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  #26  
Old 08-13-2017, 12:38 AM
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Goff leads early TD drive, LA Rams hold off Cowboys 13-10
August 12, 2017


LOS ANGELES (AP) Jared Goff led the Rams on a touchdown drive in the opening minutes, and backup kicker Travis Coons made a tiebreaking 36-yard field goal with 6:11 left in Los Angeles' 13-10 preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.

Goff completed three of four passes for 34 yards while playing eight snaps in the opener for the Rams, who need the No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft to take a big step forward this fall.

The Rams punted after Goff's first three plays, but Josh Forrest recovered the Cowboys' muffed return. Robert Woods then caught Goff's pass and fumbled near the goal line moments later, but rookie Cooper Kupp recovered for a score.

Dak Prescott, Dez Bryant and Ezekiel Elliott were among several starters sitting out for the Cowboys, who didn't manage a first down until the second quarter.

Rookie Cooper Rush threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rico Gathers in the third quarter while completing his first eight passes for the Cowboys. Gathers scored in his second straight game.

Sean Mannion went 18 of 25 for 144 yards while playing most of the game. The Rams' offense put up 271 yards in Sean McVay's first day on the sideline as the youngest head coach in modern NFL history.

Kellen Moore went 8 for 17 in the first half for the Cowboys, but the offense perked up for Rush, the four-year starter at Central Michigan. Rush also caught the eye of Dallas coach Jason Garrett during the Hall of Fame Game last week, and his exceptional touch on the TD throw to Gathers was undeniably impressive.

Rush went 9 of 11 for 104 yards.

BUTTERFINGERS: The Rams hung in despite alarming ball security. Los Angeles fumbled six times, but recovered its own fumble four times before losing the last two. Rookie running back Justin Davis looked good while running for 70 yards in his college stadium, but he also fumbled twice.

SPECTATORS:
Elliott and Prescott worked out on the Coliseum field before the game and then watched from the sideline in uniform. Elliott was given a six-game suspension by the NFL on Friday for injuring his girlfriend in July 2016.

BIG HIT: Dallas rookie Taco Charlton got his first sack, downing Mannion in the first quarter. The Michigan product took a bit of light criticism after a quiet debut in the Hall of Fame Game. ''It looked like he was making some strides,'' Garrett said.

NEW GUY: Rams receiver Sammy Watkins watched from the sideline in sweats after arriving in LA earlier in the day. The Rams traded a second-round pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines to Buffalo for the playmaking wideout. Watkins got a big ovation when he appeared on the scoreboard.

COOOOOP:
Kupp was busy in his first professional game, making two early catches for 35 yards and scoring LA's only touchdown while lining up all over McVay's formations. The Rams chose the prolific Eastern Washington product in the third round, hoping to add playmakers to the NFL's worst offense.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:40 AM
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NFL notebook: Dolphins QB Tannehill placed on injured reserve
August 12, 2017


The Miami Dolphins officially placed quarterback Ryan Tannehill on injured reserve Saturday morning after he sustained a serious knee injury last week.

Tannehill will undergo reconstructive surgery on a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and miss the 2017 season, according to multiple reports.

The 29-year-old Tannehill could have elected to rest his left knee for six to eight weeks and attempt a comeback, but he elected for surgery instead. Reconstructive surgery to an ACL generally sidelines an athlete for nine to 12 months.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase said Saturday he is confident Tannehill will be ready for 2018 and will be around the team this season. Tannehill initially injured his knee against the Arizona Cardinals in December, partially tearing the ACL. It was reinjured on Aug. 3, when he fell to the ground while scrambling toward the sideline in practice.

--Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, suspended six games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy after multiple domestic violence incidents, is disappointed by the league's decision and plans to appeal.

In a personal statement posted Friday night on Twitter, Elliott said: "I am both surprised and disappointed by the NFL's decision today, and I strongly disagree with the league's findings.

"I recognize the distraction and disruption that all of this has caused my family, friends, teammates, the Dallas Cowboys organization as well as my fans -- for that I am sincerely sorry. I admit that I am far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard, on and off the field, to mature and earn the great opportunity I have been given."

Elliott plans to appeal the suspension, his representatives said in a statement. Elliott has three business days to file notice of appeal, and a hearing must be scheduled within 10 days of receipt of the notice, according to Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement, which governs appeal of commissioner discipline.

--The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived kicker Roberto Aguayo after his disastrous start to the preseason.

Aguayo made a 20-yard field goal on the Bucs' opening possession in Friday night's 23-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason opener, but he missed an extra point in the second quarter and then in the fourth quarter his 47-yard attempt sailed wide right.

Aguayo, 23, lasted only one season with the Buccaneers after Tampa Bay traded up in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft to select the Florida State product. In his rookie season, Aguayo made only 22 of 31 field-goal attempts and 32 of 34 extra-point attempts. His 71 percent on field goals was the lowest in the NFL.

Veteran Nick Folk, who was brought in during the offseason to compete for the kicking job, made his lone field-goal attempt from 45 yards on Friday night. The 32-year-old Folk spent the last seven seasons with the New York Jets (2010-16), converted 27 of 31 field goals (87.1 percent) in 2016, tied for sixth-best in the NFL, while making 24 of 26 extra-point attempts.

--The Washington Redskins placed linebacker Trent Murphy on the injured reserve list after he sustained a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee during Thursday night's preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens.

Murphy is entering his fourth season with the Redskins after being the team's top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Stanford. He suffered the season-ending injury in the first quarter of Washington's 23-3 loss to Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium.

Murphy was slated to miss the first four games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The 26-year-old Murphy was coming off a career-high 9.5 sacks. In his first three seasons in Washington, Murphy appeared in 47 regular-season games with 22 starts, registering 112 tackles along with 15 sacks, six forced fumbles and four fumbles recovered.

--Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was carted off the field during Saturday's practice after suffering a right ankle injury.

"It's an ankle injury; we're not sure how bad," coach Vance Joseph said. "We're kind of assuming it's not that bad."

Wolfe, 27, was injured when he became tangled up with offensive tackle Menelik Watson in a team drill. Trainers helped Wolfe onto a cart and he was taken to the locker room. He also was sent for an MRI exam following practice.

Wolfe, like most starters, played very little in the Broncos' 24-17 victory at Soldier Field on Thursday night.

Wolfe recorded 51 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 14 games last season. Since being drafted in the second round in 2012, he owns 191 tackles and 22.5 sacks in 69 games (all starts).

--The Minnesota Vikings signed running back Bronson Hill after running back Bishop Sankey was waived with an injury designation.

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Hill joins the Vikings after finishing the 2016 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars and being released on May 1. He ran twice for 11 yards in three games for the Jaguars.

Before his stint in Jacksonville, Hill spent the 2016 training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Eastern Michigan product began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent and spent the 2015 training camp with the Buffalo Bills before spending time on the practice squads of the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints throughout the 2015 season.

Sankey suffered a season-ending knee injury in Thursday night's 17-10 win over the Buffalo Bills in the preseason opener. Sankey, who suffered a torn right ACL, will go on injured reserve once he clears waivers.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:41 AM
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Sunday’s six-pack

— Blue Jays 7, Pirates 2— West Point graduate Chris Rowley wins his MLB debut.

— Mets traded 2B Neil Walker to the sliding Brewers, who need another bat.

— Boston 10, New York 5— Andrew Benitendi homered twice for the Red Sox.

— Indians 3, Tampa Bay 0— Rays were shut out in five of last eight games.

— On-track handle at Saratoga thoroughbred meet is up 8.6% from this time last year.

— DL happenings:

New York puts P Masahiro Tanaka (shoulder) on DL

Red Sox put 2B Dustin Pedroia (knee) on the DL

Blue Jays put C Russell Martin on the DL

***************************

Sunday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) There is only one cut in the NFL this summer, from 90 to 53 players on Labor Day weekend, which means that 1,184 guys will hit the streets all at once, and lesser teams will scurry around and try to improve their roster by adding guys the better teams release.

12) I’m thinking it hurts HBO’s Hard Knocks some that there is one less cut date; that is the best part of the program, watching coaches tell guys they didn’t make the team. Sad for the player but compelling TV— lot of times those players move on and play for other teams anyway.

11) St Louis Cardinals are first team to score 8+ runs in six straight wins since ’06 Braves.

10) Cardinals-Pirates are playing a game in Williamsport, PA next weekend, five miles from where the Little League World Series takes place.

Williamsport has a team in the Class A NY-Penn League, so there is a stadium in place there, unlike last year, when Marlins-Braves played a game on a military base in South Carolina, where a stadium was basically built for that game.

9) Tampa Bay Bucs traded up to draft Florida State kicker Roberto Aguayo in the 2016 Draft, but he’s been a disappointment and been beaten out by Nick Folk. Aguayo missed an extra point and a 47-year old FG Friday night— he got cut Saturday, which should make for an interesting scene on Hard Knocks Tuesday night.

8) If you’re not contending for a Wild Card spot in the American League, your team stinks, because some of the contending teams aren’t very good.

7) Pat O’Hara is a QB coach for the Houston Texans; he was in the terrific football movie Any Given Sunday, playing Dennis Quaid’s backup QB who also gets hurt, which forces Jamie Foxx’s (#3 QB) character into the game, where he becomes a star.

In real life, O’Hara was mostly a backup QB at USC; he played for seven different Arena League teams and has had a very interesting career. NFL Films should do a feature on him.

6) Total plays run from scrimmage in last February’s Super Bowl: Patriots 93, Falcons 46.

5) Cincinnati Bengal fans should be slow to criticize coach Marvin Lewis, who is 118-110-3 in 14 years as the Bengals’ coach, From 1984-2002, before Lewis took over, Cincy went 116-192 under four different head coaches. Be careful what you ask for……..

4) Denver Broncos have only one road game in the first six weeks this season; they have a bye and four home games, then play on road in Weeks 7-9, with a Week 8 Monday night game, then a Week 9 game in Philly six days later. Unusual schedule; Denver has a new head coach and very little experience at quarterback.

3) Consider the career of former NFL QB Tony Banks:
— From 1996-98, Banks went 14-29 as QB of the Rams. When they cut him loose after 1998, they won the Super Bowl in ’99 behind Kurt Warner, who backed up Banks in ’98.

— In 2000, Banks started the first eight games for the Ravens, going 5-3, but Games 7-8 were 10-3/14-6 losses, so Banks was replaced by Trent Dilfer……and the Ravens won the Super Bowl.

I’ll leave the facts there and let you make your own judgments.

2) Gregg Williams is the new defensive coordinator in Cleveland; he has his son Blake back on the coaching staff this year. Blake Williams was on the Rams’ coaching staff as linebackers’ coach in 2012, the year Gregg Williams was suspended by the NFL because of Bountygate, but apparently the other coaches couldn’t stand young Williams and he was shown the door.

1) If I was an NFL head coach (a frightening thought), my team would go for it on 4th down a lot and go for 2 after every TD in exhibition games. Games don’t matter; it is a good chance to get more plays to evaluate your players. Thats what these exhibition games and mainly for….that and ripping off fans who pay regular season prices to watch games that don’t matter.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:44 AM
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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Time (ET) Away Home

1:30 PM Detroit Lions Indianapolis Colts

8:00 PM Seattle Seahawks Los Angeles Chargers



**************************

Sunday's Best Bet
August 11, 2017

Sunday NFL Best Bet
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Chargers

sportsbetting.ag Odds: Seattle (+1.5), L.A. Chargers (-1.5); Total set at 37.5


With their unceremonious departure from San Diego this spring now in the rear-view mirror, the Chargers era in L.A. officially begins on Sunday night with their first home preseason game. It will be the second straight night that football fans in L.A. will get to see NFL action (the Rams host Dallas on Saturday), as the battle for football supremacy in the City of Angels can officially begin.

After all, we've already heard about the fights that have happened this week with the two L.A. teams sharing a training camp, so it will be interesting to see what type of loyalties the L.A. football fans have to their two new squads this year.

But for our purposes, it's all about the Chargers and Seahawks here, with both teams opening up their preseason slate and having strong expectations for what 2017 may bring. On paper, Seattle is the much better team and are heavy favorites to win the NFC West, but the Seahawks aren't nearly as deep as they once were a few years ago at nearly every position on the field, and that can be a little problematic for Week 1 of the preseason.

Seattle has always put a big more priority on preseason results during the Pete Carroll era then most other teams do. Pete Carroll has a 30-14-1 ATS record over his last 45 preseason games and Seattle has gone 28-16 SU in those contests. While at first glance that might not support a bet on the Chargers this week, but much of that damage has been done by Seattle teams that were so much deeper across the board than the 2017 edition of the Seahawks.

Seattle's window of dominance in the NFC West is definitely getting closer and closer to being shut, and with depth being more of an issue these days (thanks to salary cap concerns as well), it means that Seattle's starters are likely going to see less and less time on the field in the preseason to avoid needlessly getting hurt.

Enter a Chargers team who is hoping to make a drastic improvement from their 5-11 SU season a year ago. The Chargers also know that even with it just being the preseason, making a strong, positive statement in their new home will go a long way. It's no secret that L.A. sports fans love a “winner” and with the Chargers coming over to L.A. from a rival city (in other sports) like San Diego, it's likely going to take some time for the Chargers to establish a die-hard fanbase.

L.A. fans already got a taste of NFL football a year ago with the Rams in town, and that year head start doesn't do the Chargers any favors either. But coming out in Week 1 of the preseason and establishing some credibility on the field will go a long way towards fans (and bettors) believing in them when the season starts.

The Chargers are also a hungrier team in terms of their depth chart with many starting positions still open to competition. That may not be a plus in the regular season, but preseason NFL bettors know that it's a good thing in August because you've got guys doing everything they can to get some good tape out there. A 5-11 SU season creates plenty of change on the field, and the Chargers will be out to put their best foot forward here.

Finally, it would be sloppy of me to not consider the current betting percentages on this game, and as of this writing it's about a 75/25 split in favor of the Seahawks. To me that reeks of NFL fans getting overly anxious for the season to start and projecting regular season potential onto early preseason games. That's typically not going to get your bankroll very far in August, especially when you consider that regarding this game specifically, there are other sportsbooks who have moved up to -2 for L.A. despite Seattle getting the bulk of the support.

That tells me all I need to know here, as I expect the L.A. Chargers to put their best foot forward in their new city.

Odds per - sportsbetting.ag

Best Bet: L.A. Chargers (-1.5)
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  #30  
Old 08-13-2017, 10:58 AM
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SUNDAY, AUGUST 13

GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

DET at IND 01:30 PM

IND +1.0

U 36.0


SEA at LAC 08:00 PM

SEA +2.0

O 37.5
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:44 PM
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Rudock helps Lions top Luck-less Colts
August 13, 2017


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Jake Rudock showed the Detroit Lions he could fill in for Matthew Stafford - if needed.

The Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, are still looking for an answer behind Andrew Luck.

Rudock took advantage of the injury-depleted Colts by throwing two touchdown passes to Kenny Golladay, driving the Lions to a short field goal and leading them to a 24-10 victory in the preseason opener on Sunday.

''You can see the difference between last year and this year at this time,'' Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. ''He has a better grasp of things around him. He's in command.''

The second-year quarterback played most of the first 2 1/2 quarters and wound up 13 of 21 for 142 yards. Stafford played one series, going 2 of 3 for 36 yards and left after throwing an interception.

All the Lions needed against the injury-depleted Colts was Rudock's 23-yard TD strike to Golladay in the first quarter.

But Rudock also threw a 15-yarder to Golladay in the second and set up Matt Prater for a 28-yard field goal to make it 17-3 at the half. Detroit closed out its scoring with a 15-yard TD pass from Brad Kaaya to Dontez Ford.

With Luck still on the physically unable to perform list following offseason surgery on a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, the Colts sputtered.

Indy finished with 230 total yards - 90 on its final drive - and 14 first downs. Their only points came from Adam Vinatieri's 42-yard field goal in the first half and a 1-yard TD plunge from Troymaine Pope as time ran out.

DEJA VU


For the second consecutive year, the Colts arrived for their preseason opener with a stadium in need of a little touch-up paint. But instead of having to cancel the game, like last year's Hall of Fame game, the field crew cordoned off two areas with the words ''NFL Play Football'' and fixed them. Team officials said the paint was too thick. A little less than two hours later, the kickoff was right on time.

SITTING OUT

In addition to Luck missing the game, Indy also played without center Ryan Kelly (foot), left guard Joe Haeg and running back Frank Gore. Among the Lions sitting out were left tackle Taylor Decker and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, who are on PUP, and right guard T.J. Lang.

ROOKIE WATCH


Lions: Golladay, a third-round draft pick, made a good first impression with three catches for 53 yards, including two nifty scores. Teez Tabor wasn't bad, finishing with three tackles.

Colts: The knock on first-round draft pick Malik Hooker was that he missed too many tackles in college. Not Sunday. Hooker finished with four tackles in limited work and made a touchdown-saving shoestring tackle in the second quarter.

QB COMPARISON

Lions: Stafford was solid in his brief appearance, and Rudock impressed. Kaaya played well, too, going 8 of 11 with 71 yards with the TD.

Colts: Scott Tolzien was 2 of 5 for 24 yards and picked up only one first down in three series. Walker, an undrafted rookie from Temple, showed flashes while finishing 9 of 20 for 86 yards. Stephen Morris, who spent most of the past two years on Indy's practice squad, didn't enter until the fourth quarter and was 13 of 20 with 94 yards.

INJURY UPDATE

Lions: Defensive end Kerry Hyder Jr. did not return after being carted off the field with a lower left leg injury in the first quarter. Afterward, Caldwell said it looked like a ''significant'' Achilles tendon injury. The Lions also lost defensive end Brandon Copeland (shoulder) in the second half.

Colts: Linebackers Sean Spence and Deiontrez Mount both left with injured hamstrings and did not return.

QUOTABLE

Lions: ''It makes you sick to your stomach when you see a guy like that go down,'' Golladay said when asked about Hyder. ''I hope the kid's all right.''

Colts: ''There are a lot of things to clean up,'' Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. ''We're going to grind it. We've got to make corrections.''

UP NEXT

Lions: Host New York Jets on Saturday.

Colts: Visit Dallas on Saturday.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:47 PM
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Seahawks win 48-17 in Chargers' debut game at StubHub Center
August 13, 2017


CARSON, Calif. (AP) Philip Rivers threw a touchdown pass to Antonio Gates on the opening drive of the Los Angeles Chargers' first preseason game since relocation, but the Seahawks' backups dominated the rest of the preseason opener in Seattle's 48-17 victory Sunday night.

Rivers and his first-team offense were excellent, marching 75 yards in 13 plays to begin the Chargers' three-year residency at 27,000-seat StubHub Center. The Chargers moved 111 miles north from San Diego into a stadium built for soccer, but providing an undeniably intimate NFL experience for fans.

The LA Chargers' first touchdown was a San Diego classic: Rivers threw over the middle to Gates for a 5-yard score, making the next big play in the veteran stars' 12-year partnership.

The Chargers' revamped defense clearly has work to do under new coordinator Gus Bradley after giving up 459 yards to the Seahawks, whose reserves mostly got off to a stellar start.

Russell Wilson led the Seahawks to a field goal in his only drive with Seattle's first-team offense despite consistent pressure from Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, the Chargers' dynamic pass-rushing duo.

The rest of Seattle's 34-point first half was a showcase for its backup defense, which forced three turnovers, and a solid second-team offense led by Trevone Boykin, who passed for 189 yards.

Terence Garvin returned a tipped interception 37 yards for a Seattle TD, and Chris Carson cashed in a 1-yard TD run after LA's Kellen Clemens fumbled a handoff with Andre Williams.

Clemens threw a 74-yard TD strike to speedy Travis Benjamin, but Rivers' backup also had two interceptions on deflected passes.

COZY CONFINES: A year after the Los Angeles Rams drew 89,140 to the Coliseum for their homecoming preseason game at the cavernous Coliseum, the Chargers had 21,054 in their tidy new home.

But StubHub Center appears to fulfill the Chargers' promise to provide a unique place to watch football. The smallest stadium in the NFL has exceptional sight lines and remarkable closeness to the field - and the Chargers Cannon is really loud when the home team scores.

''From a player's perspective, you want to have that home-field advantage type of feel,'' said LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers Hall of Famer and a special assistant to owner Dean Spanos. ''The kind of Seattle feeling that they have, the 12th Man, trying to feel something similar for this place, I think it would be a success for everyone if that could happen.''

BENNETT SITS:
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Michael Bennett remained seated on the Seahawks' bench with a towel on his head during the national anthem.

INJURIES

Chargers: Linebacker Denzel Perryman left the field on a cart after Los Angeles' first defensive series with a left ankle injury. The Chargers were crushed by injuries in each of the past two seasons, and Perryman is expected to call the plays as their starting middle linebacker this fall. He returned to the sideline in the second half on crutches with his foot in a walking boot.

Seahawks: Safety Jordan Simone hurt his left knee on a kickoff return. Receiver Paul Richardson injured his shoulder.
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:53 PM
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WEEK 2

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time (ET) Away Home
7:00 PM Baltimore Ravens Miami Dolphins
7:00 PM Buffalo Bills Philadelphia Eagles
8:00 PM Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jacksonville Jaguars

Friday, August 18, 2017

Time (ET) Away Home
10:00 PM Minnesota Vikings Seattle Seahawks

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Time (ET) Away Home
3:00 PM Carolina Panthers Tennessee Titans
7:00 PM Kansas City Chiefs Cincinnati Bengals
7:00 PM Indianapolis Colts Dallas Cowboys
7:30 PM New York Jets Detroit Lions
7:30 PM Green Bay Packers Washington Redskins
8:00 PM New England Patriots Houston Texans
10:00 PM Chicago Bears Arizona Cardinals
10:00 PM Denver Broncos San Francisco 49ers
10:00 PM Los Angeles Rams Oakland Raiders

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Time (ET) Away Home
4:00 PM Atlanta Falcons Pittsburgh Steelers
8:00 PM New Orleans Saints Los Angeles Chargers

Monday, August 21, 2017

Time (ET) Away Home
8:00 PM New York Giants Cleveland Browns


************************************

PRESEASON RECORD:

DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

08/13/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +950

08/12/2017 2-4-0 33.33% -1200

08/11/2017 1-5-0 16.67% -2250

08/10/2017 6-8-0 42.86% -1400

08/09/2017 0-2-0 0.00% -1100

08/03/2017 0-1-1 0.00% -550
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:55 PM
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Monday’s six-pack

— Bryce Harper has a bad bone bruise but no ligament damage; he is on the DL.

— Padres extended manager Andy Green’s contract thru 2021.

— Nationals 6, Giants 2– Washington salvages a twinbill split with Howie Kendrick hitting a walk-off homer.

— San Diego State’s football team has had an outbreak of chicken pox this week.

— Alex Mack of the Falcons lost 12 pounds during a practice this weekend. Oy.

— DL happenings:

Milwaukee put P Brent Suter (shoulder) on DL

******************************

Monday’s Den: Notes on NFC teams…….

Random notes on NFC teams:

Arizona— Carson Palmer turns 38 on Dec 27; only 27 NFL QB’s have thrown 200+ passes at age 38 or older— 13 of those 17 are or will be in the Hall of Fame. Arizona had the oldest offense in the NFL last year; their time to win a Super Bowl is this year, or else. Over is 13-3 in Arizona road games the last two years; since 2014, under is 14-9-1 in Cardinal home games.

Atlanta— Blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl, fired their DC, lost their OC, have a new stadium this year. Falcons scored 58 TD’s last year, punted 48 times with only 11 turnovers— they were only the third team since 1996 to score a TD on more than 33.3% of their drives. Now what? Underdogs are 13-3 vs spread in Falcon home games, since Quinn has been coach.

Carolina— How is Cam Newton’s shoulder? That is Question #1. Panthers were -2 in turnovers LY (6-10), after being +20/+3/+11 the three years before that (15-1/7-8-1/12-4). Over last four years, Carolina is 4-10-1 vs spread as a road favorite- their front office had in-fighting this winter— the GM got fired— will that affect the players?

Chicago— QB Mike Glennon played QB at NC State after Russell Wilson bolted for Wisconsin; then he went 5-13 over two years as a starter in Tampa Bay before they drafted Jameis Winston. He’s thrown 11 passes the last two years, is now renting the Bears’ #1 job until they decide that #1 pick Mitch Trubisky is ready to be the starter. Awkward situation.

Dallas— Dak Prescott makes $540K this year, $630K next year, which bails Dallas out of a lot of its salary cap quandries. Cowboys ran the ball 59.4% of time on 1st down LY, averaged 5.1 yds/rush on those runs, and averaged 8.9 yds/pass on play action passes. As a result, Cowboys faced 3rd-lowest number of 3rd downs in NFL. Will Prescott fight the sophomore jinx this year?

Detroit— As a Ram fan, I was frustrated by how bad OT Greg Robinson was for the Rams the last few years; now he is a Lion and is the LT, protecting Matthew Stafford’s blind side. Detroit’s backup QB’s are Jake Rudock/Brad Kaaya. Lions have lost nine playoff games in a row- their last playoff win was in 1991. If Detroit makes the playoffs this year, I’ll be very surprised.

Green Bay— Since 1992, Packers have had Favre/Rodgers at QB, two first-ballot Hall of Famers. They won Super Bowl in ’96 and ’10, lost in ’97- should they be winning more than they have? Pack made playoffs last 7 years and 14 of last 20 years, but are just 13-13 in playoff games since Favre won his Super Bowl. Last three years, Green Bay is 14-7-2 vs spread as a home favorite.

LA Rams— 31-year old Sean McVay was hired to develop Jared Goff as a QB, but before that, they have to put together an offensive line that can protect him. 35-year old Andrew Whitwroth was brought in from Cincinnati to play LT and fortify the line. Rams were 4-5 LY, led Miami 10-0 with 5:00 to go in Goff’s debut in Game #10— had they won that game, Jeff Fisher would likely still be the Rams’ coach.

Minnesota— Vikings went 8-8 with a +11 turnover ratio; no bueno; they had 54 third-and-1’s last year, converted 11-15 (73.3%) times when they threw the ball, 25-39 (64.1%) when they ran it. Sam Bradford is 32-45-1 as an NFL starter, 14-15 since leaving the Rams. Minnesota hasn’t won a playoff game since 2009; since ’05, they’re 1-4 in playoff games. Vikings have had eight #1 QB’s over the last 12 years. Bridgewater’s knee injury last summer was incredibly bad luck.

NJ Giants— Giants have had one #1 QB since 2005; Eli Manning has played all 192 games, and that is his greatest strength— he shows up to work every week. Giants won Super Bowl after 2007/2011 seasons, going 4-0 in playoffs both years; other than those two years, since 2001, Big Blue is 0-5 in playoff games. Have been in playoffs twice in last eight years, are 1-5 in Week 1 the last six years- they open vs Dallas this year for 5th time in last six years.

New Orleans— Does signing Adrian Peterson mean Saints will run ball more to protect a poor defense and a 38-year old QB? NO scored 400+ points the last six years, but made playoffs only once in last five years, going 7-9 in other four. Last three years, Saints are 5-13-1 vs spread as a home favorite, 5-0 as home dogs- they’re 3-8 in last 11 tries as a road favorite. Over is 16-8 in Superdome games the last three years; over is 13-11 in NO road games during that time.

Philadelphia— Eagles missed playoffs five of last six years; their last playoff win was in 2008, but they had to be happy with rookie QB Wentz LY. This will be first time since 2012 that Iggles had same #1 QB as year before (Michael Vick). Philly was 4-1 vs spread as a home underdog LY, after being 1-10 in that role from 2007-15. Eagles were favored in only two of their eight home games LY; the last five years, they’re 5-9-1 vs spread in home games vs divisional rivals.

San Francisco— Four head coaches in four years is never good; they’re 7-25 since Jim Harbaugh took his act to Ann Arbor. Over last five years, 49ers have averaged 3.96 starts per draft pick, which is poor, so John Lynch runs franchise now; smart guy, but he’s never done this before. As of June 3, 51 of 90 players on roster were acquired since Lynch took over- they let 27 of 31 free agents walk. Kyle Shanahan is the new coach, after helping Falcons win NFC title last season.

Seattle— Seahawks are 56-23-1 the last five years; they’ve won at least one playoff game in 8 of last 10 seasons, but throwing that INT on goal line at end of Super Bowl will haunt them until they win another Super Bowl. Russell Wilson is 8-4 in playoff games; he was a 3rd-round pick, just like Joe Montana, who was 16-7 in playoff games. Seattle is 6-10 vs spread as a road favorite the last three years; under Carroll, they’re 26-11 vs spread as a home favorite.

Tampa Bay— Bucs haven’t made playoffs since 2007; their last playoff win was the Super Bowl 15 years ago- they were 9-7 LY, their first winning season since ’10. Adding DeSean Jackson will give Jameis Winston another explosive option; listening to the first episode of Hard Knocks, this is a confident team that expects to make the playoffs, but they’ll need to play better at home. Last three years, Tampa Bay is 8-16 vs spread at home, 2-6 in divisional home games.

Washington— Sean McVay is in LA; they fired their DC, so two new coordinators this season for Jay Gruden, who goes back to calling plays. Skins were 17-14-1 the last two years; since 2006, they are 0-3 in playoff games. Last time Washington was a playoff game, Joe Gibbs was coach. Gruden is 4-8 vs spread as a home favorite; last two years, Washington is 9-4 vs spread coming off a loss. Last five years, over is 25-14-1 in Redskin road games.
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NFC South Outlook
August 13, 2017


Atlanta Falcons
-- 2016 record (11-5) – 1st in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 415.8 (2nd) – Def YPG – 371.2 (25th)
-- Points scored 33.8 (1st) – Points allowed 25.4 (27th)


2017 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 9.5 Wins for the Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta was in the Super Bowl last year yet the oddsmakers have set this number at just 9.5 wins? They are begging you to take the OVER in our opinion and we’ll go against most and grab the UNDER here. Let’s not forget the Falcons had three straight .500 or worse seasons entering last year’s Super Bowl run. The offense made a gigantic jump last year going from 21 PPG on 374 YPG in 2016 to 34 PPG on 416 YPG. It will be awfully tough to duplicate those numbers and we expect a drop off.

QB Matt Ryan had a year with career highs in QBR, YPG, TD’s, completion percentage, and fewest interceptions. Again, very tough to duplicate that. Let’s also remember that while the offense was very good, the defense was not. They ranked near the bottom of the NFL in both YPG & PPG allowed.

Also it’s not as if this team was dominant last year. They were 11-5 and made a strong push in the playoffs. The way the lost the Super Bowl will be tough to bounce back after blowing a big lead against New England. They have a rough spot schedule wise with 3 straight road games from late October into November and then back to back road games again in mid December. We think the NFC South will be tougher this year with improvements from both Carolina & New Orleans so we’re taking Atlanta to win less than 9.5 games.

Betting Records – 10-6 ATS record / 13 Overs, 2 Unders, 1 Tie

-- In 2015 the Falcons had just 3 OVERS & 13 UNDERS during the regular season. Last year they did a complete 180 with 13 OVERS, 2 UNDERS, and 1 TIE.
-- The Birds were 5-1 ATS as an underdog (regular ssn) last year. They have now covered the number 20 of the last 27 times they’ve been tabbed an underdog (74%). They have won 13 of those 27 games outright.
-- The Birds are just 8-18 ATS as a favorite the last 3 seasons. That includes a 5-5 spread mark in that role last season.
-- Despite last year’s offensive explosion, the Falcons are the 5th worst OVER team since 2003 with 108 OVERS, 121 UNDERS, and 5 ties.

Carolina Panthers
-- 2016 record (6-10) – 4th in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 343.7 (19th) – Def YPG – 359.8 (21st)
-- Points scored 23.1 (15th) – Points allowed 25.1 (26th)


2017 ASA prediction – Play OVER 8.5 Wins for Carolina Panthers

After making it to the Super Bowl two years ago, the Panthers won only 6 games last season. We think they bounce back with a solid 2017 season. We have Panthers as a pick’em or favored in 10 of their 16 games heading into the season. In their 6 games as an underdog, only New England & Atlanta would currently be favored by more than a FG vs Carolina. These numbers obviously change as the season progresses but prior to the start of the season, Carolina looks in decent shape to get to 9 wins or more.

While they did lose 10 games last season, let’s keep in mind that six of those losses came by a field goal or less. On the other hand, four of their six wins came by at least 10 points. There were drastic drop offs both offensively (31 PPG to 23 PPG) and defensively (19 PPG allowed to 25 PPG allowed) and a return to somewhere in between at the very least can be expected. After throwing 35 TD’s and 10 picks in his Super Bowl season, Cam Newton went for just 19 & 14 last year. Expect him to rebound as well. A 9-7 record (or better) is more than reasonable for this team in 2017.

Betting Records – 6-9-1 ATS record / 7 Overs, 8 Unders, 1 Tie

-- When the Panthers are tabbed as a home favorite, you may want to look at playing the UNDER. Carolina is 34-18-1 to the UNDER in that role since 2008.
-- The direct opposite is true when the Cats are a road underdog. In that spot they are an OVER team playing 29-19-1 to the OVER.
-- Since 2011, the Panthers have the 2nd best record in the NFL as a home favorite at 22-13-1 ATS (63%).
-- The Panthers are 19-6-1 ATS the last 26 times they’ve been a favorite of -7 or more.

New Orleans Saints
-- 2016 record (7-9) – 3rd in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 426 (1st) – Def YPG – 375.4 (27th)
-- Points scored 29.3 (2nd) – Points allowed 28.4 (31st)


2017 ASA prediction – Play OVER 8 Wins for the New Orleans Saints

The Saints can obviously score points but can they stop anybody? Despite their poor defense, a quick look at the key stats reveals that this team probably should have been at least .500 or better. They were 3rd in the NFL in yards per game differential at +50! That was better than 11 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last season. The Saints also had a positive point differential. Throw in one of the top QB’s in the NFL and we think the bottom for this team is 8-8 with a chance for much better. This offense put up 30+ points in 9 of their 16 games so just a slight improvement from the defense will do wonders.

Six of their nine losses a year ago were vs playoff teams and only one of their losses was vs a team with worse than a 9-7 record. This year they face only 6 playoff teams from last season and they have only 7 true road games due to their game in England vs Miami. We see a potential run of wins from October 29th through December 3rd where they play 6 straight teams that failed to make the playoffs last year. Don’t be shocked if New Orleans is a surprise team this year.

Betting Records – 11-5 ATS record / 9 Overs, 7 Unders

-- Since Drew Brees took over as the Saints starting QB in 2006, this has been an OVER team. In fact, New Orleans has an OVER mark of 103-81-2 since 2006.
-- We stick with that Brees time frame and see that since 2006, the Saints are 44-27 ATS (62%) the game following an outright loss.
-- Brees & company are 18-8 ATS as a home favorite off an outright loss the previous week. Those numbers are from 2008 through 2016.
-- New Orleans has been tabbed a home dog only 10 times since October of 2006. In those 10 games, they have gone OVER the total 8 times.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-- 2016 record (9-7) – 2nd in NFC South
-- Off YPG – 346.4 (18th) – Def YPG – 367.9 (23rd)
-- Points scored 22.1 (19th) – Points allowed 23.1 (15th)


2017 ASA prediction – Play UNDER 8.5 Wins for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If you simply look at the key numbers, the Bucs were very fortunate to have a winning season in 2016. They finished with a 9-7 record but were outscored AND outgained on the season. The Bucs point differential of -15 was the fifth worst in the NFC with only the Rams, Niners, Bears, and Panthers falling lower than Tampa in that category. Those 4 teams all had losing records and combined for an overall record of just 15-49! After 5 consecutive losing seasons, Tampa quite possible “snuck up” on teams last year in route to their 9 win season. They were just 3-5 over the first half of the season before catching a few teams by surprise down the stretch.

Only 3 of Tampa’s 9 wins last season came vs teams that ended the season above .500. Jameis Winston did improve, however he remains turnover prone with 33 interceptions in just 2 seasons. This team ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in both total offense and total defense and a retreat to an 8-8 or worse record is most likely in store.

Betting Records – 9-7 ATS record / 7 Overs, 8 Unders, 1 Tie

-- The Bucs are just 8-16 ATS as a home favorite since 2011. Worse yet, they have lost 14 of those 24 games outright.
-- Since 1980, TB has been a favorite 215 times. In those games the UNDER has hit 124 times and the OVER just 90 times (with 1 tie).
-- Probably should tread lightly if considering the Bucs as a home underdog. They are just 12-24 ATS and 8-28 SU in that spot since 2007.
-- Tampa has the 2nd worst home spread record in the NFL since 2008 going just 25-46-1 ATS at Raymond James Stadium.
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NFL notebook: Seahawks' Bennett explains sitting out anthem
August 14, 2017


Seattle defensive end Michael Bennett refused to stand during the national anthem on Sunday -- a gesture he said was to raise awareness to racism and intolerance -- before the Seahawks' preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Bennett said the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was a catalyst for his actions after white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members holding a rally over the weekend clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, leaving a woman dead and more than 30 injured.

Bennett's position came a day after his former teammate, running back Marshawn Lynch, remained seated during the national anthem before the Oakland Raiders' preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Bennett told reporters after the Seahawks' 48-17 win over the Chargers that he intends to continue to sit during the national anthem.

--Less than a week after becoming the NFL's highest-paid running back, Devonta Freeman of the Atlanta Falcons was placed in the league's concussion protocol.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn told reporters Monday that Freeman will not be available for Sunday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Freeman, who signed a five-year contract extension worth a reported $41.25 million last Wednesday, was forced to leave Sunday's practice. Quinn initially thought the running back was dealing with a heat-related issue.

"After taking him inside yesterday where we thought he had heat related (issues), he reported that he had some concussion symptoms," Quinn said Monday per the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "So we put him in the protocol for that. He'll be out this week. He may start practicing, but we are going to rule him out now."

--Newly acquired Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews suffered a chip fracture in his sternum during his first practice, the team announced.

Matthews, who is considered week to week, suffered the injury Sunday, just two days after the Bills acquired him in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. On Friday, the Bills traded cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles for Matthews and a 2018 third-round pick.

The injury happened when Matthews went to the ground hard after competing with a defensive back for a pass. He was able to finish practice but afterward underwent examination for discomfort in his chest and the chip fracture was discovered.

Matthews took reps with the first and second teams Sunday in his first work with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

--Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman is expected to miss at least a month because of an ankle injury suffered in the team's preseason opener.

Perryman was hurt in Sunday's 48-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and will be sidelined four to six weeks, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

The 24-year-old Perryman was carted to the locker room after he was injured in the first quarter. He returned to the sideline on crutches and wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

Perryman started 11 of 12 games for the Chargers last season, registering 72 tackles with two sacks and an interception. He had 72 tackles and two sacks as a rookie in 2015, appearing in 14 games and starting nine, after he was drafted in the second round out of Miami.

--Detroit Lions defensive end Kerry Hyder will miss the 2017 season after sustaining a torn Achilles during Sunday's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell labeled the injury "significant" after Sunday's game, and NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport confirmed its severity the following day.

Hyder was rushing Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien before his left leg appeared to give way, leaving the 26-year-old laying near the goal line. Hyder was carted off the field and replaced by undrafted rookie Jeremiah Valoaga.

An undrafted free agent, Hyder collected 36 tackles, a team-best eight sacks and a pass breakup in 16 games during his rookie season.

--Denver Broncos defensive end Jared Crick was carted off the field at practice after suffering an apparent back injury.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Crick initially had back spasms but was undergoing further testing.

It was the second time in as many practices the Broncos had a defensive end carted off the field. Derek Wolfe exited Saturday's practice with a sprained ankle. Denver also lost defensive end Billy Winn to a torn ACL in Thursday's preseason game.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Crick started 15 of 16 games for the Broncos last season, registering 53 tackles with three sacks and two forced fumbles.

--Chicago Bears left guard Kyle Long was ejected from practice after he was involved in multiple skirmishes.

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

Long, 28, took issue with teammates in both team and individual drills before being told to leave the practice field in Bourbonnais, Ill.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Long is working his way back from surgery on his right ankle.

--The Baltimore Ravens signed journeyman Thad Lewis and waived fellow quarterback Dustin Vaughan.

Lewis is the latest quarterback to be signed by Baltimore since the team said it was considering controversial free agent Colin Kaepernick.

The 29-year-old Lewis has played for seven teams in as many seasons. The former Duke quarterback has registered a 2-4 mark as a starter with the Rams, Browns (twice), Lions, Bills, Texans, Eagles, and 49ers.

Lewis hasn't thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2013 and will serve as the team's third quarterback behind injured starter Joe Flacco and backup Ryan Mallett.

--The San Francisco 49ers bolstered both lines of scrimmage by signing Leger Douzable and Andrew Gardner to one-year contracts, the team announced.

Douzable, a veteran defensive lineman, is joining his sixth NFL team, excluding stints on the practice squads of the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants.

Gardner, 31, started the 2016 regular-season finale for San Francisco at left guard. He has appeared in 28 games, making 12 starts, with four teams since 2009.

The 49ers also waived injured safety Chanceller James. If James is not claimed, he will revert back to the team's injured reserve list.

--The New York Giants signed wide receiver Andrew Turzilli and linebacker Chris Casher to the 90-man roster.

The newest additions take the place of wide receiver Kevin Norwood, who was waived with a hip injury, and tight end Colin Thompson, who was waived with a non-football injury (appendectomy).

The 6-foot-4, 197-pound Turzilli played in three games for the Tennessee Titans in 2015, catching two passes for 25 yards. He signed with the Titans that year as a rookie from Rutgers.

The 6-4, 260-pound Casher was with the Oakland Raiders from May 8 to Aug. 4 as an undrafted rookie. He began his collegiate career at Florida State, where in 2013 he played for a Seminoles team that won the national championship. He played his senior season in 2016 at Faulkner University in Alabama, where in 10 games he had 60 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
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AP source: Dolphins add Trey Griffey, son of Ken Griffey Jr.
August 14, 2017


MIAMI (AP) A person familiar with the deal says the Miami Dolphins have signed undrafted free agent receiver Trey Griffey, the son of Hall of Fame baseball player Ken Griffey Jr.

The person confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the Dolphins had not announced the signing or contract terms.

Griffey had 79 catches for 1,241 yards and six touchdowns in four seasons at Arizona. A center fielder in baseball, he was drafted in the 24th round of the 2016 draft by the Seattle Mariners but opted to stay with football.

The Indianapolis Colts signed Griffey after the April draft, but he was waived-injured in June.

At least five Dolphins receivers - none of them starters - have been slowed by injuries during training camp.
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Old 08-15-2017, 12:57 AM
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Kaepernick to return?
August 14, 2017


Most of the time we use sports as a way to distract ourselves from the real world. Then there are times when a sportsbook like BetOnline.ag puts up a special market called “Politics vs. Sports” where you can bet on things happening on the field compared to drama unfolding in the White House.

One of the most interesting bets you can make in this marketplace is whether or not Colin Kaepernick will be signed before the next Trump cabinet member is removed. This includes a cabinet member leaving under any circumstance – fired, resigned or whatever.

The reason I like this bet is because the odds are comically close to one another. Kaepernick on an active roster has a line of +165 leaned against a Trump Cabinet member leaving their post at -205. You read that right. The oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag think that a politician is going to leave the cabinet prior to Kaepernick being signed.

SPORTS VS. POLITICS SPECIAL PROP MARKET at BetOnline.ag
Colin Kaepernick on Active Roster +165
Next Trump Cabinet Member Leaves Post -205

It’s been about two weeks since Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci left office shortly after it was announced that Sean “Spicey” Spicer would be removed from his position as press secretary. Scaramucci replaced Michael Dubke more specifically.

The revolving door at the White House has been spinning out of control. Michael Flynn, Sally Yates, James Comey, Preet Bharara, Katie Walsh, Walter Shaub Jr. and Reince Priebus have all been shown the door or walked through it on their own volition since Trump took power.

In political terms, this is madness. By no means is it unnatural for a president to insert his own people in to pivotal positions in the White House but the rate at which this is happening to Trump’s own selections is…well, it’s unusual.

Whether or not you voted for Trump is inconsequential to the reality of what’s happening in the White House and if you think that there’s a chance that another member of the cabinet is released to the wind soon, then those odds are pretty great.

However, it also feels like Colin Kaepernick is inching towards employment. Fans have launched a petition that has reached over 150,000 supporters at Change.org. The NFLPA has also increased their support of Kaepernick because of social outrage and their own vested interest in the welfare of the players’ union.

It goes without saying that Kaepernick is better than most backup quarterbacks if not all of them. Everyone who doesn’t like Kaepernick for what he did on or off the field has created some justification for why it’s ok that owners aren’t signing him.

To say that he is a “distraction” is to suggest that athletes fighting for the civil rights and freedoms of others is wrong.

Preaching that he’s not a “typical pocket passer” and “hasn’t succeeded in the NFL” ignores the fact that HE STARTED IN THE SUPER BOWL and that he’s way better than a ton of the backups who would fit that traditional mold for a quarterback. Kaepernick is a very effective starter.

The fact that Kaepernick hasn’t signed with any team lends credence to the idea that the owners are indeed blackballing him.

Eventually, however, public opinion and fan support gets too loud. The likelihood of Kaepernick signing with an NFL team largely depends on injuries at this point, but as we saw with Ryan Tannehill, anything can happen in an instant. Eventually some owner, coach or general manager is going to need to save their season by signing Colin Kaepernick.

Betting on Kaepernick getting hired, or a Trump Cabinet Member being fired, doesn’t mean that you support one or the other. It just means that you believe the madness will end with Kaepernick, or continue in the every-changing White House.
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NFL notebook: NFLPA appeals Elliott's suspension
August 15, 2017


The NFL Players Association on Tuesday officially appealed the six-game suspension handed to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Elliott was suspended six games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league's personal conduct policy after multiple domestic violence incidents.

"Our union has appealed the NFL's six-game suspension of Ezekiel Elliott," the NFLPA said in a statement. "We will represent Ezekiel, as we do all players, to ensure that the NFL is held to its obligation of adhering to principles of industrial due process under the collective bargaining agreement."

Elliott, 22, who was not arrested or charged in the case, has maintained his innocence all along. He was not arrested nor charged in the case. Elliott was accused by former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson of five domestic assault incidents in July 2016 in Columbus, Ohio, and has been under NFL investigation, although the city attorney's office already announced he will not face criminal charges.

NFL officials said in a statement that it investigated Elliott's case thoroughly and determined that he violated the personal conduct policy. The league examined text messages, interviewed more than a dozen witnesses -- including Elliott and the accuser -- and retained medical and legal experts to help (commissioner Roger) Goodell reach his decision.

--Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi is no longer in the NFL's concussion protocol, coach Adam Gase announced.

Ajayi sustained the concussion on July 31 and returned to practice on Sunday. The 24-year-old is eligible for full-contact work and could be ready to play in Thursday's preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

After failing to accompany the team for its season opener, Ajayi led Miami with 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games last season to earn his first Pro Bowl selection. The 6-foot, 223-pound Ajayi also caught 27 passes for 151 yards.

A 2015 fifth-round pick from Boise State, Ajayi ranked ninth in carries last season with 260. Only Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott (322) had more than 300 carries, but three others were close to that total -- then-New England star LeGarrette Blount (299), Tennessee's DeMarco Murray (293) and Arizona's David Johnson (293).

--Running back Ryan Mathews was released by the Philadelphia Eagles, shortly after being medically cleared to practice.

Mathews has missed the entire offseason while recovering from neck surgery. He sustained a herniated disk in his neck during a 24-19 win over the New York Giants on Dec. 22.

Mathews was entering the final season of a three-year contract he signed with the Eagles. The 29-year-old was scheduled to make a base salary of $4 million in 2017.

He rushed 155 times for 661 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games in 2016 for the Eagles, who signed LeGarrette Blount in the offseason. Blount set career highs in carries (299), rushing yards (1,161) and rushing touchdowns (18) last season with the New England Patriots.

--The Carolina Panthers signed veteran linebacker Thomas Davis to a one-year contract extension, the team announced.

The deal for Davis, a first-round draft pick of the Panthers in 2006, runs through the 2018 season. The Charlotte Observer, citing a source, said the one-year deal is worth $6.75 million, with $3 million of it guaranteed over the next two seasons.

Davis, 34, registered a team-high 132 tackles in 2016 and became the franchise's all-time leader in that category with 1,086 tackles while earning his second straight Pro Bowl appearance.

After he was limited to nine games over a three-year span (2009-11), Davis returned from a third torn ACL in the same knee to register more than 100 tackles in each of the past five seasons. He's also had 10 interceptions in that span.

--Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase inched closer to declaring that quarterback Jay Cutler will make his debut in the team's upcoming preseason game.

"Right now, everything looks like Jay is going to go," Gase said, two days ahead of the Dolphins' preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

Signed to a reported one-year, $10 million contract plus incentives, the 34-year-old Cutler was talked out of retirement by Gase shortly after Ryan Tannehill sustained a left knee injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.

Gase served as Cutler's offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears in 2015. Cutler had 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a career-best 92.3 passer rating in his only season under his now head coach.

--Miami Dolphins cornerback Tony Lippett tore his Achilles and will have season-ending surgery, coach Adam Gase said.

Lippett, who sustained the injury during Monday's practice, made 13 starts last season and collected 67 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.

The 25-year-old played in 75 percent of Miami's defensive snaps in 2016 and was expected to be a backup this season behind starters Byron Maxwell and Xavien Howard.

The Dolphins selected rookie Cordrea Tankersley in the third round of the 2017 draft and also signed fellow cornerback Alterraun Verner.

--Buffalo Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn is considered week-to-week after receiving an injection to treat his sore left foot, the team announced.

Sean McDermott said that Glenn traveled to Wisconsin to visit specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, but the coach did not disclose the nature of the injury or the injection.

Glenn has missed five of Buffalo's last eight practices as well as the preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings last Thursday. The 27-year-old is not expected to play in Thursday's preseason contest versus the Philadelphia Eagles.

Glenn, has started 72 games since his rookie season in 2012, during which he was selected by Buffalo with a second-round pick. He signed a five-year, $65 million extension in May 2016.

--Washington Redskins safety Su'a Cravens is expected to be ready for the season opener despite being slated to undergo a meniscus trim, multiple outlets reported.

Cravens injured his knee during the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

The 22-year-old has worked as a starter throughout training camp, although he spent his first NFL season at linebacker in 2016. Cravens, a second-round selection, recorded 33 tackles and one interception last season.

Deshazor Everett, who switched from cornerback to safety during the 2016 offseason, is expected to see additional time in the absence of Cravens.

--Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Marqise Lee have been ruled out of the team's upcoming preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday.

Fournette, who is the fourth overall pick of the 2017 draft, is nursing a nagging foot while Lee sustained an ankle injury on Sunday. The Jaguars face the Buccaneers on Thursday.

"We're just being smart on it," Marrone said of Fournette's injury, per ESPN. "Obviously we're going to be smart with him and Marqise, so we'll probably hold those guys out for at least until after the game."

Fournette made an impact both with his play and words in Jacksonville's preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday. The 22-year-old rushed nine times for 31 yards and a touchdown before telling reporters that he thought the NFL was "easy."

--The second day of joint workouts between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars resulted in a number of scuffles.

Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith and Jags defensive end Yannick Ngakoue got into a heated discussion during a pass-rush drill. Smith shoved Ngakoue, who countered by hitting him in the facemask. Then, centers Joe Hawley and Ali Marpet joined in, with Hawley losing his helmet.

"We talked (expletive) to everybody," said Bucs defensive end Noah Spence. "We talk to each other. Maybe a little fighting, but it's all love for the game."

In another team period, former Bucs receiver Arrelious Benn and rookie cornerback Maurice Fleming engaged in an altercation, with Fleming ending up holding Benn's helmet.
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Thursday’s six-pack

— Eagles cut RB Ryan Mathews, saving themselves $4M on the salary cap.

— Nick Markakis has 2,009 career hits, but has never made an All-Star Game, the 4th-most hits of anyone on that list.

— Juan Pierre had 2,217 hits but never made an All-Star Game; he is on top of that list.

— Maine graduate transfer Wesley Myers committed to South Carolina. He averaged 16.9 ppg last season. Gamecocks had a player suspended this week, so this helps replace him.

— If a major leaguer changes uniform numbers, he has to buy all the inventory that is in stock with his name and the old number on it.

— Wyoming QB Josh Allen might be the first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft; Wyoming and Eastern Michigan were the only schools to offer him a scholarship coming out of junior college.

**************************

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud…..


13) I hope Ryan Fitzpatrick writes a book someday; he went to college at Harvard, which means he didn’t get an athletic scholarship, but he still made the NFL and entering his 13th year as an NFL quarterback. Tampa Bay is his 7th team.

Fitzpatrick played for four teams in four years, but what is weird is that he started 9+ games in all four of those years— there is no way anyone else has ever done this before, not at QB.
2012 Buffalo, 16 starts
2013 Tennessee, 9 starts
2014 Houston, 12 starts
2015 NJ Jets, 16 starts

What a unique career; if he makes the Buccaneers this summer and it looks like he will, it is unlikely he’ll play much, with Jameis Winston entrenched as the Bucs’ starting QB.

12) In 42 games batting in the #4 or #5 slot this year, Giancarlo Stanton hit .262 with 11 HR, 30 RBI, and an OB% of .335.

In 71 games since moving to the #2 slot in the order, Stanton is batting .302, with 33 HR’s, 64 RBI and a .404 on-base %age.

11) They told a funny story on the Padres’ game yesterday; there used to be an umpire named Frank Pulli, who was considered to be one of the better umpires. Pulli was doing an exhibition game behind the plate and after he calls a borderline strike on David Bell, he says to Bell:

“You better swing the bat today; it’s my grandson’s birthday”, inferring he had a party to go to and this was going to be a fast game.

10) Good grief; heard the other night that they change the bases in major league games every three innings, and then sell the bases online. Game used bases!!!! Greed knows no bounds.

9) Interesting comment from an NFL coach/executive, I can’t remember who it was, someone with the Colts or Lions, but they came out and said that NFL teams get more out of joint practices during the week than they do from the exhibition game that is played on the weekend, which is a good piece of knowledge.

8) Houston Astros swing at more first pitches than any team in baseball; they’ve hit 47 homers not eh first pitch of an AB, most in the majors this season.

7) Didi Gregorius batting cleanup, Todd Frazier batting 8th; interesting lineups Joe Girardi puts on the field. Manager of the Year in the AL will be tough to decide, if the Angels make the playoffs. Girardi and Mike Scioscia are both doing really good jobs this season.

6) Mets have saved a total of roughly $9M from their salary dumps this summer (Duda, Walker, Bruce, Reed). Too bad they’re not in a big city with a new, publicly-funded stadium, then they could actually try and w— oh wait, New York City is a big city. The Wilpons are slimy; thank the Lord they don’t own the A’s.

5) Strange ballgame in Oakland Tuesday night; A’s led Kansas City 4-3 after seven innings but their bullpen imploded in the 8th and KC led 8-4- there was no joy at Armadillo World HQ, that is for sure. Then Oakland scored six runs in the bottom of the 8th; Matt Joyce hit a bases loaded double after the Royals walked Rajai Davis intentionally so they could pitch to Joyce with the bases loaded (lefty-lefty BS).

Weird game with a happy ending, unless you had the Royals or the under.

4) Last season was first time since 2003 that both Super Bowl teams missed the playoffs the following season.

3) Since 2005, the defending Super Bowl champ is 4-7 in playoff games the next season, with Seattle in 2014 getting two of the four wins.

2) Last year was first time in eight years that the Super Bowl loser missed the playoffs the following season. Last time the Super Bowl loser made it back to the Super Bowl the next season? The 1993 Bills, losing their 4th consecutive Super Bowl.

1) 1994 Patriots are the last team to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
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NFL notebook: Henderson appointed to hear Elliott's appeal
August 16, 2017


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appointed Harold Henderson to hear Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott's appeal, the league announced Wednesday.

The hearing is scheduled to take place on Aug. 29, according to NFL Network, which first reported Henderson would be the arbiter for Elliott's appeal hearing and confirmed by ESPN.

The NFL Players Association on Tuesday officially appealed the six-game suspension handed down to Elliott, who was suspended by the league on Friday following a 13-month investigation for violating the league's personal conduct policy after multiple domestic violence incidents.

Henderson has been an appeals officer since 2008. He was the arbiter for the appeal hearings of former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and then-Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Henderson reduced Hardy's suspension for alleged domestic violence from 10 games to four in 2015 and upheld Peterson's indefinite suspension for child abuse in 2014.

Elliott's former girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, accused him of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio. Elliott, who was not arrested or charged in the case, has maintained his innocence all along.

--The New Orleans Saints fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri after discovering that cornerback Delvin Breaux sustained a fracture in his fibula that was originally diagnosed as a bruise.

"I think it's not one event, it probably builds up over a period of time," coach Sean Payton said when asked about the decision to dismiss the doctors. "You're not gonna bat a thousand here, but you're just hoping that more often than not, you're getting the right information."

Breaux will require surgery and is expected to be sidelined up to six weeks.

Jones and Suri were longtime doctors on the Saints' staff and have also worked for the New Orleans Pelicans of the NBA.

--The Tennessee Titans have adjusted their schedule to ensure the team will not be practicing when the total eclipse commences Monday afternoon.

Nashville, Tenn., is the largest city in the path of the total eclipse, with just over two minutes to see the total eclipse historic event beginning around 1:27 p.m. CT. It's the first total eclipse visible from the U.S. mainland since 1979.

Coach Mike Mularkey decided to rearrange the team's practice schedule that day in order to allow his players to see this natural phenomenon, according to Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com.

"I actually did (change the schedule)," Mularkey said. "I adjusted the schedule so we will (not be practicing) during it. I went back, once we found out about it, and rerouted the schedule so we're out here together to see it. What a cool experience. You're on the practice field. I rearranged the practice schedule to make sure we're out there to see it."

--The Seattle Seahawks signed cornerback Tramaine Brock to a one-year contract, the team announced.

Brock is expected to compete with Jeremy Lane and rookie Shaquill Griffin for the open spot opposite cornerback Richard Sherman. Last year's starter DeShawn Shead resides on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from a knee injury sustained in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The San Francisco 49ers released Brock on April 7, less than 24 hours following his arrest on charges of suspicion of felony domestic violence and child endangerment. Those charges were dismissed two days later as the Santa Clara District Attorney's office determined that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case because the alleged victim declined to cooperate.

Brock could still face punishment from the league under its policy on personal conduct.

--New York Jets wide receiver and kick returner Lucky Whitehead is out indefinitely after breaking his foot in practice this week.

Whitehead is expected to be out four to six weeks, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported. Whitehead will get a second opinion to see if surgery will speed up the recovery time.

The Jets claimed Whitehead off waivers two days after he was cut by the Dallas Cowboys on July 24 following an initial report that the 25-year-old was accused of petty larceny. The Prince William County (Va.) Police Department later said it identified the wrong man and regretted the impact the errors had bestowed upon Whitehead and his family.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Whitehead was injured Monday and the next day was seen on crutches, wearing a walking boot.

--The Pittsburgh Steelers activated wide receiver Sammie Coates from the physically unable to perform list following minor knee surgery.

Coates, 24, had his knee scoped two weeks before the start of training camp and the Steelers placed him on the PUP list. He is expected to practice with the team Wednesday.

Coates, the Steelers' 2015 third-round pick, said he injured the knee while training this summer. It was his second offseason knee surgery, and he also had surgery to repair a sports hernia after the season.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Coates is coming off a 2016 season that opened with an opportunity to make a mark thanks to Martavis Bryant's suspension. A finger injury slowed Coates, who saw action in 14 games but was limited to 21 catches for 435 yards and two touchdowns. But he caught an NFL-best six passes of 40 yards or longer, including a 72-yard touchdown against the New York Jets.
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Lynch vs. Peterson Props
August 16, 2017


If you want to talk about fun prop bets, then look no further than the market that BetOnline.ag has released concerning Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson. In our NFL Futures Regular Season section you can actually bet on these guys head-to-head despite the fact that the Raiders don’t play the Saints this year at all.

A lot of talking heads and wannabe pundits claim that the running-back position is dying in the NFL, but those people couldn’t be more wrong. Sometimes the game takes time to evolve and allow players such as Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson to emerge as multi-threats. Prior that, however, hammers like AP and Marshawn were doing the dirty work in the NFL.

Coincidentally, both players were taken in the 2007 NFL Draft. Adrian Peterson was taken 7th overall while Marshawn Lynch was selected 12th by the Buffalo Bills. For frame of reference, this is the draft where Jamarcus Russell and Calvin Johnson were selected with the top two picks.

Since then, it’s been hard to write or talk about the NFL without mentioning these two. Peterson became the 2007 Offensive Rookie of the Year, the 2012 MVP, led the league three times (2008, 2012, 2015) and touchdowns twice (2009, 2015).

Lynch hasn’t been that dominant in the individual achievements having led the league in touchdown for 2013 and 2014, but also won a Super Bowl with Seattle against Denver (and probably should’ve won another won against New England).

These two have constantly been clashing inadvertently. Peterson won Rookie of the Year with 1,341 yards and 12 touchdowns in a year that Lynch piled up 1,115 yards of his own and 7 touchdowns. When Peterson won the 2012 NFL MVP award thanks to his 2,097 yard season, Lynch put together his career best with 1,590.

Both players have now migrated to different teams and off the shelf for the 2017 campaign. Lynch is anchoring the Oakland Raiders after a brief retirement while New Orleans has added Adrian Peterson who is coming off of injury rehab. Who will have a better individual season overall? Well, that part’s up to you. Here’s a little insight in to the fun head-to-head market we have for the two standouts.

NFL REGULAR SEASON SPECIALS AT BetOnline.AG

Most Rushing Yards in 2017 – Peterson (+275.5) / Lynch (-275.5)

Lynch basically has to beat Adrian Peterson by 276 yards in the regular season total by the end of the season to win this market, and even then he’s being given a mark of -130 as the favorite. That’s because Lynch has nobody to spell him in Oakland. Peterson will share with Mark Ingram, a frustratingly reliable back.

Most Touchdowns Scored in 2017 – Peterson (+2.5) / Lynch (-2.5)
This is an even money market with both being listed at -115, but Peterson getting a bit of a handicap due to his situation in New Orleans. Peterson has averaged 0.78 touchdowns per game in his career while Lynch has trotted in at a pace of 0.58. The point is that Peterson is a touchdown machine and has been no matter the situation he’s had at quarterback. The Raiders are likely to use Lynch as much as possible, but it’s hard to imagine him outscoring Peterson on the ground only because it usually doesn’t happen when the two are healthy.

Most Rush Attempts in 2017 – Peterson (+44.5) / Lynch (-44.5)
At the height of his reign between 2011-2014, Lynch averaged a whopping 18.75 attempts per game for an average of 295.3 attempts per year. If you try to the same cross-section with Peterson, he put up 299.5 attempts between 2007-2010. Of course, that was nearly a decade ago and Peterson has had serious injuries.

The interesting part is that the cavernous gap between the two favors Peterson given that he is an absolute workhorse of an athlete that has run for as many as 327 attempts in a single season. Lynch’s highest usage rate was in 2013 when he hit 301.

The broader point here is that both backs look and feel like timeless players. Obviously, age catches up with every football player and this is especially true with running backs. This is likely the last season for both so this is a great time bet on a specified market tailored just for the fans that love Lynch and AP.
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Thursday's Preseason Tips
August 16, 2017


Ravens at Dolphins (-3, 38) - 7:00 PM EST

Baltimore
Head coach: John Harbaugh (25-12 SU, 24-13 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback rotation: Ryan Mallett, Thaddeus Lewis, Josh Woodrum
Beat Twitter Follow: Jamison Hensley

The Ravens have been cursed by injuries during training camp the last few years and have been bit by the bug again already, losing multiple offensive linemen, two tight ends, a few receivers and potential starting running back Kenneth Dixon and promising second-year corner Tavon Young. Joe Flacco will look to return to the lineup later in the month, but he's been sidelined with a back injury, bumping Mallett up. Lewis was just signed to replace ineffective Dustin Vaughan, so the offense may lack continuity and quality depth. Woodrum did throw a nice touchdown late in last week's win over Washington, but the Liberty product is considered a longshot to make the roster given his lack of experience.

Miami
Head coach: Adam Gase (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback rotation: Jay Cutler, Matt Moore, Brandon Doughty, David Fales
Beat Twitter Follow: Joe Schad


After losing starter Ryan Tannehill to a torn ACL, the Dolphins talked Cutler out of retirement and will give him the start here despite their assertion that Moore is the No. 1 at this point. Obviously, the gig will eventually belong to Cutler, so expect him to get a few drives in with the first-teamers. He's reportedly looked sharp and knows Gase's system from their days with the Bears, so it's not that surprising to hear he's hit the ground running despite expecting to be in the broadcast booth, not the playing field, when the month began. RB Jay Ajayi came out of concussion protocol but is unlikely to play, as is center Maurice Pouncey, who is expected to debut next week.

Bills at Eagles (-5, 39 ) - 7:00 PM EST

Buffalo
Head Coach: Sean McDermott (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback Rotation: Tyrod Taylor, Nathan Peterman (Rookie), T.J. Yates
Beat Twitter Follow: Mike Rodak


The Bills added Jordan Matthews to their receiving corps, trading corner Ronald Darby for his services after moving Sammy Watkins to the L.A. Rams. He won't play against his former team, so rookie Zay Jones is expected to start as he looks to impress and gain Taylor's confidence. Peterman passed Yates on the depth chart after generating a spark in last week's otherwise listless 17-10 home loss to Minnesota. The rookie from Pittsburgh completed just 13 of his 25 passes, so it will be interesting to see how he handles a higher level of competition. Yates is out to prove he merits a spot on the roster and will need to be productive against third-stringers to get back in contention for the No. 2 gig.

Philadelphia
Head coach: Doug Pederson (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback rotation: Carson Wentz, Matt McGloin, Dane Evans (Rookie)
Beat Twitter Follow: Jeff McLane


The Eagles scored on their first drive as Wentz went right down the field against Green Bay, completing all four of his passes, the last of which went to rookie Mack Hollins. He's expected to play more than a series here, but Philadelphia managed just a field goal with their other quarterbacks in. Nick Foles remains out, so McGloin, who fired 42 passes against the Packers, should get the bulk of the work. Alshon Jeffery is expected to play with the first unit after sitting out the preseason opener. Star left tackle Jason Peters will be out due to a personal matter, so a makeshift offensive line will be employed since multiple starters up front are sidelined.

Buccaneers at Jaguars (PK, 40 ) - 8:00 PM EST

Tampa Bay
Head coach: Dirk Koetter (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback rotation: Jameis Winston, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sefo Liufau (Rookie)
Beat Twitter Follow: Jenna Laine


Appearing on HBO's "Hard Knocks" has put the spotlight on the Bucs this month, and you'll be able to see plenty of footage against the Jaguars next week since the teams have been practicing against one another all week. Multipe skirmishes have broken out, so the competition hasn't exactly been friendly. Koetter and his coordinators, Mike Smith and Todd Monken, all worked for the Jags and will want to get this one before closing out the preseason at home for their final two gams. Ryan Griffin injured a shoulder and won't play, so Fitzpatrick is expected to play the majority of this one before Liufau wraps it up.

Jacksonville
Head coach: Doug Marrone (4-6 SU, 4-6 ATS in preseason)
Quarterback rotation: Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Brandon Allen
Beat Twitter Follow: Michael DiRocco


Bortles was given some time off because Marrone felt his arm looked tired. Since he's coming off a brutal season and turned the ball over early and often in scrimmages, there's a chance he doesn't make it out of camp with the gig. Performing well against the Bucs first-team defense should keep Henne behind him, but he'll have to excel without rookie first-round pick Leonard Fournette since the running back injured his foot and won't play. WR Marquise Lee is also out after being carted off the field with a leg injury on Sunday. Both Henne and Allen threw touchdown passes to rookies Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole to defeat New England in the preseason opener.
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Thursday's Best Bet
August 17, 2017


Thursday NFL Preseason Best Bet

Tampa Bay vs. Jacksonville

HeritageSports.eu Odds: Tampa Bay (-2) vs. Jacksonville (+2); Total set at 40.5


We've reached Week 2 of the NFL preseason and that means we are getting close to getting games we will see in the regular season; at least in terms of who is on the field. Weeks 2 and 3 are considered as the “dress rehearsal” weeks for NFL teams with each organization having their own take on how playing time should be handled.

Typically, starters see about a quarter or so of action in Week 2 and it gets pushed to the full 1st half in Week 3, but some coaches have bumped up that full 1st half (or nearly all of it) to Week 2's contest in order to preserve the health of their stars. Either way, we should get at least a quarter from the majority of starters on Tampa and Jacksonville tonight.


Both sides are coming off interesting first week's of action as Tampa Bay moved the ball rather well vs. Cincinnati but couldn't cash in on the scoreboard. The 23-12 loss to the Bengals was not something the Bucs coaching staff was particularly happy with, and a missed XP and FG try by highly drafted Roberto Aguayo ended up being the last straw for him and the Tampa organization. The Bucs cut Aguayo after the game and haven't been shy about stating how much of an error it was to draft the kicker in the second round.

Jacksonville had a much more positive opening week as they beat New England 31-24, got a TD run from first round pick RB Leonard Fournette, and got some huge plays in both the passing (97-yard TD pass) and running (79-yard TD run) games. Even with all those positives, there is still plenty of concern heading into the year for QB Blake Bortles and his prospects, as going 3-for-5 for just 16 yards in limited action last week didn't do anything to squash those concerns. Bortles will get more opportunities tonight, so it will be interesting to see if anything changes on that front.

Regarding tonight's betting line, we've already seen significant movement on the spread as the Jaguars opened as 1-point favorites before it settling on the current number of Tampa Bay -2. Some of the move centers on Jacksonville not having Fournette or starting WR Marquise Lee available due to injuries, but not having those two guys wouldn't precipitate a line move like this by themselves and quite frankly it's a move I agree with 100%.

Even with it still being preseason, Tampa's got a lot more to prove coming off that frustrating performance, and with QB's Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick seeing the bulk of the action tonight, that's a QB duo you've got to have some faith in. Both guys have significant experience in this league, and while Jacksonville can boast about the same thing with Bortles and Chad Henne, just looking at those four names, who would you rather have?

Finally, Tampa's got a 4-0 SU and ATS run going in the preseason when they are playing their second consecutive game on the road, while Jacksonville is on a 0-4 SU run themselves in Game 2 of the preseason. With the desire to have a much better offensive performance on Tampa's sideline, and Jacksonville looking like world-beaters after beating the Patriots a week ago, I'm siding with the big move here on Tampa as it should get us to the betting window to collect this evening.

HeritageSports.eu Best Bet: Tampa Bay -2
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THURSDAY, AUGUST 17

GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

BUF at PHI 07:00 PM

PHI -4.5

U 38.5


BAL at MIA 07:00 PM

BAL +2.5

U 38.0


TB at JAC 08:00 PM

JAC +2.0

O 40.5

Last edited by CNOTES53; 08-17-2017 at 10:34 AM.
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NFL preseason roundup: Winston sharp in Bucs' victory
August 17, 2017


Jameis Winston led Tampa Bay to three successive scoring drives in the first half, powering the Buccaneers to a 12-8 victory over the host Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

Winston engineered an 83-yard drive in 11 plays on Tampa Bay's first possession. The third-year quarterback hit on 5 of 6 passes for 54 yards before Doug Martin went over from 2 yards out for the touchdown.

Winston then directed a 54-yard march in eight plays and a 50-yard march in 12 plays on Tampa's next two possessions, but both drives stalled inside the 20. Winston played the first half and completed 21 of 29 passes for 196 yards.

Jacksonville starting quarterback Blake Bortles was ineffective in his four series in the first half. Bortles competed 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards and was sacked once. The Jaguars only crossed midfield one time while Bortles was in the game.

Ravens 31, Dolphins 7

Ryan Mallett passed for a touchdown and 113 yards, and Justin Tucker kicked three field goals and recovered a fumble to lead Baltimore past host Miami. Mallett completed 13 of 22 passes and was intercepted twice.

Jay Cutler was 3 of 6 passing for 24 yards in two series in his Dolphins debut. Cutler was signed Aug. 7 to replace Ryan Tannehill, who sustained a season-ending knee injury Aug. 3.

Miami's Jay Ajayi, a Pro Bowl selection last year after rushing for 1,272 yards, ended with two carries for minus-2 yards and one reception for 11 yards. He came off the concussion protocol Tuesday.

Eagles 20, Bills 16


Byron Marshall scored the go-ahead touchdown from 1 yard out with three minutes left as host Philadelphia came from behind to defeat Buffalo.

Undrafted free agent running back Corey Clement also rushed for a score, and Caleb Sturgis connected on two of three field-goal attempts for the Eagles. Philadelphia starting quarterback Carson Wentz led the team for the first four drives, completing 6 of 9 passes for 56 yards.

T.J. Yates threw a late 9-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Reilly, and Stephen Hauschka kicked three field goals for the Bills. Buffalo starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor went 8 of 18 passing for 53 yards with two interceptions while playing most of the first half.
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NFL notebook: NFLPA foresees 2021 work stoppage
August 17, 2017


The NFL's collective bargaining agreement expires in four years, and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith believes there will be a work stoppage in 2021.

"I think that the likelihood of either a strike or a lockout is almost a virtual certainty," Smith said in a video interview posted on the MMBQB/Sports Illustrated website on Thursday.

Owners locked out players for 132 days in 2011 until the current 10-year CBA was signed on July 25, 2011.

Since the agreement was signed, the players association has clashed with the league in notable cases such as Ezekiel Elliott's suspension for alleged domestic violence, Tom Brady's Deflategate suspension and Adrian Peterson's suspension for child abuse.

--The reinstatement of suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon is not on the immediate agenda of Roger Goodell, the commissioner announced.

Goodell offered his stance when asked about Gordon at a fan forum in Cleveland.

The league denied Gordon's reinstatement petition on May 11, two months after the embattled 26-year-old wideout filed papers to have his indefinite suspension lifted.

Goodell reinstated Gordon on a conditional basis last season, but the Pro Bowl receiver checked into the rehab facility in September and put his career on hold. Gordon spent 30 days in a New Hampshire facility.

--Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly will be sidelined indefinitely after he undergoes a medical procedure on his foot.

Kelly was initially sidelined during the Colts' joint practices with Detroit last week and was held out of the Lions' preseason game last week. The injury was not thought to be serious at the time and he had been wearing a walking boot since incurring the injury. There is no timetable for his return although Kelly is expected to miss the start of the regular season.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the surgery is scheduled for Friday and will be to repair a bone defect in his foot.

--Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton didn't take part in the scrimmage situations during the first day of joint workouts with the Tennessee Titans, but he was involved in some 7-on-7 drills when the teams gathered for the second of those workouts Thursday.

So, while there has been progress shown as he comes back following offseason shoulder surgery, there continues to be an incomplete sample.

The Panthers play their second preseason game Saturday when they take on the Titans in Nashville, Tenn.

--Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension, multiple outlets reported.

The deal is worth $27 million with Britt collecting $13.25 million in the first year, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Britt started 16 games as a rookie at right tackle after being selected with a second-round pick in the 2014 draft. The 26-year-old was later shuffled to guard and then center, where he started 15 games a season ago.

--Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls will sit out Friday's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings with an ankle injury.

Coach Pete Carroll made the announcement on Thursday and named Eddie Lacy as the team's starter for that contest.

Rawls was given the nod ahead of Lacy for last week's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. He rushed two times for five yards.

--The San Francisco 49ers signed linebacker Shayne Skov to a one-year contract.

Skov recorded two defensive tackles in 24 games over three seasons with the 49ers and 12 more on special teams. The 27-year-old San Francisco native was waived by the club on May 2.

Skov collected 355 tackles, 17 sacks and five forced fumbles during his college career with Stanford.

--Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison told reporters that he has no issue playing in what amounts to a relief role this season.

Harrison's comment came on the heels of outside linebackers coach Joey Porter telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Steelers Nation Radio this week that the team plans to use rookie T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree as primary pass rushers.

"I'll be fine, whatever they want me to do," Harrison said on Wednesday. "Whatever they want, I'm good."

--The holdout of Los Angeles Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald moved into the third week, with reports that he could be so entrenched in this contract dispute into the regular season.

So, what originally seemed a mild distraction is moving in a more serious direction.

"Our approach is exactly the same, we're continuing to try and find a solution," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "He's a very important part of what we want to do. In the meantime, we've got a lot of great guys out here that are working hard and getting ready for this Oakland game, and just approaching every single day with the situations that we're throwing at them."

--Former New England Patriots nose tackle Lester Williams died on Wednesday at his home in Birmingham, Ala., the team announced.

The Patriots did not divulge the cause of death for Williams, who was 58.

Williams started for New England in Super Bowl XX and recorded 99 tackles, five sacks and three fumble recoveries during his four-year stint with the Patriots (1982-85).

--The Cleveland Browns are partnering with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission to submit a bid to host the NFL Draft in either 2019 or 2020.

The contingent delivered its application to league headquarters in New York last week. The 2019 draft would celebrate the league's 100th season, or its centennial in 2020. The league was formed in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, on Aug. 20, 1920.

Kansas City officially also announced that they are interested in hosting an NFL Draft.
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Friday’s six-pack

— Maybe they should play the national anthem at NFL games before teams take the field.

— Reds 13, Cubs 10— Jon Lester gave up nine runs in 1.2 IP, then left with a lat injury. Reds blew a 9-0 lead but rallied late for the win.

— Buccaneers 12, Jaguars 8— Looks like QB Blake Bortles is about to lose his starting job.

— Jaguars’ backup QB Chad Henne is the only NFL QB to be active for every game the last two seasons, who never threw a pass— he only took one snap and it was a kneel-down.

— Eagles 20, Bills 16— Recently-traded Philly DB Ronald Darby picked off his old teammate Tyrod Taylor, in his first game against his old team.

— Ravens 31, Dolphins 7– Jay Cutler was 3-6 for 24 yards in his Miami debut. Josh Woodrum was 8-10 for 110 yards for the Ravens- he played college ball at Liberty.

************************

Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here…….

13) Joey Votto recently reached base 2+ times in 20 consecutive games, one short of Ted Williams’ all-time record of 21; an underrated record. Votto’s on-base %age this year is .448— muy bueno.

12) Then why doesn’t Votto bat leadoff, with a .448 OB%? Isn’t that what leadoff hitters are supposed to do, get on base? Cincinnati bats fleet-footed Billy Hamilton 1st, but his on-base % is a woeful .298.

As my late father liked to say, “You can’t steal first base.”

11) Reds 13, Cubs 10— Jon Lester gave up nine runs in 1.2 IP, then left with a lat injury. Reds blew a 9-0 lead but rallied late for the win.

10) Our thoughts/prayers go out to the people in Barcelona, after the terrorist activity Thursday; basketball teams from Arizona-Clemson-Oregon State-Tulane are all in Spain right now.

Everyone on all four teams is safe and sound. They’ll be glad to get home.

Oregon State’s team was having dinner in the hotel when the terrorist activity happened, right in front of that hotel.

9) Atlanta Falcons’ new domed stadium has Chick-fil-A in it, but Chick-fil-A never opens on Sunday for religious reasons and the Falcons have only one non-Sunday home game this season.

8) Angels had Thursday off, in between series with Nationals/Orioles, so Mike Trout was in Philly last night to see his beloved Eagles play Buffalo.

7) Colorado has yo-yo’d OF Raimel Tapia up and down from AAA a lot this year; he is obviously major-league ready, but the Rockies don’t have a full-time slot for him right now.

Since going back to Albuquerque the last time August 12, Tapia is 12-21 (.571) for the Isotopes. He will be a starter in the major leagues next year, whether in Denver or somewhere else.

6) On July 23, 2013, Nicky Delmonico was traded from Baltimore to the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez, in a deadline deal; in February 2015 he was released by Brewers.

Now he is hitting .396 in his first 54 plate appearances with the White Sox— he homered twice in LA Wednesday. He is only 25; sometimes it takes a while to become an overnight sensation.

5) Mets had catcher Travis d’Arnaud playing 3B Wednesday night, for the first time in his career; Asdrubal Cabrera and D’Arnaud swapped between 2B and 3B 23 times.

4) Reds 13, Cubs 10— Jon Lester gave up nine runs in 1.2 IP, then left with a lat injury. Reds blew a 9-0 lead but rallied late for the win.

3) Last eight years, Minnesota Vikings are 8-0 vs spread in the game just before their bye; they’re 1-7 vs spread in the first game after their bye.

2) Colorado’s star 3B Nolan Arenado got hit on the hand by a batted ball yesterday and left the game; looked like the ball hit him in the same spot where he was hit by a pitch in Miami last weekend. Rockies need Arenado in the lineup and more importantly, in the field.

1) If you’re a fantasy football owner, what do you do with Ezekiel Elliott? Dallas has an early bye, so for fantasy purposes, Elliott’s 6-game suspension is really seven games, since he isn’t eligible to play until Week 8 against Washington. Most fantasy regular seasons are 13 games, right?
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Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook starts as center of offense

The Minnesota Vikings didn't hide their offensive plans Thursday night: Feed rookie running back Dalvin Cook.

Cook touched the ball on the first three plays of the Vikings' 17-10 win over the Buffalo Bills, earning 17 yards. The rookie got eight touches in the first 13 plays, finishing with 43 yards from scrimmage in limited work.

"I thought it was good," Zimmer said of Cook's debut, via the team's official website. "He did some good things. I thought he ran behind his pads well for the first time out."

Cook exited early in the second quarter of his first NFL appearance after showing pile-pushing ability between the tackles and pass-catching acumen out of the backfield.

The early indications suggest we should see a heavy dose of Cook when the season opens, regardless of how healthy Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are Week 1. There are still strides to make after Cook averaged just 2.6 yards per carry on five totes behind a struggling offensive line.

"I'm sure he feels like he could have done more," Zimmer said of Cook. "And he will in the future."

Cook flashing pass-catching skills makes him a three-down back, which the coaching staff was searching for to replace Adrian Peterson.

"It's something that I rely on in my game," Cook said. "Just being versatile, going out there catching balls.

"They split me out wide, released me out of the backfield ... whatever it is, I'll [do it to] help my team win games. That's what they brought me in for, I have to utilize my talent."

The key for Cook will be how he holds up in pass protection -- he appeared to whiff on a block of Jerry Hughes, who sacked Sam Bradford.

The Vikings will likely talk as though the starting running back spot remains up for grabs, but barring injury it would be a shock if anyone other than Cook carried the load in Minnesota to open the year.
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