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Archives for: December 25, 2017

Cheap Houston Texans Jersey From China For Free Shipping

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HOUSTON, Texas –
During the really tough times as he fought to overcome cancer, David Quessenberry would daydream about reaching his lifelong goal of playing in an NFL game.

It was a plan that was derailed when he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and put on hold for years as he underwent treatment for the disease.

Finally healthy, the guard was elevated to the active roster from the practice squad this week and in what his teammates call a storybook turn coach Bill O’Brien said he’ll make his NFL debut on Monday when the Houston Texans host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It’s been long, it’s been really tough … nothing that I’ve been through has been normal, a normal path since I’ve been drafted,” Quessenberry said. “This is just one of those things that lines up for an awesome opportunity on Monday … football on Christmas.”

Quessenberry was drafted by the Texans in the sixth round in 2013, but sustained a season-ending foot injury before appearing in a game. The following June he was diagnosed with cancer and spent three years fighting the disease before being declared cancer-free and returning to practice in May. He was cut before the season, but signed to the practice squad the next day, where he remained until his promotion this week.

“To overcome what he’s overcome, to be able to step back onto the field in an NFL football game, is an incredible accomplishment for him,” O’Brien said. “And I know for him, he’s such a driven guy, he really wants to go out there and play well.”

And O’Brien was quick to point out that he earned his spot on the roster.

“He doesn’t want to just show up and (say): ‘Yeah, thank you.’ This isn’t a pat on the back,” O’Brien said. “This is a roster move. He’s gotten better every week this week on the practice squad and we think he can help us.”

The 27-year-old lauded his family for their support during his treatment and is excited to share the moment with them on Monday.

“I’m sure it’s going to be special for them. Finally,” he said. “We talked about it and dreamed it and worked for it and now it’s here. For me, I get to play on Monday … on Christmas. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Quessenberry’s fight with cancer has served as an inspiration for many who are dealing with the disease and he has continued to spend time with cancer patients at local hospitals since his recovery. He wasn’t always comfortable with the notoriety he gained as he worked to beat cancer, but has since made peace with it.

“That was hard for me at first just because I don’t always want to be known like this,” he said. “But then I’ve talked to so many patients and survivors and they’ve said that my story gives them hope or inspiration and that’s something that means a lot to me and something that I’m willing to bear and something that I’ve embraced.”

In June he was honored by the Pro Football Writers of America as the recipient of the George Halas Award. It’s an award given annually to an NFL coach, player or staff member who overcomes adversity to succeed.

Quarterback T.J. Yates, who has known Quessenberry since he was drafted couldn’t be happier for his friend and said his journey belongs in a storybook.

“To see how far he’s come back and to see his body transformation once he got sick, how much weight he lost. How much muscle he lost,” Yates said.

“To work as hard as he did to come back and to get to this point and to get this opportunity, it’s really cool.”

Receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Quessenberry are two of only three players left on Houston’s roster from the 2013 draft.

Since they joined the team the same year, Hopkins has been around to see Quessenberry’s entire path to recovery and has been one of his biggest cheerleaders as he returned to the field.

“That’s amazing for what he’s overcome – cancer,” Hopkins said. “Just for him to even be able to be normal in life and not just come out on the football field, but just be a normal person, a lot of people don’t come back from that, especially what he had and how bad it was. For a guy in my (rookie) class especially, I feel a little bit more happy for him because not many from my class are still here.”

Quessenberry knows it will be emotional when he steps on the field on Monday for his first game. But after working so hard and for so many years to get to this point, he’s not going to let his feelings get in the way of his chance to perform for the Texans, whose offensive line has been decimated by injuries.

“I’m excited just to cut it loose and just play ball and just be like a normal player,” he said. “I’m in the game plan. I’m really excited to suit up and play on Monday.”

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Cheap Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jersey From China For Free Shipping

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting running back Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons will be Peyton Barber.

Doug Martin is inactive Monday night for an unspecified violation of team rules, the team said.

Martin has started eight of the nine games he has played in this season, but he has struggled, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry.

He was benched for the second half after he lost a fumble in the Buccaneers’ 24-21 loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 14. He finished with 10 carries for 26 yards and a touchdown. Barber had 12 carries for 58 yards in the loss.

Barber has appeared in all 13 of the Buccaneers’ games this season and is averaging 3.8 yards per carry. He got his only start this season in Week 13 against the Packers, when Martin was out with a concussion. In that game, he rushed for 102 yards on 23 carries.

Martin, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, has 402 yards on 129 carries this season. He has three rushing touchdowns.

Barber, in his second season, has 248 yards on 65 carries. He has rushed for two scores.

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Cheap Kansas City Chiefs Jersey Wholesale From China For Outlet

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Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs

The first five weeks were a lot of fun, but the Chiefs just might be better off now than they were through their 5-0 stretch.

Marcus Peters just had the game of his career in the most important regular-season game of Andy Reid’s Chiefs tenure. The offense is fixed, in large part thanks to Kareem Hunt. The Kansas City Chiefs seem confident, and are firing on all cylinders. Times are good.

So where do we go from here? How optimistic can Chiefs Kingdom dare to be?

It’s not quite as bright as it was in week five, but it might be better this way.

The Chiefs showed a lot of weaknesses in their midseason meltdown, so now it feels like the Chiefs are a flawed team, masquerading as an AFC West champion-to-be and a faux-contender. But it may not be that bleak.

The Chiefs showed a lot of flaws, but they just might be better for them. The offense has been refocused and rebuilt on Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The defense has looked better in the last two weeks than it looked at any point through the first five. The offense was beaten by cover-two defenses and even meager pressure on Alex Smith, but now they’re busting zones and the offensive line and Alex Smith seem to trust each other again. The defense couldn’t get pressure on a quarterback to save their lives, now they live in the backfield.

These were all issues that would cost the Chiefs a playoff game (or even a playoff spot) if they weren’t resolved eventually. With two convincing divisional wins in the last two weeks, you can make a reasonable argument that the Chiefs are better off now than they were in week five.

Also on today’s show: lots of discussion about Marcus Peters, and Ron Parker and Darrelle Revis give Peters high praise.

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Cheap Atlanta Falcons Jersey Wholesale From China For Free Shipping

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons on “Monday Night Football” to close out Week 15 in the NFL. The Falcons are six-point favorites, up two from the opener.

The over-under, or total number of points oddsmakers think will be scored, is 47.5, the same as where it opened.

Before you make any bets on Falcons-Bucs, you’ll want to hear what SportsLine Senior Analyst Larry Hartstein has to say.

In Week 14, Hartstein backed the Falcons as home dogs to New Orleans. Atlanta’s pulsating 20-17 victory kept Hartstein’s streak rolling.

It improved him to 11-2 on picks for or against the Dirty Birds since the start of last season. Anyone who has followed his advice is way, way up.

Part of his success: Hartstein was a sportswriter based in Atlanta for 15 years. He has his finger on the pulse of Dan Quinn’s team.

Now he’s gunning for 12-2 and just locked in a strong play for “Monday Night Football.” You can only see it over at SportsLine.

Hartstein knows the past two times these teams met, the Falcons won by 14 and 15 points. In the most recent meeting four weeks ago, the Falcons won 34-20 with wide receiver Julio Jones busting loose for 253 yards and two touchdowns.

And in his past four full games, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has committed nine turnovers. He has struggled with injuries this season and has just 14 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

But just because the Falcons have been hotter doesn’t mean they cover a six-point spread on the road on “Monday Night Football.”

In games Winston has played, the Bucs have lost eight times. However, they’ve fallen by one score five times. They were within striking distance of the Lions (3), Packers (6), Bills (3), Cardinals (5) and Patriots (5).

And the Falcons haven’t been lighting up the scoreboard. They scored just nine points at home against the Vikings two weeks ago, then put up 20 against the Saints.

Atlanta has hit 30 points just twice in the past 10 games. Jones has only three 100-yard games and three touchdowns this season. The Falcons largely have sputtered under first-year offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Hartstein is leaning over for Monday night, but what about the spread, which he has made his name picking?

He knows there’s a huge x-factor that ultimately determines the point-spread winner for Falcons-Buccaneers on “Monday Night Football.” And he’s sharing it over at SportsLine.

So which side should you back in Falcons-Buccaneers on “Monday Night Football?” Visit SportsLine now to see what big x-factor determines which side of Falcons-Buccaneers you need to be all over, all from the expert who has nailed 11 of his past 13 Falcons picks, and find out.

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Cheap New England Patriots Jersey Wholesale From China For Outlet

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Musings, observations and the occasional insight as an eventful Week 14 unfolded, kicking off the final quarter of the NFL’s regular season…..

* The last time the Eagles made the playoffs, Nick Foles was their starting quarterback, in 2013. And on the day that Philadelphia assured itself of returning to the NFL’s postseason for the first time in four years, it now appears Foles will again have to be the one to lead them there.

In a depressing development that has major implications for everything from the NFC playoff bracket to the MVP race, the Eagles reportedly fear that quarterback Carson Wentz has tore the ACL in his left knee, an injury that would end his season and reshape what thus far has been a magical season in Philadelphia.

The Eagles’ 43-35 win at the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday was supposed to set off a significant celebration in Philadelphia. The Birds clinched their first NFC East title since 2013 with the win, and regained the NFC’s top playoff seed, thanks to Minnesota’s loss at Carolina earlier Sunday.

But now? Now the Eagles try to absorb the gut punch that losing Wentz would represent and cast their lot with Foles, who played fairly well in finishing off the defeat of the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Remember, Foles has been the guy in Philly before, tossing a ridiculous 27 touchdowns to go with just two interceptions as the Eagles starter in 2013, Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach.

But Wentz was in the midst of an MVP-level season, and it’ll be impossible to replace all the production, moxie and leadership he brought to the table. His rapid ascent to among the game’s elite quarterbacks this season was perhaps the best story of the year in the NFL, and he threw four more touchdown passes on Sunday, giving him 33 and breaking the Eagles team record that had stood for 56 years (Sonny Jurgensen in 1961).

Philadelphia still has a stellar defense and a reliable running game even without Wentz, but he was undoubtedly the biggest reason for the Eagles rise this year, with Doug Pederson’s team winning 11 of its first 13 games and inspiring legitimate Super Bowl expectations. The next three weeks will tell us if those hopes can continue with Foles under center, or if this Eagles team fails to recover from the psychic blow of losing its best player in mid-December.

The NFC is stacked this season and the road to Minneapolis wasn’t going to be easy for Philadelphia even with Wentz playing his best. But now, the Vikings, Saints, Rams, Panthers, Falcons and even Seahawks and Packers have reason to believe their Super Bowl window opportunity just opened a little bit further than it was entering Week 14.

With three weeks remaining in the regular season, it feels a little bit like they’re starting over in Philadelphia.

* That was a defining win for the Jaguars, punching the tough guys from Seattle in the mouth en route to a 30-24 win at home. For a team that always seemed to be waiting for the corner to be turned, Jacksonville has come a long way toward establishing an identity for itself this season, as a tough-minded and resilient team that can stand up for itself when the intensity rises mid-game.

The Jaguars won’t be an easy out in the playoffs, and that defense gives them a chance to be in the game no matter who they play in January. Doug Marone has to be coach of the year in the AFC, right? At 9-4, Jacksonville already has clinched its first winning season since 2007, but has much bigger fish to fry.

* The Titans have had their share of ugly wins this season, and the style points have been few and far between in Tennessee. But make no mistake, that was an ugly loss at Arizona on Sunday, and it’s harder all the time to take the Titans seriously as a playoff contender.

Tennessee lost 12-7 to the Cardinals and now their position is precarious. They fell out of first place in the AFC South, dropping behind Jacksonville, which is 9-4 after knocking off visiting Seattle. The Titans are the AFC’s fifth seed at 8-5, and are just one game ahead of wild-card hopefuls Buffalo and the Chargers (both 7-6). And their final three games include no soft touches: at San Francisco, which is 2-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo as its starting quarterback, home against the playoff-bound Rams (10-3) and Jaguars.

The Titans offense simply has not been explosive enough this season, against the Cardinals it totaled a paltry 204 yards, with just 14 first downs and only 26:11 possession time. Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for just 159 yards on 16 of 31 passing, with two interceptions and no touchdowns.

That won’t cut it, and if there’s a team sputtering to the finish line in the playoff chase, it’s the offensively-challenged Titans.

* The Chargers’ reputation for making every game a drama-filled nail-biter has been well-earned over the years. The Bolts seemed to always lack killer instinct, and seemed to keep both teams in the game at all times. But that was then, and this is now.

During the midst of its current four-game winning streak, Los Angeles has won by an average of 19.5 points per game, including the Chargers’ 30-13 thumping of visiting Washington on Sunday. Los Angeles cruised to a 23-6 halftime lead and then took care of business without breaking too much of a sweat, climbing over .500 for the first time this season at 7-6.

The Chargers are 7-2 in their last nine games, and they remained tied with Kansas City atop the AFC West with three weeks remaining. While the Chiefs currently hold the tiebreaking edge, the Chargers have every opportunity they could have asked for thanks to their upcoming showdown in Kansas City next Saturday night.

The Chargers haven’t won in Kansas City since 2013, but history suddenly doesn’t seem to matter so much any more with the resurgent Bolts.

* If the Broncos were trying to save coach Vance Joseph’s job with that 23-0 blanking of the visiting Jets, consider it a very small step toward that goal. Denver’s eight-game losing streak — its longest in 50 years — is over, but one win does not erase the misery of the past two months. Beating the Jets at home only put a small salve on the loss that started the Broncos’ troubles, that Week 6 home loss to the winless Giants coming out of Denver’s bye week.

* The Vikings (10-3) were probably due a loss after eight wins in a row, but this one has to hurt after Minnesota rallied from 11 points down in the fourth quarter at Carolina, only to lose 31-24 and squander that newly gained NFC top seed (it is back to No. 2 after Philadelphia’s win at the Rams). The Vikings had the ball and the chance to take the lead in the final four minutes, but couldn’t do anything but tie it 24-24 on a chip-shot field goal.

Minnesota in the first half against the Panthers did everything it hadn’t done thus far this season: turning the ball over, allowing big plays and sacks and dropping passes. But credit Carolina for not letting this game get away, with Cam Newton coming up huge with a game-deciding 62-yard run to set up the game-winning leaping touchdown run by Jonathan Stewart. Even when Cam isn’t his best, he can still find ways to beat you.

What a riveting three-team race the NFC South has become. The Saints and Panthers are tied at 9-4, although New Orleans holds the tiebreaker, and the Falcons are one-game back at 8-5 after their must-win against New Orleans Thursday night. You could make a case that any of those three contenders could still win the division and I think I could be convinced. And if it comes down to the Panthers and Vikings for an NFC first-round bye, Carolina now holds that tiebreaker by virtue of Sunday’s outcome.

* That wasn’t the first time LeSean McCoy took over a snow game and made it his own, playing as if he were born on a pair of skates. Four years ago almost to the day, in Week 14 of 2013, McCoy had that monster 217-yard, two-touchdown rushing game in the Eagles’ snowy 34-20 win over Detroit at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. I covered that game and remember how McCoy seemingly was the only one who could keep his balance and his footing as the snow piled up.

He did it again for the Bills on Sunday, in their 13-7 white-out overtime win over the Colts, cruising to 156 yards rushing on a whopping 32 carries, highlighted by the game-winning 21-yard scamper with 1:33 left in the extra period. The Bills almost lost the game in the final minutes of regulation, when the Colts wisely went for a two-point conversion and the win after scoring their first and only points of the memorable day. But there was a controversial offensive pass interference penalty on the play, wiping out what looked to be a game-winning two-point catch by Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle.

For the Colts, ageless kicker Adam Vinatieri made a ridiculous 43-yard extra point in the snow to tie the game, but then missed left from 43 yards with one second left in regulation. It wasn’t quite the same performance we saw out of Vinatieri in New England’s famous Snow Game win against Oakland in the 2001 divisional round, but then again, but it was still ridiculously impressive and remember, he’s 16 years older now.

The Bills are 7-6 with the win and still on the fringes of AFC wild-card contention. Is this the wrong time to bring up that game Buffalo rookie head coach Sean McDermott gave away to the Chargers when he started rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman in Week 11 in Carson?

* Go figure the Chiefs. They played better Sunday without No. 1 cornerback Marcus Peters than they have for the past six weeks or so. Peters drew a one-game suspension from the team for his antics (and more) in Kansas City’s humbling loss at the Jets last week, and somehow Andy Reid’s team seemingly prospered from the disciplinary move.

Whatever the motivation, Kansas City finally stopped the bleeding and stayed on the right side of .500, improving to 7-6 and maintaining its hold on first place in the AFC West with a 26-15 win over the sleep-walking Raiders.

Oakland was an offensive no-show until late in the game, trailing 26-0 at one point, and not topping 100 yards until a little more than two minutes remained in the third quarter. What an enigmatic Raiders team this is. I don’t think head coach Jack Del Rio has his inconsistent club figured out any more than the rest of us do.

The Raiders (6-7) are just one game behind Kansas City and the L. A, Chargers, but it’s hard to picture Oakland reeling off the three wins in a row it’ll probably take to win the AFC West at this point. In their first season of a three-year limbo period before relocating to Las Vegas, the Raiders have been anything but a sure bet.

As for the Chiefs and Chargers (7-6), their wins in Week 14 make next Saturday night’s Los Angeles at Kansas City showdown the game that could decide who’s going to claim the division and the AFC’s No. 4 seed.

* The feel-good vibe of Eli Manning returning to the Giants starting quarterback job didn’t last long, did it? New York fans got their wish and got Manning back under center after a week’s absence, but they didn’t get to watch a win at MetLife Stadium. In a game that was far closer than the final score indicates, Dallas blew it open late and won 30-10, keeping the Cowboys’ slim NFC wild-card hopes intact for another week.

Dak Prescott has gotten some of his mojo back in recent weeks, and he had three big-play touchdown passes against the Giants, as well as another 54-yard hook-up with Cole Beasley that set up the Cowboys’ game-winning touchdown mid-way through the fourth quarter. He finished with a career-best 332 yards passing, and is carrying the offensive load for Dallas. With star running back Ezekiel Elliott suspended for just one more, Jason Garrett’s team might still have meaningful football to be played in Weeks 16-17 after all.

As for Manning, he started on a strong note against Dallas, and ended up with 228 yards passing on 31 of 46, with one touchdown and two fourth-quarter interceptions. But New York could only score 10 points and the worst season in recent Giants history continues its downward spiral, even with coach Ben McAdoo having been banished.

* Thinking their luck was about to to turn, I picked the Browns to upset the Packers this week. I won’t make that mistake again, showing confidence in Cleveland. Whatever it takes, that’s what the Browns manage to do to lose. They led Green Bay by 14 points in the fourth quarter and had played their best, most complete game of the year just days after firing top personnel executive Sashi Brown and hiring John Dorsey as their new general manager. At least for three-plus quarters they did.

But games seemingly always last just long enough for Cleveland to give away, and the Browns wound up falling 27-21 in overtime, dropping to 0-13 in the process. Sure, Cleveland has three more shots to avoid matching the 2008 winless Lions. But this felt like the Browns’ best shot at victory, and I don’t like their chances at home against Baltimore in Week 15, at Chicago in Week 16 or at Pittsburgh in Week 17.

DeShone Kizer had an impressive game, throwing for three touchdowns for the first time in his short NFL career. But it was his dreadful decision that produced an overtime interception and set up the Packers’ game winning score, and you have to wonder if Dorsey now fully realizes what he’s gotten himself into. This isn’t just another NFL rebuilding project. It’s the mother of all NFL renovation jobs.

* The Packers like to live on the proverbial edge, and are forever digging themselves holes they can barely get out of. But they’ve done it yet again, surviving to reach 7-6 with Brett Hundley at quarterback, as Aaron Rodgers readies to return and hopefully rescue the season.

It’s still going to take running the table to get to the playoffs at 10-6, and you can’t like Green Bay’s chances, given they play at Carolina, home against Minnesota and at Detroit to end the season (who have a combined 26-13 record). But of course there’s a chance if Rodgers is ready to play and play at his usual elite level.

If it’s back to the bench for Hundley, he saved his best for last, throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns on 35 of 46 passing against the luck-less Browns. Hundley loves him some Davante Adams, and the Packers receiver stepped up with 10 catches for 84 yards, and two touchdowns, including the walk-off piece, a 25-yard grab and run in overtime.

* If Mike Brown has a brain, that should definitely seal the deal for Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati, with his Bengals losing 33-7 at home to the punchless Bears. Cincinnati (5-8) looked dazed and confused all day, as if it still had a hangover from that brutally physical Monday night home loss to Pittsburgh.

In all reality, both coaches involved in Sunday’s surprising blowout at Paul Brown Stadium are likely gone. Chicago’s John Fox has won just 13 games in his almost-three seasons with the Bears, and the writing is on the wall for the guy who led both Carolina and Denver to the Super Bowl.

At least Chicago saw flashes of what the Mitchell Trubisky draft pick was designed to produce. Trubisky was a precise 25 of 32 in the rout, throwing for 271 yards and one touchdown without an interception. For once he let it rip, and stopped playing with the training wheels on.

With running back Jordan Howard plowing for 147 yards rushing and two scores, and Tarik Cohen adding 80 more yards on the ground, the Bears looked like a big-league offense for a change. The 33 points were Chicago’s season high. Before Sunday the Bears had topped 20 points only three times all year.

* Break up the 49ers, who have won two in a row for the first time since November 2014, late in the Jim Harbaugh coaching era. And the mini-streak has come on the road no less.

If you’re one of those folks who have thought the Jimmy Garoppolo hype factor has gotten out of control, you might want to keep it to yourself for now. The new 49ers quarterback isn’t the next Joe Montana, but he’s getting the job done in fine style for a franchise starved for relevancy. Garoppolo threw for a career-best 334 yards and a touchdown in a 26-16 win at Houston,  and he has not for one second given San Francisco the feeling that it might have done better if it addressed its quarterback need in next April’s draft.

At 3-10, the 49ers are still taking baby steps, but the last two weeks can’t be dismissed in terms of significance. San Francisco has found its quarterback of the future, and the 49ers are reaping the rewards in the present. The second-round pick San Francisco shipped to New England was very well spent.

* The injuries just keep coming in Houston, and I’m beginning to think the city used up all its professional sports luck with the Astros epic drive to the World Series title. Quarterback Tom Savage was one of four Texans players knocked out of the game against the 49ers, and that left things to Houston’s third quarterback of the season, the seldom-used T.J. Yates.

Yates was more than solid in his relief role, throwing for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns to the uncover-able DeAndre Hopkins, who now has 11 scores this season. His 11 catches for 149 yards and two scores were Houston’s highlights, although he did have a costly fourth-quarter fumble as well.

The season simply can’t end fast enough for Bill O’Brien’s slumping team. They’re 1-6 in their past seven games, and all the air went out of the balloon when rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson went down with that season-ending knee injury. The Texans are 4-9 and assured their first losing record since 2013’s 2-14 disaster, the year before O’Brien was hired.

On another front, Houston simply has to get itself another kicker in 2018, because Ka’imi Fairbairn is absolute human rollercoaster ride. He missed another field goal and an extra point against San Francisco, after blowing two field goals last week at Tennessee.

* Maybe Matthew Stafford should play with a bad hand every week. Just a suggestion. The Lions quarterback started the game a crisp 10 for 10, and wound up denting Tampa Bay’s beleaguered defense for 381 yards in a 24-21 Detroit road win. After being on the injury report and a dicey proposition all week.

True, the Bucs are a disaster, and committed five more turnovers in what is nearly certain to be the final month of the team’s Dirk Koetter coaching tenure. But Detroit needed this game to stay in that clump of 7-6 wild-card contenders in the NFC, with both Green Bay and Dallas winning on the road in Week 14 as well.

With the Lions’ next two games being against Chicago (4-9) at home followed by a trip to the lifeless Bengals (5-8), Detroit should have every expectation to be 9-6 and perhaps playing a virtual wild-card berth elimination game at home against Green Bay in Week 17. And if Aaron Rodgers (or Brett Hundley) doesn’t keep the Packers hopes alive between now and then, the Lions might be that team that sneaks into the playoff field despite being at .500 and on a two-game losing streak through Week 13.

* So the Browns hired ex-Chiefs general manager John Dorsey Thursday night, apparently trying to beat other interested teams to the punch, such as the Giants.

I heard from one ex-NFL head coach on Friday via text, and he loved the move: “Dorsey is very good to excellent, and I think he’s the perfect guy for the Browns.’’

One former NFL quarterback texted me that same day, saying he loved Dorsey’s first move after the firing of Sashi Brown, that being the release of underachieving receiver Kenny Britt, who was a centerpiece signing of Brown’s: “At least the new guy is starting off right, cutting the fat off the roster. The Browns didn’t do their research when they handed Britt that money.’’

Cleveland gave Britt a four-year, $32.5 million contract that included $17 million guaranteed, and he had totaled all of 18 catches for 233 yards this season. On a positive not, what a marvel Josh Gordon has been in his two games back with the Browns. Despite missing almost three seasons due to his substance abuse issues, Gordon is still a beast of a play-maker. He scored his first touchdown Sunday since Week 15 of 2013, and it was a thing of beauty, hauling in a high pass from Kizer in end zone to tie the game against Green Bay at 7-7.

Gordon then celebrated by donning sunglasses on the sideline, and you have to admit his future looks brighter by the second.

* That was such an incredibly gutty and important win for Atlanta’s playoff chances Thursday night at home against New Orleans. The defending NFC champion Falcons (8-5) have to get to 10 wins to have a good shot at making the postseason, and with a Monday night trip to Tampa Bay in Week 15 and a home game against Carolina in Week 17, there’s a path to double digits now. The Week 16 rematch in the Superdome against the Saints looks like a sixth loss from this vantage point, underscoring how critical it was for Atlanta to squeak out that quirky 20-17 nail-biter.

Both quarterbacks — Matt Ryan and Drew Brees — made their wholly unaccustomed red-zone mistakes, but it was the lack of Alvin Kamara for most of the game that doomed New Orleans. The gifted rushing-receiving threat left early on due to a possible concussion and his absence quite clearly made the case for how much he deserves the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The Saints offense was still decent without him, but nowhere near as dynamic as we’ve seen for most of the season.

With three weeks to go, the NFC South race is as good as it gets in 2017. Three teams separated by one game.

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Cheap Chicago Bears Jersey Wholesale From China For Sale

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With a quarter of a season left it’s fairly obvious the Bears aren’t very good. A jaw-droppingly dreadful home loss to the formerly one-win 49ers is the latest evidence of that sad fact.

Must be the coaches. What have they ever done? John Fox came here a career Super Bowl loser having failed to pull off the trick twice with two different franchises. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had the same position he now holds at yet a third team that lost a Super Bowl.

Castigate coaches all you like, but it is a time-honored belief that coaches can’t coach if their players can’t play. Let’s be polite and say the Bears’ talent is lacking.

How far short is it? When the Bears face the Browns on Christmas Eve at Soldier Field, four experts contacted for this story believe it will be a battle between the two worst rosters in the NFL. At least the Browns have a ton of draft picks to fall back on.

“Yeah, I think their offense is the easiest in the NFL to game plan,’’ a longtime coach admitted.

It’s a formula the Bears see every week: stop the run; make them throw; cover them man-to-man on passing downs and watch the receivers fail to separate.

The Bears defense was keeping them in games earlier in the season, but they are a shadow of their former selves with multiple injury concerns at pass rusher, inside linebacker and safety. Once upon a time the Bears also boasted a power running game before injuries and inconsistency on the line and at running back took a toll.

It has been a theme with the Bears. Injuries follow the franchise like night follows day. The team used a strategy of pretending it was all bad luck after last year’s three-win, injury-plagued season. They didn’t make aggressive, drastic changes in staff or procedure. Heck, at this point why not try a shaman or a faith healer, even a witch doctor?

From the lofty heights of a 3-4 record with victories over the Steelers, Ravens and Panthers, the Bears have been stacking losses like Lego pieces. If every setback were a springboard to greatness the Bears would be a Super Bowl contender.

Sadly, that is not how it works in the NFL. Fox and his staff will be out of work at the end of the season and kid general manager Ryan Pace will be tasked with getting a younger, more energetic, less experienced and relatively unknown replacement.

Bigger name coaches won’t want Pace picking their players — not when his Plan A keeps failing and Plan B seems incapable of working. There won’t be much faith in a guy who can’t find a player to produce a sack unless he’s claimed off waivers or runs out of safeties to the point of signing a “starter” off the street. The GM has given us a work in progress that hasn’t progressed.

The offensive line is measured via sundial, or at least plays that way, a Pro Bowl receiver was allowed to walk without replacement and the shiny new quarterback to rust unfurnished with nary a playmaker in sight.

Pace will find a coach. You can get anybody to take a job. People want a paycheck. A bigger problem will be finding assistant coaches because most of the really good ones are already under contract around the league.

Any new coach will want to turn over the roster — out with the old and in with the new. Pace can begin another rebuild in the fourth year of his tenure. Blame the bad free agent signings and uneven drafts on the coaches.

But at some point in a private moment maybe he ought to ask himself if it is the coaches or the players, or even the guy stacking the deck?

Why wait three years to draft a quarterback? Shouldn’t Jay Cutler have been released a year ago if you were going to spend more money on one year of Mike Glennon? How’s Marcus Wheaton doing? How can you run out of kickers?

The Bears would own the No. 6 pick if the season ended now despite having the same 3-9 record as the Broncos and Colts. The winless Browns would pick first, followed by the 49ers and Giants (both 2-10). The rest of those teams all have a coach or GM with fewer years on the job than the Bears with Fox and Pace.

Being further along in a rebuild seemingly would indicate the Bears would be getting better instead of worse. Maybe Pace will get it right with a different coach who has a resume as thin as his own. Shouldn’t the Bears at least have to beat the Browns before that is decided?

Mike Mulligan is a special contributor to the Chicago Tribune.

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NEW ORLEANS — Alvin Kamara gave an entertaining description this week about how he goes into “Matrix mode” when he makes defenders miss all over the field.

On Sunday, he and fellow New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram gave a thrilling visual presentation inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The NFL’s most dynamic running back duo sideswiped, stiff-armed and sprinted past the Carolina Panthers’ defense in a 31-21 victory that has the Saints threatening to run away with the NFC South.

“We can prepare for whatever we want,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said when asked specifically about Kamara — who now has at least one touchdown in six straight games. “But he’s got some elite ability.”

Kamara indeed looked like the main character, Neo, from those “Matrix” movies when he absorbed a hit from linebacker Shaq Thompson in front of the goal line, bent back, then snapped forward into the end zone for a 2-yard TD run on a critical fourth-down try on New Orleans’ opening drive.

Then Ingram did his best impression with a 72-yard run in the second quarter, when he made Panthers safety Mike Adams miss three times with two cutbacks and a stiff-arm.

“I’m trying to get my best ‘Alvin Kamara’ on. I’m trying to go in ‘Matrix mode,’” said Ingram, who added, “[People are] sleeping on my speed, so I gotta put the burners on ‘em every now and then.”

Kamara finished with 60 rushing yards, 66 receiving yards and two touchdown runs. Ingram finished with 85 rushing yards, 37 receiving yards and a TD.

It was the fourth time this season they have both finished with more than 100 yards from scrimmage. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they’re the first RB duo to do that since the San Francisco 49ers’ Roger Craig and Wendell Tyler in 1985.

They both credited their blocking help, as well — including tight end Michael Hoomanawanui’s assist on Kamara’s fourth-down TD run and a huge push from center Max Unger on Ingram’s fight for a third-down conversion later in the game.

The numbers, like the runs, have become ridiculous this season. Kamara and Ingram have combined for 200-plus yards from scrimmage in five straight games. They have combined for a total of 1,872 scrimmage yards since Week 6 (234 per game). They have combined for 20 touchdowns scored since Week 3.

Kamara leads the NFL with 7.0 yards per carry this season. And he already has become just the third rookie in NFL history with more than 600 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in a season — with four games still to play.

But the number that means most of all is 9-3. That’s where the Saints are now, sitting alone atop the NFC South standings.

The Saints lead Carolina (8-4) by just one game, but have swept the season series. And they lead the Atlanta Falcons (7-5) by two games as they prepare to face them twice in the next three weeks (Thursday night at Atlanta, then home in Week 16).

You simply cannot say enough about how much Kamara and Ingram — and the blockers paving the way for them — have meant to New Orleans this season.

The defense (led by DE Cameron Jordan and CB Ken Crawley on Sunday, among others), QB Drew Brees and receiver Michael Thomas also have been very good this year. But they’ve also shown their warts at times. Nothing has been as consistent as the Kamara-Ingram duo.

The Saints found themselves in a pretty tense situation this week — coming off of their first loss in nine games at the Los Angeles Rams; needing a win badly over Carolina to keep from falling behind in the NFC South; playing without top cornerback Marshon Lattimore, left tackle Terron Armstead and starting rookie safety Marcus Williams.

They put their fate in the hands of Kamara and Ingram once again. And they ran with it.

“That was the plan,” Ingram said. “Over the past few years, [the Panthers] have been getting the best of us, especially in big games. So we put emphasis on that we was gonna be the bullies, we was gonna execute and that was a great team win.”

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