Why the Packers are glad they got written off this season

We saw horror. But they say they saw hope. We saw a carcass. But they say they saw re-birth.

Get real.

Because there is no way that the Green Bay Packers back on Nov. 20, when they were tattooed 42-24 at Washington to drop their fourth straight game and fall to a 4-6 record were collectively full of hope and re-birth. No doubt, a handful of Packers might have believed that. All of them, for sure, wished that. But the best the Packers could do was play the final six regular-season games with renewed purpose and see what it brought them.

“Six losses puts your ass against the wall,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that night.

In their last three trips to Detroit, the Packers are just 1-2 SU and ATS per the OddsShark NFL Database. Green Bay was 6-1 SU and ATS in its previous seven road games against the Lions.

Betting Line / Total: Green Bay -3.5 / 49.5 Points

Trend: The Packers are 3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Lions.

Trend: The Lions are 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four games at home against teams with winning records.

Detroit shook off a 1-3 SU and ATS start to the regular season to go 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS over its next nine games, looking like a lock to win the NFC North as the Packers and Vikings were fading.

But back-to-back road losses have opened the door for Green Bay to not only win the division, but to potentially knock Detroit out of the postseason picture entirely depending on how the rest of Sunday’s action shakes out. The Lions are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games at home.

Sunday night’s total is set at 49.5 points. The UNDER is 6-1 in Green Bay’s last seven night games.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for these two teams as a win or a loss will likely be the difference between hosting a playoff game next week and missing the playoffs entirely. Recent history and Green Bay’s current form point to a Packers win, but the Lions have been tough at home this season and aren’t likely to go down without a fight.

Texans vs. Titans 2015 live stream: Start time, TV schedule and how to watch online

Despite opening the season with a 1-4 run, the Houston Texans (7-7) are in the driver’s seat in the AFC South, and can punch their ticket into the playoffs with a win over the Tennessee Titans (3-11) on Sunday.

The Texans took down the rival Indianapolis Colts in their last game, weathering a storm of bad luck at the quarterback position to pull out the 16-10 lead. They were benefited by some quarterback issues for Indianapolis as well, but they’re only focused on their own issues heading into Week 16 against the Titans.

Game Womens Shon Coleman Jersey In fact, the whole division is a mess when it comes to quarterbacks outside of Jacksonville Jaguars starter Blake Bortles.
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Only the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stand in the Panthers’ way on their quest to finish the regular season with a perfect record. Head coach Ron Rivera has said that he would not rest Carolina’s starters as long as the games matter, and with the opportunity to secure the top seed in the NFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs on the line, Week 16’s contest certainly meets that standard.

The Vikings are on the opposite end of that spectrum, ranking eighth in the league in points allowed (19.4) and 13th in the league in total defense.

Veteran running back Adrian Peterson has spearheaded the Minnesota offense. Peterson has had a real return to form and comes into the week leading the league in rushing with 1,314 yards on the season. He’ll be going up against a Giants defense that ranks 21st in the league in rushing yards allowed per game. Peterson also has nine touchdowns on the year, and leads the league’s fifth-most productive rushing offense.

The game plan for the Vikings will be to run it early and often, though if they secure an early lead they will likely try to give Peterson a rest before next week’s showdown with the Packers.

The Phillies¡¯ trade for Clay Buchholz Tuesday is right out of the Chicago Cubs’ rebuild playbook

Authentic Womens Matt Cullen Jersey The Phillies¡¯ trade for Clay Buchholz Tuesday is right out of the Chicago Cubs’ rebuild playbook — another investment in the future, and something that other teams that have slashed their payrolls should really consider.

In fact, the Phillies should think about taking advantage of the incredible bargains that are starting to take shape in the free-agent market and do more of what they’ll do with Buchholz, which is the baseball equivalent of house-flipping in a hot real estate market.

While this could just mean the Rockies are doing their due diligence, it’s worth noting that such a signing would only be possible if Colorado is serious about trading an outfielder like Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon. Ian Desmond was signed to play first next season but was an outfielder this year, meaning he could return to one of those spots and open up first base for Encarnacion or Trumbo.
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And they did it! The plan isn’t complete yet, but you don’t trade Chris Sale and Adam Eaton as they did if you plan to just tinker around the edges. They may have varying ideas on the optimal way to get value out of Quintana, Robertson, Frazier and eventually Abreu, but there’s no doubt that’s the plan.

Trading just two players so far, the White Sox already have a top-five farm system. The White Sox could end up with the best farm system they’ve ever had, or at least as far as I can remember.

With that in mind, how have the bad teams in baseball done so far this winter? For each of these teams, 10 games out of the playoffs or worse, let’s look at what they needed to be doing this winter, and how well they’ve accomplished that goal.

What options do the Texans have with Brock Osweiler?

Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler was benched on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars after back-to-back interceptions.

Youth Jacob Josefson Jersey A Buffalo offense ranked 31st in the league in passing when the game began completed 68 percent of its passes. More important than any number was the fact that the Bills seemed to come up with a key throw or catch when they needed one, including getting 33 yards on a third-and-22 in the second quarter.

And a quarterback who again did just enough to keep the team interested. Robert Griffin III improved his completion percentage and had a 32-yard throw to Andrew Hawkins, but overall it was a blah game for a guy trying to re-establish a career.

The Browns put themselves in a familiar position against Buffalo: Down big at halftime and forced to play a perfect game the second half to win.

Griffin did a lot more running in the second half and ran for an 18-yard score. He started 5-for-6 in the first quarter, but then went 6-for-15 before some garbage-time throws with the Browns down 17 and less than 2:00 left. The Browns finished with 13 points, giving them 10, 7, 9, 13, 10 and 13 points the past six games. That’s an average of 10.3 points per game. The Browns have not even led a game since Nov. 10 in Baltimore.

Playing hard is nice. Wins are nicer.
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The Browns have two more games to try to get a single, solitary, stinking win in 2016.

That win, though, might reside in a distant galaxy far, far away. At the point of the deciding kick, the Titans could already have been tied and still assured of heading to overtime if Succop had missed the 53-yard attempt.

Carroll: Bennett not hit in head, ‘should be OK’

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NFL ratings, which have been down significantly this season, have improved slightly since the U.S. presidential election.

While viewership is down 10 percent overall through the first 14 weeks of the season compared to that time span in 2015, that’s four percentage points better than the collective broadcasts were down a little more than a month ago.

The kicker returned from West Point and called up South Dakota State, a Division II program that had offered him an 80 percent scholarship out of high school. Mike Daly, the coach, could offer Vinatieri only 50 percent on the rebound, and the kid had little choice but to take it.
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Vinatieri kicked and punted better than anyone in his conference and then grew unhappy when Daly bumped his scholarship to only 55 percent. He nearly transferred to Wyoming for the experience of playing Division I ball and the chance to earn a full ride. “And I was really disappointed to hear that,” Daly recalls.

They had a heart-to-heart, and Vinatieri decided to stay, but soon enough the kicker had missed enough field goals to compel Daly to bench him in favor of a lineman who had won a tryout for the job. The lineman would miss as many as the kicker did, Vinatieri regained his job and his stroke, and then Daly and his assistant, Trent Baalke, now the San Francisco 49ers general manager, tried to persuade NFL teams to take a shot on Vinatieri in the summer of 1995. Daly called a friend and a South Dakota State grad, Brad Seely, then the special-teams coach with the Carolina Panthers, and he took a pass. The same Brad Seely who would win three Super Bowls with Vinatieri in his next stop.

Vinatieri fielded a suggestion from Brian Hansen, an NFL punter out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to contact a kicking coach in Abingdon, Virginia, Doug Blevins, who had just gotten hired by the NFL’s World League. Vinatieri kept calling the coach until he agreed to look at his tape, and on film Blevins saw the requisite leg speed and strength of a pro. He remembers meeting his new student at the airport in the fall of ’95 and seeing a shocked look on his face; Blevins was born with cerebral palsy and effectively lived in his wheelchair.

How much money should Cam Newton have made this week?

I gotta say the Eagles coaching staff did one hell of job yetserday. Becoming interim head coach for the eagles must be like walking in to substitute teach for Ted Kazynskis class, you walk into Chips office and he’s got posterboard with pictures of dead celebrities he wants to use for playcalls and a phone with Colt Lyerla’s number thats 9/10ths of the way dialed and your expected to win? Just a unbelevable job.
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Then yetserday a report came out that the nail in Kellys coffin was when he ruined the Eagles Holiday party by moving it from Monday to Friday at the last minute probably to give him enough time to incorporate his White Christmas theme.

“Perrish Cox” literaly translates to “feminist”, the NFLs is a man game son gotta do something about that name.

He wasn’t lifting weights, he was missing curfews and he was feuding with coaches. I remember reading a 2003 interview published in ESPN the Magazine in my high school library and thinking it was a bad joke as he said the cliché words of every stuck-up superstar ever caricatured.

Michigan football became a monolith in all of our lives. In those days, we were tired of Lloyd Carr, four-loss seasons and statue quarterbacks. As Woodson disappeared — disgruntled, injured and ineffective on the Raiders’ roster — so did the magic of his memory.

Too close to BYU rival Utah’s colors.

Limited Brandon Myers Jersey Reid wears red on the Kansas City sidelines, anyway: “I have to sweat down to get in it,” he said of his red gear.

By any color, Edwards knows the coach he fashioned in Reid and always reminds him of it. And Reid, like Edwards, always deflects success to the team, to the building.

“Everything he preached from Day 1 he kept employing it and it trickled down,” Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin said.

No matter how you frame it, potential contenders have holes to fill

The Minnesota Twins signed Jason Castro to a three-year, $24.5 million deal in November in spite of a rough history as a hitter, and at least partly because Castro has been one of the dominant catchers in pitch-framing statistics, which theoretically reflects the ability to present pitches to umpires in a way that makes them look like strikes.

Castro ranked fifth among all catchers last season in one pitch-framing metric, as compiled by Catcher Report, after finishing in the top 10 the year before. During the postseason, Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez seemingly turned borderline pitches from Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, Ryan Merritt and other Indians pitchers into strikes, a performance thought to have made the difference for the Indians as they advanced to Game 7 of the World Series.

Wieters is looking for a job now, at a time when the Orioles are looking for a frontline catcher, one of the 10 biggest holes in the market among teams that are working to contend in 2017.

Among 36 pitchers with at least 30 postseason innings pitched since 2010, Davis ranks first in ERA and strikeouts per nine innings pitched (12.8). He has only allowed one home run in his postseason career, and that was to Nelson Cruz back in 2010 when Davis pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Davis was limited to 43 1/3 innings last season, a low for him since moving to the bullpen full time. His ERA nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016 (0.94 to 1.87), but he had a 2.29 FIP (fielding independent pitching) in each of those seasons.

Eli Harold Authentic Jersey Any decline in Davis¡¯ numbers can be attributed to his outings immediately before and after his DL stint. Davis gave up two earned runs in each of those one-inning appearances around his month-long absence. Davis had a 1.09 ERA in all other games.

Limited Youth Mike Pouncey Jersey Davis¡¯ fastball averaged 95.0 mph before his DL stint and 94.8 mph after it.

NFL Insiders Predict: Kaep’s future, NFC’s No. 6 seed, more

While victories have become increasingly hard to find in the San Francisco 49ers locker room, the events of the past week have brought to light one thing there’s no shortage of: perspective.

As a franchise-record 11 consecutive losses have piled on top of one another, the anger and frustration among the Niners has been evident. But when coach Chip Kelly was hit by heartbreaking news far more important than a football game, in the form of his father’s death late last week, it didn’t take long for his players to recognize and relate to what their head coach was going through.
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The instant reaction was to rally around Kelly and offer support.

It couldn’t have been easy for Chip Kelly to be on the 49ers’ cold sideline last Sunday, just days after the death of his father.

Middle linebacker and leading tackler Kiko Alonso’s status is up in the air because of a broken thumb. He had surgery Monday, then had a cast on during Wednesday’s practice. If Alonso cannot play, backup Mike Hull will get the start against the Cardinals.

Isa Abdul-Quddus Elite Jersey C Nick Mangold, who aggravated an old ankle injury, is in a walking boot and is not expected to play Sunday against the 49ers. It would be his fifth missed game, and there’s a chance he could be shut down for the remainder of the season. Wes Johnson would again start in his place.

On Saturday, just one day after his dad’s death, Kelly sought the counsel of players like Kerley and Smith on how they handled the balance between grieving and going about doing their jobs.

Seahawks vs. Vikings 2016 preview: Seattle’s road back to the Super Bowl begins in freezing Minnesota

The Minnesota Vikings captured their first division title in six years and their reward is a Wild Card round matchup against the two-time defending NFC champions, Seattle Seahawks, who destroyed them in December and are firing on all cylinders entering the postseason.
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The Seahawks stumbled out of the gate at 2-4 and were still below .500 after nine games in mid-November. Beset by questions about their lingering Super Bowl hangover, Seattle’s swagger appeared to be gone and it hardly looked like a team capable of playing for another ring in February.

But the Seahawks answered their critics with a resounding second-half run, ripping off six wins in their final seven games and are now well-positioned to reach the league’s grand stage for the third consecutive year.

Seattle begins its trek to Santa Clara (the home of Super Bowl 50) with a trip to freezing Minneapolis to take on the NFC North champions, airing on NBC. The Minnesota Vikings are making their first playoff appearance since 2012 and also head into this game on a roll, having won their final three games to clinch their first division title in six years.

However, two weeks before that three-game win streak started was an embarrassing 38-7 blowout loss to the same team they face Sunday. That game exposed a critical weakness in the Vikings offense, one that is limited by a mediocre passing attack and is highly dependent on a ball-control, ground-and-pound game plan. Seattle jumped out to a commanding early lead, the Vikings were forced to abandon the run early, and the results were disastrous.

Gavin Escobar Youth Jersey Most of the experts are predicting a similar story for this weekend’s rematch. ESPN’s crew is unanimously picking Seattle, while seven of the eight guys at CBS Sports also have the Seahawks. All eight of our panelists at SB Nation are going with the road team, too.

Aaron Rodgers endured the worst season statistically since becoming a starter

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Aaron Rodgers endured the worst season statistically since becoming a starter, completing just 60.7 percent of his passes for 3,821 yards, 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Those aren’t terrible numbers by the standards of most quarterbacks, but they represent a steep decline for the league’s reigning MVP. Overall, the Packers dropped from the No. 1 scoring offense to 15th.

However, the light finally came on for Green Bay last weekend. After falling into an 11-0 hole and missing seven of his first eight passes, Rodgers got hot after completing a 24-yard bomb to Jones in the second quarter. From that point on, Rodgers and the offense seemed to have little trouble moving the ball. Even the ground game picked up its play, as Lacy and Starks averaged 5.3 and 4.4 yards per carry, respectively. Both also found their way into the end zone.

Wearing nothing more than blue sweatpants, Jones, a 6’5, 265-pound black man scurried through the rear parking lot of the police precinct. Officer David J. Foscaldo, who was on the verge of starting his shift at 7:40 am on this warm Sunday morning, was the first to observe the man’s strange behavior. Jones then makes a direct line toward the back door of the station.

Game Kids Willie Snead Jersey When the rest of the officers spotted him, they approached the bewildered man. Jones, confused and in desperate need of help, dropped to his knees.

He dropped down, interlocked his hands and placed them behind the back of his head, as if he was being arrested. He had surrendered, but for what exactly? He held this position for two seconds before slowly moving to the ground. Foscaldo wrote in his report that this action was taken under no provocation nor warning. The officer described Jones as appearing to be actively praying or worshiping.

He also says that Jones had committed no crimes, nor had he violated any laws or town-bylaws. He did not resist, he was not argumentative or confrontational. He was unarmed and did not have any drugs on his person. But what was clear was that he was confused, as he could not explain who told him to seek help and for what. Only after going to his house would the officers smell the burnt synthetic marijuana.

Though this mysterious Oracle that suggested his trip to the police station was nowhere to be found.