodell’s decision to come down hard on Kraft and the Patriots was something that pleased the majority of the league’s owners, according to Outside the Lines.

“Roger did the right thing — at last,” one owner said to Outside the Lines, in reference to Goodell’s decision to uphold Brady’s punishment. “He looks tough — and that’s good.”

Goodell’s job now being more secure is just one of the many revelations from this Outside the Lines pieces. Here are some others.

The Steelers might face the toughest road of the 2014 division winners in trying to defend their title

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They also are really thin in the backfield with LeGarrette Blount (team-best 4.7 yards per carry in 2014) suspended for the opener and the offseason departure of Shane Vereen (team-best 148 touches in 2014). Complicating things even further, the Patriots will be without one of their top wideouts, Brandon LaFell (74 catches, 953 receiving yards), who was placed on the PUP list.

The Steelers might face the toughest road of the 2014 division winners in trying to defend their title. Pittsburgh has the most difficult schedule in the league, based on their opponents’ win percentage from last season (.579), and play 11 games against teams that finished with a winning record last year. They’ll also be missing a trio of key players for this game: Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey is out with a leg injury, while both running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant are serving suspensions.

He runs a 4-3 scheme that is derived from former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson’s blitz-heavy attack of the early 2000s. McDermott’s defense in Carolina was not as blitz-centric, but required linebackers to have speed and range and for the secondary to handle zone-coverage responsibilities.

He has an “intense” personality: At the end of this past season, Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins called for a “culture change” around the Bills’ organization, saying some players lacked discipline. In contrast with Rex Ryan’s more laid-back style, McDermott could represent the change Watkins desired.

Game Youth Victor Butler Jersey “I think that most people who know me would say that I’m an intense individual and very driven to win and enjoy the competition aspect of the game,” McDermott told Bleacher Report in 2010. McDermott had a reputation in Carolina for working long hours and said he slept in his office for most of the week during the regular season.

The Washington Wizards are currently ranked 17th in the Basketball Power Index

Ryan Miller Womens Jersey The Washington Wizards are currently ranked 17th in the Basketball Power Index, and are projected to win 38 games. Simulating the rest of the season, BPI gives the Wizards a 34 percent chance of getting to the playoffs in coach Scott Brooks’ first campaign in Washington.

The Wizards have one of the most promising back courts in the league, with point guard John Wall a three-time All-Star at 26 years old and shooting guard Bradley Beal showing great potential — Zach LaVine is the only guard under 25 shooting better than Beal from three this season. Washington also possesses a young wing in Otto Porter Jr. who continues to improve on a near-nightly basis, having gone from a true shooting percentage of 41 percent as a rookie to 64 percent so far this season.
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Where were you when Josh McCown became elite? It’s probably something that we’ll all tell our grandchildren someday.

McCown, a career 59 percent passer with a 78.3 quarterback rating over 13 years in the NFL, passed for 457 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Browns to a win over the division rival Ravens in Baltimore. McCown, now among the NFL’s elite signal callers, *cough* has passed for 300-plus yards in three straight games for Cleveland — his 1,154 passing yards over a three-game period is a Cleveland franchise record, by the way — and his play has silenced cries from fans for Johnny Manziel to start. For now.

The Falcons won with fourth-quarter comebacks in their first three games this year before blowing out the Texans in Week 4. They got back to their standard operating procedure on Sunday by coming from behind once again against Washington. They’re the first team in NFL history with four fourth quarter comeback wins in their first five games, and while that’s a fairly meaningless and obscure stat on the surface, the ability to finish is anything but a bad thing.

Wherever the Raiders make their long-term home, Derek Carr is a franchise cornerstone

How quickly will Carr¡¯s fibula heal? With the Raiders rolling with rookie Connor Cook in the playoffs, veteran Matt McGloin has likely played his final game with Oakland. McGloin was the Raiders¡¯ highest-paid QB this season, making more than $2.5 million in base salary, and the Raiders have shown that if they trust Cook in the postseason, they trust him to be Carr¡¯s backup.

Then again, if Carr¡¯s leg is not fully healed by the start of the offseason program, Cook will again get first-team reps. There were reports Carr¡¯s injury was not that severe, that he could have potentially been ready for the Super Bowl had Cook and McGloin somehow piloted the Raiders to the title game. Pie-in-the-sky dreams, critics charged.

This is why the Giants are trying to change as little as possible once they reach what McAdoo has consistently called the 17th game.

¡°Just keep doing what you¡¯re doing. Have faith in yourself. Have faith in the guy next to you,¡± DeOssie said of his similar message. ¡°Keep doing what you¡¯re doing. Do whatever you¡¯ve been doing. Take it to the next level.¡±
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The playoffs are admittedly different. The game moves faster, with intensity higher than anything many of the Giants have ever experienced. Veteran linebacker Kelvin Sheppard recently explained that everyone knows it¡¯s a do-or-die situation. It¡¯s a reality that can¡¯t be shelved.

Casillas wanted to make it known that his teammates shouldn¡¯t leave any room for regrets.
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¡°Work as hard as you can this week; leave no stone unturned,¡± he said of his message. ¡°If you¡¯ve got to cut communication off between your family and you, then so be it. This is it, we¡¯ve got one week, or five weeks — that¡¯s how I look at it. You put everything into it because this is what we all wanted to do in the beginning. This is why we play the game, to get to the Super Bowl.¡±

Who could Kevin Durant and Draymond Green be talking about with this triple-double comment?

Kevin Durant told reporters following Golden State¡¯s 127-119 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday that Draymond Green doesn¡¯t care about triple-doubles.

Green had just recorded his second triple-double of the season ¡ª a 15-point, 10-rebound, 13-assist effort. When told of his teammate¡¯s comments, the Warriors¡¯ point forward said he doesn¡¯t care about stuffing stat sheets, but prefers winning to accolades.

¡°Nah, I don¡¯t care (about triple-doubles) at all. It¡¯s not really a focus of mine,¡± he said. ¡°Trust me, if I cared, I¡¯d have a lot more than ¡ª what do I have, one this year? Two? I¡¯d have a lot more than that if I cared. It really doesn¡¯t matter to me. As long as we win, we have a great team. It¡¯s not about chasing stats.¡±
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David Savard Youth Jersey In any case, Braves fans know full and well the devastating effect that injuries can have on a season, or even a franchise¡¯s path. The Braves¡¯ front office likely does as well, as it recently shook up their medical and training staff. Even before then, though, Eric Cole posed to me a pretty important question ¡ª just how have the Braves fared, relative to the league, in terms of injury?

This post is meant to answer that question, albeit more in a choose-your-own-adventure than a pedagogic way.

The good news for analyzing injuries is that much of work has already been done: Jeff Zimmerman at Baseball Heat Maps has actually done the heavy lifting, creating really useful spreadsheets with every DL stint a player was subjected to since 2010. You can access these data here.

Crennel has failed to find success since leaving Patriot Place

When Eddie Lacy can put up 124 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, something is working. The Packers rushed for 230 yards as a team, with James Starks adding 71 yards himself. When the Packers were up 14-7 in the fourth quarter, McCarthy called a Starks draw on second-and-25, and Starks took it all the way in for a touchdown. It was great execution by the players on the field, but also a great call by McCarthy.

The Packers, who were also one of the worst teams in third-down situations coming into their game against the Cowboys, managed to convert half of their 14 attempts Sunday.

O’Brien, who served as a member of the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff from 2008-2011, hired former Belichick minions George Godsey and Romeo Crennel to be his offensive and defensive coordinators. Godsey was a tight ends coach in New England and Crennel was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator throughout their dynastic run early last decade. Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and defensive lineman Anthony Pleasant are on the coaching staff as well.

Crennel, of course, is the far more experienced of the five. The 68-year-old football lifer coached alongside Belichick under Bill Parcells with the New York Giants in the 1980s before moving to New England to be a part of Parcells’ staff in 1993. Unlike O’Brien and Godsey, Belichick isn’t Crennel’s mentor. They’re peers.

But like many former Belichick assistants, Crennel has failed to find success since leaving Patriot Place. He went 24-40 in four seasons as coach of the Browns before becoming the Chiefs’ defensive coordinator and later their head coach. The Chiefs went 2-14 under Crennel in 2012 in a tumultuous campaign that took a tragic turn when linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend and himself to death in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot in early December. Crennel witnessed the incident and tried to talk Belcher out of it to no avail.

the Falcons can talk playoffs all they want

The Houston Texans have clinched a playoff spot, but if they want to find success in the postseason, they have to improve in the red zone.

The Texans are 31st in red-zone efficiency, scoring a touchdown on just 16 of their 41 red zone drives this season (39 percent). Houston is tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the fewest red-zone touchdowns in the NFL, and only four teams have had fewer drives reach the red zone, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
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Houston’s red-zone struggles are not just a recent issue — it is something it has had problems with all season — but during its current three-game winning streak, it is just 2-of-10 in the red zone.

Such was evident in the second half Monday night; not so much the first.
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As for the Seahawks (9-5-1), of course Quinn is familiar with them from his days as Seattle’s defensive coordinator. The Falcons and Seahawks clashed during the regular season and the Seahawks escaped with a 26-24 win after a controversial no-call when Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman grabbed Julio Jones.

“We’ve played Seattle, so my general thoughts on them, I know just how tough they are defensively,” Quinn said. “I know what [QB] Russ [Wilson] can do with his feet. I think [WR] Doug Baldwin has taken his stuff to another level. And the addition of [TE] [Jimmy] Graham and how they feature their guys. They play with real speed on special teams, so I know them better than most because we played them.”

The Packers, Lions, and Giants are the other teams in the NFC playoff picture as the fourth, fifth, and sixth seeds. Atlanta beat Green Bay at home during the regular season (33-32).

Maybe the Falcons will host the Seahawks again, like they did during the 2012 playoffs. First things first, though, and that’s taking care of the Saints this Sunday.

Then the Falcons can talk playoffs all they want.

Steelers vs. Ravens 2015 live stream: Game time, TV schedule and how to watch online

The Pittsburgh Steelers need a little help, but they can secure a spot in the postseason on Sunday. If they manage to net their fourth consecutive win by beating the rival Baltimore Ravens and the New York Jets fall to the New England Patriots, then the Steelers will guarantee a spot in the playoffs.

Elite Kids Maurice Jones-Drew Jersey Pittsburgh can still take the AFC North as well, though they can only guarantee a wild card spot on Sunday. The Cincinnati Bengals are two games up on them with two games to play, and the Steelers managed to split the season series thanks to a 33-20 win in Week 14.

Philadelphia has now lost four of its last six games and would be eliminated from playoff contention if it didn’t play in this division.

The Eagles’ problems are the same as ever — their offense doesn’t really have an identity, which is by far the biggest sin of Chip Kelly’s tenure. Say what you will about Kelly’s methods or execution, but nobody expected his offense to be boring. DeMarco Murray, last year’s league-leading rusher, is reduced to sitting on the bench while Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles get three to four yards on long-developing stretch runs.
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Sam Bradford looks less convincing than ever as a franchise quarterback. Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper are poor substitutes for DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, while Nelson Agholor has been a non-entity in his rookie year. Chip Kelly’s wild ride has been more like a leisurely stroll this season.

After that, New York went 1-3 over its next four, including ugly defeats to the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans. Their once promising season seemed to be in jeopardy of spinning out of control with Fitzpatrick at the wheel.