NFL odds and lines, Week 12: Titans vs. Raiders 2017

Despite sitting with 4-6 records, the Raiders and Titans are still in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Both teams are one game back in the wild card chase and the winner on Sunday could be tied for the No. 6 seed. The oddsmakers give Oakland a slight edge with the Raiders a 1.5-point favorite in the opening line, according to OddsShark.com.

Our experts at SBNation.com have a 4-2 split going in favor of the Texans, with Ryan Van Bibber and Stephen White rolling deep with Jacksonville. At ESPN.com, only Mike DItka believes the Jaguars will win out of the network’s 13-man panel.

Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News is a believer in Houston, while five of the eight men of CBSSports.com have Jacksonville covering the 10.5-point spread, but only Ryan Wilson has it winning.

The good news is that Adrian Peterson is going to play in this one. The bad news is that Christian Ponder is going to play too, so is Scott Tolzien, the Packers backup quarterback. Adrian Peterson almost single-handedly beat the Packers last season, rushing for a 199 yards and one touchdown (plus a receiving touchdown) in a Week 17 win.

Green Bay is the better team, quarterbacks being a push in this case. But are you really confident enough in the Packers without Aaron Rodgers to win by five points?

Quarterback issues remain a common problem in Cleveland, but the Browns failed on Sunday largely because they couldn’t win the turnover battle. The depth of the team needs to be overhauled, and it’s something that will happen slowly over time. Blocked punts for touchdowns and fumbles are products of a team that needs more experience, as it’s often easy to overlook how young this team is.
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The Bears placed him on the injured reserve with a designation to return

Arizona hasn’t finished a season above .500 since going 10-6 four years ago, Kurt Warner’s last season in the NFL. In the three years following that season, they started no fewer than three quarterbacks per year, with Derek Anderson, John Skelton, Max Hall, Kevin Kolb, Richard Bartel, Ryan Lindley, and Brian Hoyer all attempting passes for the Cardinals in a three-year span.

They hoped to finally put that to rest by acquiring Carson Palmer in the offseason, but even he has had his struggles this year. Luckily for Arizona, with this defense, they don’t need much.

The Cardinals are 4-4 at the midway point thanks to a defense that advanced stats website Football Outsiders ranks first in the NFL by their DVOA measure. With stars like Daryl Washington, Patrick Peterson, Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett, plus NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Tyrann Mathieu, the Cards are tough against both the pass and the run.
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If Palmer can just run an average offense, and avoid turnovers unlike he has, with 14 interceptions in eight games, then Arizona could be headed back to the playoffs for the first time since the Warner era. If he doesn’t, they might have to dip right back into the veteran quarterback pool and hope to get lucky.
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The Bears placed him on the injured reserve with a designation to return, but the earliest he could return is in eight weeks. His regular season is over, and as a free agent to be, so too could his Bears career.

Tennessee’s playoff chances took a major hit on Sunday with the Titans’ loss to Jacksonville, but the team will likely be forced to play the rest of the season without starting quarterback Jake Locker. Locker suffered what is believed to be a Lisfranc foot injury and will almost certainly be out for the year.

Week 11 NFL preview: Redskins vs. Eagles

Is Robert Griffin III against a woeful Eagles defense enough to get the Redskins a win? Or can Nick Foles keep Philly’s resurgent offense humming and break the team’s home losing streak? Matt Ufford and the crew preview the game and make their predictions.

The Philadelphia Eagles are tied for first place in their division with a .500 record. The last-place Redskins are only one game behind in the loss column at 3-6. The terrible yet intriguing NFC East race gears up for the home stretch this week as the Eagles take on the Redskins in Philly, where Riley Cooper has come alive with Nick Foles under center. The Uffsides gang can’t quite put their finger on why his rapport with Michael Vick wasn’t as strong…
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James Laurinaitis Limited Jersey McKay shows up on the 14-loss list twice, but he’s not alone. Bennett had moderate success as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in the ’70s and ’80s, but when the Bucs hired him in 1985, he was semi-retired. It showed.

That is, if he’s given the chance…

During the 36 seasons of 14-or-more losses, there have been seven instances of a coach being fired during the season. If it’s that hard to get fired during the year, then you can get a sense of how bad things have to be in order for it to happen:

Kay Stephenson went 2-14 for the Bills during his first season as a head coach in 1984, but was retained for another year. He started the season 0-4 and was replaced by Hank Bullough, before Buffalo ultimately finished 2-14 for the second-straight year. The team retained Bullough for the next season but then fired him in the middle of the season, replacing him with a guy named Marv Levy, who would later lead them to four straight Super Bowl appearances.

Seahawks punter Jon Ryan bids strange farewell to Stephen Hauschka on Twitter

Elite Kids Frank Zombo Jersey Seahawks punter Jon Ryan had a close relationship with kicker Stephen Hauschka in Seattle.

So Ryan can probably get away with the funny Twitter message he posted after news broke Thursday that Hauschka had signed a four-year, $12.4 million contract with the Bills.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier this week that if things stayed status quo, assume we are not going to the 2018 Winter Olympics. Many read that as an inference that the league wants the players to give something back so they can participate.

I don’t know what it can be from the players’ perspective,” Fehr told ESPN in a phone interview Thursday. Obviously the players are not about to engage in collective bargaining in return for getting an opportunity to go to the Olympics for which they aren’t being paid, where very valuable things would go elsewhere in return for that.”

It has been speculated the NHL might sign off on the Olympics in return for assurances from the players not to opt out of the CBA in 2020 and allowing the CBA to run its full course to 2022.

Elite Kids Laremy Tunsil Jersey Never mind all the bargaining tactics, the rhetoric and the grandstanding: The NHL and its players will be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Book it.

NFL referees have long had the authority to eject players for what the rule book terms flagrant incidents of unnecessary roughness, but rarely have they used it. (Flagrant is defined in the NFL rule book as an action that is extremely objectionable, conspicuous, unnecessary, avoidable or gratuitous.)

Flagrant hits more commonly have resulted in heavy fines.

This Mike Williams is a lot closer to another Mike, Evans with Tampa Bay.

Given all the wideout talent Swinney is had in building the Tigers into a College Football Playoff contender and offensive juggernaut, he believes Williams transcends them all — including the Texans’ DeAndre Hopkins and the Bills’ Sammy Watkins.

He is the complete package, the coach said. He is the great combination of everything we’ve had come through here. He is the most complete. He is got just the dog toughness of Jaron Brown and Adam Humphries. He is got the freaky athleticism and ball skills of DeAndre Hopkins. He is got the explosive power of Sammy.

The name and the program make it convenient to associate Williams with other wide receiver prospects past and present. But the team that takes him should quickly appreciate — and benefit from — his unique pedigree.

San Diego also will have its eyes on Watson should he fall, but it will need to consider Trubisky as Philip Rivers’ successor, too. Like Rivers, Trubisky doesn’t come in with the prettiest mechanics and is a tough, gritty competitor. Trubisky can deliver the same zip and accuracy out of the pocket, and he can push the ball downfield outside when needed.

I hate when people try me, Bradley recalled Hernandez later saying as they exited the nightclub.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the double murder charges and a witness intimidation charge for allegedly shooting Bradley in Florida in February 2013, an apparent attempt to keep him silent about the killings. The 27-year-old Hernandez already is serving a life sentence for the 2013 shooting death of Odin L. Lloyd.

Bradley is serving a prison sentence for an unrelated Connecticut nightclub shooting.25

Family of Hall of Famer Gale Sayers discusses his dementia

The family of former running back Gale Sayers discussed the Hall of Famer’s dementia with the Kansas City Star, saying they want to help other families who are going through similar circumstances.

When Sayers sued the NFL over concussions in January 2014, it was stated in the lawsuit that he suffered from “loss of memory, dementia, Alzheimer’s, neurological disorder, depression, sleep problems and irritability,” but his family hadn’t publicly discussed his battle.

Sayer’s wife, Ardie, says that the 73-year-old is still physically strong, but she added that the “brain controls everything, doesn’t it?”

Gale Sayers is described by NFL greats as one of the best running backs of all time.

“You build memories all your life, and the next thing you know you don’t remember anything,” Roger Sayers said to the newspaper. “It’s just tough.”

Elite Youth Nick Martin Jersey Sources told ESPN.com that Wolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau met with Casspi over dinner this weekend in New Orleans in advance of the Wolves’ road game Sunday night against the Pelicans.

Before the game, Thibodeau declined to say much about the looming deal with Casspi beyond confirming to reporters that “we’re talking to him.”

Elite Youth Maxx Williams Jersey When asked about his sit-down with Casspi in New Orleans, Thibodeau would only say: “It’s possible we had a meeting.”

But sources say Casspi is indeed scheduled to fly to Minneapolis with the Wolves on Sunday night after their game in New Orleans.

With the Wolves playing Sunday night, Casspi’s deal is likely to be finalized Monday, sources said.

The Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers are among the playoff teams that also expressed interest in Casspi since he became a free agent. The 28-year-old is the first Israeli to play in the NBA and figures to complement Wolves stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins given his ability to play both as a small forward and a small-ball power forward who can shoot from deep.

Jermichael Finley injury: Tight end to be released from hospital on Thursday, per report

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Thursday, Jason La Canfora with CBS Sports reported on Wednesday.

Finley was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of the Packers’ win over the Browns last week after taking an ugly hit to the helmet from Tashaun Gipson. Finley reportedly suffered a bruised spinal cord in the hit.

Doctors don’t think the injury will permanently sideline Finley’s career, but many people expect the Packers to place him on the injured reserve in the coming days. He was on his feet and walking after the night in the intensive care unit as a precaution.

Kevin Love Kids Jersey Finley had 25 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Finley’s injury was yet another in a long line for the Packers this season. Linebacker Clay Matthews is out with a broken thumb and wide receiver James Jones missed Week 7 with a knee injury.

Jermey Parnell Kids Jersey There was also a reason for this struggle: The secondary was young as hell. Two 2015 contributors and potential 2016 starters (corner Clint Stephens, safety Ben Hale) missed all or most of the season with injury, leaving three sophomores and two freshmen among BGSU’s top six DBs. And with senior corner Will Watson missing the first half of the season as well, that inserted another freshman into the mix early on.

Those freshmen and sophomores are now sophomores and juniors. Safeties Jamari Bozeman, Tavaraus Wade, Antonyo Sotolongo, and Jerry McBride III all made at last 19 tackles last year and combined for three tackles for loss and 10 passes defensed. There might be some potential there.

Plus, Stephens (a junior) and Hale (senior) are back. And of the five players who recorded at least 2.5 sacks last year, three return: ends David Konowalski and Tyrik Jones and tackle Gus Schwieterman.

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March Madness 2017: Live updates as teams qualify for NCAA Tournament bids

The NCAA Tournament Selection Committee has about half of the bracket picked, as the 32 teams that win their conference tournament receive automatic bids for their efforts. Though they can breathe easily knowing they’ll be on the bracket somewhere, they still await Selection Sunday to find out what their path to the championship looks like as they’re seeded and placed in one of the four regions.

While winning the conference looks pretty on paper and serves as the ultimate last-minute resume boost, it means little in terms of tournament success. Four of the past five NCAA tournament winners didn’t win their conference tournament.

The Redbirds’ failure to defeat Wichita State in the Arch Madness final likely cost them a place, particularly since the game was the Shockers’ second consecutive blowout win in the series. Illinois State’s home win over Wichita State is its lone triumph over a Top-50 foe in three tries. The Redbirds’ 2-4 record against the Top 100 won’t help either, not when quality wins seem to be the Selection Committee’s most important criteria. If Dan Muller’s team sneaks in, it will be due to a 12-6 record away from Normal.

There’s a common saying throughout this season that this is a “wide-open year” in college basketball. That’s probably not entirely true, as there seem to be about 12-15 teams that have distanced themselves from the rest of the country as the season has turned the stretch and headed for home. The difference between those 12-15 contenders, however, is as thin as it’s been in any season of recent memory.

When the bracket is released in full, the predictions will start flowing in and they won’t stop until the first major wave of games tip off on Thursday afternoon. But what about some predictions regarding the thing that will lead to the massive onslaught of even more predictions? Would you enjoy that?
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