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Dolphins Fan

What Lamar Miller’s Injury means for the Dolphin run game posted by Dolphins Fan

If you thought the Miami Dolphins were in dire straits at the running back position when they lost Knowshon Moreno with a season ending injury, things got even worse when Lamar Miller left the San Diego game with an injury.

This is a make or break moment for the Dolphins as they will have to dig deep into their roster for production on the ground.

Miami has struggled this year but the one lone bright spot has been their run game, averaging almost 130 yards a game. It was a constant, and a point of stability for an otherwise struggling offense. Moreno and Miller work a great one, two duo.

Miller was having a breakout season, setting a career high in rushing touchdowns when he got his third in Week 6 against the Packers. He averaged more than five yards per carry in three of the first four games and ran for a career-best 108 yards on 15 carries in Week 3 against the Chiefs. 

The fourth round pick was on pace for 200 carries and more than 1,000 yards, both of which would be career highs. But now with both of these work horses out, the odds of maintaining that level of production is quite unlikely.

 So now the offense falls on the arm of quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. He hasn’t been electric but now he will to step up. If there was ever a moment to solidify oneself as the framchise quarterback for this team, the quarterback to build a team around for years and years to come, this is that moment.

If Tannehill can navigate the rest of this season relatively unscathed, he will get amazing on the job training in shouldering an entire offense. He will build the confidence of his teammates that

Continue reading "What Lamar Miller’s Injury means ..."


Packers Fan

What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay posted by Packers Fan

Green Bay Packers safety Morgan Burnett should suit up and be full go for Sunday’s showdown with inter-division rivals, the Chicago Bears. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Packers’ secondary was very much exposed last week when the Saints racked up 44 points with 311 yards through the air. Drew Brees completed 84% of his passes with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s clear Burnett’s veteran experience on the back end of the defense with communication and getting these younger corners lined up accordingly, is essential to the Packers success defensively.

Through seven games, the fifth-year pro out of Georgia Tech notched 59 tackles, 49 of them solo tackles; but more importantly was the elimination of coverage break downs that lead to big play passes that can be so devastating to a team’s morale. And Brees crushed the Packers morale as he had two deep balls, each over 40 yards, that led to touchdowns.

Even with Burnett back, the others in the secondary will need to play extra efficient as the Bears have 3 very tall, very athletic receivers in Marshall, Jeffrey, and the tight end Bennett. When these two teams faced off in week 4, the Packers were able to limit the 3 playmakers to under 200 yards receiving, combined.

The Packers Safety echoed that sentiment saying it takes a group effort to corral all three.

"Those guys are very athletic," he said. "They have big playmaking ability and they’re led by Jay Cutler so we have to be sound in our technique and be accountable to one another and trust the defense, and allow us to make plays.”

Continue reading "What Morgan Burnett’s return means for Green Bay"

Bears Fan

Why the Bears need WR Marquess Wilson to suit up against Green Bay posted by Bears Fan

For the first time in three months, Bears wide receiver Marquess Wilson practiced as the Bears get ready to take on inter-divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

Wilson fractured his clavicle at practice on Aug. 4 and has been on the injured reserve list ever since. Now that Wilson is back at practice, the Bears have 3 weeks to decide whether to activate him to their roster or keep him on the injured reserve.

The answer is clear cut as the Bears need all the help they can on offense. They rank 19th in scoring and their offense is limited to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The Bears need that #3 receiver to add depth and complexity to their passing game, and allow another option for Cutler to go to.

The Packers, best believe, will be ready for the Bears as they get their seasoned safety, Morgan Burnett, back. They were exposed last week against the Saints but now with a veteran in the defensive secondary, the Packers coverage will be tightened up.

The only negative side to activating Wilson is the possibility of pushing him too hard, too fast, and risk causing a more serious injury that will keep him out indefinitely. While this is a valid concern, one could argue that is the case with every player in the NFL. The game has gotten so fast, the players so big and strong, that injuries, season ending injuries, are becoming more and more commonplace. So to err on the side of caution is valid but when a player feels good to go, they should be allowed to suit and help the team do what it needs to do, win games.

They need to make a decision quickly to keep Wilson on their roster if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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Packers Fan

How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers? posted by Packers Fan

The Green Bay Packers were 8-7-1 last year, figuring in the latest tied game and only the 19th  time since 1974. They won the NFC North despite their quarterback Aaron Rodgers sidelined in the first half of the year. This season, the Packers are expected to contend anew for the Super Bowl.

Rodgers had led the Packers to a good start last year with a 5-2 record. But he broke his collarbone in a game against the Bears. He was out for weeks and returned to beat Chicago in a rematch. Yet he was not a 100 percent and failed to help the Packers in preventing a loss to the 49ers.

This year, Packers fans hope that Rodgers would be back to 100%.  The front office surprisingly failed to re-sign Evan Dietrich-Smith even with Rodgers’ pleas. It remains to be seen whether  rookie Corey Linsley will be able to fill in Smith’s shoes, but all signs point he won’t be enough.

The offense will get a boost with the return of Bryan Bulaga who tore his ACL last year. He’ll be the right tackle across sophomore David Bakhtiari, who performed creditably in his rookie season. Bakhtiari surrendered eight sacks last year, but four came in the first month of the season.

The big news for the Packers in the off-season was the acquisition of Julius Peppers from Chicago. But there will be questions on how Peppers will perform this year, as he is now 34 and is slowing down.

The Packers also picked Ha Ha Clinton-Dix with the number 21 pick. Dix =is expected to start next to talented safety Morgan Burnett.  They will also benefit from the return of Casey Hayward who missed all but three games last season.

Continue reading "How Good Are The 2014 Green Bay Packers?"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

It was an eventful and unpredictable NFL Draft, even after the craziness that ensued in round one Thursday night. Friday night showcased rounds two and three, while Sunday wrapped up the draft with rounds four through seven. Let’s run through the major storylines that came out of the 2013 NFL Draft!

*Pardon for the delay. This is what happens when life throws the draft, C2E2, and the impetus to change jobs all in one weekend.

 

-After slipping through the first round despite several reported landing spots, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o became a San Diego Charger. The Chargers traded picks 45 and 110 to the Cardinals for pick number 38, allowing them to move up for Te’o. At that point in the draft, the drama-laden linebacker had great value. The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme, but he can still be a valuable inside presence for them.

 

-On the very next pick after Te’o was selected, the New York Jets saw a “franchise” quarterback fall right into their laps at number 39 overall with Geno Smith. Smith increases the QB count on the Jets roster all the way up to six, which includes Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard. Yeah… someone’s gonna get cut. The obvious cut is Tebow. But then who? Do you cut the veteran Garrard, whom you just brought in? Or do you take the massive cap hit and release Sanchez? Or are you giving up on the idea that McElroy can be anything? The drama is ratcheted up in New York, and I’m gonna love every minute of it.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

The 2013 Divisional Round is completed! The best weekend in football lived up to the hype, with crazy finishes (double overtimes) and historic performances. Let’s not put off this any longer. It’s time for The Final Drive!

(12-6) Baltimore Ravens 38

(13-4) Denver Broncos 35

After the Ravens were forced to punt on their opening possession, this game got crazy… fast. Trindon Holliday took that punt return back 90 yards for the first score. A 59-yard pass to a streaking Torrey Smith (who was torching Champ Bailey deep most of the day) from Joe Flacco tied the game up. On Denver’s ensuing drive, a pass from Peyton Manning tipped off the hands of Eric Decker into the arms of Corey Graham, who boomeranged it to make the score 14-7 Ravens. Manning took the ball right back and marched his team 74 yards in 11 plays, ending with a pinpoint pass to old friend Brandon Stokley on the side of the endzone. 14-14. Were you still breathing at this point? A score from both teams in the second quarter kept the game tied at 21 going into halftime. And the drama did not subside in the start of a crazy NFL weekend.

Denver Head Coach John Fox will (and should) catch a lot of flak for not even attempting to try to get in field goal range with two timeouts and 20-plus seconds left on the clock. (As we would see later in the weekend, that’s not an impossible feat to accomplish.) Fox got extremely conservative in the offensive play-calling, leaning on the run too often when he had one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time on the field. (Though doesn’t Peyton have full authority to change those calls at the line? Hm.) Not going for a third down conversion late in the fourth allowed the Ravens to get the ball back with just enough time to make something happen. And they certainly did.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round posted by Joe Anello

Alright everyone, it’s my favorite football weekend of the entire season! At this point we have the eight best teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi Trophy, including the two greatest QB’s of our era in the AFC and a crazy Saturday night rematch in the NFC. I have stumbled out of the gates with my picks, currently standing at 1-3 after the wild card round. I owe that to every favorite covering last week and my apparently desperate need to pick against almost all of them. This week shall be different! I hope. Let’s get to The Opening Drive of the Divisional Round! (As always, point spreads are obtained from VegasInsider.com.)

 

(11-6) Baltimore Ravens at

(13-3) Denver Broncos

4:30 PM ET, CBS

This is the first of two AFC rematches that were completely one-sided in the first go-rounds. The Broncos slapped around the Ravens 34-17 in week 15, part of their 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and claim the one seed. In that game, Peyton Manning had very pedestrian numbers, but was bolstered by ground game that featured 45 carries, the most of any Manning team in his career. Their 163 yards pounded a then-short-staffed Raven defense. This game will be different, in that Baltimore is much healthier now. Ray Lewis is back, as is linebacker Danel Ellerbee. Still, the Raven corners are average at best, so they’re not going to be able to contain Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Divisional Round"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

Wild Card weekend in the NFL is a wrap! Note that this late posting is a testament to the dangers of kitties. (When you’re allergic to them.) There were bad offenses, great defenses, and ugly injuries to be found in the four match-ups, so let’s get through all the stories in The Final Drive!

(13-4) Houston Texans 19

(10-7) Cincinnati Bengals 13

The first half was a show of ugly offense, with three field goals by the Texans and only a pick-six by the Bengals to account for all the points on the board. Houston suffered because of failed third down conversions and a drop from Andre Johnson at the goal line, forcing them to settle for kicks. Andy Dalton threw a costly interception, but it was essentially wiped away as Leon Hall picked a Schaub pass and ran it back 21 yards to take a momentary lead. But the Bengal offense didn’t score at all in the first half. They barely improved.

In a trending theme of Saturday passing statistics, Cincinnati had -6 net yards passing at halftime. That prompted a “U-G-L-Y. You ain’t got no alibi. It’s ugly.” from Mike Mayock at halftime. (You have no idea how much Microsoft Word just hated that sentence.) When the Texans came out in the third quarter and mounted a touchdown drive, it practically was an insurmountable lead. The Bengals had no chance.

On a key drive in the fourth quarter, (while they were only down six), the Bengals were closing in on the redzone when they had to burn a timeout (play-calling disaster). On the ensuing play, they lost five yards due to a false start penalty. Then they went for it on fourth down (and failed), meaning the six point lead held.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round posted by Joe Anello

It’s that time of year. The NFL Playoffs are upon us, and with it come the unmitigated disasters that are my picks against the spread. (Which means I’m not picking winners or losers, but I’m predicting if a team will win by or keep it closer than the designated spread. Odds are grabbed from VegasInsider.com.) We’ve got some stellar match-ups as well, so without any further BS, it’s time to start the playoffs with this Wild Card edition of The Opening Drive!

(10-6) Cincinnati Bengals at

(12-4) Houston Texans

4:30 PM ET, NBC

In typical playoff fashion, the Wild Card round starts with what is most likely to be the most lackluster match-up of the weekend. This solid Bengals team (that apparently no one outside of Cincinnati believes in) heads to Houston to face a Texan squad that was in near free-fall the last month of the season. It’s not exactly thrilling drama (even though it is a rematch of last year’s playoff game), but this I think game is going to very tight. The Bengals can’t explode offensively and the Texans haven’t been lighting up the scoreboards lately. They’d prefer to get Arian Foster going anyway, which means a slower paced game, full of that exciting clock management stuff. Cincy has a shot at getting passes completed on the outside if A.J. Green can handle the one-on-one match-up with corner Jonathan Joseph. I believe he can, so Andy Dalton has to be able to find him consistently in order to free up the running game and the underneath passes to tight end Jermaine Gresham.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Wild Card Round"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Preview: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears posted by Joe Anello

You know the rivalry. It’s the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears in a December game. It’s been 13 weeks since these teams met on the first Thursday nighter of the season, and each have had ups and downs in that time, especially the Bears, who now are fighting for their playoff lives.

 

(9-4) Green Bay Packers at

(8-5) Chicago Bears 

The Offense

The Bear offensive line doesn’t need this news, but Clay Matthews will be back on the field. The man who terrorized J’Marcus Webb in the first match-up will be on the outside again, giving the Packers their pass rush back. Like always, Webb will need help if they’re going to keep Matthews off the stat sheet. But Mike Tice should know how to offset this disadvantage: run the ball. Give Matt Forte and Michael Bush (who will be limited if he plays with a rib injury) about 30-35 carries and get the front seven off Jay Cutler’s case. This way Cutler can get freed up for play-action throws to Marshall, which are less likely to be into triple-coverage or be sat on by an opportunistic defense (that is missing defensive back Charles Woodson).   

Brandon Marshall made news this week by daring the Packers to give him single coverage. Let me tell you something Brandon: it won’t happen. Once. You’re the best/only consistent passing option on this offense, so you’re getting bracket coverage on every play. What would be nice is if the other Bear receivers could beat single coverage on the outside. Alshon Jeffery is the most likely option, but he’s still reaching for his potential. And is anyone really going to count on Devin Hester? I’m not.

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Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: Trouble in Denver? (Shutdown Corner)

Maybe Peyton Manning needs to take a cue from Aaron Rodgers this week. Everyone might need to R-E-L-A-X on the Denver Broncos a bit.  In this violently changing NFL, it would be surprising if a team didn’t have a bad loss on their record. The Arizona Cardinals are 9-1 and even they have a 21-point loss, to Denver, on their resume (albeit when they played a decent part of that game with third-string quarterback Logan Thomas). The Broncos’ 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams wasn’t good. It’s quite possible we look back on it as the game that cost the Broncos a first-round bye, or the AFC West. But it’s also somewhat understandable. The Rams played well. It happens. And when the Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball during the game, it eliminated a big part of the game plan. Andre Caldwell and Jacob Tamme just can’t do the things Sanders and Thomas do. The Broncos still should probably score more than seven points, but one bad game doesn’t mean they’re not a good team. The Patriots have taken a couple bad losses. The Cardinals were blown out once. The Packers have a few uncompetitive losses. Now the Broncos have a couple, too. If the Broncos’ injuries linger longer than expected, maybe we will have to reevaluate them. And who knows, if the Kansas City Chiefs beat them in a couple weeks at Arrowhead Stadium (don’t discount that happening, with how well the Chiefs are playing), maybe the Broncos will just be one of those really good teams that has to settle for a wild-card spot. But we’ll see about all that. For right now, the Broncos are just fine, even with two losses in three games. A few teams might be playing better, but I wouldn’t rank many ahead of them. The talent on that roster is too good for them to be average. Relax. Here are the rest of the post-Week 11 NFL power rankings: 32. Oakland Raiders (0-10, Last Week: 32) Every week that Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew gets carries ahead of Latavius Murray, the Raiders are showing they don't really get it. I don't know if Murray, a big, physical second-year player, is any good. But neither do the Raiders, and that's the problem. 31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9, LW: 30) The Jaguars went 4-12 in Gus Bradley's first season. They'd have to go 3-3 the rest of the way to match that. I hope ownership doesn't overreact if their record is worse, because I do think Bradley is the right guy there. 30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8, LW: 31) Mike Evans was the first rookie receiver with 200 yards and two touchdowns in a game since Anquan Boldin in 2003. Even in a potentially historic receiver draft class, Evans might be the best one. It's a debate that will be fun to track. 29. Tennessee Titans (2-8, LW: 29) We're getting pretty close to a point where Zach Mettenberger has locked up the 2015 starting quarterback job. After what he has shown, is there any chance the Titans won't use next season to give him a legitimate look? 28. New York Jets (2-8, LW: 28) Is there a number of wins in New York's last six games that Rex Ryan could hit to save his job? I'd probably put it at a minimum of four. 27. Washington Redskins (3-7, LW: 26) Jay Gruden very specifically criticizing Robert Griffin III on Monday seemed like him saying, "Nothing else is getting through, let me try this approach." 26. New York Giants (3-7, LW: 24) Sadly, the Giants probably would have won Sunday's game against the 49ers had Eli Manning thrown just four interceptions. Alas, he threw five. 25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1, LW: 23) A team that has lost five straight is a half-game out of first place. 24. Atlanta Falcons (4-6, LW: 27) There is, by the way, a scenario in which the NFC South could be won by a 5-11 team. That's mathematically possible. In related news, I better not get one "How can you rank a first-place team so low???" emails or tweets this week. 23. Minnesota Vikings (4-6, LW: 21) Sunday's loss to the Bears was the fifth time in six games the Vikings didn't reach 20 points. And it was against the Bears, who give up 14 by the time the National Anthem is done. Lot of work to be done there. 22. Chicago Bears (4-6, LW: 25) Four of the Bears' last six games are at home. If they can win those, and upset the Lions on the road on Thanksgiving, then go into Week 17 at Minnesota with nine wins ... I'm sorry Bears fans, I don't know why I just did that to you. 21. New Orleans Saints (4-6, LW: 19) Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks wasn't dominating this season, but he was pretty good, and it's going to be very hard for the Saints to replace what he does while he's out four-to-six weeks with a broken thumb. 20. St. Louis Rams (4-6, LW: 22) They should be in so much better shape than 4-6. 19. Houston Texans (5-5, LW: 20) The first question of Bill O'Brien's Monday press conference was why Ryan Mallett didn't start before Week 11. His answer was basically that he wanted to make sure Mallett was ready. But he probably has (or will) wonder if things would be different if he pulled the trigger earlier. 18. Buffalo Bills (5-5, LW: 17) Nobody checked the expiration date on Kyle Orton. It has passed. 17. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1, LW: 18) How do you evaluate a team that looked so bad at home against the Browns and so good on the road at the Saints in an 11-day stretch? 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4, LW: 16) it just shouldn't be that hard against really bad teams. 15. Cleveland Browns (6-4, LW: 13) The good news is Josh Gordon is back. The bad news is they won't get that loss to the Texans back. They really could have used that one. 14. San Diego Chargers (6-4, LW: 15) There were a few times on Sunday when it didn't seem like Philip Rivers would be getting up. It's no surprise to hear he has been playing through injuries. 13. San Francisco 49ers (6-4, LW: 12) NaVorro Bowman as cleared to return to practice. Hopefully he makes it back this season, because that would be a great story for a great player. 12. Miami Dolphins (6-4, LW: 14) Well, if you have to play Denver this might be a good time for it. The Dolphins could use an upset like that, too. 11. Baltimore Ravens (6-4, LW: 11) In the AFC North logjam, it seems like the Ravens have the best team. They could take a huge step by winning at New Orleans next Monday night. 10. Detroit Lions (7-3, LW: 9) It's pretty clear they're heading toward a wild-card berth , but I'll say this: They're going to be a tough out in the opening weekend (unless Matthew Stafford plays like he did at Arizona, of course). 9. Seattle Seahawks (6-4, LW: 8) A lot is being made of Marshawn Lynch , like he's a reason for the Seahawks' issues. Let's think this through. Do we think Lynch debuted a new personality this year? No. And how were the Seahawks with all of Lynch's "distractions" or whatever you'd like to call them the past few years? 8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3, LW: 7) They still have four road games left, but the good news is that three come against bad teams (Giants, Bears, Redskins). 7. Indianapolis Colts (6-4, LW: 5) You can't discount Andrew Luck getting hot and carrying this team deep in the playoffs, but they're just not one of the elite teams in the conference. 6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, LW: 10) They beat the defending champs with 11 completions and 108 yards. Old-school football fans, this is your squad. 5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3, LW: 3) A close loss at Lambeau would have been no big deal. But that blowout loss? Not a good look. 4. Denver Broncos (7-3, LW: 2) The running back situation is an issue. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball are out a while. The Broncos can't just ditch the run, like they did at St. Louis. 3. Arizona Cardinals (9-1, LW: 6) Maybe Drew Stanton is just one of those stories, where his NFL history doesn't matter and he has a great season. He looked just fine against the Lions. 2. Green Bay Packers (7-3, LW: 4) I hear you Cardinals fans. But I pick Aaron Rodgers and this team over the Cardinals on a neutral field right now. Simple. 1. New England Patriots (8-2, LW: 1) The gap is pretty wide between No. 1 and No. 2 at this point. They could lose a game (and with that schedule, it's likely) and I'm not sure I'd drop them from this spot. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


NFL Winners and Losers: The NFC North has been decided (Shutdown Corner)

Over the course of a few hours on Sunday evening, the NFC North division title was decided.  Not mathematically. Far from that. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are tied at 7-3, and technically the Lions are in first place because of the tiebreaker. But let’s be real. The Packers are going to win the division. Green Bay fans know it. Detroit fans probably know it too, if they’re honest with themselves.  If you watched the two teams play on Sunday, you know. The Lions have been squeaking by teams, no matter how good or bad they are, for weeks. A very good Arizona Cardinals team (we’ll talk about them in a bit, and honestly, they likely decided a second division race Sunday) didn’t allow another miracle Lions comeback. Drew Stanton threw for 306 yards for the Cardinals. Matthew Stafford was at his worst. He was 18 of 30 for 183 yards and an interception. On most plays, he either held the ball forever or was way off when he did throw it. He targeted Calvin Johnson, one of the five greatest receivers ever, 12 times and connected on only five of them. The Lions never got in the end zone. The only thing that even kept them in the game was a couple of Stanton interceptions. Detroit isn't a bad team, but it didn't look like a contender either. If you want to argue that it doesn’t matter if you win by one point or 30, fine. But it can help figure out future performance. And while the Lions were pulling out last-second wins, the Packers have been annihilating teams. The Packers scored more than 50 points for the second straight game, the first time in the long franchise history that has happened. Since losing to the Lions in Week 3, the Packers are 6-1 with five wins by at least three touchdowns. The 53-20 win against the previously 7-2 Eagles was absolutely tremendous. The Packers do look like a dominant football team, one of the true contenders in the NFL. And take a look at the Packers’ remaining schedule: at Minnesota vs. New England vs. Atlanta at Buffalo at Tampa Bay vs. Detroit A 5-1 finish seems like a worst-case scenario. That includes the inevitable win over the Lions, who haven’t won in Lambeau Field since 1991, the year before Brett Favre showed up in Green Bay. The Lions go to New England next week, and the rest of their schedule isn’t too bad before finishing at Green Bay. Maybe the division won’t be officially settled before Week 17. But you can see by watching the two teams that one is just on a different level right now. That shouldn’t change before the end of the season. Here are the rest of the winners, and the rest of the losers, from Week 11: The Cardinals’ chances of winning the NFC West: Here is Cardinals’ situation after 10 games: If they go 3-3 the rest of the season, the 49ers or Seahawks would have to go 6-0 just to tie them for the division title. In other words, they should probably keep University of Phoenix Stadium available for all January weekends. The Cardinals had an impressive home win against the Lions on Sunday. The defense kept the Lions out of the end zone. Stanton made enough plays to win. Coach Bruce Arians called the same aggressive game he always does. There was no sign the Cardinals will slow down at all without Carson Palmer, and even if they do down the road, their NFC West lead looks just about insurmountable. It was an impressive win for them. Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC West race: The Chiefs are no joke this season. They have not had one bad outcome since Week 1, and after Sunday the AFC West race is pretty interesting. The Broncos fell to 7-3 with a bad loss at St. Louis. The Chiefs beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-20 in a very entertaining game and are now tied with the Broncos at 7-3. The Chargers are lurking at 6-4 too, but for now let’s talk about the Chiefs. Winning the division isn’t out of the question. The Chiefs, who have two games left against the 0-10 Oakland Raiders, need to win at home on Nov. 30 against the Broncos. The Chiefs probably couldn’t survive a home loss to the Broncos, which would give Denver the tiebreaker, and win the division. But there’s no reason to believe the Chiefs can’t beat the Broncos at home. Andy Reid is doing a tremendous job with this team, which does two things tremendously well: rush the quarterback, and run the ball. They rode that to a very impressive win against the defending champs on Sunday. The Broncos might need to win at Arrowhead Stadium to avoid being a wild-card team. Ryan Mallett: The biggest story out of the Houston Texans’ 23-7 win over the Cleveland Browns was defensive end J.J. Watt making it clear he deserves the NFL MVP award (whether voters can see beyond the quarterback position to give it to the most deserving player will be seen). But it was also quite a day for Mallett. Mallett’s first three years in the NFL, he threw four passes, and one was intercepted. He didn’t appear in any games in 2011 or '13. He was traded by the Patriots to the Texans for the low price of a sixth-round draft pick before the season started. And after that long road to his first start, Mallett played quite well. Mallett completed 20-of-30 passes for 211 yards, a pair of touchdowns and one interception in a 23-7 win at division-leading Cleveland. One win doesn’t mean the Texans have found their quarterback of the future, but there’s time to figure that out. Mallett deserves a day to just enjoy this win. “It made the four years, the wait worth it. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my career,” Mallett said, according to the Houston Chronicle. The hilarity of Bennie Logan snapping at an official who tried helping him line up right: Sometimes, officials can give a gentle shove to a player who is lined up wrong and will get a penalty if he stays there (we saw that in a Patriots-Jets game earlier this season ). The Eagles’ Bennie Logan was lined up illegally on a field-goal attempt. The official tried to move him, to help him out. And Logan was NOT happy about it. This was comedy: LOSERS The two good NFC teams who will sit at home while the NFC South hosts a playoff game: You want to hear something that sums up the worst division in football? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their second win of the season on Sunday, in the 11th week of the season. That puts them only two games off the division lead. It’s true. The Atlanta Falcons lead it at 4-6, and they are 0-6 outside the division. The New Orleans Saints, who can’t even win at home anymore, are 4-6 too (the Falcons have the tiebreaker) after getting dominated in the Superdome by the Bengals. The Carolina Panthers check in at 3-7-1, and then comes Tampa Bay at 2-8. I’m not saying Tampa Bay can rip off enough wins to overcome a two-game deficit (and they can’t win the tiebreaker over anyone), but the fact that I’m typing this sentence about a 2-8 team is an indictment of the entire division. Here’s the crime: The NFC South doesn’t deserve a playoff spot, but will get one at the expense of a really good team. There are seven teams in the other three divisions with at least six wins: Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle. At least two of those teams are missing the playoffs. Unless we can petition the NFL to not recognize the South champ this year. St. Louis Rams … not for Sunday but for being 4-6: To answer all Rams fans' gripes now – the Rams played great in a 22-7 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, they had a phenomenal effort against Peyton Manning, the offense played well enough, Tre Mason looks like a good find at running back, (fill in the blank praise for everything else they did well). This is my problem. The Rams have defeated Seattle, San Francisco and Denver, arguably the three best teams in the NFL at the end of last season. How on earth are they so inconsistent that they’re 1-6 in the rest of their games? We shouldn’t be talking about the Rams having to win out to make the playoffs after beating those three teams. It must be maddening for Rams fans that a very talented roster like St. Louis has can show off every bit of that talent in dominating the Broncos (make no mistake, the Rams looked like the better team from beginning to end) and still is 4-6, has a season point differential of minus-73 and needs a miracle to even end up as a legitimate playoff contender in December. So yes, great job by the Rams on Sunday. One of the best 60-minute performances in the NFL this season. The Rams can feel good about that, as long as they also feel really disappointed that a team capable of that performance is two games under .500. Bad Eli: Eli Manning has been a part of two Super Bowl championship teams, but he’ll have some days when you’re reminded why that won’t be enough to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His five-interception day against San Francisco, in a game the Giants could have won with a C-minus performance at quarterback was one of them. Washington Redskins: Quarterback Robert Griffin III called Sunday’s loss a “travesty.” Coach Jay Gruden said it was “horrific.” This is a low point for Washington. A 27-7 home loss to a wretched Buccaneers team, which was 1-8 coming in, has to make the franchise question everything. Washington is 3-7, going nowhere and is there even room for optimism? The Buccaneers are terrible, but at least they can point to stud rookie receiver Mike Evans (209 yards and two touchdowns) and be excited about that. What is there to be excited about in Washington? At best, any hope left about Griffin comes with a lot of nervous concern about if he'll ever be the same player he was as a rookie. There’s not a lot to get truly excited about elsewhere on the roster. Travesty? Horrific? That sums it up. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

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Manning Bros. combine for seven interceptions (NFL in 90) (Shutdown Corner)

Sunday was not a good day to be wearing "Manning" on your back. The first family of football combined for seven interceptions and only two touchdowns as Peyton's Broncos were upset in St. Louis by the Rams, and Eli threw five picks as his Giants lost at home to San Francisco. According to ESPN Stats and Info , that's the second-highest interception total the two brothers have ever combined for on one day. The most is eight on November 11, 2007, and if you think Eli also pulled most of the weight in that one, you'd be wrong. Peyton took the bulk of blame that day, throwing six interceptions against the San Diego Chargers. Eli has thrown 11 interceptions this season, compared to Peyton's nine.  We cover all that and more in this week's NFL in 90.  Here's some more great Week 11 coverage you may have missed Sunday on Shutdown Corner: • Frank Schwab says the Indianapolis Colts are good, but they're still not ready for a Super Bowl run after being dismantled by Jonas Gray (who?) and the New England Patriots Sunday night.  • Frank also writes that we should just give the NFC North title to the Green Bay Packers right now. • Eric Edholm writes about the Arizona Cardinals' impressive win over the Lions , which let Bruce Arians' squad take a huge three-game lead in the NFC West.  • An unreal catch by Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin highlighted our top 5 plays of the week.  • A San Francisco 49ers player reportedly benched himself because he's unhappy over playing time. • RG3's teammates? Meet the underside of the team bus, compliments of your quarterback. • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer thinks the broken clocks at Soldier Field were a not-so-nice word.     [read full article]

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Rodgers, Peppers lead Packers past Eagles 53-20 (Yahoo Sports)

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Bears WR Marshall challenges fan to charity bout (Yahoo Sports)

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