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Resting Cam Newton isn’t an option Panthers should consider

There might be debate about whether the Carolina Panthers should play Cam Newton over the final three games given the ongoing soreness in the quarterback’s right shoulder with the team’s playoff chances fading.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Newton isn’t having any part of that.

Asked after Sunday’s 26-20 loss to Cleveland, Carolina’s fifth straight setback since a 6-2 start, about concerns regarding his shoulder, Newton deadpanned: “Who is it coming from?”

Told from people outside the organization, Newton said, “Exactly.”5

The big picture as far as the playoffs becomes more clear after Minnesota (6-6-1) lost at Seattle on Monday night. Carolina is now a half game back of the sixth and final seed in the NFC.

The Panthers still likely would need to win their final three games — home against New Orleans on Monday night, home against Atlanta and at New Orleans — to have a shot. That seems like a long shot since New Orleans (11-2) is battling the Los Angeles Rams (11-2) for the top seed in the NFC.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

But say the Panthers get past New Orleans and Atlanta, and the Saints are locked into the first or second seed heading into the final week. Saints coach Sean Payton could rest his starters, which would increase Carolina’s chances of winning in New Orleans.

Even if Carolina wins out, it would need Minnesota and Washington (6-7) to lose once more. The Vikings close against Miami, Detroit and Chicago. The Redskins, down to their third quarterback and losers of four straight, close with Jacksonville, Tennessee and Philadelphia.

Eagles’ win over the Giants sets up key MNF game with Redskins

The Philadelphia Eagles are deeply flawed, but then, so is the NFC East. So they’ve got a shot.

The defending champs still have life thanks to a 25-22 come-from-behind win over the New York Giants on Sunday.

It sets up a Monday Night Football game against the Washington Redskins that, believe it or not, could pull Philadelphia (5-6) into a first-place division tie with Washington (6-5) and the Dallas Cowboys (6-5). Dallas plays the Saints next week.

“This was a big game for us, obviously, in terms of divisional standings and all that fun stuff,” quarterback Carson Wentz said, but, really mentally, to show the resilience that we did to go down early the way we did and then battle back just built a lot of confidence for all three phases of this game. To come from behind and get it done today, I think that will speak volumes about our confidence going forward.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

It feels like the Eagles should be dead and buried. It was Groundhog Day at Lincoln Financial Field as the offense failed to score in the first quarter for the ninth time in 11 games, putting pressure on an injury-riddled defense to hold things together. A defensive unit that was missing four of its top five corners as well as its starting linebacker, Jordan Hicks, yielded 346 yards in the first half — the most the Eagles have given up since November 2015 against the Tampa Bay Bucs (355) — as the Eagles trailed at intermission, 19-11.6

But the fight that safety Malcolm Jenkins was calling for following an energy-less drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints the week prior kicked in just in time. Jenkins sparked that himself with an interception at the end of the second quarter — the defense’s first since Week 6 against this same Giants team.

Saquon Barkley broke off a 51-yard touchdown the series prior, and the defense was reeling. On the sideline after that drive, Jenkins and a couple other veterans asked defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to simplify the game plan for the inexperienced secondary. Schwartz did, and the defense responded.

“I think that was a turning point, especially in that game – who knows about our season – where that could have just continued to snowball out of control,” Jenkins said of the team’s response. “But we weren’t going to allow that.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Michael Bennett turned the jets on in the second half, coming up with his team-leading 6 1/2 sack of the season on the Giants’ first possession to set the tone. He added a tackle for a loss later in the frame, posing with arms crossed as the volatile home crowd showed their approval. The front four increased the pressure on Eli Manning as the game wore on, allowing a decimated defensive backfield to stabilize.

‘Trash’ to treasure: Bills QB Josh Allen runs over Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey called Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen “trash” in an offseason interview with GQ, then doubled down on his assessment this week.

Allen responded by setting a team record for a quarterback with 99 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a 14-yard fourth-quarter scramble for a touchdown and another 45-yard run to help seal a 24-21 win. Allen had 101 rushing yards before two kneel-downs to end the game.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“Josh is a baller,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said. “They can say whatever they want to say about Josh. Jalen can say whatever he wants to say about Josh. Josh came in there and handled that defense today.”

The performance topped the franchise’s previous single-game mark of 79 yards, set by Tyrod Taylor in 2015.5

“Josh played phenomenal,” Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “I would like to see what [Ramsey] thought now, after Josh played as well as he played today. Playing physical. He ran over some of the defensive players and made some big plays. When you talk, you have to show up and show out. Josh was able to do that by just showing the way he played today.”

Allen’s efforts might not be enough to put the Bills, who improved to 4-7, back in the conversation for the playoffs. But after being sidelined for four games with an elbow injury, Allen returned to the lineup and gave the Bills promise for 2019 as they close out this season with a six-game stretch in which Allen’s development will be paramount.

Despite not having played since Oct. 14, Allen was spectacular in the first quarter Sunday. He completed 5-of-6 passes for 125 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown strike to undrafted rookie wide receiver Robert Foster in which Allen managed a strong and accurate throw despite being sandwiched by multiple Jaguars defenders. Foster, who caught passes of 47 and 43 yards from Matt Barkley in a Nov. 11 victory over the New York Jets, again led the Bills with 94 receiving yards.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

The Bills, who scored 41 points in their Week 10 win over the Jets, have scored 65 points in their past two games after managing only 96 in their first nine games, when they went 2-7.

“I said before the Jets game that this offense is really close,” Allen said. “It showed in the last two weeks of what we’re capable of doing. Matt [Barkley] came in against the Jets and did a heck of a job. … Coach [Sean McDermott] says that this is a time for me and us to grow, and I’m doing that and trusting the guys around me.”

Aaron Rodgers’ numbers don’t add up to 4-5-1 Packers’ record

He has thrown the most touchdowns with one or fewer interceptions of any quarterback with a losing record through 10 games during the Super Bowl era, and it’s not all that close. In 1991, the Browns were 4-6, and Bernie Kosar had 11 touchdowns and one interception. He and Rodgers are the only two quarterbacks in the past 53 seasons with double-digit touchdowns along with one or zero interceptions to have a losing record through 10 games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

And don’t blame Rodgers’ Week 1 knee injury — at least not anymore — for any of the Packers’ struggles.

“I feel good; it’s not a problem,” Rodgers said after Thursday’s loss in Seattle.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Perhaps everyone should have seen this coming from the Packers, who have suffered because of poor drafts in Ted Thompson’s final three years as general manager. Even a more aggressive approach to free agency and the draft from new GM Brian Gutekunst did not immediately fix all the issues.6

But with Rodgers back healthy after the broken collarbone ruined his 2017 season, there was talk of another MVP run. After all, he won his second MVP, for the 2014 season, the year after he broke his collarbone for the first time.

Rodgers played through the Week 1 left knee injury; he wore a brace until the Nov. 4 game at New England. But something wasn’t right with the offense — a point he made public after the Week 4 win over the Buffalo Bills, when he threw coach Mike McCarthy and his game-planning staff under the bus.

And it’s still not right even if he now says he’s as involved as he needs to be in the game-planning process.

“I think there’s an agreement with what we’re doing; obviously, we meet multiple times a week on what we’re trying to do,” Rodgers said in Seattle. “The frustration is in the execution. The execution hasn’t been great, especially in situational offense. When you compare it to years past, we’ve always been really good on third down and really good in the red zone, and we’re just not this year. I think that’s a combination of a lot of things, but that’s the biggest frustration.”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Rodgers said last week that he believes his decline in completion percentage (61.8 percent, 25th in the NFL) is due in part to an increased number of throwaways. He has already chucked the ball away more times this season than he has in any full season during his career as a starter.

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott help save Cowboys’ season — for now

The Dallas Cowboys’ storylines entering Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t exactly positive.

The list included: a coach’s job security, a quarterback struggling to make plays, an offensive coordinator perhaps on his last chance and a defense left wobbly after its previous game. All in all, it added up to a season on the line.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

But the Cowboys left Lincoln Financial Field with a 27-20 victory that seemed improbable after losing their first four road games of the season, and they find themselves alive and breathing, if not entirely well just yet.

“When you’re feeling low and you’re seeing the Grim Reaper and then come in and have your team perform the way these guys did, I promise you it’s a special feeling,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “I won’t need any wings on that airplane getting back to Dallas.”6

They left Philly with a win after Jason Garrett rallied a young team that had been rattled and a coaching staff that had been questioned.

They left with a win after Dak Prescott threw two touchdown passes in a road game for the first time this season. After Ezekiel Elliott rushed for more than 150 yards against the NFL’s second-best run defense and scored twice.

“I don’t know that I learned anything new [about his team],” Garrett said. “You try to build a team of guys who love football, who are mentally tough, and I think those things get revealed when you have to go through some adversity over the course of the season.

“I thought they did a great job coming back after [the Cowboys’ 28-14 loss to Tennessee the previous week], just getting back to work, not blinking. Just going back to work and understanding the importance of what this next opponent is and playing 60 minutes. Thought we did a better job of that in this game than we have in the last few games. Dealing with the adversities of the game and keep playing. Dealing with the successes of the game and keep playing.”

At times early in the game, Prescott was bad. He held on to the ball too long, which resulted in sacks — including a 13-yard sack in the second quarter.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

At times, Prescott was brilliant: At the end of the first half, he connected on five passes for 79 yards and sneaked in from a yard out with 19 seconds left for the Cowboys’ first touchdown.

Mahomes, Mayfield, Brees and more: Texas QBs having their moment

“In Texas, football is heavily funded,” said Greg McElroy, a former Texas high school quarterback who had a brief NFL career before moving to ESPN and ABC as a college football analyst. “It’s prioritized. Quarterback is an expensive position to learn. A lot of these guys have private coaches. These guys are trained at a young age to become college players and eventually NFL players. Part of being a great quarterback is loving the game, being obsessed with the game. You can never work too hard at your craft and in Texas, football is king. There’s nothing more important than football. Guys are so well coached in high school in Texas.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“Your development is accelerated in the state of Texas. Usually you can play a little earlier in college. If you play earlier and play more in college, you’re going to be ready when it comes time to get to the NFL.”6

Mahomes, from the small Texas town of Whitehouse, and the Kansas City Chiefs finish a three-game stretch against former Texas quarterbacks on Sunday when they face Mayfield, from Austin, and the Browns in Cleveland. Two weeks ago the Chiefs defeated Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton of the Houston suburb of Katy. Last week, the opposing QB was Denver’s Case Keenum, from the West Texas town of Abilene.

The list of NFL quarterbacks from Texas includes former No. 1 overall draft picks in Detroit’s Matthew Stafford (from the Dallas area), Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck (Houston) and Mayfield as well as future Hall of Famers such as Drew Brees (Austin). Others, such as Keenum and Chicago’s Chase Daniel, weren’t drafted at all.

Texas QBs have stolen the spotlight in the past year, considering they have the reigning Heisman winner and No. 1 pick in Mayfield, the Super Bowl MVP in Nick Foles (Austin) and the newly-minted all-time passing leader in Brees.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

And they are bonded together by some strong, unique Texas roots.

“It’s a way of life [in Texas],” Keenum said. “There are a lot of people who care a lot about it. It’s kind of what you do growing up, especially in my hometown, and I know it’s that way in a lot of hometowns. When you have that many people who care about it that much and have great coaches — I think I’ve heard of other places where it’s similar [and] not to say anything bad about coaches anywhere else, but when you’re in a coach in Texas, you’re a coach. You might teach some in the school, but you don’t go work at Home Depot or at the bank, or [as a] lawyer, doctor, financial guy. You’re a coach.

Patrick Mahomes’ third straight four-TD game fuels Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs have as many touchdown passes, 26, through a half-season as they had through all of 2017.

The most significant change is at quarterback, of course, where Patrick Mahomes has replaced Alex Smith.cheap nike nfl jersey

“We’ve put together an interesting offense over the offseason with the pieces we grabbed,’’ Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said. “Pat is 100 percent a part of that. You can’t say he’s not.’’

The Chiefs still have respect for Smith, a popular player in their locker room in his five seasons as their starter. But it’s just as obvious their offensive capabilities with Mahomes at quarterback are far greater.6

That was again on display Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos 30-23 to raise their record to 7-1. Mahomes threw four touchdown passes, something that for him is becoming routine. He has five games with at least four touchdown passes, including the last three.

Putting that into perspective from a team standpoint, the Chiefs had 21 such games in their 58 seasons before Mahomes became their starter. From an NFL perspective, just two quarterbacks have thrown more than 26 touchdown passes in the first eight games of a season.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Both players, Tom Brady in 2007 and Peyton Manning in 2013, went on to become the NFL MVP and will be in the Hall of Fame.

“I wouldn’t just say it’s the quarterback,’’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s not fair to Alex. He did a great job when he was here. But (Mahomes) is a part of it. Patrick has done a nice job. I’m not slighting that at all.’’

Packers squander what could’ve been season-changing win over Rams

Either way, those two sequences could be what prevents the Packers from salvaging their season.

And the shame of it is, they ruined what could have been a season-changing victory.

Maybe the Packers will take their near-takedown of the unbeaten Rams and use it as a galvanizing moment but the way this season has gone, that looks less and less likely with each passing week.

“It better be,” Clay Matthews said. “That’s the best team in the NFL, we hung toe to toe with them and had a chance at the end to win it. We’ve got to take that moving forward. I know we lost, but we’ve got to take that capability moving forward.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Packers, twice in control of the game, let it get away from them not just at the end of the first half but in crunch time, too, in a gutting 29-27 loss.5

The final blow was Ty Montgomery’s fumbled kickoff return that the Rams recovered with 1 minute, 56 seconds to play.

But before that, it was former Packers cornerback Sam Shields’ tip-toeing in front of the goal line to down a punt and pin the Packers. Then, whatever you think of coach Mike McCarthy’s play call — a run with Aaron Jones up the middle — it didn’t work, and the snowball kept rolling downhill. An improbable 10-0 lead over the NFL’s only unbeaten team was all but lost after Jones got stuffed for a safety with 2:47 left and the Rams scored on their ensuing possession.

Just when it looked like they survived that — and regained the lead thanks to more second-half magic from Aaron Rodgers — a Packers’ defense that played perhaps its best game in years, couldn’t hold it. To be sure, they didn’t get much help at the end from rookie punter JK Scott, whose 25-yard kick gave the Rams a short field for the go-ahead score. And just to make sure the Packers would have no chance at all, Montgomery fumbled it away.cheap nike nfl jersey

To that point, almost everything had come up green and gold.

From a Los Angeles Coliseum that was close to half Packers fans to a dominant start by defensive tackle Kenny Clark (two first-half sacks) to pass breakup after pass breakup from first-round pick Jaire Alexander (an NFL-high five) to Jones’ fast start (eight carries for 44 first-half yards), the Packers looked poised for a hallmark victory. That’s just what they needed to start a bruising stretch that takes the Packers to New England next and then to Seattle and Minnesota after a home game against Dolphins.

Kirk Cousins proving to be ‘real deal’ as new leader of Vikings

“I was surprised by how much my teammates gave me that license to lead quickly,” Cousins said at the start of training camp. “I thought they were going to want to have me prove myself a little bit longer than maybe I had to. They were very supportive and said, ‘No, man. It’s your show. Let’s go.’”

Cousins’ personality doesn’t always lend itself to him being the most vocal person on the team. At times, he says he’ll speak up and share his opinion if he feels compelled to, but Cousins considers himself more of a “reluctant” leader.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Two weeks ago in Philadelphia, Cousins was given a chance to step outside of his comfort zone. Prior to the Vikings’ rematch of the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, a locker room leader and captain, asked Cousins to break down the pregame huddle.3

It was a responsibility the Vikings had rotated among several players over the first four games but had often been the job bestowed upon Everson Griffen. The Pro Bowl defensive end excelled in playing off raw emotion and expletive-laden passion to get his guys ready to run through a wall, a la the speech he delivered ahead of the Vikings’ win in Washington last season, a game he missed because of a foot injury.

With Griffen away from the team dealing with issues related to his mental health, the opportunity became Joseph’s. And he passed the baton to Cousins.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“It was important because Linval asked me to, and you don’t say no to Linval,” Cousins said.

Cousins, whose fiery personality is seen often by his teammates but seldom in public, dove into an impassioned pregame speech, emphasizing finishing every block, every tackle, every play, and above all else, the need to “finish the damn game.”

How the Chiefs coached the recklessness out of Patrick Mahomes

One of the third-quarter throws that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes made recently against the Denver Broncos broke a lot of the NFL’s unwritten rules for a successful pass.

The right-handed Mahomes was drifting to his left. He threw the ball late to the middle of the field. The pass was made across his body.

But Mahomes still made it work. Tight end Travis Kelce was open and the Chiefs got a 29-yard gain on the play and, eventually, a field goal on the drive.

This was a case, and there have been others this season with Mahomes, when the Chiefs have benefited from letting their quarterback use his uncommonly strong arm.

“They never encourage that,” Mahomes said of coach Andy Reid and the other offensive assistants. “As long as you complete it and you get the first down, they’re fine with it. At the same time, you have to know when not to do that.
Mahomes has yet to get himself or the 5-0 Chiefs into trouble with any of his daring passes. The Chiefs have tamed Mahomes, who arrived with a reputation for making some reckless passes, without taking away the qualities that attracted coach Andy Reid to him in the first place.

That’s a big reason why Mahomes, in his first season as a starter, has 14 touchdown passes with only two interceptions heading into Sunday night’s game against the Patriots in New England.

“Most guys are told not to do that,” said fullback Anthony Sherman, who was referring to the Kelce pass but could have been talking about other unconventional Mahomes passes. “He goes out there and executes it and it’s like, ‘OK, I guess you can do that.’ … Coach Reid gives him the ability that if he thinks he can get it there, throw it and get it there. He knows he’s going to have to get the ball into some tight windows, but he trusts his arm enough.