[B][I]NFL notebook: Buccaneers add S Ward
September 3, 2017[/I][/B]
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expected to sign three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward, who was released by the Denver Broncos as they made their final roster cuts at the Saturday deadline.
It will be a one-year deal worth $5 million, multiple media outlets reported Sunday. Ward was scheduled to make a non-guaranteed $4.5 million with the Broncos in the final year of the four-year contract he signed in 2014 but was cut after three seasons.
Ward, 30, started 14 games last season and recorded 69 tackles, one sack and one interception. He did not play in any of the four preseason games after sustaining a hamstring injury at practice in early August.
[B]–The Washington Redskins[/B] talked projected starting safety Su’a Cravens out of retiring at age 22.
Cravens told some within the organization this weekend that he was planning to retire, but a meeting with the team’s coaches and executives changed his mind for now, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Cravens, who has been nursing a knee injury, now is expected to miss the start of the season as Washington helps him address his issues rather than have him walk away from the game, according to ESPN. The 6-foot-1, 224-pound Cravens, a second-round pick out of USC in 2016, recorded 34 tackles, one sack and one interception in 11 games (three starts) during his rookie season.
[B]–The Dallas Cowboys[/B] acquired outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott in a trade with the Green Bay Packers, who received a conditional 2018 seventh-round draft pick.
In addition, the Cowboys cut defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, their biggest free agent signing in 2016. Thornton signed a four-year, $17 million deal that included $9 million guaranteed, but he did not become a starter and was slowed in training camp by a hamstring strain.
In 11 games last season, Elliott led the Packers with 13 special teams tackles and was credited with 19 on defense with one sack.
–Brock Osweiler’s[/B] relatively short but eventful career has now come full circle. The quarterback is returning to Denver after the Broncos signed him to a one-year contract.
The deal is for one year at the veterans’ minimum of $775,000. The Browns, who cut Osweiler at the end of preseason camp, still will owe him approximately $15,225,000.
The Broncos had a need at the position with backup Paxton Lynch out at least a month because of a shoulder injury. And Osweiler knows the Broncos’ offense, having played there under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
[B]–The Buffalo Bills[/B] waived backup running back Jonathan Williams in a surprise move.
While Williams dealt with hamstring and knee tweaks this offseason, the Bills’ reasoning to cut the former fifth-round pick in 2016 had nothing to do with injury, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.
Williams, 23, had been expected to be LeSean McCoy’s primary backup this season. Williams ran for 94 yards on 27 carries with one touchdown in 11 games during his rookie season. Veteran Mike Tolbert appears to be first in line to back up McCoy.
[B]–The Indianapolis Colts[/B] claimed running back Matt Jones off waivers a day after he was cut by the Washington Redskins.
Jones, a third-round pick by the Redskins in 2015 out of Florida, spent two years in Washington, compiling 950 yards on 243 carries with six touchdowns and eight fumbles (six lost).
Jones, 24, began last season as the Redskins’ starting running back before losing the job. He was a healthy inactive for the final eight games and finished the season with 460 rushing yards and three TDs.
[B]–The Miami Dolphins[/B] changed kickers, claiming Cody Parkey off waivers and waiving Andrew Franks.
The Browns waived the 25-year-old Parkey as they trimmed their roster to 53 players. He lost his job to rookie Zane Gonzalez, a seventh-round pick.
Parkey joined the Browns in Week 3 last season after Patrick Murray injured a knee in practice. He missed 3 of 6 field-goal attempts in his debut but recovered to make 17 of his next 19 attempts. Franks, 24, has been the Dolphins’ kicker for the past two seasons, converting 29 of 37 field goal attempts and 74 of 78 extra-point tries.
[B]–The Pittsburgh Steelers[/B] acquired safety J.J. Wilcox and a seventh-round pick in the 2019 draft from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a sixth-round pick in 2018.
Wilcox, who just signed a two-year contract with the Buccaneers this offseason, previously played four years with the Cowboys, who drafted him in the third round in 2013. The 26-year-old had 49 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble in 13 games with the Cowboys last season.
Wilcox became expendable when the Buccaneers reportedly landed free agent safety T.J. Ward.
[B][I]Buccaneers Preview Capsule
September 3, 2017[/I][/B]
[B]TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (9-7)[/B]
[B]New Faces:[/B] WR DeSean Jackson, DE Chris Baker, TE O.J. Howard, S Justin Evans, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, K Nick Folk, WR Chris Godwin, S J.J. Wilcox.
[B]Key Losses:[/B] QB Mike Glennon, WR Russell Shepard, LB Daryl Smith, CB Alterraun Verner, S Bradley McDougald.
[B]Strengths:[/B] Bucs go as Jameis Winston goes. With additional playmakers – Jackson, Howard, Godwin – around young QB, coach Dirk Koetter is counting on offense being more explosive.
[B]Weaknesses:[/B] Despite making strikes defensively following slow start last season, absence of consistent pass rush remains concern. Team hasn’t had player finish with double-digit sacks since Simeon Rice in 2005. Five-time Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy welcomes addition of Baker on line also featuring Robert Ayers Jr. Second-year DE Noah Spence can make difference, too.
[B]Fantasy Players To Watch:[/B] Winston; Jackson, WR Mike Evans; TE Cameron Brate; RB Doug Martin, who begins season on reserve/suspended list while serving remaining three games of ban for violating NFL policy on performance enhancers.
[B]Expectations:[/B] After improving from six wins to nine in Winston’s second season, next logical step would seem to be contending for NFC South title, as well as team’s first playoff berth since 2007. But if Bucs have learned anything during long drought, it’s that nothing’s guaranteed, even with roster that seems talented enough to win. Winston threw for more than 8,100 yards and 50 touchdowns over past two years. He’s also thrown 33 interceptions. Improving on last year’s 9-7 finish won’t be as simple as curbing turnovers and scoring more points, either. Inconsistency on defense has been problem, though Koetter is confident club’s headed in right direction after bolstering depth at linebacker and safety.
[B][I]Week 1 Fades – Falcons, Raiders
September 2, 2017[/I][/B]
The NFL preseason has often been called “meaningless” and many pundits ignore the records in August because they rarely carry over into the regular season, especially the teams that finish unbeaten.
Dating back to the 2005 season, we’ve seen 23 teams produce an unbeaten record in the preseason. In the 2016 exhibition season, there were four teams that went 4-0 and only one of those teams made the playoffs.
That club was Houston, who finished 9-7 and captured the AFC South. Baltimore (8-8) and Minnesota came up short with .500 records while Philadelphia faded to a 7-9 mark.
Since 2005, the 23 teams with 4-0 preseason records have combined to go 173-195 (47%) straight up in the regular season.
Heading into the 2017 season, we have four teams that posted winning records. The quartet features Baltimore and Cleveland from the AFC North, Denver and Seattle.
While perfection in August hasn’t translated into consistent records year-over-year in the fall, the same can be said for teams that go winless.
Losing all of your preseason games is never a good thing and the records don’t lie.
[B]WINLESS PRESEASON TEAMS (2006-2016)
Season Team Regular Season Record Playoff Result[/B]
2006 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 –
2006 Washington Redskins 5-11 –
2007 Arizona Cardinals 8-8 –
2007 Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 –
2008 Cleveland Browns 4-12 –
2008 New England Patriots 11-5 –
2009 Arizona Cardinals 10-6 Lost in the NFC Divisional Round
2009 Carolina Panthers 8-8 –
2009 Kansas City Chiefs 4-12 –
2010 Chicago Bears 11-5 Lost in the NFC Championship
2010 Indianapolis Colts 10-6 Lost in the AFC Wild Card Round
2011 Atlanta Falcons 10-6 Lost in the NFC Wild Card Round
2011 Kansas City Chiefs 7-9 –
2011 Oakland Raiders 8-8 –
2012 Buffalo Bills 6-10 –
2012 Miami Dolphins 7-9 –
2012 New York Jets 6-10 –
2013 Pittsburgh Steelers 8-8 –
2013 Atlanta Falcons 4-12 –
2014 Dallas Cowboys 12-4 Lost in the NFC Divisional Round
2014 Indianapolis Colts 11-5 Lost in the AFC Championship
2015 New Orleans Saints 7-9 –
2015 St. Louis Rams 7-9 –
2016 New Orleans Saints 7-9 –
2016 Cleveland Browns 1-15 –
In the last 11 seasons, we’ve seen 25 teams go winless in the preseason with a 0-4 record. Only seven of those teams managed to produce a winning record in the regular season and just six of them reached the playoffs.
This year’s winless group includes Oakland and Atlanta, who both went 0-4.
Looking at the NFL futures market, the oddsmakers have high expectations for both of these clubs and they both made the postseason last year. Even though the Falcons were in the Super Bowl last season, history isn’t exactly on their side. Only 57 percent of SB runner-ups have made a return trip to the playoffs.
While forecasting futures is fun, we dug into the numbers deeper and checked out how winless teams played in Week 1 of the season.
The results (listed below) weren’t great as the winless teams saw their struggles carry over to their opening matchup.
Going back six seasons, winless preseason teams have produced a 4-12 (25%) record both straight up and against the spread.
Atlanta and Oakland will both begin the regular season on the road as the Falcons visit Chicago while the Raiders travel to Tennessee.
A large part of the success from the Falcons and Raiders last year came on the road as the pair both posted 6-2 records away from home. Based on this angle, bettors might be hesitant to back these clubs as visitors this season.
2016 (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Cleveland (Lost 10-29 at Philadelphia, +9.5)
New Orleans (Lost 35-34 vs. Oakland, -3)
2015 (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
New Orleans (Lost 31-19 at Arizona, +2)
St. Louis (Won 34-31 vs. Seattle, +3.5)
2014 (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Dallas (Lost 28-17 vs. San Francisco, +3.5)
Indianapolis (Lost 24-31 at Denver, +8)
2013 (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Pittsburgh (Lost 16-9 vs. Tennessee, -6)
Atlanta (Lost 23-17 at New Orleans, +3.5)
2012 (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
N.Y. Jets (Won 48-28 vs. Buffalo -3)
Buffalo (Lost 28-48 at N.Y. Jets +3)
Miami (Lost 30-10 at Houston +13)
2011 (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
Oakland (Won 23-20 at Denver, +3)
Kansas City (Lost 41-7 vs. Buffalo, +3.5)
Atlanta (Lost 30-12 at Chicago, +1)
2010 (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Indianapolis (Lost 34-24 at Houston -1.5)
Chicago (Won 19-14 vs. Detroit -6.5)
[B][I]Trends favor Patriots in Week 1
September 2, 2017[/I][/B]
The 2017 NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday Sept. 7 when New England hosts Kansas City at Gillette Stadium from Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Oddsmakers are expecting the Patriots to repeat as champions, listing them as the top betting choice to win Super Bowl 52 from Minnesota next February.
This year’s campaign begins against a formidable opponent in the Chiefs, who have been to the playoffs in three of the last four years under head coach Andy Reid.
Since he arrived in KC, these teams have split both of their meetings with the home team coming out on top each time. In their most recent encounter, New England dropped the Chiefs 27-20 in the 2016 Divisional Playoff Round and covered as a six-point favorite at Foxboro.
For this week’s matchup, the Patriots opened as seven-point favorites and the number has jumped as high as nine at a few betting shops.
Backing the defending Super Bowl champions in their Week 1 opener the following season is a well-known angle and many bettors have banked on it.
After watching the Super Bowl champions drop back-to-back openers in 2012 and 2013, the defending champions have bounced back with victories in each of the last three seasons.
[B]SUPER BOWL WINNER – WEEK 1 HISTORY (2000-2016)
Year SB Winner Opponent Score (SU-ATS-O/U Result)[/B]
2016 Denver (+3) vs. Carolina 21-20 (Win-Win-Over)
2015 New England (-7) vs. Pittsburgh 28-21 (Win-Push-Under)
2014 Seattle (-4.5) vs. Green Bay 36-16 (Win-Win-Over)
2013 Baltimore (+7.5) at Denver 27-49 (Loss-Loss-Over)
2012 N.Y. Giants (-3.5) vs. Dallas 17-24 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2011 Green Bay (-4.5) vs. New Orleans 42-34 (Win-Win-Over)
2010 New Orleans (-4.5) vs. Minnesota 14-9 (Win-Win-Under)
2009 Pittsburgh (-5) vs. Tennessee 13-10 (Win-Loss-Under)
2008 N.Y. Giants (-4) vs. Washington 16-7 (Win-Win-Under)
2007 Indianapolis (-5) vs. New Orleans 41-10 (Win-Win-Under)
2006 Pittsburgh (-7.5) vs. Miami 28-17 (Win-Win-Over)
2005 New England (-7.5) vs. Oakland 30-20 (Win-Win-Over)
2004 New England (-3) vs. Indianapolis 27-24 (Win-Push-Over)
2003 Tampa Bay (+3) vs. Philadelphia 17-0 (Win-Win-Under)
2002 New England (PK) vs. Pittsburgh 30-14 (Win-Win-Over)
2001 Baltimore (-10) vs. Chicago 17-6 (Win-Win-Under)
2000 St. Louis (-7) vs. Denver 41-36 (Win-Loss-Over)
Including Denver’s come-from-behind win over Carolina last season, the defending champions are now 15-2 straight up and 11-4-2 against the spread in Week 1 openers since 2000.
Last year’s matchup between the Broncos and Panthers was a rematch of the Super Bowl and Carolina’s loss helped another popular betting angle tied to the finale from the previous season.
That angle calls for fading the runner-up in Week 1 and in case you forgot, the Atlanta Falcons fit into that situation this season.
[B]SUPER BOWL LOSER – WEEK 1 HISTORY (1999-2016)
Year SB Loser Opponent Score (SU-ATS-O/U Result)
2016 Carolina (-3) at Denver 20-21 (Loss-Loss-Over)
2015 Seattle (-3.5) at St. Louis 31-34 – OT (Loss-Loss-Over)
2014 Denver (-8) vs. Indianapolis 31-24 (Win-Loss-Over)
2013 San Francisco (-5.5) vs. Green Bay 34-28 (Win-Win-Over)
2012 New England (-5) at Tennessee 34-13 (Win-Win-Under)
2011 Pittsburgh (+1) at Baltimore 7-35 (Loss-Loss-Over)
2010 Indianapolis (-2.5) at Houston 24-34 (Loss-Loss-Over)
2009 Arizona (-6.5) vs. San Francisco 6-20 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2008 New England (-16) vs. Kansas City 17-10 (Win-Loss-Under)
2007 Chicago (+6) at San Diego 3-14 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2006 Seattle (-6) at Detroit 9-6 (Win-Loss-Under)
2005 Philadelphia (-1) at Atlanta 10-14 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2004 Carolina (-3) vs. Green Bay 14-24 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2003 Oakland (+3) at Tennessee 20-25 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2002 St. Louis (-3) at Denver 16-23 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2001 N.Y. Giants (+3) vs. San Francisco 13-16 (Loss-Loss-Under)
2000 Tennessee (PK) at Buffalo 13-16 (Loss-Loss-Under)
1999 Atlanta (+4) at Minnesota 14-17 (Loss-Win-Under)
Including Carolina’s setback last season, the runner-up has gone 5-13 SU and 3-15 ATS since 1999.
Despite the poor overall numbers (16.7%) versus the number during this span, the ‘losers’ have won three of the last five seasons and they were expected to do so as favorites.
Back to the Falcons.
They will visit Chicago in Week 1 and Atlanta is listed as a seven-point road favorite over the Bears.
We also highlighted in the above table that the ‘over’ has gone 6-1 in the last seven Week 1 openers for the Super Bowl loser and the total for the Falcons-Bears matchup is one of two games with an ‘over/under’ listed in the fifties for the opening weekend.
[B]Cuts tracker: NFL teams finalize 53-player rosters[/B]
The NFL preseason is over. The season is less than a week away from kicking off — and that means it’s time for teams to trim their rosters.
Here’s a team-by-team rundown of every player cut as NFL general managers trim their rosters to the mandatory 53-player limit by Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. We will update this list as cuts are announced:
WR Carlton Agudosi, DT Peli Anau, LB Alex Bazzie, LB Cap Capi, CB Jarrell Carter, TE Gerald Christian, S Ironhead Gallon, LB Zaviar Gooden, CB Gump Hayes, WR Krishawn Hogan, WR Chris Hubert, LB Jarvis Jones, RB Chris Johnson, G Dorian Johnson, G Kaleb Johnson, LB Tre’Von Johnson, QB Trevor Knight, LB Ryan Langford, P Richie Leone, CB Ryan Lewis, T Jonathan McLaughlin, S Harlan Miller, DT David Moala, C Daniel Munyer, T Givens Price, WR Jeremy Ross, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, CB Sojourn Shelton, DT Ed Stinson, RB James Summers, DT Pasoni Tasini, G Cole Toner, TE Hakeem Valles, LB Terence Waugh, LB Scooby Wright
QB Alek Torgersen, WR Anthony Dable, WR Josh Magee, WR Reggie Davis, WR Marvin Hall, WR Deante Burton, RB Jhurell Pressley, TE Joshua Perkins, FB Tyler Renew, C Travis Averill, C Larson Graham, C Cornelius Edison, OL D.J. Tialavea, OL Daniel Brunskill, DE A.J. Jefferson, DE Joe Vellano, DE J’Terius Jones, DE Chris Odom, DT Taniela Tupou, CB Jarnor Jones, S Marcelis Branch, DE Martin Ifedi, LB Josh Keyes, QB Matt Simms, TE Darion Griswold, WR Bra’lon Cherry, WR Reginald Davis, OT Wil Freeman, OT Kevin Graf, DB Akeem King, OL Andreas Knappe, LB Jack Lynn, WR Josh Magee, K Mike Meyer, DB Jordan Moore, RB Kelvin Taylor, DB Deron Washington
WR Quincy Adeboyejo, P Kenny Allen, LB Randy Allen, WR C.J. Board, G Jarell Broxton, TE Larry Donnell, DB Otha Foster, T Roubbens Joseph, QB Thaddeus Lewis, LB Boseko Lokombo, TE Ryan Malleck, WR Chris Matthews,RB Taquan Mizzell, C Derrick Nelson, FB Ricky Ortiz, LB Donald Payne, LS Taybor Pepper, CB Reggie Porter, G Jarrod Pughsley, RB Bobby Rainey, WR/RS Keenan Reynolds, G Maurquice Shakir, C Matt Skura, FB/RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, CB Trevin Wade, G/T De’Ondre Wesley, WR Griff Whalen, QB Josh Woodrum, G/C Jeremy Zuttah
TE Rory Anderson, LB Carl Bradford, WR Jeremy Butler, S Shamiel Gary, OL Cameron Jefferson, RB Jordan Johnson, DT Marquavius Lewis, WR Dezmin Lewis, LB Jacob Lindsey, LB Abner Logan, S Adrian McDonald, OL Jordan Mudge, OL Michael Ola, S Joe Powell, OL Greg Pyke, WR Brandon Reilly, S B.T. Sanders, TE Wes Saxton, CB marcus Sayles, DE Ian Seau, WR Daikiel Shorts, WR Rod Streater, CB Bradley Sylve, DE Max Valles, OL Zach Voytek, QB Keith Wenning, DT Nigel Williams
LB Ben Boulware, LB Zeek Bigger, OT Blaine Clausell, DE Bryan Cox, DT Eric Crume, WR Austin Duke, C Brian Folkerts, WR Mose Fraizer, WR Trevor Graham, QB Garrett Gilbert, WR Keyarris Garrett, CB Devonte Johnson, DT Toby Johnson, P Andy Lee, DT Gabriel Mass, DE Arthur Miley, DE Zach Moore, DE Efe Obada, S Damien Parms, CB Jeff Richards, WR Fred Ross, DB Zack Sanchez, RB Jalen Simmons, TE Scott Simonson, S Dezmen Southward, TE Eric Wallace, QB Joe Webb, DE Larry Webster, TE Bryce Williams, DT Connor Wujciak, OL David Yankey, FB Darrel Young
DB Johnthan Banks, OL Taylor Boggs, WR Victor Cruz, DL Jaye Howard, Jr., DL John Jenkins, LB Kelvin Sheppard, LB Dan Skuta, DB B.W. Webb, DL C.J. Wilson, K Roberto Aguayo, LB Jonathan Anderson, WR Daniel Braverman, DL Rashaad Coward, WR Titus Davis, WR Tanner Gentry, OL Brandon Greene, DB DeAndre Houston-Carson, WR Alton Howard, LB Isaiah Irving, DB Harold Jones-Quartey, OL Dieugot Joseph, OL Mitchell Kirsch, OL Will Poehls, TE MyCole Pruitt, DB Rashaad Reynolds, OL Cyril Richardson, RB Josh Rounds, FB Freddie Stevenson, LB John Timu, QB Connor Shaw, DT Kapron Lewis-Moore, LB Alex Scearce
LB Bryson Albright, LB Brandon Bell, WR Chris Brown, DE Ryan Brown, DE Will Clarke, S Demetrious Cox, LB P.J. Dawson, DT David Dean, G J.J. Dielman, K Jake Elliott, DE Wallace Gilberry, DE Marcus Hardison, FB Darrin Laufasa, OT Landon Lechler, G Cameron Lee, CB Tony McRae, P Will Monday, OT Kent Perkins, WR Alonzo Russell, G Dustin Stanton, DT Josh Tupou, WR Kermit Whitfield, DT DeShawn Williams, HB Jarveon Williams, S Brandon Wilson, OT Eric Winston
WR Mario Alford, WR Rasheed Bailey, LB B.J. Bello, WR Josh Boyce, DB Christian Bryant, DB Trey Caldwell, DL Xavier Cooper, OL Anthony Fabiano, LB Ladell Fleming, OL John Greco, CB Joe Haden, WR Rannell Hall, DB J.D. Harmon, DB Alvin Hill, TE J.P. Holtz, TE Nate Iese, C Gabe Ikard, LB Cam Johnson, LB Deon King, WR Jordan Leslie, RB Terrence Magee, TE Taylor McNamara, WR Richard Mullaney, DB Najee Murray, OL Kitt O’Brien, LB Kenneth Olugbode, QB Brock Osweiler, WR Jordan Payton, K Cody Parkey, DL Karter Schult, DB Channing Stribling, DL Brandon Thompson, RB Brandon Wilds, WR James Wright
DE Richard Ash, DE Woody Baron, S Robert Blanton, RB Brandon Brown-Dukes, WR Brian Brown, C Ross Burbank, CB Dejaun Butler, DT Jordan Carrell, T Emmett Cleary, G Kadeem Edwards, LB Kennan Gilchrist, CB John Green, WR Karel Hamilton, RB Ronnie Hillman, P Sam Irwin-Hill, DT Joey Ivie, TE Blake Jarwin, WR Andy Jones, LB Joseph Jones, DE Lenny Jones, WR Lance Lenoir, DE Darnell Leslie, LB Lamar Louis, QB Luke McCown, TE M.J. McFarland, QB Kellen Moore, DE Lewis Neal, WR Uzoma Nwachukwu, CB Sammy Seamster, S Jameill Showers, G Dan Skipper, G Nate Theaker, CB Marquez White, LS Zach Wood
DE Nelson Adams, S Dante Barnett, DE Jimmy Bean, WR Marlon Brown, C Dillon Day, OLB Vontarrius Dora, OLB Ken Ekanem, ILB Jerrol Garcia-Williams, ILB Quentin Gause, OLB Deon Hollins, G Cameron Hunt, NT Tyrique Jarrett, OT Cedrick Lang, CB Chris Lewis-Harris, OLB Danny Mason, LB Deiontrez Mount, OT Justin Murray, WR Anthony Nash, NT Kyle Peko, WR Kalif Raymond, RB Stevan Ridley, CB Marcus Rios, TE Steven Scheu, OL Michael Schofield, WR Hunter Sharp, QB Kyle Sloter, ILB Kevin Snyder, DE Shakir Soto, S Orion Stewart, S Dymonte Thomas, RB Juwan Thompson, TE Austin Traylor, S T.J. Ward, OT Elijah Wilkinson, RB Stanley Williams
RB Matt Asiata, LB Thurston Armbrister, CB Adairius Barnes, OT Nick Becton, WR Jace Billingsley, G Connor Bozick, S Alex Carter, DT Ego Ferguson, WR Dontez Ford, DB Tramain Jacobs, QB Brad Kaaya, C Leo Koloamatangi, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, TE Khari Lee, DT Derrick Lott, DT Caushaud Lyons, S Rolan Milligan, DE Giorgio Newberry, T Storm Norton, DE Pat O’Connor, TE Scott Orndoff, WR Michael Rector, WR Dez Stewart, WR Noel Thomas, CB Josh Thornton, TE Robert Tonyan, TE Cole Wick, LB Antwione Williams
Green Bay Packers[/B]
G Kofi Amichia, CB Donatello Brown, TE Emanuel Byrd, QB Joe Callahan, LB Johnathan Calvin, WR Michael Clark, WR Montay Crockett, WR Malachi Dupre, G Thomas Evans, LB Reggie Gilbert, G Geoff Gray, LB Cody Heiman, DT Calvin Heurtelou, QB Taysom Hill, CB Daquan Holmes, T Robert Leff, LB Josh Letuligasenoa, DT Izaah Lunsford, LB Derrick Mathews, WR Max McCaffrey, G/T Adam Pankey, TE Aaron Peck, RB Kalif Phillips, DT Brian Price, CB Raysean Pringle, S Aaron Taylor, LB Jordan Tripp, S Jermaine Whitehead, WR DeAngelo Yancey, LS Derek Hart, WR Colby Pearson, RB William Stanback
TE RaShaun Allen, WR Dres Anderson, DT Eli Ankoy, C Erik Austell, S Lonnie Ballentine, TE Evan Baylis, P Corey Carter, LB Mike Catapano, S K.J. Dillon, OT Laurence Gibson, DE Matthew Godin, WR Justin Hardee, DT Rickey Hatley, WR Germone Hopper, CB Bryce Jones, WR Marcus Leak, LB Eric Lee, WR Riley McCarron, LB Sio Moore, CB Robert Nelson Jr., K Nick Novak, RB Dare Ogunbowale, LB Gimel President, G David Quessenberry, LB Shakeel Rashad, CB Denzel Rice, CB Marcus Roberson, DE Daniel Ross, G Chad Slade, S Malik Smith, WR Chris Thompson, G Josh Walker, LB Tony Washington Jr., LB Avery Williams WR Wendall Williams, WR Devin Street, LB Dayon Pratt, QB Brandon Weeden
LB Akeem Ayers, CB Dante Blackmon, DT Josh Boyd, WR Marvin Bracy, WR Fred Brown, T Fahn Cooper, LB Lavar Edwards, S Tyson Graham Jr., S Lee Hightower, WR Bug Howard, TE Henry Krieger-Coble, WR Justice Liggins, RB De’Mard Llorens, DT T.Y. McGill, G Blake Muir, WR JoJo Natson, DT David Parry, RB Troymaine Pope, G Adam Redmond, RB Daaryl Richardson, WR Brian Riley, ILB Darnell Sankey, WR Valdez Showers, OLB Garrett Sickels, LB Sean Spence, DE Jhaustin Thomas, T Arturo Uzdavinis, G Terran Vaughn, QB Phillip Walker, CB Corey White, S Andrew Williamson, TE Steven Wroblewski, T Andrew Wylie
RB Tim Cook, DE Hunter Dimick, CB Brian Dixon, TE Alex Ellis, WR Amba Etta-Tawo, LB Andrew Gachkar, OL Avery Gennesy, DE Malliciah Goodman, TE David Grinnage, RB DuJuan Harris, DB Tracy Howard, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, S Jeron Johnson, OL Nila Kasitati, DT Tueni Lupeamanu, DT Kevin Maurice, LB Josh McNary, DE Carroll Phillips, OL Chris Reed, DB Ezra Robinson, DE Jonathan Woodard
[B]Kansas City Chiefs[/B]
DL Ricky Ali’ifua, CB De’Vante Bausby, TE Orson Charles, OL Joseph Cheek, WR Gehrig Dieter, TE Gavin Escobar, K Sam Ficken, CB Jacoby Glenn, CB Trevon Hartfield, T Donald Hawkins, T Josh James, WR Seantavius Jones, WR Tevin Jones, WR Marcus Kemp, G Damien Mama, LB Justin March-Lillard, S Leon McQuay, LB Earl Okine, OL Mike Pearson, RB Devine Redding, OL Jah Reid, LB Marcus Rush, CB Larry Scott, RB C.J. Spiller, QB Joel Stave, WR Tony Stevens, DT Maurice Swain, S Steve Terrell, DT Cam Thomas, G Andrew Tiller, WR Robert Wheelwright
Los Angeles Chargers[/B]
P Toby Baker, RB Kenjon Barner, QB Mike Bercovici, G Brett Boyko, WR Da’Ron Brown, NT Ryan Carrethers, QB Kellen Clemens, LB Kyle Coleman, TE Jeff Cumberland, CB Michael Davis, TE Mike Estes, CB Randall Evans, C/G Barrett Gouger, WR Jamaal Jones, K Josh Lambo, S Dwight Lowery, WR Mitchell Paige, WR Andre Patton, WR Cameron Posey, CB Trovon Reed, DT Caraun Reid, WR Artavis Scott, CB Brandon Stewart, CB Brad Watson, TE Matt Weiser, RB Andre Williams
[B]Los Angeles Rams[/B]
DT Omarius Bryant, WR K.D. Cannon, OL Parker Collins, K Travis Coons, CB Carlos Davis, LB Kevin Davis, OL Michael Dunn, OL Jake Eldrenkamp, LB Josh Forrest, DB Tyquwan Glass, RB Aaron Green, TE Cory Harkey, DB Isaiah Johnson, DB Michael Jordan, OL Alex Kozan, OLB Willie Mays, LB Cassanova Mckinzy, WR Paul McRoberts, OLB Andy Mulumba, OL Pace Murphy, LB Folarin Orimolade, QB Dan Orlovsky, DB Aarion Penton, NT Mike Purcell, FB Sam Rogers, WR Shakeir Ryan, DT Casey Sayles, WR Brandon Shippen, WR Nelson Spruce, OLB Carlos Thompson, RB Lenard Tillery, OLB Davis Tull, G Cody Wichmann, TE Travis Wilson
LS Winston Chapman, P Matt Darr, QB Brandon Doughty, TE Thomas Duarte, G Isame Faciane, QB David Fales, WR Trey Griffey, S A.J. Hendy, T Sean Hickey, CB Larry Hope, RB Storm Johnson, LB Deon Lacey, WR Rashad Lawrence, WR Malcolm Lewis, CB Jordan Lucas, DE Camerson Malveaux, DE Praise Martin-Oguike, WR Mitch Mathews, WR Drew Morgan, DT Lawrence Okoye, TE Chris Pantale, CB Lafayette Pitts, DE Joby Saint Fleur, RB De’Veon Smith, WR Damore’ea Stringfellow, LB Junior Sylvestre, DE Julius Warmsley, T Avery Young
G Willie Beavers, WR Moritz Bohringer, G Alex Boone, DT Dylan Bradley, CB Sam Brown, TE Kyle Carter, DT Chunky Clements, OL T.J. Clemmings, LB Noor Davis, T Reid Fragel, WR Isaac Fruechte, QB Taylor Heinicke, RB Bronson Hill, WR Cayleb Jones, G Zac Kerin, K Marshall Koehn, LB Elijah Lee, QB Mitch Leidner, DE Sam McCaskill, RB Terrell Newby, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, CB Jabari Price, TE Josiah Price, CB Horace Richardson, CB Tre Roberson, LB Edmond Robinson, WR R.J. Shelton, T Austin Shepherd, CB Terrell Sinkfield, DT Will Sutton, P Taylor Symmank, G Freddie Tagaloa, S Jack Tocho, TE Nick Truesdell
[B]New England Patriots[/B]
RB Brandon Bolden, OL Jamil Douglas, OL James Ferentz, RB D.J. Foster, LB Jonathan Freeny, DL Geneo Grissom, DL Woodrow Hamilton, OL Ted Karras, DL Darius Kilgo, TE James O’Shaughnessy and WR Tony Washington, LB Trevor Bates, FB Glenn Gronkowski, WR Devin Lucien and WR K.J. Maye, DL Josh Augusta, DL Michael Bart, WR Austin Carr, TE Sam Cotton, RB LeShun Daniels, Jr., LB Brooks Ellis, WR Cody Hollister, DB David Jones, DB D.J. Killings, OL Jason King, DB Will Likely, OL Conor McDermott, DB Kenny Moore II, OL Max Rich, DB Jason Thompson, DB Damarius Travis, LB Nick Usher, LB Christian Kuntz
[B]New Orleans Saints[/B]
OT Khalif Barnes, LB Adam Bighill, TE Braedon Bowman, DB Taveze Calhoun, RB Travaris Cadet, LB Audie Cole, WR Travin Dural, DB Malik Foreman, G John Fullington, QB Garrett Grayson, TE Garrett Griffin, DE Obum Gwacham, WR De’Quan Hampton, T Bruce Harris, DB Erik Harris, DT John Hughes, DE Alex Jenkins, DE Jason Jones, WR Jake Lampman, RB Zach Line, DT Ashaad Mabry, DB Arthur Maulet, LB Michael Mauti, DT Tony McDaniel, DB Elijah Mitchell, QB Ryan Nassib, G Kristjan Sokoli, DB Damian Swann, C Cameron Tom, G Landon Turner, OT Jerry Ugokwe, RB Darius Victor, LB Jonathan Walton, DT Justin Zimmer
[B]New York Giants[/B]
RB Khalid Abdullah, CB DaShaun Amos, OL Adam Bisnowaty, WR Marquis Bundy, LB Chris Casher, LB Steven Daniels, CB Donte Deayon, RB Shaun Draughn, WR Ed Eagan, WR C.J. Germany, DB Tay Glover-Wright, LB Curtis Grant, DB Daniel Gray, OL Jon Halapio, FB Jacob Huesman, QB Josh Johnson, OL Jarron Jones, WR Jerome Lane, G Richard Levy, LB Stansly Maponga, S Ryan Murphy, K Mike Nugent, DE Owa Odighizuwa, DB Eric Pinkins, WR Darius Powe, DL Bobby Richardson, S Trey Robinson, OL Matt Rotheram, WR Travis Rudolph, DB Tim Scott, WR Canaan Severin, LB Deontae Skinner, DL Devin Taylor, CB Nigel Tribune, TE Will Tye, DL Jordan Williams
New York Jets[/B]
RB Anthony Firkser, RB Romar Morris, RB Jahad Thomas, WR Frankie Hammond, WR Gabe Marks, WR Jalin Marshall, WR Lucky Whitehead, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, WR Dan Williams, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, OL Alex Balducci, OL Chris Bordelon, OL Ben Braden, OL Javarious Leamon, DL Patrick Gamble, DL Deon Simon, DL Lawrence Thomas, LB Frank Beltre, LB Connor Harris, DB Xavier Coleman, DB Robenson Therezie, DB Shamarko Thomas, ST Tanner Purdum, OL Jeff Adams, TE Brandon Barnes, DB Armagedon Draughn, DL Jeremy Faulk, WR Chris Harper, ST Ross Martin, LB Spencer Paysinger, LS Tanner Purdum, DB David Rivers, OL Craig Watts, WR Myles White
OL Kareem Are, RB George Atkinson III, CB Breon Borders, DT Paul Boyette, WR K.J. Brent, OT Chauncey Briggs, DE Fadol Brown, TE Pharaoh Brown, LB Shilique Calhoun, S Anthony Cioffi, RB Jon Crockett, CB Kenneth Durden, LS Andrew East, LB IK Enemkpali, LB Najee Harris, WR Keon Hatcher, TE Cooper Helfet, TE Gabe Holmes, RB Elijah Hood, CB Chris Humes, DL Branden Jackson, S Rickey Jefferson, LB Rufus Johnson, LB LaTroy Lewis, S Marcus McWilson, WR Jaydon Mickens, TE Ryan OâMalley, G Oni Omoile, LB Brady Sheldon, G Ian Silberman, G Jordan Simmons, L Giorgio Tavecchio, WR Isaac Whitney, LB Xavier Woodson-Luster, WR Ishmael Zamora
C/G Josh Andrews, DB Ron Brooks, TE Billy Brown, LB Don Cherry, DT Winston Craig, WR Rashard Davis, TE Anthony Denham, QB Dane Evans, LB Carlos Fields, LB Nathan Gerry, T Dillon Gordon, G Darrell Greene, CB Aaron Grymes, DT Justin Hamilton, T Taylor Hart, P Cameron Johnston, RB Byron Marshall, DE Jake Metz, C Aaron Neary, C Tyler Orlosky, T Victor Salako, CB C.J. Smith, LB Christian Tago, WR Bryce Treggs, WR Paul Turner, WR Greg Ward, DB Mitchell White, CB Jomal Wiltz, DT Gabe Wright, TE Adam Zaruba
WR Demarcus Ayers, DT Christian Brown, C Ruben Carter, OL Ethan Cooper, RB Knile Davis, CB Brandon Dixon, C Kyle Friend, LB Matt Galambos, LB Austin Gearing, S Malik Golden (waived/injured), CB Senquez Golson, S Jacob Hagen, WR Cobi Hamilton, LS Colin Holba, DE Lavon Hooks, QB Bart Houston, LB Farrington Huguenin, TE David Johnson, LB Steven Johnson, DE Francis Kallon, LB Keith Kelsey, DE Johnny Maxey, TE Jake McGee, OT Brian Mihalik, OL Keavon Milton, TE Phazahn Odom, CB Dashaun Phillips, DT Roy Philon, OT Jake Rodgers, CB JaCorey Shepherd, WR Justin Thomas, RB Fitzgerald Touissant, WR Marcus Tucker, S Terrish Webb and RB Trey Williams
San Francisco 49ers[/B]
QB Matt Barkley, C Tim Barnes, TE Blake Bell, RB Kapri Bibbs, LB Austin Calitro, WR DeAndre Carter, CB Will Davis, NT Quinton Dial, DL Leger Douzable, OL J.P. Flynn, OL Andrew Gardner, RB Tim Hightower, TE Cole Hikutini, CB Asa Jackson, WR Jeremy Kerley, OL Andrew Lauderdale, DL Sen’Derrick Marks, FB Tyler McCloskey, QB Nick Mullens, WR Louis Murphy, DL Noble Nwachukwu, WR Tim Patrick, OL Norman Price, K Nick Rose, LB Shayne Skov, WR DeAndre Smelter, S Vinnie Sunseri, OL Darrell Williams Jr.
TE Stevie Donatell,QB Trevone Boykin, T Darrell Brown, LB Rodney Butler, RB Alex Collins, RB Mike Davis, WR Cyril Grayson, DT Tylor Harris, C Joey Hunt, DT Quinton Jefferson, WR Kenny Lawler, DT Jeremy Liggins, DT Greg Milhouse, WR David Moore, LB Kache Palacio, C/G Will Pericak, LB Otha Peters, WR Darreus Rogers, DT Garrison Smith, WR Rodney Smith, TE Tyrone Swoopes, T Tyrus Thompson, CB Mike Tyson, LB Christian French, CB Demetrius McCray, DT Rodney Coe, CB Pierre Desir, WR Kasen Williams , LB Mike Morgan, FB Marcel Reece, DT Ahtyba Rubin
Tampa Bay Buccaneers[/B]
DE Mehdi Abdesmad, OL Josh Allen, DE Sterling Bailey, DE Tarvaris Barnes, LB Richie Brown, LB Riley Bullough, CB Mariel Cooper, WR Donteea Dye, DE Hendrick Ekpe, RB Russell Hansbrough, CB Vernon Harris, G Jarvis Harrison, WR Shaq Hill, K Zach Hocker, WR Josh Huff, S Marqueston Huff, FB Austin Johnson, S Isaiah Johnson, T Korren Kirven, LB Jeff Knox, OL Mike Liedtke, T Marquis Lucas, WR Freddie Martino, RB Jeremy McNichols, CB Jonathan Moxey, LB Eric Nzeocha, DB Cody Riggs, G James Stone, WR Derel Walker, TE Tevin Westbrook, WR Bobo Wilson, LS Andrew DePaola, DE George Johnson, LB Paul Magloire, RB Blake Sims
CB Manny Abad, TE Jace Amaro, DE Angelo Blackson, NT DeAngelo Brown, TE Jerome Cunningham, QB Tyler Ferguson, CB Demontre Hurst, WR Darius Jennings, S Denzel Johnson, WR Jonathan Krause, WR KeVonn Mabon, T Tyler Marz, G Josue Matias, WR Tre McBride, T Steven Moore, RB Khalfani Muhammad, WR Giovanni Pascascio, T Jonah Pirsig, RB Brandon Radcliff, DE Cameron Robbins, T Brad Seaton, TE Tim Semisch, G Jake Simonich, CB Darrius Sims, CB D’Joun Smith, C Mark Spelman, LB Justin Staples, WR Eric Weems, NT Antwaun Woods
S Will Blackmon, DL A.J. Francis, DL Brandon Banks, TE E.J. Bibbs, C Lucas Crowley, WR Robert Davis, TE Manasseh Garner, WR Maurice Harris, WR Matt Hazel, RB Kenny Hilliard, CB Tevin Homer, WR Levern Jacobs, RB Matt Jones, G Kyle Kalis, T John Kling, G Arie Kouandjio, LB Nico Marley, DL Joey Mbu, CB Jeremiah McKinnon, OL Kendall Pace, T Vinston Painter, WR Zach Pascal, C Ronald Patrick, DL Ondre Pipkins, WR James Quick, LB Pete Robertson, S Fish Smithson, WR Jamari Staples, QB Nate Sudfeld, LB Ron Thompson Jr., LB Lynden Trail, LB Zach Vigil, G Isaiah Williams
Since 1980, the 10 largest pointspread upsets in college football history:
+43— Howard over UNLV, 9-2-17
+39— Stanford over USC, 10-6-07
+36.5— Texas State over Houston, 9-1-12
+36— Syracuse over Louisville, 9-22-07
+36— UTEP over BYU, 10-26-85
+36— Temple over Virginia Tech, 10-17-98
+35.5— Central Michigan over Western Michigan, 11-11-00
+35— Oregon State over Washington 10-19-85
+33— Appalachian State over Michigan, 9-1-07
+33— Liberty over Baylor, 9-2-17
— Florida State QB Deondre Francois is out for the year after his knee injury Saturday nite.
— UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44— Aggies led 44-10 in 3rd quarter. Really, they did.
— Virginia Tech 31, West Virginia 24— WVU was on the Tech 10-yard line when game ended.
— USA 81, Argentina 76— Americans were down 20 in third quarter. Jeff Van Gundy’s team comes home with the gold medal from the AmeriCup tournament— a great road win.
[B][I]Monday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….[/I][/B]
13) If you have season tickets for an NFL team, you buy 10 games at regular season prices; the obvious problem is this: 2 of those 10 games are exhibition games.
NFL should reduce the price of those two unwatchable preseason games to $25, which would allow people who don’t normally go to exhibition games to go. At some point, the owners have to stop sucking every last dollar from the consumer. Its not good business. Greed isn’t good.
12) 37 Buccaneers sat out their exhibition game Thursday night; assuming all of those guys are making the squad, that means only 16 players who will be Bucs in Week 1 played vs Washington.
11) NFL owners get stadiums built for them; they’re rich people with a sense of entitlement that is out of control. At some point, NFL owners need to give something back to their communities.
10) Seahawks acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the Jets on Friday. In return, Seattle sent WR Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 2nd-round draft pick to New Jersey.
9) A professional golfer named Kelly Kraft (#64 in FedEx Cup standings) made a 12 on the par-5 second hole Friday, shot a 44 on the front nine, then withdrew with a foot injury. Oy.
8) Nigel Williams-Goss transferred from Washington to Gonzaga, sat out 2015-16, then helped the Zags make the Final Four last year. He skipped his senior year at Gonzaga, was drafted in the second round by Utah, but instead of getting a two-way contract with Utah, he is off to Serbia to play ball for $130,000 this season. Curious decision.
7) 49ers cut QB Matt Barkley, who figures to get picked up by someone (Buffalo??). Browns cut Brock Osweiler, who still banks $16M from Cleveland— Osweiler is headed back to Denver with a hefty bank account, but with very little success on the field.
6) Baseball players who are September 1st call-ups making minimum MLB salary ($535,000 a year) will earn $90,628 for the rest of the season.
5) Was reading where Justin Verlander approved his trade to Houston one minute before the trade deadline. Supposedly there was a chance he would be traded to the Cubs, but that fell thru.
4) UL-Lafayette 51, SE Louisiana 48— Ragin’ Cajuns ran two kicks back for TD’s; Lions ran a punt back for a score. With 0:42 left, SE Louisiana scored a TD to make score 49-48- they went for two points and the win, but their QB fumbled and ULL ran it back for two points of their own. Game was 35-35 at halftime.
3) Cleveland Browns’ three QB’s (Kizer-Kessler-Hogan) have a total of zero NFL wins to their credit. Browns are paying Brock Osweiler $15M+ to be a backup in Denver.
Dolphins signed K Cody Parkey, which means RPI alum Andrew Franks is out of a job, at least for now.
2) Indians 11, Tigers 1— Cleveland has won 11 games in a row.
1) Jets, Jaguars, Browns picked up five guys each off the waiver wire; Ram picked up three, the Colts four. Most of the better teams didn’t add anyone— you can get a little bit of a feel of who the better teams are by seeing which teams add which players.
[B]Chiefs @ Patriots[/B]— Last 14 years, defending Super Bowl champ is 12-2 in its first game the next year (8-3-3 vs spread). Patriots are 6-2 in last eight games with KC; Chiefs lost last six visits here- their last win in Foxboro was in 1990. New England is 12-1 in last 13 season openers (lost @ Miami in ’14); they’re 14-1 in last 15 home openers, but just 1-4 vs spread in last five- their last four wins in HO’s were by 7 or less points. Chiefs won three of last four season openers; they’re 3-8 in last 11 road openers (under 8-4 in last 12), but 6-5 vs spread in last 11 AO’s as an underdog. Under Reid, Chiefs are 4-7 vs spread as a non-divisional road underdog. Since ’13, Patriots are 17-8-3 as a home favorite, 11-4-1 vs non-division opponents.
[B]Jets @ Bills[/B]—Buffalo led NFL in rushing yardage last two years; will that change under the new coach? Bills had won five in row over the Jets before getting swept 37-31/30-10 in two meetings LY. Jets lost three of last four visits here, with losses by 19-23-5 points. Jets open on road for first time since ’09; they’re 5-1 in last six season openers, 15-5 vs spread in last 20 road openers. Buffalo is 7-3 vs spread in last ten home openers- three of last four stayed under. Last five years, Bills are 9-6 vs spread when hosting AFC East foes; since 2012, they’re 12-10 as a home favorite. Over is 12-4 in their home games the last two years. Jets are 2-4-2 as road underdogs under Bowles. Under is 10-6 in Jet road games the last two seasons.
[B]Falcons @ Bears[/B]— Last 14 years, Super Bowl loser is 5-9 in its first game the next year (2-12 vs spread). Atlanta also has two new coordinators this year; they’re 3-2 in last five season openers, 4-3 as a road favorite under Quinn. Under is 15-9 in their road games the last three years. Chicago is 6-11-1 vs spread as a home underdog since ’12 (4-1 LY). First meeting in three years between these two; Falcons lost last six games in Windy City- their last win here was in 1983 (also in Week 1). Atlanta is 3-2 in its last five road openers. Under is 10-3 in their last 13 AO’s. Chicago lost its last three home openers, by 3-8-15 points; over is 4-1-1 in their last six. Bears were -20 in turnovers LY, are 14-34 SU the last three years.
[B]Jaguars @ Texans[/B]— Houston won last six games in this division rivalry; they swept Jaguars LY, 24-21/21-20. Jax lost five of last six games in Houston, losing last three by 1-24-6 points. Texans are 12-4-1 as a home favorite under O’Brien; they’re also starting 4th different QB on Opening Day in his four years as Texans’ coach. Since ’09, Jaguars are 24-29-1 as a road underdog; over is 11-5 in their road games the last two years. Jax lost its last nine road openers (2-7 vs spread)- they stared 0-1 the last five years. Houston won six of last seven season openers, are 5-2 vs spread in last seven home openers. Under is 8-4 in their last 12 home openers, 10-6 in their home games the last two seasons.
[B]Eagles @ Redskins[/B]— Washington won last five series games, sweeping Iggles 27-20/27-22 LY. Philly lost last three visits here, by 3-3-7 points. Last two years, Redskins are 12-4 vs spread in games where spread was 3 or less points- they’re 4-8 as a home favorite under Gruden. Eagles are 8-9 vs spread as a road underdog the last three years. Redskins Philly won seven of last eight road openers- they covered last five tries as an underdog in AO’s. Over is 5-2-2 in their last nine AO’s. Washington lost four of its last five home openers; five of last six went over total. Last two years, Eagles are 7-10 vs spread in games where spread was 3 or less points. Over is 22-10 in Philly road games the last four years.
[B]Cardinals @ Lions[/B]— Redbirds are 10-6 vs spread on artificial turf, 10-7 as road underdogs under Arians. Detroit is 11-4-3 as home favorites under Caldwell. Arizona won its last seven games with Lions; five of those seven were in desert. Redbirds won 31-24/42-17 in last two visits here; their last loss to Lions was here in 2005. Arizona had covered eight road openers in row before losing Week 3 AO in Buffalo LY- three of their last four went over. Cards won five of last seven season openers. Detroit won five of last six season openers, lost last two home openers, scoring 12-15 points. Over is 5-2 in their last seven HO’s. Over is 13-3 in Cardinal road games last two years. Over is 23-17 in their home games the last five years.
[B]Raiders @ Titans[/B]— Silver/Black was 7-1 LY in games with spread of 3 or less points; they’re 12-4 vs spread on road under Del Rio. Oakland won in Music City last two years, 24-21/17-10; road team won last three series games. Last four years, Titans are 9-20-3 vs spread at home; since 2011, they’re 13-22-3 vs spread in games with spread of 3 or less. Oakland lost four of last five season openers; they’re 7-2-1 vs spread in last ten road openers— over is 12-5-1 in their last 18. Tennessee won three of last four season openers, but lost its last three home openers. Titans are 5-13-2 vs spread in last 20 non-divisional home tilts. Under is 7-3 in their last ten season openers. Oakland is 15-5 vs spread in its last 20 non-divisional road games.
[B]Buccaneers @ Dolphins[/B]—Since 2007, Miami is 11-31-1 vs spread as a home favorite; dogs are 26-12-2 vs spread in their last 40 home games. Series is 5-5; home side is 7-3. Bucs lost three of four visits here, with one win in 2000. Three of last four meetings were decided by 3 or less points. Tampa Bay won its last two road openers, covered five of last seven; over is 6-3 in their last nine. Miami won four of its last five home openers- their last eight home openers went over the total. Last three years, Tampa Bay is 6-11 vs number in games with spread of 3 or less points. Since 2013, under is 17-14-1 in Bucs’ road games; over is 15-9 in Miami’s last 24 home tilts. Since ’12, Tampa is 15-10 vs spread in non-divisional road games.
[B][I]Weekend Sports In Brief
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
NEW YORK (AP)[/B] Maybe this was just one three-setter too many for Maria Sharapova.
Sharapova tried a bit of everything, even resorting to switching over her racket to hit a few lefty shots. Still, the five-time major champion could not quite keep her Grand Slam comeback from a doping suspension going, losing in the fourth round of the U.S. Open to 16th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.
Sharapova’s exit leaves Venus Williams as the only past U.S. Open champion in the women’s field. The 37-year-old Williams, who won the title in 2000 and 2001, got to the quarterfinals by beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Next for Williams will be a showdown against No. 13 Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner, who eliminated reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza 7-6 (3), 6-3.
Earlier, 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov’s entertaining stay ended with a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) loss to 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain. In the quarters, Carreno Busta will play No. 29 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, while No. 17 Sam Querrey of the United States takes on No. 28 Kevin Anderson of South Africa. ”You know, it’s another life-changing event for me.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)[/B] – The Chiefs are signing C.J. Spiller one day after releasing the veteran running back, resolving a curious move on cut day that left Kansas City with only two players on the roster at the position.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday night that Spiller was returning to the Chiefs. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move was not announced.
The Kansas City Star was the first to report that Spiller was returning to Kansas City.
The reason he was released in the first place was to keep injured cornerback Steven Nelson on the roster. The Chiefs wanted to put Nelson on injured reserve with a designation to return, but they could only do that if the third-year pro made the initial 53-man roster.
The designation means that Nelson, who recently had surgery for a core muscle injury, would be eligible to begin practice in six weeks and could begin playing in games after eight weeks.
[B]LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)[/B] – The Chicago Bears have waived running back Jeremy Langford.
A fourth-round draft pick in 2015, Langford ran for 537 yards as a rookie.
He came into last season as the starter, but ankle injuries early on and in training camp this year along with the emergence of Jordan Howard helped make him expendable. Howard ran for 1,313 yards as a rookie in 2016.
LOS ANGELES (AP) [/B]- UCLA practiced a fake spike last week, never imagining that it would cap off the biggest comeback in school history.
Josh Rosen faked the spike and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds remaining and UCLA overcame a 34-point deficit to stun Texas A&M 45-44 on Sunday night.
Rosen was 35 of 59 for 491 yards and four fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Jalen Starks and Soso Jamabo had scoring runs for the Bruins in the opener for both teams.
UCLA overcame a deficit of more than 20 points for the first time since overcoming a 22-0 hole in the first quarter of the 2005 Sun Bowl against Northwestern.
[B]TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP)[/B] – Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois will miss the rest of the season after tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee in the fourth quarter Saturday night in a 24-7 loss to No. 1 Alabama in Atlanta.
People familiar with the situation confirmed the injury to The Associated Press on Sunday night. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the school’s medical information policy.
The Tallahassee Democrat first reported the injury.
Coach Jimbo Fisher is expected to have a further update, including when Francois is expected to have surgery, during his weekly press conference Monday.
[B]LAS VEGAS (AP)[/B] – Caylin Newton accounted for 330 total offensive yards and three touchdowns to lead 45-point underdog and FCS-member Howard to a stunning 43-40 win Saturday night in the season opener and debut for new Bison coach Mike London.
Howard spoiled the start of UNLV’s 50th season of play with the biggest upset in college football history based on point spread. Stanford held the previous record when it was declared a 40-point underdog against USC in 2007 and beat the Trojans.
Newton, the younger brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, had 21 carries for 190 yards and two scores and passed for 140 and a score.
NORTON, Mass. (AP) – PGA champion Justin Thomas ran off eight birdies on a long, wet TPC Boston for a tournament-best 63, giving him a share of the lead with Marc Leishman going into a Labor Day finish in the Dell Technologies filled with the game’s best players.
The FedEx Cup playoff event in Boston has a history of delivering big moments, and this was set up for another.
Leishman, who won at Bay Hill this year, also played bogey-free for a 65 to join Thomas at 12-under 201.
Eight players were separated by three shots going into the final round, a listed that included Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, Paul Casey and Jon Rahm. Still very much in the mix was Phil Mickelson, only four shots behind.
[B]PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)[/B] – Stacy Lewis came through for her hurricane-ravaged hometown – and ended a long winless streak.
The Houston-area player won the Cambia Portland Classic, with her $195,000 in winnings going to the relief efforts. Her sponsor, KMPG, also pledged to match the donation.
The 32-year-old Lewis, from The Woodlands, won her 12th LPGA Tour title and first time since June 2014, ending a frustrating stretch that included 12 runner-up finishes. She closed with a 3-under 69 to hold off In Gee Chun by a stroke at tree-lined Columbia Edgewater.
[B]CALGARY, Alberta (AP)[/B] – Scott McCarron won the Shaw Charity Classic for his fourth PGA Tour Champions title of the season.
McCarron closed with a 3-under 67 to beat Miguel Angel Jimenez by a stroke at Canyon Meadows. After Jimenez missed a long eagle putt en route to a birdie on the par-5 18th, McCarron holed a 3-footer for par.
McCarron opened with rounds of 63 and 64 to take a two-stroke lead into the final round.
The 52-year-old McCarron matched Bernhard Langer for the season victory lead and earned $352,500 to pull closer to the idle German star in the Charles Schwab Cup season standings.
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) – Denny Hamlin has run for championships before without success. He’s worked hard this season to make sure his latest try for a title the way he and his team want.
Hamlin won for the second time this season and established himself a strong contender for his first NASCAR crown when he overcame a bad mistake to take the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Hamlin reeled in Martin Truex Jr. with three laps left, erasing a deficit of some 20 seconds to sweep Darlington’s throwback weekend.
After a regular-season finish at Richmond International Raceway next week, the playoffs get going and Hamlin again plans to be hot on the heels of regular-season points champion Truex.
[B][I]Patriots, retired WR Boldin could be match
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
Anquan Boldin knows a job with the New England Patriots could have a nice ring to it.
Boldin, 36, is intrigued by the possibility of joining the defending Super Bowl champions, who lost slot receiver Julian Edelman to a season-ending knee injury last month.
Only a few weeks removed from retirement, Boldin walked away from a spot on the Buffalo Bills’ roster 13 days after signing a one-year deal with New England’s AFC East rival.
Boldin said at the time the decision was “bigger than football” and driven by his desire to make an impact beyond the game. Boldin was known for his charity work, including being recognized as Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.
Boldin was expected to bring a veteran presence to the offense after signing a one-year contract with the Bills on Aug. 7. The 36-year-old made one catch for 5 yards in his lone preseason game with Buffalo against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Football has afforded me a platform throughout my career to have a greater impact on my humanitarian work, and at this time I feel drawn to make the larger fight for human rights a priority,” Boldin said in a statement. “My life’s purpose is bigger than football.”
Boldin spent portions of the last two years on Capitol Hill fighting for criminal justice reform. His cousin, Corey Jones, was shot to death by a plain-clothes police officer in 2015 after Jones’ van broke down on the side of a South Florida highway.
In his 14-year NFL career, Boldin ranked ninth all-time in receptions (1,076), 14th in receiving yards (13,779) and tied for 23rd in receiving touchdowns (82). He won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2012 season.
His departure leaves Buffalo with questions among its wide receiver ranks. Former first-round pick Sammy Watkins was traded to the Los Angeles Rams on Aug. 11, and while wideout Jordan Matthews was acquired from the Eagles the same day, he is recovering from a chipped bone in his sternum.
Boldin began his career with the Arizona Cardinals as a 2003 second-round draft pick out of Florida State. The 6-foot-1, 218-pounder played seven years with the Cardinals and appeared in the Super Bowl following the 2008 season, with Arizona losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He moved on to Baltimore in 2010 and spent three years there.
While with Baltimore, Boldin caught the first completion of current Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s career in 2011. It came in mop-up duty during a late-season loss to the San Diego Chargers, as Taylor, then a rookie, hit Boldin for an 18-yard completion.
Boldin spent 2013-15 with the San Francisco 49ers. He played 2016 for the Detroit Lions, catching 67 passes for 584 yards and eight touchdowns. Seven of his touchdowns came when he was lined up in the slot, the second most from that position in the NFL last season behind only Sterling Shepard of the Giants.
[B][I]Panthers’ Rivera confident Newton ‘ready’ for season opener
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera declared quarterback Cam Newton “ready” for the Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
Newton, who had surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, was limited in training camp. He played only one series — a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive when he completed both of his passes for 21 yards and a TD — during the four preseason games.
“I think he’s ready,” Rivera said. “You wish he’d had a few more snaps and played a little bit earlier in the preseason so we’d have more to go on. But what we saw, we liked.
“We liked how everything seems to be meshing together as an offense. We’ll see how it goes as we continue to work this week.”
Newton, 28, has been a full participant in practice over the past week as the Panthers prepare for the opener at San Francisco.
“You really won’t know until the opener,” Rivera said of Newton. “Nobody knew what he was going to be like his rookie year. That’s kind of how this is going to be.”
Newton’s injury occurred in the Panthers’ Week 14 game against the Chargers last season. He played in each of the team’s remaining three games and underwent offseason MRI exams to monitor his progress before deciding on surgery.
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, passed for 3,509 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 games last season for the Panthers, who missed the playoffs after finishing last in the NFC South with a 6-10 record.
[B][I]Luck able to practice but ruled out for Colts’ opener
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Andrew Luck will not play in Sunday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
General manager Chris Ballard made the official announcement Monday.
Luck has not taken a snap or thrown a pass to a teammate since having January surgery to repair a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder.
Indy’s franchise quarterback missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, all of training camp and the preseason before he was activated from the physically unable to perform list Saturday. And it’s no guarantee he’ll be on the field later Monday when the Colts typically hold a light workout.
Scott Tolzien is likely to make his fourth NFL start, even after the Colts traded for Jacoby Brissett on Saturday.
[B][I]Le’Veon Bell signs franchise tender, returns to Steelers
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
PITTSBURGH (AP) Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell is officially back at work with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bell signed his franchise tender on Monday, clearing him to return for the 2017 season. The team placed the franchise tag on Bell in February. He declined to sign his one-year, $12.1 million tender while waiting to see if a long-term deal could be reached. When the Steelers and Bell did not come to an agreement by the mid-July deadline, Bell opted to skip training camp and work out on his own.
The Steelers were given a two-week roster exemption for Bell, meaning they can carry an additional player on the 53-man roster.
Bell worked out with the rest of the team Monday. His status for Pittsburgh’s season opener in Cleveland is uncertain.
[B][I]Buccaneers bolster secondary, sign ex-Broncos S T.J. Ward
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed safety T.J. Ward, two days after the three-time Pro Bowl selection was released by the Denver Broncos.
Ward spent the past three seasons with the Broncos, who cut him on Saturday. The eight-year pro helped Denver win the Super Bowl two years ago.
The Bucs cleared room on the roster for Ward on Sunday when they traded safety J.J. Wilcox to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team also announced Monday that third-string quarterback Ryan Griffin has been placed on injured reserve. Long snapper Garrison Sanborn was re-signed after being waived over the weekend, when the roster was trimmed to 53 players.
Ward began his career as a second-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2010. He signed with Denver as an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season.
Ward started all 95 regular-season games he appeared in with the Broncos and Browns. He has eight career interceptions, along with 8 1/2 sacks and three fumble recoveries.
[B][I]Falcons cut Hageman following 2016 domestic violence charges
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) The Atlanta Falcons have released defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman two days after he was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list because of domestic violence charges in 2016.
The Falcons said in a statement Monday the move was made after a ”thorough investigative process by local authorities.” The NFL said Saturday its investigation is pending.
Hageman is a four-year veteran who started four games in 2016 and 12 games in 2015. He was listed as a backup before Saturday’s designation prevented him from playing in games or practicing.
Hageman faced charges of battery, cruelty to children and interfering with calls for emergency assistance. Police say he was at the home of his girlfriend, Janeal Jefferies.
[B][I]Bills’ Tyrod Taylor has concussion, uncertain for opener
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is still recovering from a concussion, raising the possibility of rookie Nathan Peterman opening the season against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Coach Sean McDermott said before practice Monday that Taylor has shown signs of improvement but remains in concussion protocol.
Taylor has been out since he was injured during the second series of a 13-9 preseason loss at Baltimore on Aug. 26. He missed practice last week but attended Buffalo’s preseason finale against Detroit on Thursday.
Veteran third-string quarterback T.J. Yates is also in concussion protocol after he was hurt against Baltimore.
That means the Bills could turn to Peterman. The fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh has jumped ahead of Yates to become the primary backup. Peterman saw the most extensive playing time this preseason, and finished 43 of 79 for 483 yards and a touchdown.
”He is ready,” McDermott said. ”When you look at what he’s done throughout the preseason, I’m confident, and we’re extremely confident in Nathan. I expect that he’s only going to continue to get better.”
The Bills signed quarterback Joe Webb for insurance in case Taylor or Yates can’t play. Webb has been in the NFL seven seasons and spent the past three with Carolina, where he also played on special teams.
The Bills are off Tuesday and returning to practice Wednesday.
McDermott wouldn’t say when he must decide on his starter.
”We’ll cross that road when we come to it at this point,” he said. ”We feel good we’ll have clarity around the situation when we need it, and this team’s ready.”
To make roster space for Yates, Buffalo released veteran safety Colt Anderson.
[B][I]Brady not thinking of ’08 injury as he prepares for Chiefs
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The previous time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady opened a season at home against Kansas City in 2008, it ended with him limping off the field with a season-ending knee injury.
Now nine years removed from the most significant injury of his career, Brady said it is the furthest thing from his mind as New England prepares to host the Chiefs on Thursday night.
”Yeah, I didn’t think about that,” Brady said Monday. ”Time flies.”
What’s also a distant memory is the unfamiliar situation he found himself in last season when he was forced to sit out the first four games of 2016 after accepting his four-game ”Deflategate” punishment.
Brady brushed off that disappointment by capturing his fifth Super Bowl in February. Now he’s happy just to be thinking about football and how to get the best of a Kansas City team that was the AFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs last season.
It’s a unique challenge for a Patriots offense that will have several new options for the 40-year-old quarterback to utilize as he tries to deal with a defense that ranked first in the NFL last season with 33 takeaways.
With minimal new film of Kansas City’s starters to dissect at this point, Brady is expecting to see plenty of wrinkles from what he called an ”explosive” unit.
One of the players he singled out was cornerback Marcus Peters. Peters tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions during the 2015 regular season. He followed that up by tying for second in the league with six picks in 2016.
Brady also is expecting to be challenged by safety Eric Berry and the active linebacker duo of Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston.
”They have playmakers,” Brady said. ”When they’re roaming around, you can’t just stare them down right where you want to throw the ball. It’s always a little cat and mouse with safeties and cornerbacks. … That’s why they force that many turnovers.”
But Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said familiarity alone won’t be enough to get Brady off his game.
”I don’t know if it helps. You’re aware of how good he is,” Sutton said. ”When you play (271) games, pass for 61,000 yards – or whatever he has – you’re playing against a football player, a quarterback that’s really talented, that has a great skillset – great command of his offense in all regards. It’s just a huge challenge.”
But even at 40, Brady said opening a season in prime time still offers the same excitement as it did early in his career.
”Everyone’s pretty amped up for this one,” he said. ”It’s been waiting a long time for this. … It’s a big game and it’s an important one.”
[B]NOTES: The Patriots placed LB Shea McClellin on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. They filled his roster spot by adding RB Brandon Bolden. Bolden, who has been a fixture on special teams since arriving in New England in 2012, was originally cut on Saturday. … OT Cam Fleming (ankle) and DT Vincent Valentine (knee) did not participate in practice Monday. DL Adam Butler (knee), DB Nate Ebner (shoulder), LB Harvey Langi (concussion) and WRs Malcolm Mitchell (knee) and Matt Slater (hamstring) were all limited participants.[/B]
[B][I]Matthew Stafford expects great things from Lions this season
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions avoided a potential distraction recently by agreeing on a deal that gives him the NFL’s richest contract .
He and the team still have a lot of work to do.
Detroit selected Stafford No. 1 overall in 2009 – after its infamous 0-16 season – and he has panned out, unlike many of the franchise’s picks. By drafting and keeping Stafford, the Lions have finally ended their decades-long search for a franchise quarterback.
He has a strong arm, a penchant for leading comebacks, and a likable presence in the locker room. He helped Detroit do enough to be in the 2016 playoffs despite a late-season slide, appearing in his third postseason in a six-season stretch.
Still, the Lions have been stuck on one playoff win for more than a quarter century and haven’t won an NFL championship in six decades.
Stafford is determined to give a desperate fan base something to cheer about in the playoffs.
”Health is a factor, and timing and all those kinds of things, but we’re an extremely talented team,” Stafford said after getting a $135 million, five-year extension. ”We’ve got great depth. We’ve built that through the draft and free agency. Brought in some front-line starters, some guys that are going to fill out our roster and really help us win games.
”I expect great things from this team.”
Lions management must also believe better days are ahead. They removed a banner that simply listed postseason appearances as part of a $100 million project to refurbish Ford Field.
[B]Here are some things to know about the Lions:
GROUNDED GAME: [/B]Detroit has ranked among the NFL’s worst in yards rushing the last three years. In Week 1 of 2016, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick combined for 120 yards receiving and 108 yards rushing in a 39-35 victory at Indianapolis. That was as good as it got. Abdullah hurt his left foot in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season. Riddick was limited to 10 games, missing five with an injured left wrist.
”I know we can do more than we did in that game,” Abdullah said. ”And, we’ve both done what we can to get healthy and ready for the season.”
INJURY REPORT: [/B]The Lions will start without left tackle Taylor Decker, out indefinitely after shoulder surgery. Decker will be replaced by a highly motivated Greg Robinson, who the Los Angeles Rams traded even though they drafted him No. 2 overall just three years ago. Detroit’s passing game will be much better if tight end Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Riddick can overcome the injuries.
Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, limited much of last season with a sprained ankle, became even more important for the team when Kerry Hyder went down during the summer with a season-ending Achilles tendon.
”There are only a few guys that have the kind of explosion, power, size, that (Ansah) has,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. ”We don’t have a lot of guys on our team like that, are genetically built the way he’s constructed. He can create some problems.”
The Lions put standout punter Sam Martin on the reserve/non-football injury list, giving Kasey Redfern a chance to make his NFL debut after spending time with Jacksonville, San Diego, Carolina and Cleveland.
RESHAPED LINE:[/B] The Lions let two starters go, Riley Reiff and Larry Warford in free agency, in free agency, and believe they upgraded by added veteran tackle Rick Wagner and T.J. Lang.
PLAYMAKING ROOKIES:[/B] Detroit desperately needs playmakers on defense and hopes it landed two in the draft. The Lions drafted Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis No. 21 overall, and one of his teammates, cornerback Teez Tabor, in the second round. Davis is expected to replace middle linebacker DeAndre Levy, who was cut during the offseason. Tabor is expected to be on the field when the Lions put five or six defensive backs in play.
TOUGH SLEDDING:[/B] Detroit has lost four straight games, including the postseason, and will have a hard time getting off to a good start. The Lions open up at home against a Cardinals team motivated to bounce back from a 7-8-1 season after winning 24 games the two previous years. They play the New York Giants on the road before returning to Ford Field to host the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons.
[B][I]Winston is confident Bucs can end long playoff drought
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Jameis Winston isn’t content with re-energizing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The young quarterback is coming off leading the team to its first winning record in six years, however he cringes when reminded the Bucs haven’t made the playoffs since 2007.
Winston is determined to end the drought this season.
NFC South rivals Atlanta and Carolina wound up playing in the Super Bowl after winning the past two division titles, and the third-year pro said there’s no reason why Tampa Bay can’t do the same after upgrading.
”It’s definitely about putting your team in a situation to be in the playoffs and give yourself that chance,” Winston said.
”And who knows what happens when you get in the playoffs,” he added. ”You think about all the wild-card teams that barely got in that end up winning a Super Bowl.”
Receiver DeSean Jackson, who signed a three-year, $33.5 million deal in free agency, and rookie tight end O.J. Howard could help Winston get the ball in the end zone with more regularity.
End Chris Baker and safety T.J. Ward, a late pickup after being released by the Denver Broncos, are the most notable additions to a defense that overcame a slow start to help the Bucs surge to playoff contention late last season.
Winston knows he has to be better, too.
While he threw for more than 8,100 yards and 50 touchdowns over the past two seasons, the No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft also has 33 interceptions.
Coach Dirk Koetter, who calls his own plays, is confident the 23-year-old will continue to blossom.
”As I’ve said many times,” the coach said, ”experience is the best teacher.”
[B]Some things to know about the Buccaneers:
WR Mike Evans, coming off his third 1,000-yard season and first Pro Bowl appearance, is one of the NFL’s top young receivers. Surrounding Winston with more playmakers in hopes of making the offense more successful figures to help Evans, as well as the young quarterback.
Jackson has established himself as one of the top deep threats in the league over nine seasons with Philadelphia and Washington. Howard was drafted in the first round after helping Alabama win one national title and come within seconds of claiming another. The Bucs are also excited about speedy third-round pick Chris Godwin, who provides Winston with another potential deep threat.
RB Doug Martin will miss the first three weeks of the season while serving the remainder of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
Koetter has said the two-time Pro Bowl selection is not guaranteed a starting job when he’s eligible to return. Martin was the league’s second-leading rusher two years ago. Jacquizz Rodgers will be the team’s primary ball carrier in Martin’s absence.
Former Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith begins his second season as defensive coordinator after deciding to not pursue opportunities to leave Tampa Bay.
That was welcome news for defensive leaders Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Brent Grimes, as well as younger players such as CB Vernon Hargreaves III and pass rusher Noah Spence, who figure to benefit from the continuity.
The Bucs had difficulty getting the ball in the end zone while losing three of four preseason games. Winston and the rest of the first-team offense worked 14 possessions, producing one touchdown rushing and five field goals.
”Who remembers how many touchdown passes quarterbacks throw in the preseason?” Evans asked. ”Nobody really cares.”
Winston started all 32 games over the past two seasons, leaving little work for backup Mike Glennon. When Glennon left for Chicago in free agency, Koetter brought in veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has 116 starts, as insurance.
”He’s a fiery competitor. I think he’s the type of guy that players want to play for when he’s in the game,” Koetter said. ”With that said, I hope he’s not in the game.”
[B][I]Texans looking ahead to opener after tough week
September 4, 2017[/I][/B]
HOUSTON (AP) After a tough week waiting out Hurricane Harvey in Dallas and scrapping their final preseason game, the Houston Texans are home and looking toward Sunday’s opener against Jacksonville.
While their thoughts are with the city as it begins its recovery from the storm and subsequent floods, the Texans know they must shift their focus to football this week.
”It’s about winning football games,” coach Bill O’Brien said. ”I think that we’ll do whatever we can in our spare time that we have to help the city, but … as a football team, we’re paid to coach and play and to win games. So, that’s what our job is and we’re going to go back to making sure we do as good a job as we can at our job.”
Houston returned to a normal schedule on Monday for the first time since playing its third preseason game in New Orleans on Aug. 26.
From New Orleans the Texans flew to Dallas in advance of the storm and remained there, practicing in the Cowboys’ facilities, until piling in busses and driving back to Houston on Wednesday when the roads into town were finally clear enough to return safely.
Players and staff spent Sunday in various locations around the city volunteering before returning to practice on Monday.
NRG Stadium was not damaged in the storm and O’Brien confirmed Monday that Sunday’s game against Jacksonville will be played there as planned. He said team officials spoke with Houston mayor Sylvester Turner before making the decision.
”Everyone agrees that our game will not take resources away from other parts of the city and that this game will be an opportunity to continue to bring us all together as Houstonians and as Texans,” O’Brien said.
And receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who practiced on Monday after missing time with an injured thumb, believes the game will be a boost to the city.
”In a big way. This is a football state,” Hopkins said. ”The state of Texas, in general, is a football state, so for us to go out there and get a win, I think that’s what this city needs.”
Hopkins said O’Brien didn’t talk to the team about switching gears this week and he doesn’t believe they have to shut out what’s going on around the city to be successful on Sunday.
”I’m sure guys are going to go out this week and still (volunteer), even though we have a game Sunday, and I don’t think that’s going to mess our focus up,” he said.
The Texans face a quick turnaround after Sunday’s game with a Thursday night game at Cincinnati in Week 2, making preparations this week even more important with the short turnaround looming.
”We’re professional coaches and professional football players. The train’s not stopping in the NFL,” O’Brien said. ”Nobody feels real sorry for us, for the football team.
”Obviously there’s been a great outpouring of support for the city, but in the NFL, they’re moving forward and we have to move forward.”
The Texans enter this week with questions on their offensive line with veteran left tackle Duane Brown continuing his holdout. He told reporters at a charity event on Monday that he plans to play this season, but didn’t provide any details on when he might return to the team. But it’s unlikely that he will be back in time to play on Sunday.
With Brown out, the Texans will look to Kendall Lamm to fill in. Lamm, who signed with the Texans after going undrafted in 2015, is looking forward to the opportunity.
”I’d lie (if I told) you there won’t be a little bit of jitters,” he said. ”But as soon as I make contact the first play, all that goes away and, you know, you get back to football. So, it’s exciting.”
[SIZE=4][COLOR=”#A52A2A”][B]Home underdogs, Super Bowl hangovers and other NFL Week 1 trends bettors need to know[/B][/COLOR][/SIZE]
[I]The Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers are all at home in the first week of the season and catching six or more points. Something that only happened four times over the last five seasons.[/I]
[B]Week 1 of the NFL season is a moment sports bettors would like to freeze in time. It’s a week where the books and the bettors are able to go mano a mano wagering on lines based solely on personal preseason projections without any in-season results clouding those opinions.[/B]
Sportsbooks will play the first week of the season with more caution then they do once the game results begin to pour in. Those Week 1 lines will not be as sharp as the lines later in September.
That’s what makes three spreads particularly interesting on the NFL Week 1 betting board. The Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers are interesting. All three teams are at home in the first week of the season and catching six or more points. Over the last five seasons (2011 to 2016) there have only be four home teams getting six or more points in Week 1.
“Last year, the bad teams were really bad and the good teams like the Patriots, Cowboys and Falcons crushed us week in and week out,” says Sportsbook.ag oddsmaker Peter Childs.
The Browns, Bears and 49ers went a combined 6-42 straight up and 15-32-1 against the spread last season. All three teams have different starting quarterbacks than a year ago but bettors are skeptical on whether any one of the three teams has improved.
“The public is on the chalk in all three games,” Chris Andrews, an oddsmaker at the South Point sportsbook in Las Vegas, told us. “Some wiseguy play on the Browns but no sharp money yet on the Bears or 49ers.”
One bet the public should be on is the Under. Jason Logan tweeted last November about the Under being on a run in games where the home team was getting 6.5 or more points.
The trend continued the rest of the 2016 season pushing the mark now to 5-21 Over/Under since 2015 and 23-44 since 2013.
Here’s a quick look at each of these games and where the bookmakers project these lines landing just before kickoff.
[B]Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (+9, 47)[/B]
The Steelers are 8-1 straight up and 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games against the Browns. Cleveland released former Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden last week and he was swiftly picked up by Pittsburgh. Haden’s first game as a Steeler will be against his former teammates.
The Browns are starting rookie DeShone Kizer at quarterback – something that would have surprised a lot of Cleveland fans three months ago. It’s unclear whether Kizer won the starting job or took it by default after dreadful training camps from Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler.
“Since opening we’ve taken a small bit of smart money on the Steelers,” Bookmaker.eu spokesperson Scott Cooley says, “but I really doubt that is going to hold up. This line should get to double digits by the time kickoff rolls around.”
If it gets to double digits, it’ll be just the second time in the last six years a home team gets 10 or more points in Week 1. The New England Patriots were 10-point favorites at Buffalo to start the 2013 season. The Bills lost 23-21 but covered the spread.
[B]Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears (+7, 51)[/B]
It’s a rebuilding year in Chicago where the Bears are 28/1 longshots just to win their own division. The Windy City blew away Jay Cutler and sucked in former Tampa Bay backup Mike Glennon to start under center for the Bears.
The Falcons, meanwhile, are hoping to overcome the Super Bowl slump – a trend for those sides that came up short in the title game. Teams that lost in the Super Bowl are 5-12 SU and 2-15 ATS in their Week 1 games the following season since 2000. The Super Bowl hangover is a real thing, people.
[B]Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers (+6, 48)[/B]
The Panthers hope their Super Bowl hangover is past them. They lost to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 and followed that up with a 6-10 campaign last year.
Quarterback Cam Newton had offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder and bettors didn’t get to see much of him in the preseason. Will he be ready against the Niners?
“This game has garnered plenty of sharp support on the Panthers’ side,” Cooley says. “They may be fading this 49ers team early this year.”
Kyle Shanahan is the third head coach San Fran has hired since the team let go of Jim Harbaugh in 2014. The Niners won just seven of their 32 games under Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly.