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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Bengals are used to this with Vontaze Burfict

If nothing else, the latest Vontaze Burfict suspension isn’t a total surprise to the Bengals, as they’re accustomed to being without him.

The linebacker has missed 29 of a possible 66 games the last four years because of suspensions and injuries, so the four he’ll miss at the start of the season because of a PED violation is just another log on an already blazing fire (it will be the third straight season he’s missed at least the first three games).

“Our focus is on having the best 2018 we can and we feel Vontaze helps us do that, . . .” Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn said. “Vontaze is well-liked and respected in the locker room. The players know that a) he’s a special player and b) he’s a really smart football player. I don’t think there is going to be a negative that way. The negative is going to be lost time. When you are not there you are not helping the team win.”

And yet, they continue to prop him up, hoping his play when eligible is enough to make a difference.

Dalton signed a six-year, $96 million extension almost four years ago, which has him under contract through 2020. His $13.9 million base salary ranks 21st in the league for 2018, according to overthecap.com, and his per year average of $16 million also ranks 21st.

Dalton, though, isn’t complaining. He’s good with his deal.

“I’m still a couple of years away from my contract being up,” Dalton said. “It’s what I agreed to. It’s what I signed, so we’re going to let it all play out how it’s supposed to.”

Bengals Vice President Troy Blackburn said the team has no thoughts of extending Dalton this year, and Dalton said he didn’t expect a new deal this year.

“I wouldn’t expect it to happen this year,” Dalton said after being asked about Blackburn’s comment. “There are other guys that will be free agents next year that are a priority. We’ll see. That’s not what I’m thinking about. I’m not thinking about the contract for sure.”flames_023

Vikings bring back defensive coordinator George Edwards for 2018

A source close to the Vikings tells Sporting News that the team has renewed defensive coordinator George Edwards’ contract for 2018.

Edwards’ previous deal expired after the 2017 season, but the Vikings made an easy decision to retain him after he guided the NFL’s No. 1 defense during a run to the NFC Championship game. Terms of the new contract were not immediately available.

This is not like some of these other “oops” moments from coaches who’ve taken jobs and then decided they’d made a mistake, for whatever reason.

Billy Donovan took the Orlando Magic job in June 2007 after he’d won consecutive NCAA championships at Florida and the Magic decided to dump a truckload of money on him: five years, $27.5 million. They’d fired Brian Hill on May 24. They announced Donovan as his replacement on June 3. He made an impulsive decision, motivated by money and proximity and the fact he’d be starting over with the Gators after losing the five starters who’d delivered him two titles. So he made a considered decision to renege.

The Cardinals also have officially hired Kirby Wilson as their new running backs coach, a source told Sporting News. News of Arizona’s interest in Wilson was first reported by Sporting News.

But here’s the final lesson for the rest of the NFL: Youovercome key injuries if you stay positive … and if you have quality depth for the next-man-up mantra to succeed.

Such depth often comes in the form of late-round draft picks, under-the-radar free-agent signings and undrafted free agents who fit in well. A good example is 2016 fifth-rounder Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

Big V had a few rough starts after replacing Peters at the critical left tackle spot, but he got better as the season progressed — credit to him and the coaches who worked with him. He did not allow a sack against Vikings Pro Bowler Everson Griffen or the Patriots pass-rushers who had been so effective in wins over Tennessee and Jacksonville.
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NFL playoffs: Picks, predictions for wild-card games

The NFL playoffs, which conclude Feb. 4 with Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, begin Saturday and Sunday with wild-card weekend.

And we have some fresh faces this year.

Fans are at the core of the football experience and it’s truly exciting and rewarding when they band together, regardless of the team they cheer for, to make a positive impact in the lives of others, Bortles said in a statement. I greatly appreciate the support displayed by Bengals fans and they should know their support will make a difference.

They crashed headlong into the offseason, instead, and now Smith goes from franchise quarterback to prime asset. Coach Andy Reid played his cards close to the vest when he spoke Sunday, the day after the 22-21 collapse against the Titans. He praised Mahomes, his potential and his swift learning curve, as well as what he gleaned from playing behind Smith, but added, I am not there with anything other than that. That is what is real right now.

The irony of the quarterback situation in Kansas City is that Smith wasn’t the reason the Chiefs disappeared offensively in the second half against Tennessee (lay that in the laps of Reid and play-caller Matt Nagy, who was hired Monday as the Chicago Bears new coach). The Chiefs are loaded at the skill positions with young talent, who emerged and dominated quickly.

The Patriots and Steelers enjoyed first-round byes in the AFC while the Eagles and Vikings were the top seeds in the NFC. The Eagles, playing without injured quarterback Carson Wentz, have had a week to try to fix the offense. Philadelphia did have the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense and may need a defensive score to keep pace with the Falcons, who have won four of their last five.

Bryant’s first son died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) at the age of three months, which came prior to a 2008 game against the Packers. To honor Matthew Tryson’s memory, Bryant decided to play. He made three field goals to help lift the Bucs to victory. Bryant was later voted by teammates as Tampa Bay’s 2008 Ed Block Courage Award winner.

The Bucs might not be cursed by the persistent kicking woes that linger to this day had they committed to Bryant. Instead, a new regime post-Jon Gruden cut Bryant during the 2009 preseason after he was sidelined for a month with a hamstring injury. Bryant wasn’t even re-signed after his replacement, Mike Nugent, was waived after a lousy four-game stretch.
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Super Bowl national anthem 2018: Pink will perform before kickoff

The NFL announced on Monday morning that Pink (stylized P!NK) will be singing the national anthem at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Sunday, Feb. 4.

This attitude seems more suited for a tennis player or a golfer than the star of a team sport. Even at the highest level you are likely to find yourself relying on people who do not quite match your dedication—and intensity. That reality baffled him as a child, which is perhaps why he found himself hanging out mostly with kids from his honors classes or debate club. He was popular and well liked, but he could not understand why teammates bristled when he called out poor effort. Didn’t they see that he was just trying to help?

The Bills might make the playoffs, but I don’t see how they could beat the Steelers or Patriots on the road, and I think the Chargers are clearly better. Making the playoffs at 8-8 or 9-7 in one of the worst years the AFC has had in a long time should not be much of a positive sign for the Bills.

It resulted in a fantastic call by Sean McDonough, who sounded like he was trying to eject his lungs on the call. Everybody noticed.

The play was blown dead, and the Chiefs used a timeout to stop the clock. It wouldn’t matter, however, as the Titans would get another first down to secure the 22-21 win.

It was another legendary voice crack of a call by McDonough:

The Chiefs lead the game 21-3 at halftime, but the Titans roared back and ultimately got the win.

It’s not a stretch to think that this opportunity with the Arizona Coyotes is the best he’s had, considering the position the lineup he’s being placed and the linemates he is centering.

Cobb proved he wasn’t a true No.Here’s the breakdown: Beyond that, the Mariners had 21 outings where the starter pitched four innings or less.He believes he can.

Diggs said he received the game ball and called his teammates a group of fighters. After he scored, he was mobbed by teammates and had a hard time breathing with some of the heavier Vikings laying on him. patriots_039_a40c16664832efe5-180x180

NFL draft scouting: Pro teams have eyes on Notre Dame vs. Miami showdown

A number of Top 25 teams clash with each other this weekend, making for an exciting weekend of college football. NFL teams are flocking to these games to evaluate a number of draft prospects.

A look at what teams will be where this weekend in college football:

Among those with conflicts are Warriors co-managing partner Peter Guber and assistant GM Kirk Lacob — who are both a part of Liquid’s parent company, aXiomatic — and Warriors and Cloud9 minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya.

“Well, (Seguin’s) a shooter, I’m a passer and (Shore) has good legs, so it kind of gives us all three dynamics and we did a good job of using each other,” he said.

Ben Bishop made 29 saves for Dallas on his 31st birthday, allowing only a power-play goal by Brendan Gallagher at 12:04 of the second.

“I definitely haven’t won here before,” said Turner, who played in four previous games in Miami — all losses. “Maybe it’s the weather.”

Victor Oladipo scored 15, Darren Collison had 12 points and 10 assists and Thaddeus Young added 12 for Indiana. The Pacers outscored Miami 69-40 in the game’s final 25 minutes and shot 60 percent for the game.

“Derek Carr is a bible-thumper to the fullest. And so he was basically trying to force the players to read the bible before the game, and do all this stuff and they were like, ‘No, that’s you.’ And so he was so upset about it, when the whole offensive line said they were going to kneel, he was like, ‘No, you’re not kneeling. This is America, you’re going to stand for the flag.’ And they got in a fight in the locker room, so when they came out to play, they basically had a plan.”

Grimes alleges the fight happened before the game against the Redskins (which was on a Sunday, not Monday as she says), and Carr got sacked a season-high four times in that game. He has been sacked only six times in the seven other games this season.nike_patriots_2110

He has an 11.75 postseason ERA, allowing runs in six of seven appearances.

With “AC/DC” dominating a game, the Raiders might find it harder to break up the connection between Cooper and quarterback Derek Carr. But then again, Cooper’s value on the open market won’t get higher given their schedule, which sets him up for more struggles. At the same time, Oakland’s pass defense remains in shambles despite the edge presence of Khalil Mack. Pierre-Paul playing off the All-Pro in the Raiders’ hybrid scheme would make both players more dangerous.

The city needs them, in other words. “From where they’re at, as these new leaders of our community, they have this platform, they have this way to reach out to every corner of the valley,” Anthony says. “Half of them look like they can’t party in the city yet. Now they’re going to try to unite everybody. It’s a big step for these guys. But the way they’ve presented themselves, the medium they have, I think they can handle it.”

“They were all crappy pitches, not where I wanted them,” he said. “I need to do better. I need to pick up this team. I need to carry my weight.”

“When you’re a back-end reliever,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said, “unless you’re extraordinarily dominant, you’re only talked about when you suffer, when you struggle. So for him, he can handle it mentally. He can handle it physically.”

The Browns and 49ers also lost Sunday to remain winless; the Vikings had some fun in England; Saints running back Mark Ingram and Colts receiver Kamar Aiken were disappointed in their respective performance; and Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence had an interesting way to describe the Dallas defense.

The over/under closed at 46.5 in this one, with the bad weather causing it to drop from 50 earlier in the week. If you bet the under, however, it didn’t matter what number you got.flames_079

Steelers’ Martavis Bryant says he’s not playing Sunday, demoted to the scout team

The saga involving Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant took another turn on Wednesday. Bryant wants to be more involved in the Steelers’ offense, but it doesn’t sound like he’s going to get what he wants this week.

JuJu has quickly become one of our favorite new receivers. He’s exciting, he’s unique, and he’s one of the biggest Dragonball Z fans in the NFL, too. He’s definitely a player to keep an eye on (and your other eye on his bike).

Conley hasn’t played much this season, held back by shin splints, while second-round pick Obi Melifonwu has yet to see the field. Joseph’s strength, meanwhile, appears to be as a run-stopping safety. Smith and Amerson, however, just have not played well at all. Amerson must have a neon flashing light on him, because opponents can’t wait to target him: So far this season, he’s given up 16 catches on 23 targets for 354 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 151.7, per Next Gen Stats. Smith, meanwhile, is no longer starting, but he’s been a liability when on the field, allowing 14 catches on 19 targets (73.7 percent) for 230 yards, one score and a passer rating of 131.5.

It will be Matt Moore starting at quarterback for the Dolphins for the injured Jay Cutler.

The Browns are winless, so maybe a trip overseas is good for them. The Vikings are 5-2 and playing great defense. With the Browns offense so bad — no matter who plays quarterback — look for the Vikings to eat that unit alive. This will be ugly.

This is a long trip for Oakland, but they will have had 10 days between games, which helps. Buffalo is playing well, but this is a real challenge. The problem is the Oakland defense is bad. LeSean McCoy will run wild.
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