The Chiefs have surpassed all expectations, winning five of their first six games

The ambiguity in the rule has made it difficult for the league to fine players who have either sat or knelt for the anthem, and the owners had discussed clarifying the wording to make standing for the anthem mandatory.
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By leaving the rule alone, the league has chosen to avoid more internal strife with its players and to potentially weather more criticism from fans and President Trump, who has repeatedly ridiculed the league for not firing players who demonstrate during the anthem.

We need to be above petty attacks from anybody, because racial and socioeconomic inequality has existed in this country for too long, Jed York, the chief executive and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, said when asked about the president’s criticism of the league. You got to block out the noise and go do your job, and that’s what we need to focus on.

Before the season started FPI projected the AFC West as one of the closest divisional races, with the Chiefs as slight favorites over the Raiders to win the division. Six weeks later we have teams nearing either extreme of their projected outcomes and a divisional race largely seen as a fait accompli.

Tony Esposito Game Jersey The Chiefs have surpassed all expectations, winning five of their first six games, and are 92 percent favorites to win the AFC West. Even if they lose on the road, FPI would still give them an 87 percent chance at the division.

Oakland thus far has failed to live up to projections, starting 2-4, prompting FPI to give them a less than 1 percent chance at the AFC West and just a 6 percent chance at the playoffs. Even with a win, the division may be out of reach, but making the playoffs becomes a 10 percent possibility.

Mike Ditka clarifies remarks: ‘I have absolutely seen oppression’

Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Ditka issued a statement Tuesday night clarifying comments he made in regard to NFL players choosing to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.

The Ducks, who had won 29 straight home games over the Flames, playoffs included, are enjoying the luxury of opening the new season with four straight home games and six out of seven at the pond overall.
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I don’t know if we did a good enough job getting in there for second and third opportunities, Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said after the latest loss. We directed a lot of pucks at the net, but I don’t think we had any rebound opportunities until the third period.
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The Islanders are opening a four-game road trip that will include contests against the Ducks, the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks in California before swinging back to the East Coast to visit their rival, New York Rangers on Oct. 19.

Molitor was hired to replace longtime manager Ron Gardenhire for the 2015 season. The Twins were coming off of their fourth straight season of 90-plus losses, but Molitor spearheaded a surprisingly competitive 83-79 year that kept them in the playoff conversation deep into September.

Then came the disastrous 2016 season in which the Twins lost 103 games, looking hapless in the field, on the base paths and on the mound. They lost more games than any Twins team that came before them and ushered respected general manager Terry Ryan out the door.

The defense looks sound with Patrick Beverley and DeAndre Jordan bookending it.

Perhaps the toughest team in the league to peg, in part because of the health questions that always swirl around Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari. There is a 50-win team in here with Griffin as fulcrum, lording over the action from the center of the foul line as everyone orbits him. The four rotation guards are dangerous in different ways, and crafty enough on the pick-and-roll to draw double teams — and free Griffin to slip into open space, where he is an expert playmaker.

The defense looks sound with Patrick Beverley and DeAndre Jordan bookending it. For all the talk about how helpless the Clippers were when Chris Paul rested — and they were G League-level bad — a huge chunk of those minutes came with both Griffin and Jordan also on the pine. The Clips actually outscored opponents by almost five points per 100 possessions in the 342 minutes Jordan and Griffin logged without Paul, per

Denver has a whole cupboard full of malleable young players who could blossom into the key piece, the most promising of which is Jamal Murray. Entering his second season, Murray projects for 2.7 RPM wins in 2017-18, which would exceed Green’s RPM wins from the 2012-13 season. While Green contributed far more in his second season, it’s also worth pointing out that Murray entered the league three years younger than Green. There’s plenty of time to play catch-up.


Scouting USA Basketball’s best 2019 NBA draft prospects

As part of the 2017 USA Basketball Junior National Team minicamp, 18 members of the 2018 high school class were in Colorado Springs over the weekend competing for a spot at April’s Nike Hoop Summit. The camp featured young players who will undoubtedly emerge as NBA prospects down the road, so let’s assess the top 12 in terms of their performance and pro potential.

Here and now seems like a good time and place to look back on how Dave Doc Roberts came to be the manager of a storied franchise in the midst of an epic season.

Here is the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, and now, Aug. 22, a sudden downpour is soaking Roberts’ walk to the ballpark and driving the autograph-seekers away.

Authentic Mens Eric Fisher Jersey It’s fitting. Roberts is the skipper of the Dodgers, and Clemente started his pro career with their farm club in Montreal in 1954, the same year that Brooklyn player personnel director Al Campanis put The Dodger Way into book form.

The bridge crosses the Allegheny River, which passes through New York State just below Jamestown, which is where Roberts got his professional start in 1994.
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We were a Detroit farm team, he says, but that’s where I first learned the Dodger Way. Our manager was Dave Anderson, the former Dodger shortstop. God, I loved that year. I found out I could actually play professional baseball.

During one of his media availabilities last week, Irving was asked if he had seen plays and sets in which he and Hayward could thrive together this season. Irving’s face lit up and a big smile appeared. When a similar question was put to Horford recently, asking if he has seen glimpses of how Boston’s new Big Three can help one another, his face, too, lights up. Horford can’t muffle a smile as he begins to talk.

Stuart with 4 TDs as Duquesne snubs Wagner 38-0

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Tommy Stuart threw four touchdowns passes as Duquesne snubbed Wagner 38-0 on Saturday.

Stuart was 14-of-23 passing for 238 yards for the Dukes (4-1, 1-0 NEC). Nehari Crawford caught two scoring passes — including one for 79 yards late in the third quarter — and finished with 156 yards receiving. A.J. Hines ran for 77 yards and a score.

Hines ran for his 33-yard score early in the first quarter following a Wagner fumbled punt return recovered by Ricky Mellick. Duquesne intercepted Wagner’s Donald Glenn twice in the first half, with the second setting up a 5-yard Stuart-to-Crawford touchdown pass to put the Dukes up 14-0 with 9:00 left in the half. Then Stuart hit Kellon Taylor for a 23-yard score and the Dukes led 21-0 at the break.
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Glenn had 84 yards passing for the Seahawks (2-4, 0-2). Ryan Fulse ran for 118 yards on 28 carries.

With future Michigan State and Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green leading the Trojans, Saginaw High went a combined 53-2 and won Class A state championships in 2007 and ’08. When Green left for Michigan State, the Trojans waited on Dawkins’ younger brother, Dorian, to replace him as the team’s next star.

Dorian Dawkins was regarded as one of the country’s best rising freshmen in 2009. During his first game as an eighth-grader, he had 36 points, 22 assists and 20 steals — and didn’t play during the fourth quarter. He was so talented that his teammates and friends called him The Future. He loved ice cream and playing chess and the flute. His dream was play to point guard for the Spartans.

All of this ultimately will be discussed by the Hall’s 48-member selection committee.

Xavier Su’a-Filo Limited Jersey Rivers can’t boast of such postseason success — he has appeared in just one AFC title game in five playoff trips — but that may be more a function of not having the kind of defensive support Manning enjoyed when the Giants defeated the Patriots in Super Bowls 46 and 42. Rivers also has compiled a more impressive body of work statistically with a higher winning percentage (55.8 percent to Manning’s 54 percent including the postseason), completion percentage (64.4 percent to 59.9 percent) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (320/160 to 326/219).

But while there is plenty to laud from both players, Manning and Rivers have enough flaws that neither is guaranteed a spot in Canton. How the 2017 season has unfolded isn’t helping their cause with winless Septembers fueling talk that the 36-year-old Manning and 35-year-old Rivers are quickly declining with little hope of regaining their old form.

Elite Ryan Kalil Jersey Sporting News spoke with eight voters on the condition of anonymity about whether they would be inclined at this point to give Manning and/or Rivers a Hall nod.

The answers not only varied, but they provided insight into the different methodologies used by Hall selectors when casting their ballots.

Kevin King, CB, Green Bay Packers: The Packers’ top draft pick this year (No. 33 overall), King was sidelined with a concussion during Sunday’s game against Dallas and declared out for the remainder of the game. As with any such injury, he’ll have to clear the league-mandated concussion protocol to return.

Terrance West, RB, Baltimore Ravens: West started the game well, rushing for 17 yards on two carries, but fell to the ground before reaching the sideline, clutching his left leg. He was helped off the field by trainers and carted to the locker room. West was designated as doubtful to return with a calf injury.

Matt Skura, OG, Baltimore Ravens: Skura, who has been filling in for injured starting guard Marshal Yanda, was declared questionable to return with a knee injury.

That’s when Smith went to work to lead the game-winning drive, sparked by his scrambling toss to Wilson.

Kansas City took advantage of the injuries to the Washington defense, grabbing a 14-10 lead on the opening series of the second half.

Washington answered with a quick three-play, 75-yard touchdown drive of its own and the Chiefs added a field goal to tie it at 17-17 entering the fourth quarter.

The Chiefs then ate up the clock with a 14-play, 66-yard drive that ended with Butker’s go-ahead 32-yard field goal with 4:51 remaining. Cousins led the Redskins back downfield, mostly with his legs, to get a game-tying field goal with 47 seconds remaining. Cousins finished with 227 passing yards, going 13 of 23 through the air with two touchdowns and another 38 yards on the ground.

It’s practically impossible to be as good as he was against the Patriots that night, but this was the closest he has come. He has continued to throw deep, in defiance of everything he’d shown throughout his career. He has run an offense that has been more creative and versatile than any other Andy Reid has given him in his five years there.

His chemistry with all his weapons has been complete a different player every week, while each can make a big play at any time. On this night, it was a lot of Travis Kelce, just enough of Wilson at the right time, Tyreek Hill as a decoy more often than not, and still enough of Kareem Hunt for him to wear down the defense.

Smith has done that while still being the safe, turnover-proof “manager” he hates being called. He has not thrown an interception yet. He used his feet again to escape trouble, no easy task with the pressure Washington put on him most of the night (he still got sacked four times).avalanche_278

The 49ers’ defensive front is led by defensive end DeForest Buckner and rookie defensive tackle Solomon Thomas.

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE? That was a central question during one of the most chaotic and divisive weeks of Goodell’s 11-year tenure, according to more than a dozen interviews conducted by Outside the Lines with players, owners, league, union and team executives, and other executives briefed on confidential meetings, most of whom spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Last weekend’s games were not just a protest about police brutality and racial inequality, which is why the still-jobless Kaepernick said he sat during the playing of the anthem before taking a knee a year ago.
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It was also a protest against authority. Players defied the preference of many of their coaches and owners by kneeling; the Steelers, Seahawks and Titans defied league rules by remaining in the locker room during the anthem, and Goodell let them slide. Led by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan at Wembley Stadium in London, some owners locked arms on the sidelines with their players. A league famous for its control grappled with how to deal with losing it, with the president of the United States steadfast in his determination to keep the issue dominating the national conversation.
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The 49ers, with one of the youngest defenses in the NFL, are tied for sixth in the NFL in fewest yards per play allowed at 4.9.

Where San Francisco’s defense has issues is giving up touchdowns. The group is ranked 24th in the NFL in yielding 23.5 points per game.

The unit must shut down the rushing attack led by former 49er Frank Gore, who along with Brissett has scored two touchdowns on the ground this season. San Francisco linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong leads the team in tackles and will need to attack the line of scrimmage to keep the Colts’ rushing attack from getting started.

Cardinals’ David Johnson tweets recovery update from hospital bed

David Johnson is over the first hurdles of his rehabilitation journey.

The Cardinals running back tweeted a recovery update from his hospital bed on Sunday after undergoing surgery on his injured wrist.

Johnson shared two photos of himself with his son, saying the procedure was just a minor set back for a major come back.
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Johnson suffered the injury in the third quarter of Arizona’s season-opening loss to the Lions. The 25-year-old player earned All-Pro honors last year in his first full season as a starter, rushing for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns and adding 879 yards and four scores receiving.

Watt, 22, compiled a swatted pass and a pair of tackles before exiting with the injury. He boasted a historic performance in Week 1 when he became just the third player in NFL history with two sacks and an interception in his debut.

Game Kids Jay Ajayi Jersey This is the 10th anniversary of the Super Bowl XLII-winning Giants, who started 0-2 and trailed 17-3 at halftime in Week 3 at their division rivals in Washington before frantically turning things around in the second half to pull out a late victory en route to a six-game winning streak. On Sunday, Eli Manning didn’t get the comeback started until even later, but this time luck wasn’t on the Giants’ side.

Next in line to help Jared Goff start reaching his potential is the offensive scheme.

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This is why Sean McVay was hired. Coach McVay worked wonders in Washington with Kirk Cousins.
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With McVay calling the plays, Cousins threw for 4,166 and 4,917 yards in 2015 and 2016. Washington ran a steady diet of play-action passes off its zone run game. This gives easy reads for the quarterback and opportunities for big-chunk plays. It builds confidence in a young quarterback

This is exactly what the Rams offense was last week against the Colts. Steady run game, followed up with play action passes. In 2016, Goff had a dreadful 5.3 yards per pass attempt. In the first game of the 2017 season, that number jumped to 10.6. Yes, it’s a small sample size, but this is just the start of this offense.

Sunday’s games at least look a little better. I have two big underdog picks this week, which I’m sure I won’t regret at all. The Browns are 8-point underdogs against the Ravens, and I’m just not buying that. I actually feel pretty good about that one.

I also picked the Bills to cover a 7-point spread on the road against Carolina. Logic says, there’s no way the Bills won’t get kneecapped in this one, but the Panthers just don’t look to me like they have things figured out yet. Plus, I’m no doctor, but it doesn’t look like Cam Newton’s shoulder is back to 100 percent yet.

Mike Glennon homecoming! Okay, that’s maybe the fifth most interesting thing about this game. This is the first game of the season for the Bucs. I’m anxious to see how the offense looks after the addition of DeSean Jackson. Throw into the mix with Mike Evans, it should be a potent unit, and you see that reflected in the spread. But it’s only their first game. Will they have had a chance to gel as a group? Probably not as fully as they will, but they don’t exactly need to be a well-oiled machine to beat a 7-point spread against the Bears and Mike Glennon.