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Quirks of an imperfect study aside, there was some genuinely useful information to be gleamed. Among the three teams most-often discussed as likely to relocate to Los Angeles in 2016, the Chargers appear to be the healthiest from a fan support perspective. They ranked a respectably middling 17th on this list — pretty good, considering San Diego has just four playoff wins in its six appearances in the last 15 years.
The Rams are 23rd despite winning a Super Bowl within the scope of the study (albeit at outer boundary) and the Raiders are way down at 30th, despite having one of the rowdiest end zone sections in the league.
Joining the Raiders in the basement are the Cleveland Browns (31st) and Miami Dolphins (32nd). Being good once upon time apparently doesn’t give teams that much cachet with fans. In the Browns’ case, it probably also doesn’t help that the team was deactivated for three seasons after Art Modell moved the original franchise to Baltimore.
The Dolphins don’t have that excuse. The study notes that Florida teams tend to do poorly in studies like this, but Miami fans still fall well short of the Jaguars (29th) and Buccaneers (21st).
Game Kids Wallace Gilberry Jersey After the signing was announced, Chiefs GM John Dorsey spoke about how much Houston means to the team. “He¡¯s one of the top players in the National Football League and a premier pass rusher,” Dorsey said. “As we¡¯ve said from the beginning, Justin the football player, and the person, is someone we wanted to be a part of our organization. We are very happy that he will remain a member of the Chiefs.”
The Thunder had won 12 consecutive road games in which Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double before Friday’s loss at Minnesota. But when Westbrook did it again Sunday night in Sacramento, OKC moved to 16-4 overall in his triple-double games this season, compared to 9-13 when he doesn’t get all the way there. So please tell me, when it comes to the Thunder, how we can be talking about triple-doubles too much. The bigger question, to us, is how much OKC’s 2-5 record in games decided by a margin of one or two points will come ?back to haunt the Thunder in terms of playoff position. Only Minnesota (0-5) and Denver (1-5) are worse in that situation.
ESPN college basketball analyst and international draft expert Fran Fraschilla runs down his list of the 12 best international basketball leagues, with NBA prospects to watch.
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Case in point: Former New York Knicks star Stephon Marbury, who earned more than $150 million in 13 NBA seasons. He jumped to the CBA in 2010, won three championships and became beloved in China. The erstwhile lottery pick now has a small museum and a statue dedicated to him in Beijing, and a postage stamp in his honor. He also appeared in a theatrical production that portrayed his life story, and a movie is in production.
Authentic Youth Logan Thomas Jersey In the meantime, the Niners could at least begin working toward striking a deal with Shanahan. Nothing could be officially announced, but the Niners could line up a deal and allow Shanahan to start working behind the scenes to assemble a staff. While that could be considered a distraction for Shanahan in the runup to a possible Super Bowl appearance, if anyone would understand, it would be Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, who did something similar a couple years ago when he was with Seattle and Atlanta was set to hire him.
The Howard Books Division of Simon & Schuster, according to Deadline.com, have purchased the publishing rights to former NFL tight end Ben Utecht’s memoir, Counting the Days Until My Mind Slips Away: A Love Letter To My Family. The story details the 34-year-old’s battle with memory loss and long-term neurological damage following a concussion-laden football career.
Utecht played five seasons in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts in 2007 before retiring in 2009 at the age of 28. He left the game after sustaining his fifth documented concussion. He says that he has been experiencing memory loss since the age of 30.
After retiring, Utecht began to pursue a career in music. His story became a national one in the summer of 2014 when his song, “You Will Always Be My Girl,” a love letter to his wife and girls from the perspective an aging football player who may not remember who they are one day to brain injuries, went viral.
Limited Kids Omar Infante Jersey X factor: Packers tight end Jared Cook made the catch of the season to set up the winning field goal in Dallas. His impact on the Packers’ season has been nothing short of transcendent since returning from an ankle injury.
The best way to illustrate it: When Cook is on the field, Rodgers has thrown touchdown passes at about twice the rate that he did when Cook was injured. The Falcons had trouble against tight ends during the regular season, giving up 86 receptions for 988 yards and eight touchdowns to them. Those numbers ranked No. 23, 24 and 26 in the NFL, respectively.
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Bottom line: There isn’t going to be much defense in this game. Las Vegas gets it and has established a huge over/under of 60. The Falcons are the early favorite, but after watching Rodgers the past two months, are you ready to bet against him?
He and Robert Griffin III explained what looked like an argument in the huddle was just competitiveness, but when the Browns won their first game because San Diego had to rush a last-play attempted field goal, Pryor pointed out why he was so upset about using that timeout. If the Chargers had one, he said, there would have been no rush. Timeouts, he said, are important.
That emotional approach is also part of who Pryor is. And he showed it when discussed the pregame talk he heard from a pastor before the Browns’ finale in Pittsburgh.
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He said the pastor talked about growing up and every Sunday sitting down in front of the TV to watch the Browns play. Sitting with him was his father. Then he said the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers would be the same. He’d watch the game with his father, who was still alive.
“It’s kind of the reason why I play this sport,” Pryor said. “But I never did really realize or have it come to my mind how important that is.
In a class full of underwhelming selections, a few players have managed to stand out as some of the NFL’s top talents. Particularly in the second and third rounds, where the Seattle Seahawks struck gold.
The Seahawks nabbed First Team All-Pro middle linebacker Bobby Wagner in the second round and the team’s two-time Pro Bowl franchise quarterback Russell Wilson in the third. After the pair helped the Seahawks make it to back-to-back Super Bowls and earn a Lombardi Trophy in 2013, they each earned big pay days during the 2014 offseason.
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Seattle added four years and $43 million to the contract of Wagner, while Wilson earned a franchise quarterback contract, signing a four-year, $87.6 million extension with $60 million guaranteed.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season took a drastic turn for the worse when Ben Roethlisberger injured his knee in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams. They hung on to win that game thanks to their defense, but lost in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens the following week. Now they head to the West Coast for a Monday Night Football matchup with the San Diego Chargers.
Despite coming into the NFL all the way back in 2002 and even with extremely low expectations as the team’s starting quarterback this year, McCown is playing at a historic level for the Browns in his first season with the team. Just two weeks after Browns fans chanted for backup quarterback Johnny Manziel, McCown is making headlines for his play in Cleveland.
Against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, McCown set multiple milestones, including the Browns franchise record for single-game passing yardage with 457. In the past three games, McCown has thrown for 1,154 yards, another team record. He’s also the first Browns quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in three consecutive games.
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McCown and the Browns are coming off a thrilling 33-30 overtime victory over the AFC North rival Ravens, the type of game Cleveland is typically on the losing side of — and not just because it entered the matchup with a paltry 8-24 all-time record against the Ravens. The Browns have a reputation for finding a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. In Week 4, the Browns fought the San Diego Chargers for a hard four quarters, but after an offsides penalty, they lost by a field goal as time expired.
Golden Tate knows people see what he¡¯s able to do on the field. He knows people watch him seemingly bend his away around opponents. But he insists it¡¯s not because of what many think.
Tate has a high level of athleticism. But flexibility? Not so much, he insists.
Game Youth Steve Larmer Jersey The Giants went to the top of the free-agent market and plucked players as if they were presents underneath the Christmas tree. They landed the top pass-rusher in Olivier Vernon, top run-stuffer in Damon Harrison and who they believed was the best cornerback in Janoris Jenkins — they were right — on the market.
More often than not, this approach has met with disaster (see: Washington Redskins, recent history). It is considered among the quickest ways to set back a franchise for years by tying up large sums of money in players their former teams allowed to walk. Free agents are often free agents for a reason.
Yet, somehow, the Giants found a way to do it effectively with their big-money expenditures and the bit pieces alike. They flat-out hit the free-agent jackpot, and it’s at the very top of the list of why they’ve gone from six-win team to Super Bowl contender.
The Giants (11-5) have a wild-card playoff game Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. They’ll be counting heavily on their offseason acquisitions.
The fact that the Giants turned it around isn’t stunning. They already had a veteran quarterback in place. It’s the suddenness of the U-turn and the impact of the new pieces that was surprising.
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“I hope, like I said last week — I want him to get the ball 20 times this week. We¡¯ll see what happens, we¡¯ll see how the game goes. He¡¯s been great about it, he¡¯s been on point. He¡¯s been tremendous in rehab through the process. Just to make it back physically is one, but mentally he made it back as well. We¡¯re really proud of him.”
Now, the Warriors defense looks as tough as ever.
The Warriors smother their man on defense because they know the help is always there. Everyone can switch, and everyone knows where they should be. It forces teams into tough situations, like in the opening minute of Golden State¡¯s Wednesday win over Toronto when DeMar DeRozan bailed Toronto out with a Kobe-like contested fadeaway jump shot.
Authentic Womens Ryane Clowe Jersey That effort puts the Warriors third in the NBA in defensive efficiency, holding teams to 101.3 points per 100 possessions. For context, the Lakers give up 110, the Knicks give up 107.9, and the Grizzlies 100.5.
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Kerr told reporters in November that Durant had been ¡°inconsistent¡± defensively, and that his matriculation into their scheme was a learning process. But KD has quickly surged ahead of the curve. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, and player efficiency rating, and could enter his hat into the Defensive Player of the Year award race, as well.
The home run rate may have been a bit fluky – his 22.1% home run-to-flyball ratio was tops in baseball. Niese may have not been a good fit for the Pirates philosophy of pitching fastballs inside, so perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. A one-year deal worth around $6-7 million would probably land him at this point.
Feldman was primarily a reliever last year for the Astros and Jays, but he did make five starts with a 3.65 ERA in those starts. Overall, he had a 3.97 ERA in 77 innings and was a 0.4 WAR pitcher, according to Fangraphs.
While Brady and Roethlisberger stand out on that AFC playoff quarterback list as guys who have delivered multiple championships, Smith has had his share of postseason success as well. Smith doesn’t fire you up the way those guys do, but it’s not crazy to think he can get it done.
See what the latest playoff picture looks like and simulate your own playoff scenarios.
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â€œWe know who we are. We know what we are,â€ tight end Eric Ebron said. â€œWe let the opportunity when we went to Green Bay last time slip away from us. We obviously know we can put up points, so weâ€™re going to try to do our best and hopefully we donâ€™t fall short like this game.â€
Who, though, does Ebron believe the Lions to be?
â€œWeâ€™re a good team. Weâ€™re a damn good team,â€ Ebron said. â€œWe just gotta finish games. Thatâ€™s what weâ€™re known to do. We just gotta finish this one. We fell two games short now, we didnâ€™t finish.â€
For their season to definitively continue beyond Sunday, the Lions have to rediscover the identity they once possessed, one of a team that believed in the fourth quarter, over and over again.
Game Mens Tre Jackson Jersey Otherwise, the Lions might be headed home from Ford Field next Sunday for good for the season.
Odell Beckham Jr. got suspended and gave the lamest apology ever, but that’s not even the half of it! Danny, Stephen and myself hash it out on the podcast this week, with a special emphasis on the PR jockeying after the fact and how the NFL media changed the whole narrative about the incident.
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And that’s not all …
We also have a good discussion about the state of affairs in Denver. The Broncos problems go beyond just Osweiler versus Manning. Then we’ve got the Bengals, the deepest team in the league right now, but one that could be looking up at the Steelers in the standings if things don’t go well while Andy Dalton’s on the shelf.
Buffalo’s pass defense was atrocious against Washington last week, allowing Kirk Cousins to throw for 319 yards and four touchdown passes. But it doesn’t appear as if the Cowboys will be in position to take advantage of any weak points in the Bills’ secondary; they’re currently ranked 29th in the league in passing.
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Though the Bills’ defense received a lot of hype heading into the year, the play of quarterback Tyrod Taylor may be their biggest story of the season. Taylor, who never started a game in his career before 2015, has posted an average QB rating of 100.3 since Oct. 11.
One of the biggest reason for the recent success of the Bills’ passing game has been the re-emergence of Sammy Watkins, who’s rebounded after a sluggish start to the year. Watkins has reeled in six touchdown catches over his last four games and recorded 100 or more receiving yards in three of those contests.
Instead of playing for a playoff berth like some expected, Buffalo will try to reach the .500 mark before the season concludes. Only one picker at both ESPN and CBS Sports is taking the Cowboys, while all eight of our experts at SB Nation expect the Bills to win.
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Last week the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement. If it is ratified by both sides next month, the league will be assured of labor peace for the next six years.
If you don’t have a law degree or an ability to commit complex acronyms to memory it can be pretty hard to follow. So with the help of salary-cap guru/godfather Larry Coon, here’s a simpler way to learn some of the new rules and how they can affect your favorite team or player.
Thomas was on the bench late in the third quarter when, after Boston’s starters had whittled a 17-point deficit as low as four, the Grizzlies responded by pushing their lead back to nine before the end of the frame. Only recently has Stevens started playing Thomas at the start of fourth quarter and Thomas simply refused to let this game get away.
Thomas scored nine points in the first 1:57 of the fourth quarter then fed Amir Johnson for a layup that made it a one-possession game. A Thomas 3-pointer with 7:52 to play in regulation tied the game and set up a thrilling finish in which Thomas dueled with Memphis guard Mike Conley.
It waited on Tyreke Evans after the once-core player missed 11 months because of a problematic right knee, and through dings to Dante Cunningham (12 games missed), E’Twaun Moore (3) and Holiday again (3).
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It’s also still waiting on the development of rookies Cheick Diallo and Buddy Hield, the latter of whom has found his range since a bump to the first unit (52 percent from 3 in December). Pelicans players have missed 107 games this season, with 79 a result of injury, illness or injury-related rest.