Browse Month: February 2018

EA Sports’ “Madden NFL” has long been recognized for its above-average accuracy in predicting Super Bowl results.

Going back to 2004, “Madden” is 10-for-14 in picking the Super Bowl winner. On multiple occasions, it has done so with the precise margin of victory or even the exact final score.

The spread for Super Bowl 52 as of Tuesday was Patriots -4.5, giving New England the equivalent of a 64 percent chance to beat Philadelphia on Sunday. “Madden NFL 18” agrees with that result but sees the game being much closer to a toss-up.

Jay Ajayi was most often the top performer for the Eagles, receiving the MVP award 54 percent of the time the Eagles won. Behind him were Nick Foles and Zach Ertz.

And yet don’t expect much to change for the Patriots, who were denied a sixth Super Bowl title but are favorites to be back next season. Despite the consistent turnover on his staff, Belichick is the one constant.

Without Brady, Belichick might not have had the same success — and vice versa. Despite Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, neither has anything left to prove after winning five Super Bowls together in eight appearances over the last 18 years.

“The guy is literally what everyone is striving to be when it comes to longevity,” Redskins quarterback Alex Smith told NFL Network.

As for Brady, who will turn 41 a month before beginning his 19th NFL season, history is not on his side. He takes care of his body better than most NFL players and says he wants to play until he’s 45, but Father Time is undefeated.

The Steelers thanked the doctors and staff at the UC Health Center for the “excellent care” Shazier received at the facility.

He was in “good spirits” on Wednesday and several of his teammates, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, said they’ve been sending their thoughts and prayers to him while preparing to face the Ravens on Sunday. bills_031

You better believe one of the worst free-agent flameouts in league history is worth watching.

45. Tony Romo, quarterback, Cowboys (39): Will he finally hang them up? That and whether he can go more than two games without a catastrophic injury have become synonymous with the Dallas quarterback, especially now that a potential star (Dak Prescott) is waiting in the wings.

Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who likes to spread the ball around, said he “definitely’’ wants to “try to get’’ Watkins “more involved,” adding, “But by no means are we, or am I, going to change the approach, play in and play out. I’ll go through the reads and hopefully he gets more touches.”

32. DeMarco Murray, running back, Titans (26): The 2014 NFL Offensive MVP was a total disaster with the Eagles last year, averaging just 3.6 yards a carry and compiling 1,100 fewer rushing yards than he did the year before in Dallas. Now he tries to put his career back together in Tennessee while splitting time with impressive rookie Derrick Henry. Good luck with that.

“He’s not 22 anymore, but he still pours it up in there and is very exciting,” Arians said.

The last time we saw the Falcons, they were blowing a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI, and there’s a good chance that Falcons fans started to have some deja vu toward the end of this game. The Falcons almost blew a 20-10 fourth quarter lead, but they were able to avoid the upset thanks to a huge sack from Brooks Reed that came on a fourth-and-goal play with the Bears only five yards from the end zone.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had previously lobbied to keep Cooter on staff following Caldwell’s firing, saying he hoped the team would maintain continuity on offense after offensive line coach Ron Prince was also fired.

“Jim Bob and I have a great relationship and ever since he’s had the opportunity to take the reins, this offense has moved in the right direction in my opinion,” Stafford said last month. “I feel like I’m playing some of the best football of my career, so I would love to have the opportunity to keep working with him. He’s been good for us and good for me.”

Stafford has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 73 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in 41 games since Cooter was promoted to offensive coordinator during the 2015 season after initially joining the staff in 2014. Prior to Cooter taking over, Stafford had completed 60.1 percent of his passes.
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So you’re not really positive that you’re done with the Redskins?

Following through on his promise to make “adjustments” to his game, Oklahoma freshman Trae Young, who leads the nation in scoring and assists, finished the first half of the Sooners’ 85-80 win over Kansas on Tuesday with four shots and zero 3-point attempts.

It was Young’s lowest field goal tally in the first half this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

But he recorded two crucial assists in crunch time, on Christian James’ go-ahead 3-pointer with nearly a minute to play and Brady Manek’s late 3 to preserve the lead.

I just can’t take any more Redskins right now. It’s the time of the year. They’re done; I’m done. Unfollowing their Twitter feed, it was literally just like, “I don’t want to look at that crap anymore. I just can’t take it. I need a break.” Maybe I still love the girl, but I need a break.

And that would make me look like a jackass. I don’t know. It’s hard to quit after 40-plus years. I don’t really know. But I can tell you: I think Dan Snyder’s not been good for the Redskins, and to continue to support him makes it hard.

Golden State (37-10), owner of the best record in the league, now holds a 3?-game lead on Houston (32-12). After the game in the locker room, players were dismissing the narrative that they dropped a significant game.

“It’s game 40-what? Seven, eight?” Draymond Green asked during the media scrum. “Who we play on Tuesday? We just got to get ready for [New York]. Home court will take care of itself down the road.”

Kaepernick was voted by his 49ers teammates in 2016 to receive an annual award for the player who most embodied “inspirational and courageous” qualities, but he parted ways with San Francisco in March and has since filed a grievance with the NFL over what he claims is collusion by owners to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick has recently received Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy award, GQ’s ‘Citizen of the Year’ award and the ACLU’s Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate award.jaguars_008

Kelly has gone 8-23 in his last two seasons as an NFL head coach after going 20-12 in his first two.

He landed in San Francisco, where chief executive officer Jed York and General Manager Trent Baalke had failed to make things work with Jim Harbaugh and then had given Harbaugh’s curiously chosen successor, Jim Tomsula, only one season. There was no franchise quarterback in sight. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Kelly and the Niners were a mismatch, with York cleaning house by getting rid of both Baalke and Kelly following a 2-14 season.

If he never gets another NFL head coaching chance, he clearly will be remembered as a failure at this level. His NFL legacy will be all about the craziness of the final season in Philadelphia, about Lurie saying his next coach needed to have emotional intelligence, about the one-and-done stint in San Francisco.

He turned his life around with the guidance of his guardians and served a two-year LDS Church mission in Colorado. Once back from his mission, he wanted to play more football, on defense, as he did in high school. The coaches at Snow College thought differently and made him an offensive tackle. Consequently, that decision helped make him a first-round prospect.

Teammates said that Savage seemed fine and coherent, but concussions can be difficult to assess because symptoms can develop later. As Savage showed, NFL players can be their worst enemies. They do not want to come out of games. Ever.

After Savage was pulled, he tried to go on to the field and had to be forced back to the sideline and be ushered to the locker room. He said last week there’s no way he’s coming off the field on his own. Obviously, he wasn’t happy, but the Texans made the correct decision.

And much respect to our runner-up this week, the Detroit Lions, who came close to securing the hardware after their Rockettes homage Saturday afternoon:

Ultimately, a lot of what we’re discussing in these MVP debates is how to weigh various measures of value, statistical and otherwise. To your point, the answers to those questions sometimes change depending on which measure supports which player — an example of what’s known as “motivated reasoning” — and adopting a standard could potentially create more consistency.

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The Packers’ game against the Bengals kicks off at 4:25 p.m. in Green Bay.

In the lead-up to the first NFL Sunday since President Trump’s divisive comments about national anthem protests and the league at large, players released statements and taken to social media to indicate how they plan to demonstrate (or not demonstrate) prior to their teams’ games.

The day started with the Ravens and Jaguars facing off in London, and players on both sidelines knelt or linked arms during the national anthem. Jaguars owner Shahid Khan also participated, linking arms with his players. There is expected to be an increase in national anthem protests after a Trump tweet to urging fans to boycott the sport until owners “fire or suspend” players who protest during the national anthem.

In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors popularized the concept of positionless basketball, employing five players with skill-sets varied enough to capitalize on any opponent’s weakness or mitigate any strength. This NFL season has seen some offenses attempting to play positionless football.

The New England Patriots are part of the vanguard. This offseason, they added Rex Burkhead, a powerful runner who had once played slot receiver for the Bengals, in free agency. They combined him with James White and Dion Lewis, and Tom Brady has targeted them a combined 111 times. The Patriots could motion any of White, Lewis or Burkhead out of the backfield, or just line them up as a receiver. The Patriots often employ two on the same play, bedeviling defenses that must decide which personnel to match them with.

The beneficiaries of McVay’s success could be a pair of 39-year-old offensive assistants, Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. Both are forging reputations as rising stars within the coaching ranks. Under normal circumstances, they would be at least a few years away from receiving serious consideration to be head coaches. But in this environment, perhaps that timeline has changed.

DeFilippo is scheduled to interview for the head coaching jobs of the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears. Nagy is expected to interview with the Bears and Indianapolis Colts.

I’ve really been a fan for pretty much my whole life, I guess. I grew up in the Hampton Roads area, and my grandfather was a big Redskins fan — and lots of other people in the family — and I’ve been watching for years. When I moved up to Fairfax and lived there for a couple of years, I had season tickets until I realized it was no fun going.
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It has distanced the brand from the league by removing the NFL shield or “official sponsor” designation on certain TV spots.

Between Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfleld, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph, there are up to six quarterback prospects who could go in a very busy first round for the position in April. There’s a good chance more than one of those guys will slip to the Bills, who have back-to-back at picks No. 21 and No. 22 overall.

The second first-rounder, acquired from Kansas City in the Pat Mahomes deal, gives Buffalo the luxury of still addressing defense for coach Sean McDermott early, too. With no consensus on the “best” future NFL QB in this class, landing Jackson or Rudolph would by no means be settling for a consolation prize. The key for the Bills with any young QB is pushing to get him better offensive-line and skill-player support.

Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: We recommended grabbing Olsen in last week’s write-up as he was available in nearly half of ESPN leagues as he was preparing to come off the injured reserve list. All signs point to him playing in Week 12 so get him in the lineup.

How could there be shakiness found in Brady, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, the heavy favorite to be named MVP this season, the lodestone of a dynasty creeping toward the completion of its second decade? His team went 13-3, claimed the AFC’s top seed and scored the second-most points in the NFL, even as his favorite target, Julian Edelman, missed the entire season with a torn knee ligament.

Still, doubts have begun to bubble. Brady’s uncharacteristic unevenness down the stretch, coupled with the revelation tucked in an ESPN blockbuster on tensions within the Patriots that his own coaches have seen “slippage” in Brady this season, has prompted the latest round of questions about whether age has finally started to leech Brady’s brilliance.

Peter Collins, a Papa John’s spokesman, told The Washington Post the company has not pulled back on its NFL advertising. The company also plans to focus more of its future advertising on digital media, he said, because more than 60 percent of its domestic sales come from digital channels.
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