NFL picks and predictions 2015: Colts vs. Bills

The Indianapolis Colts are headed to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 of the regular season. The Colts are going into the regular season having gone 1-3 in the preseason, while the Bills secured two exhibition wins but are fresh off a loss to the Detroit Lions.

Preseasons don’t really matter, and early performances are hard to predict, but both teams are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. This will be the first time wide receiver Andre Johnson, running back Frank Gore, guard Todd Herremans and linebacker Trent Cole will be sporting Colts uniforms during the regular season, and the Bills are welcoming rusher LeSean McCoy, wideout Percy Harvin and quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
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But the rest of the league doesn’t need proof. Other teams simply don’t seem to trust the Patriots. As we learned in this Sports Illustrated report published Tuesday, the Seattle Seahawks went to great lengths to protect themselves from potential Patriots spy tactics prior to last year’s Super Bowl. And they aren’t the only ones:

Elite Kids Mika Zibanejad Jersey Teams commonly clear out trash cans in their hotel meeting rooms in New England because they believe the Patriots go through them. One longtime head coach said he ran fake plays in his Saturday walkthroughs at Gillette Stadium because he thought the Patriots might be spying on his team.

The SI story claimed that at least 18 other teams besides the Seahawks took a safeguard approach before playing the Patriots. On top of that, several teams, including the Jaguars and Cardinals, claimed they experienced headset malfunctions when they played at Gillette Stadium. Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy made news recently when he confirmed rumors from 2010 that Peyton Manning worried that the Patriots’ locker room was bugged and would discuss the game plan in the hallway when the team visited New England.

The Clippers are third in the NBA with 32 technical fouls this season behind league-leading Phoenix and the New York Knicks

Rivers said he’s chosen to give money to the Violence Intervention Program in Los Angeles for every technical he gets, and he said the donations are retroactive.

“All of the money that I have been fined is going to them now and any technical foul after that is going to them,” he said. “Any technical foul the players get, I want them to find their group and give it to an organization.”

VIP helps victims of physical and sexual abuse and neglect.
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“I have to be the leader of this team,” Doc Rivers said. “My actions have to go first.”

The Clippers are third in the NBA with 32 technical fouls this season behind league-leading Phoenix and the New York Knicks.

Rivers said he watched video of all the team’s technicals so far. Earlier in the season, he told the team that he would do the fighting and they should focus on playing.

Elite Kids Nick Martin Jersey Knowing that Philadelphia would blitz Isaiah Thomas, Stevens drew up a simple pick-and-roll that would put Olynyk in position to either shoot an open jumper, attack the basket or move the ball to an open man. Sure enough, the sequence left Al Horford wide open in the corner and Olynyk alertly delivered the ball to the veteran big man, who drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 17.2 seconds remaining in Boston’s 110-106 triumph at TD Garden.

Al Horford accepts congratulations after hitting a go-ahead 3-pointer late in the Celtics’ win over the Sixers Friday. AP Photo/Elise Amendola
“Just how we drew it up. Like, exactly,” said Horford, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to help carry a Celtics team that typically has leaned heavily on Thomas in the final frame.

“That’s how Coach drew it up. He knew they were gonna help and Kelly just found me and I just had to knock the shot down.”

Blackhawks vs. Blues, NHL Winter Classic 2017: Time, TV schedule, and team news for Busch Stadium game

The NHL¡¯s premier outdoor event heads to St. Louis on Monday.
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Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, will host the ninth iteration of the annual outdoor game. The hosts, naturally, will be the St. Louis Blues. And the visitors will be their rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.
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Will Ian Kennedy opt-out at the end of the year?

Ian Kennedy surprised most of baseball when he signed a $70 million deal with the Royals. But what was also surprising was that he received an opt-out clause, typically reserved for superstar mega-deal contracts. Kennedy has the option to become a free agent after the 2017 season, but he would be forgoing $49 million over three years. While next year¡¯s starting pitching free agent class is better than this year¡¯s putrid class, it is not a great one. If Kennedy continues to pitch well, he may look to join Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, Yu Darvish, Alex Cobb, and Marco Estrada, among others, as free agents on the open market.

That history and Dayton Moore¡¯s strong belief in his team may prevent him from trading off his core players this summer, even if the Royals find themselves with little hope of contention. At least that would still leave them with draft pick compensation in many cases, although they may be forgoing more attractive trade packages for more polished prospects.

Cam Newton ran around the field like Hulk Hogan as the Panthers celebrated 13-0

The Panthers have not lost a single game this year, and they are having a whole lot of fun.

Quarterback Cam Newton ran all around the field and did his best Hulk Hogan impression. He is easily the most fun quarterback in the league.

After thoroughly dismantling the Falcons, or more accurately *while* dismantling the Falcons, the Panthers took a team picture and did a coordinated team dab. Everyone on the team appears to be loving the winning streak they’re on, for obvious reasons.

Elite Womens Matt Schaub Jersey There’s going to be a whole bunch of old people upset by this. Can’t wait.

Elite Womens Marshawn Lynch Jersey For the record, someone should have told Jonathan Stewart how long they were dabbing for.

Well for one they exhibited terrble sportsmanship by continuing to run the ball into the gigantic gap left by JJ Watt on every play when he charges 8 yds straight ahead into the backfield. Theres a gentlemans agreement in the NFL that since JJ is taking himself out of the play you shoudnt exploit it. Its like you cant cheat on your boyfriend or girlfriend just because shes out of town and shes pretty much begging you to. But the Patriots arent the kind of team to overlook a sinister opportunity, so in the first half Belichick kept pounding that hole like it was on a third date with Rob Gronkowski. Shameful.

The only silver lining is that the DeflateGate appeal continues to progress through the legal system and there is actualy a decent cahnce that the next major court hearings could take place either during the week before, or during Superbowl week which I could see either being a huge distracton for the Patriots, or maybe a huge advantage for the Patriots because it would be a huge distracton for there opponents as well. Classic Belicheck.

the Baltimore Ravens simply outplayed Pittsburgh

In Week 9, the Baltimore Ravens simply outplayed Pittsburgh, as if “you blew it yourselves,” DeCastro said. But the wounds were fresher after Dallas because the game was in their hands. Elliott ripped it out of those hands. A defensive breakdown gave the rookie running back a clear path to a 32-yard touchdown in the final seconds for a 35-30 Dallas victory.

A handful of defensive players looked shell-shocked in the postgame locker room scene.
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“You lose four games in a row, on the tail end of that it’s sort of like, ‘What do we have to do?'” DeCastro said. “We knew we could do it. We knew we were close. It was one of those turning points. It shows what kind of team you have, the character of your guys [to respond].”

Jack Ham Authentic Jersey Road wins over the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts were needed, if largely expected, but convincing wins over the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills highlighted a team peaking at the right time.

“I just spent an hour with him, and we’ve been through it,” Carroll said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk show. “I love Richard. I just flat-out love the dude, and I’ve been with him through so much and watched him grow and do so many unbelievable things. We made it through it. He knows that wasn’t right. He’s just so fiery, and we’ve seen him before. He’ll speak for himself on that. But I feel very good about where he is right now. We’re going to be all right.

“It was too bad. It was a distraction to the game. And that’s not the way it’s supposed to go.”

Vinatieri was already lost in a downward spiral when he found himself in a large auditorium listening to Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who asked each cadet to look to his or her right, and then to his or her left, before assuring his audience that two out of every three members wouldn’t make it to graduation.

An 11-5 team could miss the playoffs for the 3rd time in NFL history

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We’ve made it through 15 weeks of regular season games and the playoff picture is molding into shape. Over in the NFC we have a pretty good idea who five of the six teams advancing will be, and given the lowly nature of the NFC East it’s hard to get excited about the sixth.

Mens Luis Gonzalez Jersey In the AFC, though, the situation is different. Not only are all the top seeds still jockeying for byes and home field advantage, but the Wild Card race is as competitive as it’s ever been. Sure, there have been years when more teams have been battling for the conference’s final two playoff spots. But it’s been a while since an 11-5 team was left out of postseason play (the 2008 Patriots) and it’s something that’s only happened twice.

And yet, here we are, with the 10-4 Broncos, and 9-5 Chiefs, Steelers and Jets, all fighting for three possible spots. When the playoffs start, one of them will be left out in the cold.

The Panthers are only the third team to start a season 14-0 since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule. The first was the 2007 New England Patriots who blazed forward in pursuit of perfection and reached 16-0, but lost in the Super Bowl. The second was the 2009 Indianapolis Colts who rested starters and coasted down to the stretch to a 14-2 record before also losing in the Super Bowl.

Two different strategies yielded the same end result.

But for the Panthers, a 14-0 start to the season has happened while Rivera has encouraged the team to have fun every step of the way. When the team was criticized for dancing too much in victories, Rivera fanned the flames by giving dabbing his seal of approval and even dabbing himself. So letting go of the reins and letting the Panthers continue to have fun with their foot on the gas pedal is only to be expected.

The Pirates have had talks with Ivan Nova, as well

The Pirates have worked hard to try to make a trade for Jose Quintana work, with the attraction obvious: He¡¯s an excellent pitcher with a contract that would be perfect for small-budget Pittsburgh. Including team options, Quintana is under team control for the next four years, for $36.6 million.

Dave Cameron addresses the question of whether the Astros need to trade for Quintana.

The conversations between the White Sox and Yankees about Quintana took place weeks ago, at the same time the White Sox were beginning to have serious discussions about Chris Sale.

The Pirates have had talks with Ivan Nova, as well.
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Also of note, ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the Giants as having one of the worst farm systems in the majors earlier this year, and that was before they dealt prospects to land Matt Moore and Will Smith at the trade deadline.

Authentic Kids Brice McCain Jersey Dozier is coming off a breakout season in which he hit a career-high .268, slugged 42 homers — an AL record for a second baseman — and drove in 99 runs. To further enhance his value, the 29-year-old is under contract for the next two seasons at $15 million total.

Dozier has experience in the majors at second base and shortstop, two positions the Giants are currently set at with Panik and fellow Gold Glove winner Brandon Crawford. Perhaps Dozier would be a fit for San Francisco if he was willing to play third base, an idea broached by Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com earlier this week.

Oakland holds off Chargers in Raiders’ takeover of Qualcomm Stadium

As they have all season, the undermanned and injury-plagued San Diego Chargers scratched and clawed in the face of adversity, but failed to execute when the game mattered most: the fourth quarter.

Hosting the Oakland Raiders in what could be the AFC West rivals¡¯ final matchup at Qualcomm Stadium, the Chargers had a ¡°home¡± in name only.

Raiders fans flooded the facility, as many Chargers fans frustrated with the state of the team and its potential move to Los Angeles stayed away and sold their tickets.

The Chargers led at the end of the third quarter, but once again failed to hold on to the advantage, falling to the Raiders 19-16.
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Janoris Jenkins, CB, New York Giants: Jenkins took a knee to the back from his own teammate after laying a hard hit on Lions TE Eric Ebron. The team ruled him out for the remainder of the game, and FOX’s Erin Andrews reported that he’s getting further testing on his ribs and spine. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie took Jenkins’ spot at outside CB and proceeded to almost immediately get torched by Golden Tate for a 68-yard gain.
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Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans: Miller limped off the field late in the fourth quarter with an apparent left ankle injury. He looked to be in a lot of pain as trainers evaluated him on the sideline. Miller did not return to the field.

Derek Wolfe, DE, Denver Broncos: Wolfe left Sunday’s game against the Patriots in the first half with a neck injury. Trainers examined him on the sideline, and he was eventually ruled out for the remainder of the game.

Darius Slay, CB, Detroit Lions: Slay stayed down on the ground for a while after tackling Odell Beckham Jr. in the second quarter. He hobbled off the field with a hamstring injury and did not return. He was on the injury report this week with a hamstring issue.

Weather could turn Lions-Giants matchup into defensive battle

Eddie Goldman Authentic Jersey Will Matthew Stafford’s right throwing hand negatively affect him against the Giants? Leon Halip/Getty Images
Throughout almost three seasons as the Detroit Lions’ head coach, Jim Caldwell has been able to keep his team remarkably focused. Yes, it’s clich¨¦ to mention just the next game over and over again, but somehow, Caldwell has defied human nature and gotten his team to buy in.

Steve McNair Limited Jersey “I hope you don’t think that I’m able to brainwash these guys where they don’t think for themselves and look at different scenarios and all that kind of stuff, because they do,” Caldwell said. ¡°But the fact of the matter is we have to keep them focused on what we can control. What I worry about is when those processes become a distraction, which they can become.”

Detroit has consistently gotten better as the season has gone on in each of Caldwell’s three seasons with the Lions but now they have their toughest three-game stretch of this season, starting Sunday against the New York Giants followed by games at Dallas and a home finale against the surging Green Bay Packers.

That focus, along with team unity, is part of the reason Detroit has a two-game lead in the NFC North with three games left despite a roster that has dealt with injuries to big names throughout the year and only one definitive star in quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Cold-weather gloves have more padding and are thicker than the standard gloves we see wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs wear. But they still aren’t warm enough, in my opinion. And no one wants to play the game with numb fingers. The solution? Put some thin, cloth gloves (like little kids wear) under game-issued gloves.

Sit your butt down on those heated benches and warm up that helmet. That’s key to playing in the cold.

The Bengals can run that seam route from a number of personnel groupings and formations

McCleod is now beat, and Eifert’s slow arching route up the numbers lands him in the vulnerable part of the zone. Easy money.

The Bengals can run that seam route from a number of personnel groupings and formations, though, and this “four verts” play against the Ravens is a great example. This is a throw that AJ McCarron can make — want to know how I know? This is AJ McCarron making this throw.

After motioning right to left, Eifert settles in behind Mohamed Sanu in the tight slot. He then runs another long, arching route as he widens out toward the numbers, and he finds himself in a soft spot in the zone.

This is not just a thought exercise. There are deadlines approaching, and hard choices for a small-market franchise that will have a tough time paying all five of its best players: Gobert, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, George Hill, and Rodney Hood. The Jazz face an urgent need for information about how those players fit.

Garret Sparks Elite Jersey “We still need to go through a process that we had hoped would be done by now,” Snyder now. “Derrick and Rudy would be the most obvious example.”
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Ah, Derrick and Rudy. The two bouncy behemoths have played 1,886 minutes together over the two-plus years since the Jazz excised Enes Kanter and stumbled upon a monster-movie defense that redefined the direction of the franchise. The results have been mostly good, even on offense, where the two can clutter the same real estate — and block driving lanes for their teammates.

With Favors eligible for a big-money extension now, six weeks after Gobert got his, the Jazz wish they had double that minutes sample to investigate. They really wish some of those minutes had come in the playoffs, so they would know whether those double-big lineups could squeeze out points against elite defenses primed for them.