Steelers vs. Patriots 2015: Time, TV schedule for Thursday night football

Elite Youth Dale Murphy Jersey The 2015 NFL season is finally here and it all gets started on Thursday night with a game between the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The offseason headlines for the Patriots revolved around a seven-month saga between the NFL and the franchise regarding DeflateGate. After accepting a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft picks, including a first-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Patriots were still punished with a four-game suspension for Tom Brady, but the 10-time Pro Bowler is now off the hook after winning an appeal against the league in federal court.

Don Yee, who is Tom Brady’s agent, is among the founders of the league, along with former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. Bradley Edwards, Jeffrey Husvar and John Chung are also among the league’s officers.

“Pac Pro’s concept of ‘education’ is expansive. Every team will have a counselor to help players develop their interests academically and/or vocationally, and assist with coordinating meaningful internships in their fields of interest,” Yee said in a statement.
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Edwards, the league’s chief operating officer, said that Pac Pro closed a round of angel investing and is looking at sponsors and facilities.

Also on the league’s advisory board are former head coach Mike Shanahan, former NFL executive Jim Steeg, current Fox NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira, former chief strategist for the John McCain campaign Steve Schmidt and ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter’s role is unpaid, and he will be available for league officials to consult as needed.

Hawks GM Wes Wilcox apologizes for making racially charged joke

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Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox has apologized for making a racially charged joke during a team-oriented discussion with close to 200 season-ticket holders and club members in December.

Wilcox, who is white, spoke at a “Chalk Talk” event before the Hawks’ Dec. 7 game against the Miami Heat. According to a story on Deadspin, fans offered opinions ranging from their dismay over coach Mike Budenholzer’s job performance, to how players’ minutes are being distributed, to the need for a veteran point guard.

Alex Mack Jersey Amid the tension that came with the questioning, Wilcox made an attempt to offer some levity with his reply.

“I really just started to get pissed off,” Irving said of what changed, after he started the game 4-for-14 from the field. “Just, the momentum was shifting. We had a few plays, a few opportunities at the rim, a few in-and-outs, but we weren’t executing plays. As the point guard, I take full responsibility for that. So going into that fourth, the start of it, (the lead) cuts down to 11, gets to eight, and then at that point it just comes out of me naturally. Being in that fourth quarter, being ready for whatever situation I’m put in. Just being aggressive and just making the right plays.”

Again, the “right” way to end the thing would be the Cavs not needing the extra flurry from Irving in the first place, but it certainly was not a bad way for Irving to make his return to the court, either.

For the long haul in the Cavs’ quest for a repeat title, the most important thing out of Friday was seeing their second-best player in Irving return after missing three games from what can be a tricky, haunting injury.

The Blues are the yang to the Cardinals¡¯ yin. The Cardinals are celebrated for their success

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These games matter for the cities that host them. The games make money for the NHL hand over fist, but they are also financial boons for the local markets and economies.

Authentic Barry Church Jersey For a city like St. Louis, and a team like the Blues, the Winter Classic is more than money. There are two major league sports teams here, and both love their history. The Cardinals, with their eleven World Series championships and countless hall of famers, is one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball.

Many here have heard of the 40/60/80 rule for valuing a player¡¯s arbitration years. That is, in a player¡¯s three years of arbitration, he¡¯ll make 40% of his worth in the first year, 60% in the second year, and 80% in the third. That is outdated though. Great baseball blog The Point of Pittsburgh found that 25/40/62 was much more appropriate. The arbitration process doesn¡¯t make rulings based on public valuations of WAR though, so we¡¯re talking broad strokes here. Some skill sets are over-valued and under-valued by arbitration. Using MLBTR¡¯s projection for Carlos¡¯ first year of arbitration, and giving him raises commensurate with TPOP¡¯s averages, here¡¯s how Carlos¡¯ arbitration years stack up:

If you¡¯re still looking for a reason why the Cardinals guaranteed Lance Lynn his arbitration salaries ahead of time without getting any free agent years, this will do. According to this estimation, Lynn took about $5M less than what he would have received on average going year to year through the arbitration process. That seems like savings the Cardinals should have been interested in.

Giants vs. Dolphins 2015 picks and predictions: New York getting slight majority of expert nods

The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins have matching 5-7 records and have had matching inconsistencies during their 2015 seasons. So it’s anybody’s guess what teams will show up when the two duel on Monday Night Football in Week 14.

After a rough start to the year, the Dolphins fired Joe Philbin and then scored 82 points in two weeks to climb to 3-3 before falling apart again. Miami is No. 29 in offense and No. 27 in defense, yet has managed to eke out some close victories, including a 15-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens last week that kept slim postseason hopes alive.

The 5-7 Giants are in much better shape for the playoffs thanks to the laughable records in the NFC East. A month ago the Giants had a winning record, but the team hasn’t earned a win since Week 9, although six of the seven losses were one-score games. Every win is huge in a division without a winning record, so beating the Dolphins would keep New York in great shape to get into the playoffs.

It’s tough to know what to expect from either team, but most experts are pegging the Giants to snap their three-game losing streak on Monday. It’s far from unanimous, though.

Game Womens Nik Stauskas Jersey Unless there’s a catastrophic injury, playing Week 17 shouldn’t hurt the team’s postseason performance. The most obvious example of teams not resting in the last game of the season is the 2007 contest between the 15-0 Patriots and the 10-5 Giants. Both teams were locked into their spots, first seed and fifth seed. They battled that day with the Patriots coming from behind to win. Both teams then met in the Super Bowl with the Giants upsetting the undefeated Patriots.
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This is an excellent example of why playing Week 17 can be an attitude-setting game. By playing this game like a normal week, Coach Coughlin was sending a message about being competitive and stepping up to the best. He wanted to measure his team against the best team in the league. I totally loved this move. But as well, Eli had been to the playoffs twice, losing both times, the team was younger, and they were healthy so it made total sense for Coughlin to treat this week like usual. And it paid off.

Rob Gronkowski is believed to have suffered his initial chest injury on this hit from Earl Thomas

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Gronkowski got just that $12.9 million in cash over the first three years of his contract, which is staggeringly low. To put that number in context, the far inferior Jared Cook got $17 million over the first three years of his deal when he hit free agency the following season. Gronkowski’s cap hit was 17th among tight ends in 2012, 21st in 2013, and ninth in 2014 before rising to second last year. This year, it’s sixth in the league at $6.6 million, behind the likes of Jordan Cameron ($8 million), Julius Thomas ($7.3 million) and Kyle Rudolph (also $7.3 million).

By getting that $8 million signing bonus two years before free agency, Gronkowski capped his future earnings over the next six years. With base salaries of less than $5 million between 2012 and 2017, the significant money in Gronkowski’s deal came way down the line and was totally unguaranteed. (This is why you shouldn’t listen when articles say somebody has the “biggest” contract unless it’s talking about guaranteed money.) The first gate Gronkowski had to crash was 2016. The Patriots started footing the cap bill for a $10 million option bonus in 2015 but then actually paid the cash out to Gronk this year, stretching the other four cap hits for that bonus through each of the four remaining seasons on his deal.
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Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints: Brees is completing an NFL-best 71.5 percent of his passes, and the Lions are allowing opponents to complete a league-high 74.0 percent. The Saints’ three most recent losses have been by a total of 11 points. With a victory, New Orleans would get back to .500 at 6-6.

LeSean McCoy’s monster day: He has been a handful for opponents all season long. McCoy has 819 rushing yards and is averaging 5.22 YPC. His elusiveness combined with the Buffalo Bills’ blocking has led to a yards-before-contact average of 3.81, the top mark among all NFL running backs. The Oakland Raiders’ defense is 27th against the run, and according to the Elias Sports Bureau, their plus-32 point differential is the second-worst mark in league history among teams that have started 9-2 or better.

The end of the Miami Dolphins’ win streak: The Dolphins have won six in a row, but they face a difficult matchup against Baltimore. The Ravens have the top defense in the NFL and the sixth-ranked special-teams unit through the first 12 weeks. Adam Gase has done an excellent job in his first season in Miami, but this is a tough spot for the Dolphins, who are 3.5-point underdogs.

Cincinnati place-kicker Randy Bullock’s attempt for a winning field goal sailed wide right on Saturday night

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Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5). A brilliant Ben Roethlisberger comeback against the Ravens on Sunday night clinched the Steelers’ second division title in three years and eliminated Baltimore. Pittsburgh will host a playoff game on Jan. 7 or 8.

Houston Texans (9-6). When Cincinnati place-kicker Randy Bullock’s attempt for a winning field goal sailed wide right on Saturday night, it made Houston champion of the AFC South for the second year in a row. The Texans’ Week 17 game in Nashville now has no relevance.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4). The Chiefs can still claim the AFC West, but they need to beat San Diego in Week 17 and hope the Raiders lose in Denver.

Miami Dolphins (10-5). After a 1-4 start, the Dolphins have won nine of their past 10 games. And Miami clinched a playoff spot with Denver’s loss to Kansas City on Sunday night.
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Prescott is every bit as poised in 2016 as Brady was in 2001. This isn’t to say that Prescott is destined for long-term greatness, for a legacy seat in Brady’s ballpark. But just like Johnny Unitas and Joe Montana were the ultimate standards for young hopefuls of bygone generations, Brady is the benchmark for today’s up-and-comers.

“The guy every week just sounds under control and looks under control on the field, and it really is extraordinary. He’s only going to get better.”

And in terms of intellect and temperament, Prescott seems to have a lot of Brady to his game. The comparison goes far beyond the fact that Prescott and Brady were draft room afterthoughts who replaced injured stars in Tony Romo and Drew Bledsoe.

the Bears have struggled with tackling and with containing quarterbacks over the past three weeks

On defense, the Bears have struggled with tackling and with containing quarterbacks over the past three weeks. In three straight losses, the Chicago defense let Blaine Gabbert, Kirk Cousins and Teddy Bridgewater all have career games. Gabbert, Cousins and Bridgewater combined for 727 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception. On Sunday, Winston and the Bucs won’t make things easy.

Elite Youth Mitch Williams Jersey The Bucs are coming off of a tough 31-23 loss on the road to the St. Louis Rams in Week 15. The Rams gutted out the win in what may well be their last game in St. Louis, helped along by two rushing touchdowns from receiver Tavon Austin. The Bucs put up a fight, though, and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to make it a game. Winston threw for 363 yards and two touchdowns while Mike Evans caught nine passes for 157 yards.

Game Jimmy Hayes Jersey Winston is certainly part of the team’s turnaround, as is new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, whose scheme has boosted the Bucs’ offensive performance. A strong ground attack, buoyed by a resurgent season from running back Doug Martin also has helped. Martin is the NFL’s second-leading rusher this season, trailing Adrian Peterson by just 9 yards.

The Bears are coming off of a devastating 38-17 loss to Peterson’s Minnesota Vikings, which knocked them out of playoff contention. Chicago has faced injury-related adversity all season, especially among its receivers. Alshon Jeffery has battled recurring injuries throughout the year, first-round pick Kevin White never set foot on the field during the regular season after undergoing surgery in August, and the team also recently placed tight end Martellus Bennett on injured reserve.

the Marlins had only been around as a franchise for four seasons

As the hot stove burned in late 1996, the Marlins had only been around as a franchise for four seasons, and they¡¯d never finished a season with a record above .500.

But they were also trending upward: Florida had improved its winning percentage in each season the team existed, including an 80-82 record in 1996, which saw them post a 31-24 record (a 91-win pace) in August and September.
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Marlins owner Wayne Huizenga, already a ¡¯90s business icon for his ownership stake in video-rental titan Blockbuster Entertainment, was also sinking more money in his teal-clad expansion club.

It’s the final Hispanic name on the U.S. census list that claims the highest number of players in MLB. Twenty players are named Gonz¨¢lez in MLB, not counting Marco Gonzales, who uses a slight variation on the most common spelling of the name.

Another one of the most common Hispanic last names in MLB, Rodr¨ªguez, is the surname for 18 MLB players, and the No. 2 most popular surname for Hispanics on the U.S. Census list.

Garc¨ªa is the most popular Hispanic surname in the United States overall; in MLB, 16 players claim the name. That is the same total for another common MLB Hispanic name that didn’t even make the census list: Ram¨ªrez. Other popular Hispanic surnames in the majors are Hern¨¢ndez (15), Cabrera (12), Mart¨ªnez (9) and L¨®pez(8).

Dennis Smith Authentic Jersey What are the reasons that Hispanic surnames in the United States have risen?

It’s not only an increase in the Hispanic population, but a lack of variety of surnames in minority populations, as was pointed out by the New York Times.

To live in New Orleans is to die in New Orleans

Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill said on the team’s pregame show Sunday that he was not “satisfied” with how former wide receiver Michael Floyd handled his arrest Monday.

Bidwill said the team first heard about Floyd’s arrest, which occurred around 3 a.m. Monday, from sources, and then the media, about 90 minutes before Floyd told the team he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and failure to obey a police officer. Floyd was found asleep behind the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade early Monday morning in Scottsdale.

Virgil Green, TE, Broncos: Green was knocked out of the game after his first and only catch of the afternoon against the Patriots. The TE sustained a concussion in the first quarter and was ruled out.

Limited Kids Paul Stastny Jersey Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings: Thielen took a huge shot over the middle from Darius Butler in the third quarter. The hit drew a 15-yard penalty, and Thielen was slow to get up. The WR went to the locker room and was eventually ruled out with a neck injury. The Vikings also lost FB Zach Line to a concussion on Sunday.

Stephon Tuitt, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers: Tuitt limped off the field on the Steelers’ first defensive series with a left knee injury. The third-year defensive tackle went to the locker room for further evaluation and did not return to the game.

Kids Mike Smith Jersey Vincent Rey, LB, Bengals: Rey injured his hamstring in the second quarter on kickoff coverage. The team listed him as questionable, but he returned to the field in the second half.

Vontaze Burfict, LB, Cincinnati Bengals: Burfict was slow to get up in the second quarter against the Steelers after taking a hit to the head. He walked off the field with the help of trainers, but he kept pulling his arm away to try to walk on his own. Burfict went to the locker room for concussion testing and returned to the field in the third quarter.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 2-7 in games played in Denver over his career

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 2-7 in games played in Denver over his career, which is a stat of note entering Sunday¡¯s game between the Patriots and Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“If you want a different outcome, then you’ve got to do things differently and we’ve got to play better. I think that’s what it comes down to,” Brady said this week. “We’ve been close, but close is not good enough when you play in the NFL. You’ve got to be able to finish your job.”

As the Patriots look to change that history, here’s a snapshot look at those nine games:

“I’m upset about us throwing from the 1,” Sherman said. “I’d rather do what most teams would do, making a conscientious decision to run the ball.

“I was letting [Carroll] know. We’ve already seen how that goes.”

Carroll said the Super Bowl loss is still on the mind of many coaches and players.
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“I’ve got a lot of games like that,” Carroll said. “That was the worst one. I’ve got a lot of things that fuel me, and I don’t mind holding on to some stuff because I need the edge and I need to be whatever it is that makes me. I don’t mind.
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“I’ve made the choice to leave some things on the shelf that I’m going to run into every once in a while. And it’s going to remind me of what I believe in and what I stand for and what’s important to me, and I know that Sherm feels the same way. And a number of our guys do. But no, it’s not fresh. It’s not something we talked about. But that just stirred up something, and it caught Sherm wrong and he went off.”

“But Adam was a very good runner,” Nelson says. “We had a game in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where he ran the option as good as you could ever run it. I used to pull out that old VHS tape many times to show younger quarterbacks how to run it. Adam had confidence. He wanted the ball, and he wanted to be the guy in charge.”