Cam Newton and the Panthers are making it look easy

For the second time in franchise history, the Carolina Panthers have scored 30-plus points in four consecutive games as Cam Newton led the team on an offensive explosion to dominate the Atlanta Falcons, 38-0, on Sunday. The Panthers are the last remaining unbeaten team at 13-0, and haven’t lost a regular season game in over a year.

Carolina put up a total of 424 yards of offense and scored 28 points in the first half alone against their NFC South rivals. Newton finished the game having completed 15 of 21 passes for 265 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ted Ginn Jr. had two catches for 120 yards and Greg Olsen had 52 yards on three catches before he left the game with an injury.

The successful field goal was so unbelievable that even Chiefs players didn’t believe Santos made it.

If the Broncos had chosen to punt and play for the tie, instead of attempt the 62-yard field goal, they would have stayed level with the Chiefs at 7-3-1. It’s impossible to say how that might have altered the rest of the season for each team, but it would have put the Broncos in a more favorable position than the loss did. Denver was never able to recover.

For the Chiefs, the opposite happened. They’ve only lost one game since the doink-off win, and thumped the Broncos at home last week to completely dash any playoff hopes they had left.

The Chiefs also have more momentum than any other team in the division heading into the final week of the season. With a win over the Chargers, and if the Broncos can beat a Raiders team that is now without quarterback Derek Carr, Kansas City can take the AFC West crown.

And it all goes back to that doinked field goal.

the Browns were in a few games early in the season

This “Fitz-magic” might have turned into a dark magic. In three of the games Ryan Fitzpatrick has not started this season, he has still ended up throwing 10 or more passes. He could get the starting nod one last time in the Jets’ finale against the Bills.

The 49ers are 2-0 against the Rams this season and 0-13 against everyone else. Are 49ers fans going to remember QB Colin Kaepernick’s two-point conversion play as a great moment in a down season, or as a play that cost the team the top pick in the 2017 draft?

Jared Goff is 0-6 as a starter this season. Johnny Manziel (2014) is the only first-round rookie QB to go winless with multiple starts since 1995. Goff looks to avoid that dubious distinction against the Cardinals in Week 17.

Limited Youth Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey But the Browns also had to play as if it mattered. And this time of year, the plain fact is that not every team does. Just look at what the New York Jets did at New England for an example of what it looks like when a team has no reason to get up for a game and therefore doesn’t. It’s ugly to say and uglier to watch, but it does happen.

Limited Youth Phil Esposito Jersey So don’t overlook the significance of Cleveland’s first — and potentially only — win of the season. It says something about Browns coach Hue Jackson that he found a way to motivate his players when very little about this season had shown them they were capable of winning or that it would matter if they did.

Yeah, the Browns were in a few games early in the season, but prior to Saturday, they had lost their past six games by an average of 18 points. They still have no idea who their quarterback is, nor do they appear to have many building-block players on their roster. This is a team built on draft picks it hasn’t made yet, and most of the players on the roster won’t be there by the time the team is any good. If ever there was a group that had reason to fold up the tent, this was it.

Green Bay is technically the NFC North leader at the moment

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Huston Street Authentic Jersey ¡°Obviously it¡¯s not what everyone wants to see or what our goals were, but that¡¯s showing that we have a young team that¡¯s showing improvement right there. So definitely, any time we go out there, we definitely want to win.¡±

Saints coach Sean Payton wasn¡¯t quite as enthusiastic about the idea of finishing at least .500 for the first time since 2013. But he said winning is always a worthy goal.

¡°I look more closely at just the game itself, and winning is significant always,¡± Payton said. ¡°So the final record still represents something that¡¯s not good enough and hasn¡¯t gotten us into the postseason, and yet it¡¯s an opportunity to win another game.¡±

Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1). They came all the way back and somehow still lost a home game to the Arizona Cardinals because of a missed extra point. Seattle is the NFC West champion, but it might have cost itself a chance at a first-round bye. As of now, the Seahawks would have to play three games (with at least one on the road) just to reach the Super Bowl.

Green Bay Packers (9-6). Green Bay is technically the NFC North leader at the moment. The Packers are tied with the Lions for first place but beat them head-to-head. The teams face off again in Week 17 at Detroit, and the winner will be division champ. The loser can still get in but would need help. Specifically, if the Packers lose, they would still be a wild-card team if Washington and the Buccaneers both lose. The Packers also could sneak in as a wild card if Washington loses and Green Bay clinches the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Tampa. To do that, the Packers need any one of the following four teams to lose in Week 17: San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis or Dallas. But the main point here is: win and the Packers are in as a division champ.

Chargers go from points to more points to no points and we still don’t know what a catch is

A holding call on the Raiders after a made 53-yard field goal gave the Chargers a new set of downs to try to get in the end zone. This throw to Ladarius Green appeared to have done it.

Unfortunately, because he didn’t take the ball home to meet his parents before handing it back to the official, Green’s catch was ruled an incomplete pass. Fortunately for the Chargers, they were surely still able to at least kick a field goal again, right? Well, they tried and failed, and went from getting three points to getting seven points to getting no points from this drive.
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But the best way to shake your fear is to get back on that horse, and all the trends say that the Panthers are the smart bet here. Carolina is 8-3 ATS in their last 11, and Atlanta is 1-9 in their last 10.

For all the jokes being made at the Bears expense, they have been a respectable 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games, while the Buccaneers have only managed to go 5-11 ATS in their last 16 at Raymond James.
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From the standpoint of a lazy fan such as myself, it typically takes a couple years to wash the stink off any team that finishes 3-13 or worse, so I’m going to choose to ignore the fact that Tampa Bay has 6 wins and bet on the Bears. But I’m a Big Moron so I changed my pick at the last second to the Buccaneers -3.

Not long after the Eagles lost to the Cardinals, linebacker Mychal Kendricks had some choice words for the Washington team. This matchup is always a fierce rivalry, and with playoff implications on the line, it’s sure to be a hard-hitting game.

Arizona probably had a worse season than you’d have expected from their talent

Having a good team is the sexiest way to kick off baseball’s winter season. Your team and your fans have visions of pennants dancing in your heads, and the free-agent market looks like a buffet of awesomeness as you think about what big-name signings and acquisitions would make your good team into a great one.

But when you’re an also-ran, the options are less exhilarating. A big signing may just make your non-contending team more expensive. A rebuild job may be a smart decision, but the moment you decide to start tearing up your team can be heart-rending and won’t sell tickets for next season.

Authentic Mens La’el Collins Jersey The Mission: Rebuild the front office.

Arizona probably had a worse season than you’d have expected from their talent, but even if the team had gone 82-80 and missed the playoffs by a less nauseating margin, the same fundamental problem would have remained.
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One of the most athletic pitchers in baseball, Buchholz can show an above-average to plus cutter and has long had a plus or better changeup, but his command wavers from adequate to awful, especially of his fastball, which was the pitch behind 70 percent of the homers he gave up in 2016.

Front offices are smarter now. They focus less on home runs and power and more on OBP and defense. Trumbo had a .316 OBP. He should play first base but always finds himself on a team that wants to put him in right field. That’s not his fault, and it’s nice that he can play right field, but he doesn’t play it very well.

Other big-market teams that could have made a run — the Cardinals, Red Sox (after trading Yoan Moncada), Giants and Yankees — weren’t so desperate for a third baseman that they couldn’t wait for the Machado plunge.

Ben Roethlisberger gets customized suits for Steelers’ offensive linemen

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive linemen keep Ben Roethlisberger clean on the field, so Big Ben¡¯s keeping them clean off the field.

Leodis McKelvin Kids Jersey Roethlisberger, who¡¯s known to splurge on his line around Christmas time, got his personalized tailor to dress his blockers with customized suits, shoes, shirts, the whole deal.

Asked if he was “disturbed” that a player would behave that way before a game, Bowles replied, “It was disturbing that it was said at all.”

Bowles said he had no problem with Richardson’s effort in the game. He played 45 of 48 defensive snaps — more than any defensive lineman — but managed only two tackles and one quarterback hit.

Prescott, a fourth-round pick, was the 135th player selected in the draft. There’s a learning curve involved in his development, but the coaching staff and front office love Prescott because he’s unflappable.

Womens Corey Linsley Jersey Win or lose, good play or bad play, his demeanor remains the same.

¡°Things happen for a reason and obviously that was a very unfortunate, freak injury that happened to [Romo] in Seattle,¡± Stephen Jones said. ¡°It’s fortunate, but misfortune in terms of Tony, that obviously in Dak we’ve found a very special player at quarterback.¡±

Outside of The Star in Frisco, the Cowboys¡¯ state-of-the-art training faciltiy, a daily debate wages all over Dallas-Fort Worth concerning whether Romo should replace Prescott if the Cowboys¡¯ offense struggles Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Inside the complex, the topic doesn¡¯t come up.

Along with Belichick and Carroll, all are Super Bowl-winning head coaches

It might seem like there’s as much separation as ever between good and bad NFL teams. As I write this, Dallas and New England have a chance to go 14-2, while Cleveland could finish 0-16.

Elite Kids Mathew Barzal Jersey But as the NFL regular season draws to a close, a deeper look at the numbers reveals the opposite: Teams are bunched in talent much more closely than they appear. The league is at a crossroads, and the next few years will determine which contending franchises will rise to new dominance — or whether that’s even possible anymore.

Along with Carroll, other NFL head coaches under contract could be asked the same question by the media during the next month, and they will likely have the same response as Carroll.

The Saints’ Sean Payton? The Steelers’ Tomlin? The Packers’ Mike McCarthy? The Ravens’ John Harbaugh? Along with Belichick and Carroll, all are Super Bowl-winning head coaches.

Oh, Andy Reid of the Chiefs? He’s an L.A. guy.

Stan Kroenke (right) and the Los Angeles Rams parted ways with head coach Jeff Fisher (left) on Monday.

The Rams, however, paid a big cost to acquire the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft to select quarterback Jared Goff. They still owe the Tennessee Titans their first- and third-round choices in 2017. The franchise arguably cannot afford to bankrupt its future with more draft picks to land its next coach.

Do the Rams instead go after a Super Bowl-winning executive like Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, and let him figure it out?

Asked why he called a fake punt up 24-3 with 5:22 left in the game, Carroll said, “Going into the game, I was hoping we would get the chance, because I thought we were going to need the rushing yards, to tell you the truth.”
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Around 6:30 a.m., a woman named Renada Gibson walked into a gas station near the highway in New Orleans East. She bought two coffees, four doughnuts, a pack of cigarettes and a fruit bar.

Eagles vs. Giants 2016 picks and predictions: Experts predict New York to end season with a win

The New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles were eliminated from the postseason last week, so it would be natural to think that this Week 17 matchup is meaningless for both teams. That would also be wrong.

For starters, we could possibly be witnessing the Elite Youth Reggie White Jersey end of a Hall of Fame coaching career with rumors swirling about the fate of Giants coach Tom Coughlin. The players continue to show their support and respect for him in the locker room, but it’s hard to ignore the poor results on the field in recent years.

The Giants have already guaranteed themselves Limited Kids Ryan Smyth Jersey a third straight losing season and a fourth consecutive playoff-less campaign. They are the only NFL team since 1990 (under the current postseason format) to follow a Super Bowl win by missing the playoffs in each of the next four seasons. Still, the Giants have a chance to salvage some pride and send their longtime coach out with a win if they can beat Philly.

Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
After A.J. Green, the Bengals have depth issues looming at wide receiver. Thomas is at worst a high-end No. 2 wideout with good size and ability to go up and get the ball.

Denver Broncos: Jerald Hawkins, OT, LSU
It’s clear the Broncos need offensive tackle help, and it’ll be tricky finding one this late in the first round. Hawkins gets the nod over players like teammate Vadal Alexander or Le’Raven Clark of Texas Tech because of his athleticism and potential.

Arizona Cardinals: Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State
The Cardinals will need help along the defensive line sooner than later, and a talent like Ogbah is too good to pass up with this choice. He’s a high-effort lineman whose attitude will fit perfectly in Arizona.

Carolina Panthers: Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
Sure, the Panthers just drafted Kelvin Benjamin two years ago and Devin Funchess last year, but Doctson would be a fabulous addition to the receiving group. He’s a big-play threat who excels at high-pointing the ball.

Can MLB create an international draft that works?

I had Dexter Fowler as the second-best free agent in this winter¡¯s class behind only Yoenis Cespedes, but he would have been No. 1 if we were talking specifically about the Cardinals¡¯ needs.
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St. Louis had few spots on their roster where they could clearly use an upgrade and gain a couple of wins just by one move, and centerfield was the most obvious one, with no true center fielder on the roster and a rather glaring need for another high-OBP bat in the lineup.

Only four Cardinals hitters managed to top a .330 OBP last year, and one, Aledmys Diaz, is probably going to regress at the plate from his 2016 performance. Fowler¡¯s .393 OBP was a career high and it¡¯s reasonable to expect him to regress as well, but even his subpar .346 on-base percentage from 2015 would be a boost to this lineup over the .290 the Cards got from center fielders this past season.

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His contract also calls for team options in 2020 and 2021 at an average of $10 million per year. Assuming the Nats exercise both options, they¡¯ll have Eaton for five years at a total cost of $38.4 million, or an average annual value of $7.7 million. Compare that to, say, the $27.5 million AAV years that the division rival Mets just shelled out for Yoenis Cespedes ($110 million over four), and the Eaton trade seems like an absolute steal for Rizzo and the Nationals — until you factor in what they gave up. In light of Harper¡¯s tweet, let¡¯s go ahead and call it the ¡°wow¡± factor.

In his two years before free agency, Ryan had a 2.35 ERA over 157 1/3 innings. And in his first season with the Blue Jays, he had a 1.37 ERA over 72 1/3 innings while posting 3.5 WAR (his single-season high). Over the rest of the contract, however, he had a 4.34 ERA in 83 total innings.

Wagner performed well for the Mets for two years and four months, helping them to a National League East title in his first season with 40 saves in 45 chances with the team and 34 saves in 39 chances in the Mets¡¯ near-miss in 2007.

Some players and coaches marveled at how Kelly has handled everything

At his Wednesday news conference, the normally guarded Kelly opened up about his father, noting his sense of humor and insatiable thirst for knowledge.

¡°He lived a vibrant and long life, 87 years,” Kelly said. “He touched a lot of people in his life, and it was evident to us yesterday when we had the funeral how many people came and expressed their condolences and reached out. He had a huge impact in his life. I think it¡¯s a difficult time; I think we all feel for my mom more than anything else. But it¡¯s an opportunity to celebrate the times that we had with him, and he was just a great man.¡±

When he was done answering questions, Kelly walked on to the field, where a handful of Niners stopped him and offered hugs before practice began.

Twelve poor games doesn’t mean the player is a complete bust, though. There’s still time to bounce back from rough starts. Those who receive big money have the remainder of their contract to live up to expectations, as long as the team that signed them doesn’t release them.
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Fans complain if their teams aren’t aggressive in free agency, but teams can’t build only through free agency. They have to build through the draft and supplement their roster with free-agent signings. Sure, the 8-4 New York Giants deserve credit for spending more than $200 million in free-agent money over the offseason and improving their defense. But not all of their issues are fixed. The New York Jets invested heavily last year in free agency and came out with 10 wins, but now they are sitting near the bottom of the league at 3-9.

Here’s my ranking of the most disappointing free-agent deals from the 2016 offseason, taking into account the value of the deals they signed:

Authentic JJ Redick Jersey The Texans signed Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million deal this offseason, hoping to bring consistency at the quarterback position. Osweiler has been consistent — consistently below average.