Pure survival.

That the Pittsburgh Steelers could look this sloppy at times Sunday and still beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20 in Paul Brown Stadium displayed serious resolve, which is the only way to combat 104 penalty yards, missed opportunities and the Bengals’ fierce tackling.
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Pittsburgh will enter its Christmas Day clash against the Baltimore Ravens fortunate that its big three — QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown — remained healthy and intact in Cincinnati. This game was that physical, and it will be felt all week: December football turned cage match, with Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict taking center stage.

Replays showed that Eli Manning’s pass bounced off Beckham’s left hand and fell to the ground. The ball then rolled between Beckham’s legs before he reached back and “secured” the ball. Back judge Todd Prukop appeared to have a clear view of the drop, but referee Tony Corrente’s crew ruled it a catch to set up a second down on what became a touchdown drive for the Giants.

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell did not challenge the call, probably because of the minimal payoff. His defense would face either second-and-6 or second-and-10.(Update: After the game, Caldwell said: “That’s four yards. You’re not going to challenge that play. It was late when we saw it, but we weren’t going to challenge it anyway in that situation.”)

Limited Kids Rashad Vaughn Jersey Still, the screenshot of the ball between Beckham’s legs will live on as one of several bad looks the NFL has had this season.

My personal favorite remains Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. holding a fumble recovery over his head while officials on referee Jeff Triplette’s crew appeared still to be looking for the ball under the pile. Some might favor Triplette’s gaffe last week — he called a penalty on the wrong team — but to each his or her own.

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C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans: Long a popular streamer, I am looking elsewhere as CJF has had more than 45 yards just once since the team’s Week 9 bye. As mentioned in the Hopkins post, Jacksonville actually has a good pass defense and is top-10 in terms of fewest points allowed to opposing tight ends. Now, the Jags did give up two scores to tight ends the last time these two played, but neither was to Fiedorowicz. That’s sort of fluky, but whatever. It’s the playoffs, and his quarterback is Brock Osweiler.

Forsett is a new addition to the Elite Youth Mikkel Boedker Jersey Broncos, claimed off waivers last week, days before he played against the Tennessee Titans Sunday. Tight end A.J. Derby was acquired in a trade with the New England Patriots last month and suddenly finds himself as the Broncos’ best receiving option at the position.

A.J. Derby’s late fumble was the death knell for the Broncos against the Titans.

Both players also experienced the Authentic Kids Mychal Kendricks Jersey sting of a misstep in this past Sunday’s 13-10 loss to the Titans. Forsett fumbled on his first carry with the Broncos.

While fumbles happen, they don’t usually happen to Forsett. It was the first time he had dropped a football and had it recovered by the opponent since 2009.

“I hate losing that ball,” Forsett said. “That is exactly what you don’t want to happen. That brings the whole game down for you. You want to help your team win. All you can do is show your teammates you’ll keep working and battling and when you get the opportunity again, do better. So my focus is always trying to be better.”

Derby, who has been exactly the kind of addition the Broncos hoped he would be when they sent a draft pick to the Patriots, also fumbled Sunday. Derby’s came in the closing minutes as the Broncos were attempting to drive to at least tie the game with a field goal.

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The career of cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman could be over after the Carolina Panthers defender suffered a torn ACL in the team’s regular season finale on Sunday, according to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer.

Jori Lehtera Mens Jersey Tillman, 34, was a second-round pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears and spent 12 years with the team before joining the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 offseason. According to Jones, Tillman suffered a partial tear of his ACL in a Week 10 game against the Tennessee Titans, but returned to action in Week 15 and eventually fully tore the ligament in Week 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carson Palmer put up an MVP-caliber performance in his continued career renaissance, setting career highs in passing touchdowns, yards, and yards per attempt. Moving Larry Fitzgerald into the slot has been a revelation, and the future Hall of Fame receiver set career highs for receptions himself. More important than stats, though, with balance in all three phases, the Cardinals look like a true contender to rep the NFC in the Super Bowl.

On the back of a very strong finish in which they won their final 10 games, the Chiefs come in third on our list, tops among the AFC field despite their No. 5 seeding. That’s what a 1-5 start will buy you, I guess.

Dan Skuta Elite Jersey The AFC’s No. 1 seed in the Broncos aren’t far behind, but lingering questions about the quarterback situation cloud their potential to take it all the way to Santa Clara. Will it be Peyton Manning’s team again or will Brock Osweiler get another shot? More important, is it clear which option is worse? Neither Manning nor Osweiler have been impressive this year, but Denver’s elite and suffocating defense carried them. That pass rush, combined with that secondary, will be a big deal in the postseason.

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The St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason search went from calculus-problem difficult to second-grade math the minute a trade that had nothing to do with them happened about a thousand miles away.

Limited Youth Sam Acho Jersey It wasn¡¯t so much that the Cardinals had fixated on Adam Eaton as the only solution to the problem they had set out to solve: How to patch their leaky defense and squeeze a little action into their listless baserunning. What changed their thinking was what it took the Washington Nationals to land Eaton — three bona fide pitching prospects, a haul of talent the Cardinals didn¡¯t have and, if they did, couldn¡¯t afford to move.

During spring training, a bemused-looking Chapman answered questions every day at his locker. The Yankees media — with 11 outlets covering the team full-time — is very different from Cincinnati’s. But with the use of a translator, Chapman did not seem to have much trouble.

After repeatedly stating he would not compromise on his suspension, and proclaiming his innocence, the lure of not losing out on free agency after the 2016 season helped Chapman agree to a 30-day ban to begin the season.

Jared Veldheer Youth Jersey By May 9, Chapman was finally in pinstripes, wowing the fans with his 105 mph fastball. He joined a team that was 11-18. By the time he was traded to the Cubs, they were 49-48. His 20 saves and 2.01 ERA surely helped. And he also helped the Cubs, saving 16 games (plus four more in the playoffs) and posting a 1.01 ERA en route to the biggest party in Wrigleyville in more than a century. Along the way, his Cubs downed the Dodgers — remember them? — in the NLCS. And the Reds? They finished last in the NL Central, matching the Padres with a league-worst 94 losses.

For Cincinnati in 2016, Renda batted .182 in 32 big-league games. Cotham¡¯s ERA was 7.40 in 24 1/3 innings for the Reds. Davis had a 3.82 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A. Jagielo hit .205 at Double-A.

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In 28 games since the start of the 2015 season, running back David Johnson has scored 28 touchdowns — the most in the NFL in that span. Johnson has done it a variety of ways: 19 rushing touchdowns, eight receiving scores and a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Brandon Allen Authentic Jersey If Johnson rushes for a touchdown Sunday in the Arizona Cardinals’ game at the Miami Dolphins, he would join Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers as the only players in NFL history with 20 or more rushing touchdowns, five or more receiving touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown in their first two seasons.

In his first two seasons with the Chicago Bears (1965 and 1966), Sayers rushed for 22 touchdowns, caught eight scoring passes and returned three kickoffs for TDs. (He also had a punt return for a touchdown.)

What should the Browns do with the first pick: best player or best QB?

Kiper: The Browns have too many needs. It has to be the best player, and as I mentioned above, there’s no surefire top quarterback in this class. Cleveland needs everything. No way should the Browns reach for a quarterback in this draft.

McShay: Dalvin Cook and Chris Johnson. The Florida State RB has the speed, suddenness and big-play ability that Johnson had when he was still in his prime. Cook has 15 touches of 25 yards or more this season, tied for second among Power 5 running backs.

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has 65 career receiving touchdowns, tied with Michael Irvin for second most in team history. Bob Hayes has the most with 71.

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Tom Coughlin is set to meet with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday about the team’s coaching vacancy, but it’s more of a “feeling-out” between the two parties than an actual interview, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. However, the Eagles did request and were granted an interview with the former New York Giants head coach.
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Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports first reported the Eagles’ interest, but noted that the team’s impatience with Chip Kelly could hurt their chances of hiring Coughlin.

Coughlin, 69, said in his exit press conference with the team that he was “not necessarily” done with coaching and that he’d be open to taking over for another team. However, he praised the Giants during the press conference for the team’s patience with him early in his tenure, just days after he said he was surprised Kelly was fired in the first place.
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The Chiefs had a great first half, though that has more to do with how bad the Texans looked and less about them looking great, especially on offense. Alex Smith threw for 73 yards and had a rare interception, though the Chiefs did manage a touchdown and a pair of field goals to take a 13-0 lead. The running game also put up a total of 70 yards in the opening half.

Where Kansas City really caught a break was the horrible showing from Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer. In the first half, he completed seven of 14 passes for just 61 yards with three interceptions and a forced fumble. They were all bad interceptions, and the fumble was even worse.

It was a disastrous performance for Hoyer, and the Texans went into halftime incredibly lucky that the Chiefs didn’t have a massive lead. Kansas City missed some big plays that would have led to points in the first half and the Texans were still well in the game heading into the third.

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The Kansas City Chiefs have knocked down one postseason opponent, but their next game is much tougher on paper. A dominant win over the Houston Texans will be great for morale, but the Chiefs (11-5) will now travel to take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (12-4) in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Dwayne Gratz Womens Jersey The Patriots field the league’s No. 6 offense in yardage and No. 3 offense in points scored per game, with 29.1. But the Chiefs match up well with them on the other side of the ball, ranking No. 7 in the league in yards allowed and No. 3 in the league in points allowed per game at 17.9. The Patriots aren’t that much worse on defense, ranking 10th in the league in points allowed.
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Peppers also flushed Kirk Cousins from the pocket and into a Mike Neal sack on fourth down late in the fourth quarter, after Peppers beat Trent Williams around the edge while running an Ex game with Matthews. That play all but ended any chance of a comeback by Washington, but I bet most folks didn’t even notice it was Peppers who forced Cousins to leave the comfort of the pocket in the first place.

There was another play that Peppers made Sunday that maybe wasn’t so impressive at first glance, but it was huge in the grand scheme of things. With 3:57 left in the first quarter, Washington led 5-0 thanks to a safety forced by their impressive rookie defensive lineman Preston Smith, and a field goal on the drive after the Packers punted to them because of the safety. The Packers went three-and-out on their next drive. I imagine there had to be a whole lotta “here we go again” thoughts starting to filter in on their side line.

“You want the tough team, man,” Norman said Monday about facing the Seahawks, via the Seattle Times. “I don’t know why you want the easy way out. That’s not the way you should live life, taking the easy way out. You always want to do something the hard way, just because it means that much more.”

Cam Newton has been mediocre in his three previous playoff games, throwing five touchdowns go along with five interceptions. Given that Newton is the MVP favorite, he’ll be expected to perform better Sunday.

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Kirk Cousins’ passer rating since Week 9 of last season. That’s second-best in the NFL. During the 20-game stretch, the Washington Redskins quarterback has completed 69.4 percent of his passes (third), averaged 8.38 yards per attempt (first) and thrown 40 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. In the past three games, Cousins has completed 72.4 percent of his passes, thrown for 1,086 yards and totaled eight touchdowns without an interception. If the season ended today, the Redskins would be the No. 6 seed in the NFC. They are 2.5-point underdogs in Arizona on Sunday.
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44: The Kansas City Chiefs’ pressure percentage when Justin Houston is on the field. That number is 25 percent without Houston, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The 8-3 Chiefs are currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC but have the fourth-toughest remaining schedule, per Football Outsiders. The Atlanta Falcons (7-4), their opponents Sunday, have a one-game lead in the NFC South and are the No. 1 team in DVOA going into Week 13. Atlanta is a 5-point favorite at home.

Game Kids Vince Williams Jersey 2.6 (to 1): Tom Brady’s touchdown-to-interception ratio since 2010 without Rob Gronkowski, according to ESPN Stats & Info. As a point of reference, that would rank 16th in the NFL this season. With Gronkowski, that number is 5.1. Brady and the Patriots are 13.5-point home favorites against the Los Angeles Rams.

Gronkowski will remain underpaid in 2017; he will have a cap hit of just $7 million, eighth among tight ends and below that of Dennis Pitta and Charles Clay. The money in his deal really only spikes for the first time in 2018, six years after his extension was signed, when Gronk’s base salary rises from $4.25 million to $8 million and his cap hit jumps from $7 million to $11 million. In 2019, the final year of his deal, Gronkowski has a $9 million base salary and a $12 million cap hit.

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

The problem for Gronkowski is that none of that money is guaranteed. Zero. The Patriots will surely keep him for 2017, even if he doesn’t recover from the back surgery, because it would cost nearly as much money to trade or release Gronk ($6 million) as it would to keep him. It also would be nuts to move on from him this quickly, of course. If he doesn’t recover to his prior self, though, the Patriots could cut or trade him before 2018 and turn that $11 million into $4 million in dead money. Knowing Gronkowski’s injury history, they also could renegotiate that deal down to reduce Gronk’s cap hit, as they did with Amendola in recent years. In other words, the Patriots have all the leverage. And given his injury history, that’s a big deal.

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We all know that Dallas and New England are currently the favorites to meet in Super Bowl LI. But being a Super Bowl favorite isn’t just about winning games. It’s also about being ahead of your competition.
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New England is the Super Bowl favorite right now, even though the Patriots have the same record as Oakland and are one game behind Dallas. That’s because both Oakland and Dallas face more competition than the Patriots do.

For Oakland, the competition is for a division title. The Raiders have only a one-game lead on the Chiefs, and they have to play in Kansas City in two weeks. So while the Raiders may be tied for the best record in the AFC, they also have only a 59 percent chance of winning their own division. Making it to the Super Bowl will be a lot tougher as a wild card. Oakland, Kansas City and Denver all have much worse Super Bowl odds than New England does because only one of them can win the AFC West.

A running back will never have the same impact as a quarterback in today’s game, but the question remains whether Prescott’s passing benefits from the threat of Elliott’s running. One way to answer this question is to look at whether Prescott benefits from extra defenders in the box and play-action.

About 34 percent of Prescott’s dropbacks have come against a loaded box, which is about 6 percentage points higher than the NFL average. However, Prescott has performed equally well with or without extra defenders in the box. He leads the NFL in Total QBR against an unloaded box and ranks second in QBR without a play-action fake.
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What about his offensive line? There’s no doubt that Dallas has an elite run-blocking offensive line, but in terms of pass protection, Prescott has been under duress at a league-average rate. When pressured, he has the second-best QBR and has not turned the ball over in 107 dropbacks.

Finally, Prescott is not simply a product of one elite wide receiver. Dez Bryant has dealt with injuries, and it has been a team effort for Dallas’ receivers, with Bryant, Cole Beasley, Jason Witten and Terrance Williams all contributing.

We would be na?ve to ignore Prescott’s teammates, but he clearly has made his own MVP-caliber impact. All of the candidates on the MVP ballot are having superb seasons, but Prescott not only is having one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history, but also, based on his efficiency and total value, might wind up with one of the best single seasons ever.

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The Arizona Cardinals have extended general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians through the 2018 season, the team announced Monday. Arians had a team option through 2017, and Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic confirmed both Arians and Keim will have a fifth-year option for 2019 in their new deals.

Although the Cardinals didn’t release details on Geoff Cameron Authentic Womens Jersey the contracts, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Arians will make $6 million per year.

Arians joined the Cardinals in 2013 and helped them exceed expectations, guiding the team to double-digit wins in both seasons. Keim first joined the organization as a college scout in May 1999 and was promoted to general manager the same offseason the team signed Arians.

The Browns spent the past two days meeting with free agent QB Josh McCown, who was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this month. The veteran signal caller instantly became one of the more attractive options in a weak quarterback market, although he was arguably one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL last season. He has also had visits with the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets and Chicago Bears.

McCown went 1-10 as a starter with Tampa Bay in 2014, completing 184 of 327 passes for 2,206 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His completion percentage (56.3 percent) and yards per attempt (6.8) both ranked 31st out of 33 qualifying quarterbacks, and only Blake Bortles had a worse passer rating than McCown (70.5) last season.

Despite those ugly numbers, the 35-year-old has had some success in the league. In 2013, he completed 66.5 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games for the Bears, finishing with the best Total QBR (85.1) among quarterbacks with at least 200 attempts. McCown also has ties to Cleveland, starting nine games for the Oakland Raiders in 2007 when new Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo Graham Zusi Authentic Womens Jersey was the quarterbacks coach.

The Browns were expected to meet with Hoyer’s representatives last week at the Combine, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but that meeting apparently has not happened yet. Hoyer’s agent, Joe Linta, told ESPN.com’s Pat McManamon that there is mutual interest between his client and the team in getting together to discuss a potential return to the Browns.

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