Steelers, Bell look to continue running against Jaguars

Pittsburgh Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell quieted concerns about his offseason groin surgery and training camp holdout with his biggest game of the season during a victory over Baltimore last week.

The All-Pro’s follow-up performance could be even better.

The Colts’ defense is the worst in the NFL, permitting 34 points per game. Indianapolis is yielding an average of 396.2 yards. Only the New England Patriots allow more yards.

San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde has battled through a hip injury to have a solid year with 321 yards and two touchdowns on 65 carries. Look for Hyde to carry the load again versus the Colts, especially with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin possibly out with a concussion.

T.Y. Hilton’s production as Indianapolis’ top receiver is a bit off without Luck throwing him the ball. Hilton has 17 receptions for 289 yards and a touchdown after recording 25 catches for 336 yards and two scores through four games last season.

Colts tight end Jack Doyle (17 catches, 163 yards) is questionable to play, as he is in the concussion protocol. He was on pace to eclipse his career high of 59 catches set last season.

San Francisco’s top receiver is Pierre Garcon, who has 20 catches for 283 yards.

This game could come down to field goals, and two of the best kickers in the game will be showcased.

Robbie Gould of the 49ers is 11 of 11 this season, and the Colts boast Adam Vinatieri, who is 5 of 6 and is comfortable kicking at home in Lucas Oil Stadium.

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Remember the preseason worry about Fournette’s foot injury and how it might impact his ability to handle the workload in Jacksonville?

The Broncos have worked through their bye week in pretty good shape,” according to coach Vance Joseph, but as they adjourn for the players’ four-day weekend, they will keep an eye on cornerback Bradley Roby’s ankle injury, as well as running back Jamaal Charles. Both are not expected to miss any game action, but Roby has missed some practice time in each of the previous two weeks, though he did play against the Bills and Raiders before the bye. Charles took a helmet to the knee in last week’s win and was limited after the play. However, he has been on the practice field this week and said he didn’t expect to have any trouble when the Broncos return to work next week. — Jeff Legwold
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Mens Nat Berhe Jersey Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Besides the Tennessee Titans, the Philadelphia Eagles are the other wide receiver matchup I’m exploiting whenever possible right now. Ronald Darby’s absence has severely hurt the Eagles’ secondary, to the point that Keenan Allen, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Tyrell Williams all exceeded 20-plus DraftKings points in their games against Philly over the past two weeks, with the quartet averaging 26.4. Fitzgerald is a target machine, as his 41 ranks third in the league, and he’s the league leader in routes run (196) and red zone targets (10). — Tristan H. Cockcroft

Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Didn’t think so. Fournette has been so consistent with both his volume and production that those early concerns have faded. Ranked third in the NFL in touches this season, Fournette has found the end zone each week, making him among the safest plays on the board. Plus, this week he faces the seventh-ranked Steelers defense in terms of yards per carry against, and Fournette, the face of the run-heaviest offense in football, should continue to pound the rock on Sunday. — Stephania Bell

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott bottled up in blowout loss to Broncos

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Ezekiel Elliott was completely shut down by the Broncos’ defense in the Cowboys 42-17 loss Sunday.

The 2016 NFL rushing leader ran nine times for eight yards in the loss. He also caught four passes for 14 yards for an average of 0.6 yards per play on the afternoon.

It’s more of a pitch count I think, Phillips told reporters Thursday. But it’s a number of plays and we’ll see how he is. He looked to be in good shape. You know, football shape and shape are two different things because you’re carrying a lot more weight with pads on and so forth. But he doesn’t seem to be bothered too much by the reps we’re giving him in practice. It’s not wearing him out, so we’ll make sure in the ball game that we watch him.

Phillips added that not having practiced until this week in Phillips’ 3-4 alignment, as opposed to the 4-3 defense the Rams previously ran, shouldn’t be an issue for the three-time Pro Bowler.
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Donald, 26, is in the fourth year of his rookie contract and is due to make $1.8 million in base salary this year. The Rams also picked up his fifth-year option next season, paying him roughly $6.9 million, but Donald is hoping to negotiate a new contract that will put him among the highest-paid defensive tackles in the NFL.

NFL power rankings 2017: Tracking where teams are entering Week 3

With Week 2 in the books, we’re starting to figure out where NFL teams really stand this season, though it’s still a bit early to be making grand, sweeping judgments. That said, the Atlanta Falcons have certainly staked their claim as one of the best teams in football. They landed at No. 1 in nearly every rankings after a solid win over the Green Bay Packers.

Elite Womens Marcedes Lewis Jersey You’d be hard-pressed to find a better big-game player in the draft this year than Watson. He picked apart the vaunted Alabama defense two straight years, and Nick Saban called him the best player in college football since Cam Newton. Watson is a stellar athlete for a quarterback and moves around the pocket with ease. Sometimes he relies on his athleticism too much, and he won’t be able to run as much in the NFL, but it’s an effective tool in his bag. And he knows how to protect himself.

As a passer he has an easy delivery and just throws a good, catchable ball. He tends to stare down his target, though, and it can get him in trouble. His 32 interceptions at Clemson are concerning. His downfield accuracy is just average, and he doesn’t attack the middle of the field a lot.
Thursday will be a test, but be patient with Watson.

Elite Womens Peter Holland Jersey Watson has shown throughout his career that he can compete with the best that’s in front of him, and improve upon it. My colleague Alex Kirshner reminded us of such after Week 1, when arguing he should be starting:

The Patriots had no problem rebounding from that Week 1 loss, dismantling the Saints to avoid slipping out of the top 10. The Denver Broncos catapulted to the top 10 after defeating the Dallas Cowboys, 42-17.

Speaking of the Cowboys, Yahoo Sports’ power rankings listed the Cowboys at No. 8, and the Broncos were at No. 7. Also, the Carolina Panthers jump up to No. 10 after knocking off the Buffalo Bills, 9-3.

Packers wouldn’t let Seahawks run out the clock, so Seattle scored on them instead

With 53 seconds left in the first half, the Seahawks got the ball on their own 11-yard line and dialed up a run, content to run out the clock and head to the locker room. The Packers, armed with only two timeouts and no real way to bully their opponent into a three-and-out punt, stopped the clock anyway.

One C.J. Prosise run later, they did it again, stopping the clock with 43 seconds to play. At this point, any play longer than three seconds would effectively have given the Seahawks the opportunity to close out the half without giving the ball back to their opponent — the only opportunity this realistically created was for Seattle.

Palmer had an awful game against a pass defense he should have lit up. He was thrown quickly out of whack by the ineffectiveness and injury of David Johnson, who could be out for a while. The 37-year-old is one of the league’s most dependent QBs, to the point losing Johnson is a monstrous blow. Arizona is stuck with him, though, as there’s no young upside guy behind him, just Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert.

Golladay lived up to every bit of the offseason hype as their big, speedy No. 3 receiver, delivering both a long TD downfield and a short TD in the red zone, both in the fourth quarter as Matthew Stafford led another comeback. Golden Tate is the No. 1, and Marvin Jones Jr. is a solid No. 2. Golladay is just another way for Stafford to earn his money spreading the ball around, a testament to the growth of the Lions’ highly-paid QB.nike_steelers_1890

Coughlin isn’t enthusiastically rooting for McAdoo to lose the way the New York Giants coach lost the home opener to the Detroit Lions by a 24-10 count.

This week, Cutler will face the hapless New York Jets who have allowed opposing quarterbacks to throw for five touchdowns during the first two weeks. The reason is simple: the Jets haven’t been able to apply pressure. In 61 opponent drop-backs, the Jets have just two sacks, both coming during their week one loss to the Bills. Teams don’t need much time to pass against the Jets either as 47 of the 56 pass attempts against them have been no further than 10 yards downfield. This is ideal for a big game for Cutler, and by extension Landry. -K.D.
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But people who know the 71-year-old Jaguars executive say he was more devastated than he publicly let on when he was forced out after the 2015 season. Coughlin is human, and it’s perfectly human for a two-time Super Bowl champ separated from a job he adored to hope his successor reminds everyone why he was so valuable in the first place.
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On that front, McAdoo is making Coughlin more popular with New Yorkers now than he was during his final four playoff-free seasons.

Put this game on me, the Giants coach told his players in the locker room.

Put this game on me, the Giants coach told the reporters in the interview room.

Actually, we’ll do McAdoo one better. We’ll put the entire 0-2 start on him, even though the hobbled Odell Beckham Jr. couldn’t go against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 and couldn’t rise even halfway to his otherworldly standards against the Lions on Monday night. The Giants have scored 13 points in eight quarters of play; they haven’t scored fewer points in their first two games since they managed seven points in the first two games of 1947, when you could buy a gallon of gas for 15 cents.

2017 NFL Season Predictions: Packers, Patriots favorites for Super Bowl 52

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. That’s why the teams with the two best quarterbacks are the favorites to play in Super Bowl 52.

Tom Brady and the Patriots are the defending NFL champions and should cruise to their ninth straight division title in the watered-down AFC East.

Those on the under had to be feeling great entering the fourth quarter of this one. With Boise State leading 17-10, the 27 combined points were 31 short of the closing over/under. Both teams were also down to their backup quarterbacks, theoretically making a high-scoring fourth quarter even less likely.

Or that was the conventional thinking.

The final 15 minutes of regulation consisted of two defensive touchdowns, a fumbled punt and 35 combined points. By the time the captains met for the overtime coin toss, the total had already gone over and those who bet the under were done with football for the night.

Elite Youth Jonathan Freeny Jersey A former girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence on separate occasions in July 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. The city attorney’s office did not pursue charges against Elliott, citing inconsistent evidence. The NFL’s personal conduct policy does not require the same burden of proof for a player to be found in violation. In levying its suspension, the league said it had persuasive evidence Elliott committed violence against Tiffany Thompson on multiple occasions.

Elite Youth Drew Brees Jersey NFL appeals officer Harold Henderson denied Elliott’s appeal, but Mazzant blocked the penalty.

Just kind of your name getting dragged through the mud, Elliott said Sunday, when asked what the most difficult part of the process has been. It’s been 14 months. Just kind of being associated with that, that’s tough.

Bennett addressed the matter further during a brief news conference at the Seahawks’ facility Wednesday afternoon.

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He declined to go into details about the incident but repeatedly expressed relief that it didn’t turn out even worse.
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I didn’t ask for this moment; it just happened to be me. I’m just lucky to be here to be able to speak about it, he said. At any moment I could’ve made the wrong decision, whether moved or (they) felt like I was resisting or doing something wrong and … the Seahawks would be wearing the patch with number 72 on it.

Bennett ended the news conference abruptly, walking away from the podium while in the middle of an answer about conversations he has with his three daughters about being black in America.

Scott Tolzien is not a starting NFL quarterback, and he should never have been the one replacing Luck. But that is not Tolzien’s fault. (Yes, there’s a theme developing.)

Coach Chuck Pagano has no chance to win with a quarterback situation this bad, but that’s not his fault. New general manager Chris Ballard is stuck scrambling to clean up too big a mess in too short a time, but that’s not his fault.

Put all of that fault right in the lap of Colts owner Jim Irsay. The one who can hire, fire, pay, overpay and replace all of the aforementioned, is the one who can’t be fired or replaced himself.

Think about the pants-down spanking the Colts received Sunday … then think about how it was delivered by the Rams, who are due for their own 46-9 spanking before this season is done. The Rams didn’t even have Aaron Donald. The highlights have a TV-MA rating, for gratuitous violence and graphic nudity after they undressed Tolzien multiple times before he got benched.

I’m looking to hoard targets (passes thrown intended for a given receiver).

My projections had the Dolphins going 5-1 in the AFC East, which seems unrealistic. But with QB Tiers voters seeing little difference between Jay Cutler and injured 2016 starter Ryan Tannehill, an 8-8 finish seems within reach for a team that overachieved by going 10-6 last season. Jay Cutler has an 0-2 career record against Brady, in case you were curious.

At wide receiver, I’m looking to hoard targets (passes thrown intended for a given receiver). I want to stack up as many projectable targets as I can from my three starters. Volume is key at wideout, just like running back, but you’ll find that many of your opponents will pick players who might only see four or five passes come their way in a game. This is a key mistake.

T1. Aaron Rodgers, QB | Green Bay Packers: If Green Bay’s offense can get out of the gate hot and avoid the troubles it had in the first half of the 2016 season, its mustachioed, tape-recorder-carrying, superstar signal-caller could run away with awards such as this. We’ll find out tomorrow, but I’m guessing he did all right in our preseason MVP poll, too.

T1. Le’Veon Bell, RB | Pittsburgh Steelers: Fresh off his holdout, Bell generates absolutely no skepticism from our panel. Perhaps that’s because his mere availability for Week 1 is close to unprecedented. This will be Bell’s fifth season in the NFL but only the second in which he is neither injured nor suspended to start the season. The one season he played all 16 games was 2014, when he rushed for 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 85 passes for another 845 yards and three touchdowns. To imagine a full Bell season is to imagine, basically, all of the yards. The only weird thing is that Arizona’s David Johnson, another all-purpose yardage monster, didn’t crack our top three.steelers_130

Vontaze Burfict spent Sunday sharing Steelers’ dirty plays on Twitter

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is spending the first three games of the NFL season serving a suspension for a hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman during the second week of the preseason.

That gave him plenty of time to tweet on Sunday — which he did. Burfict retweeted this tweet that shows Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier getting to a sliding DeShone Kizer late, hitting him in his abdomen:

Scandrick will have a plate put in his left hand Monday to stabilize a broken third metacarpal. He will not play this week, but he could be back as soon as Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Scandrick suffered the injury in the second quarter. He immediately came off the field and headed to the X-ray room. He watched the rest of the game with his hand taped.

In 2012, Scandrick suffered a broken left hand on Thanksgiving and required surgery. He missed the final five games of the season.

This past offseason was Scandrick’s most productive since 2014. He missed the 2015 season with torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his knee and then Authentic Randall Cunningham Jersey missed four games last season with hamstring strains.

With Scandrick out, the Cowboys moved Anthony Brown into his role in the base and nickel defenses. Rookie Chidobe Awuzie, who had limited work in the preseason because of Tashaun Gipson Jersey a hamstring strain, moved to an outside cornerback role in the nickel defense.