Broncos defense wins when Peyton Manning can’t

Through five weeks, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning hasn’t been perfect, far from it, but he hasn’t had to be perfect. The Broncos themselves are now 5-0 on the season after beating the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, and the game showcased a recurring theme for Denver early in the season: defense winning the day.
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Going into Sunday, the Broncos led the NFL in total defense, allowing the fewest yards in the league. They’ve allowed the fewest passing yards, and the 10th-least rushing yards, and ultimately have given Manning and the offense plenty of breathing room.

Denver’s defense stepped up big time. They held the Raiders to just 65 total rushing yards despite 25 carries, and also managed an interception of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. That interception was grabbed by Chris Harris, who proceeded to take it 74 yards for a touchdown. It came when the Broncos were leading by less than a field goal, and it made it a multi-score game.

Authentic Mens Paxton Lynch Jersey It’s unclear how he suffered the injury. After scoring, Beckham celebrated then was spotted hobbling back to the sideline, where he was quickly surrounded by Giants training staff, but Beckham reportedly said after the game that he suffered the injury roughly five or six plays before the score.

After the game, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said that Beckham was taken out after the receiver “felt a little tug on his hamstring,” according to Kimberley Jones of the NFL Network.

Shortly after Beckham left, receiver Reuben Randle was ruled out for the game with a hamstring injury of his own. Randle finished the game with five catches for 42 yards.

Beckham had seven reception for 121 yards and a score on 11 targets before leaving, outpacing all other Giants pass catchers. The game is his second with more than 100 yards receiving this season, the first coming in Week 2 when he posted seven catches for 146 yards and a score against the Atlanta Falcons.

Giants have a chance because GM Jerry Reese hit the free-agent jackpot

The route the New York Giants took to rebuild their defense was unorthodox, twined through the most dangerous of webs. It’s a place most franchises don’t want to travel given the perils of past history.
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The following season, Wake emerged as one of the NFL’s best ends. His 14 sacks ranked third in the NFL. After a 15-sack season in 2012, Wake was selected first-team All-Pro.

He was selected second-team All-Pro twice (2010, 2014) and is a five-time Pro Bowler. During an era in which edge rushing has never been more important because the NFL is all about the passing game, Wake, who’s also stout against the run, has been one of the most consistently dominant players at his position. Of course, all of that leads to an obvious question: How in the heck did the NFL whiff so badly on Wake?

Scouting, to say the least, is an inexact science. Team officials evaluate countless hours of game film on players. They analyze seemingly endless computer files that list heights, weights, 40-yard dash times, reps in the bench press, etc.

Game Carl Nassib Jersey They interview potential draft picks and test their intellect. No football person to date, however, has devised a method to definitively determine who will thrive in the NFL spotlight. Wake is proof of that. Among undrafted players, Wake has the second-highest sack total in NFL history (Hall of Famer John Randle tops the list).

“Jerry knows this is on him. I’ve had that discussion with him,” Giants co-owner John Mara said last January. “He can’t hide from the record. It’s up to you to get it fixed because the last three years just were not acceptable.”

He did it with an unprecedented dip in free agency. And now the Giants have a chance to make some noise in the postseason because of it.

World Juniors 2017 scores: United States survives a Switzerland scare to advance to semis

The United States withstood one of their roughest games of the 2017 World Junior Championships to advance to the semifinal round on Monday.

Switzerland proved to be a difficult out, but a late goal from Jordan Greenway gave the United States a 3-2 win and a date with Russia in the semifinals on Jan. 4.

Tyler Parsons was the USA¡¯s best player, stopping 14 of 16 shots against for the win.

No one can put a finger on Portland¡¯s issue. They retained Allen Crabbe, added both Evan Turner and Festus Ezeli in free agency, and have a team built around the dynamic backcourt tandem of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Yet, somehow things haven¡¯t panned out the way that head coach Terry Stotts envisioned.
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Authentic Mens Margus Hunt Jersey The talent is undeniable. Both teams have the roster, on paper, to make noise in their respective conferences. But as the calendar year comes to a close, both are sub-.500 on the outside looking into the playoff picture.

There¡¯s still a lot of time left in the season for both teams to right the ship, but there could be some serious shake-ups next summer if things don¡¯t get on track quickly.

Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg opted not to play his starting point guard in the second half, instead choosing to go with youngsters Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams. Rondo did not score and had only one assist. Indiana outscored Chicago by 20 in the 10 minutes he was on the floor.

NFL playoff picture 2017: Standings, scenarios, who’s in, who’s out

This is it. Week 17, the last week of the regular season. And with the Packers’ win over the Lions we now know the complete, finalized playoff standings. Green Bay’s victory gives the Packers the NFC North title and the fourth seed in the NFC. But first, let’s digest the AFC playoff picture and standings.

During the 1 p.m. slate, the New England Patriots beat the Miami Dolphins to lock down the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. They’ll have a bye next week and then get to play at home in the divisional round and the conference championship, if they make it that far.

Bradford carved up the Chicago Bears in Week 17, completing 25 of 33 passes for 250 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. He took a seat in the fourth quarter with the Vikings leading, 38-10.

Bradford wasn’t even on the Vikings’ squad in preseason — at the time, he was competing for a starting job with the Philadelphia Eagles. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and when Teddy Bridgewater went down with a devastating knee injury, the Vikings made an aggressive move. They traded 2017’s first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round pick to acquire Bradford from the Eagles.

The trade was widely panned at the time, but Bradford and the Vikings ran out to a 5-0 start, seemingly quieting the critics. Unfortunately, everything fell apart. With a poor running game and abysmal offensive line, the Vikings’ offense stalled out and the team collapsed. They’ll finish with an 8-8 record and miss the playoffs.

Kobe settled a civil suit for an undisclosed sum in which he apologized but did not admit guilt

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The case was so atomic that most people who know anything about Kobe Bryant instantly recognize the reference to the 2003 sexual assault allegation made against him by a woman who worked at a hotel in Edwards, Colorado. Bryant was arrested. The case never went to trial as the woman declined to testify, and the charges were later dropped. For many people, Colorado remains a troubling section of his life story that never digests.

Kobe settled a civil suit for an undisclosed sum in which he apologized but did not admit guilt. Neither party may discuss details of the case.

The world shunned him. All but one of Kobe’s sponsors dropped him. He’d alienated his teammates when it was revealed that he had told police details of O’Neal’s extramarital affairs.

But come on, did you really think la Mamba Negra, the Black freaking Mamba was going to fade away?

He’s been planning his basketball death for years now. Scripting it down to his final words.
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Chopra and his crew set up an office closer to Kobe’s house in Newport Beach, California. Kobe invited them to film everything. Family time, doctors’ appointments, hours and hours of mind-numbing rehabilitation sessions.

If the cameras weren’t following him, he would have been alone as he stared into the abyss of his basketball mortality. Instead, as he says in the trailer for Muse, “it became therapy on film.”

He’d show up at the office as early as he used to show up at the gym to get shots up before practice. They’d talk craft well into the night.

“Like someone would say we should do the beginning like the beginning of ‘Black Swan,'” Chopra said. “And the next morning, not only would he have watched ‘Black Swan’ but, like, every Darren Aronofsky movie. He’d be quoting from his student films.”

Johnson is also one game shy of a perfect 16-for-16 game season scoring double-digit fantasy points in each

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins: Though he padded his stats during overtime, the result was impressive nevertheless, as Ajayi tallied at least 200 rushing yards for the third time this season, becoming only the fourth player in history to have that many games in a single year (Earl Campbell 4, Tiki Barber 3, O.J. Simpson 3), per ESPN Stats & Information. The result was 26 fantasy points, the third-highest score in his career, with the two higher scores coming Authentic Mens Max Pacioretty USA Jersey in his other games with at least 200 yards rushing: 32 in Week 6, 27 in Week 7. Ajayi was started in 79.8 percent of ESPN leagues Saturday, 13th-most among running backs.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: What Kids Chance Warmack Jersey a way to try to salvage a season largely lost to a foot injury. On Saturday, Watkins scored 21 fantasy points, his season-high and tied for the fifth-best output of his three-year, 36-game career. He was started in just 24.1 percent of ESPN leagues.

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Packers: After setting a new personal best with 28 fantasy points in Week 15, Montgomery was held to a quiet three fantasy points Saturday. His was an example of the reactionary nature of many owners; his 72.6 start percentage set a new career-high, after he was active in just 33.6 percent of ESPN leagues last week.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans: He picked a bad week to post his season-low in fantasy points (five), letting down owners in the 98.5 percent of ESPN leagues in which he was active (fifth-highest among running backs). In all likelihood, Murray will finish outside the top 25 in scoring at the position — 20 running backs had already outscored him as of 5 p.m. ET Saturday — which would snap his streak of 14 consecutive games ranked within the top 25 weekly scorers to begin the season. That leaves only Ezekiel Elliott (plays on Monday Night Football) and David Johnson as running backs who have been top-25 scorers every week.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty

Stafford leads a 9-5 Lions team that is atop the NFC North and didn’t have a single player named to the Pro Bowl. But Stafford is the real highlight. The 28-year-old quarterback is putting together one of the best seasons of his career.

Completing 66.3 percent of his passes for 3,720 yards, 22 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, Stafford is running an effective, efficient Lions offense that doesn’t simply rely on huge splash plays like the team has in recent years. Eight fourth-quarter comebacks, eight game-winning drives, and Stafford’s somewhat pedestrian touchdown numbers are much easier to digest.

“We were in panic,” Sanches said Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, via the Boston Globe. “Screaming, crying, crazy.’’

This was at a pretrial hearing for Hernandez, who is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was a former linebacker for a semi-pro football team.

Hernandez is charged in the deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, and prosecutors say that Hernandez gunned them down after one bumped into him at a nightclub.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. The judge will decide what testimony will and will not be allowed at the trial, which is slated to start in February.

On the very next play I guess Cherilus was fed up or something, because he came off the ball and was very aggressive in pushing his hands forcefully into Irving’s facemask. While he somehow got away with the blatantly illegal contact to the head, the problem was Cherilus seemed to have forgotten that Irving’s arms were longer than his.

So while he got full extension into Irving’s facemask, Irving got full extension with his inside hand into Cherilus’ chest and was able to create enough distance to run right around him.

Bryce Petty’s growing pains, O-line injuries will turn Jets into fish food

Their quarterback is so green that he struggles to read the most basic blitzes. Their offensive line is down three starters and likely will have to play its fourth-string right tackle. Their secondary is missing two starters, including the guy who runs the show.

Yes, the New York Jets could be in serious trouble Saturday night against the Miami Dolphins. If coach Todd Bowles figures out a way to win this game, he’d deserve a public vote of confidence from owner Woody Johnson — and a nice Christmas bonus, too.

The game means everything to the contending Dolphins (8-5) and nothing to the Jets (4-9), so would anybody be shocked if this turns into another prime-time laugher? Not me.

Five thoughts on the game, which kicks off at 8:25 p.m. at MetLife Stadium:

The Jets were charmed last season with injuries — only 19 games-lost among the starters. This season, they’re guaranteed to have a minimum of 75 games lost. The loss of safety Marcus Gilchrist (season-ending knee injury) hurts the defense because he calls the signals for the secondary.

The offensive line has absorbed some huge hits. In fact, the projected line in the spring — Ryan Clady, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold, Brian Winters and Breno Giacomini — hasn’t played a single snap together. And won’t.

“Bad luck,” Bowles said.

Welcome Matt: Replacing the injured Ryan Tannehill (knee), Matt Moore will come out of mothballs to make his first start since the 2011 finale. Remember that game? You should. It came against the Jets on the day of the infamous Santonio Holmes meltdown. Moore is a cagey veteran who came off the bench in 2012 to beat the Jets at MetLife. He likes to take chances and the Jets think he’s prone to interceptions. We’ll see.

First-quarter blues: The Jets have fallen behind, 14-0, in each of the last two games. The 49ers scored touchdowns on their second and sixth plays, the Indianapolis Colts the seventh and 11th. Bowles can spin it any way he wants, but the slow starts shine a harsh light on the preparation. For a change, how ’bout an early lead?

Derby gets a little added inspiration to make amends given the Broncos face the Patriots

Derby called it “frustrating” and “unacceptable” before admitting it caused him “a sleepless night.” In his quest for a little retribution, Derby gets a little added inspiration to make amends given the Broncos face the Patriots, his former team, Sunday.

“I would say that it’s a little weird,” Derby said. “Knowing all of those guys and practicing against them, it will be good to go live against them. It will be fun.”

In Pereira’s scenario, however, there are officials working surreptitiously and outside of policy. In Monday night’s game, Ravens coach John Harbaugh could be seen asking why Hochuli had moved the ball. Shouldn’t these decisions be clear, obvious and transparent? And if the NFL is disregarding this particular set of rules, what other polices is it failing to follow?

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Pereira said. “It’s just kind of undercover at the moment. But you can see it. This is the landscape of where officiating is going.”

Indeed, I’ve written often about the inescapable tug of technology on officiating. Ubiquitous HD broadcasts have given fans better and more consistent views of plays than officials, and sports leagues around the world are scrambling to catch up.

Having an official with access to those same views, a system the Canadian Football League established this season, makes all the sense in the world. Many of us figured the NFL would eventually catch up. But Pereira, who has more knowledge and insight into the league’s officials than anyone not currently in its employ, thinks it already has.

Our conversation covered a number of topics in the book, including the issue of full-time officials and the impact of new discipline the league introduced last season and appears already to have backed away from. You can find further details below.

Cam Newton would’ve had to adjust to a whole new system after just his second season in the league

Now he’s derided as the biggest reason for the Eagles’ failures. Glory can be fleeting in the NFL.

Jim Harbaugh knows that all too well, considering the 49ers ousted him last year despite enjoying three playoff appearances in four years –– including a Super Bowl birth. Harbaugh’s relationship with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke reportedly grew too contentious to continue, and the organization severed ties with him. Now one year later, the 49ers are looking for a new head coach again after dismissing Jim Tomsula Sunday. Lurie better choose Kelly’s replacement more wisely than the 49ers selected Harbaugh’s, that’s for sure.

The same can be said for Jim Irsay, the erratic owner of the Colts. His team’s head coach Chuck Pagano has spent the bulk of the year on the hot seat despite leading the Colts to the AFC Championship last January. In fact, Pagano’s job was seemingly on the line before the 2015 season even started.

Four new teams took their place — Kansas City, Minnesota, Houston, and Washington. The NFL is surely happy with this outcome, as the playoffs field this year keeps a 25-season streak alive in which at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason the year before.

Elsewhere, the Saints beat the Falcons, the Lions beat the Bears, the Eagles beat the Giants, the Niners beat the Rams and Washington beat Dallas.

Win the water cooler:
Arm yourself with the most essential tidbits from Sunday’s action … impress your coworkers around the water cooler.

Mariota had a good rookie season and whoever is hired will likely have their immediate future tied to Webster’s selection. That new general manager will have the opportunity and task to pick from every single college player in the draft to build around Mariota too, as the Titans hold the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Webster has also been a scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the vice president of player personnel with the Seattle Seahawks, a team for which he also served as interim general manager before joining the Titans.