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Redskins Fan

Washington Redskins are in need of a Leader. posted by Redskins Fan

The (3-6) Washington Redskins are having yet another disappointing season. RGIII when not battling nagging injuries has looked less than stellar. The defense is nothing to write home about and the head coaching lacks any sort of innovation, on either side of the ball.

However the most disconcerting thing about the Redskins this year is how they are handling themselves off the field. Multiple times this year, the Redskins’ locker room has caused the team headaches and distractions that while, never show up on the stat sheet, are definitely a contributing factor to their poor on field performance.

Players weren’t happy when word got out that certain veterans were laughing and joking in the locker room within a half-hour or so of a 10-point loss to the Seahawks last month. And then two days before last week’s game against the Vikings, a substantial group of players became so rowdy and disruptive that Robert Griffin III’s media session had to be moved outside the locker room. And there’s been evidence that the team feels RGIII has ‘alienated’ himself from the rest of the team.

This is troubling for a team that is struggling to win games, it shouldn’t be struggling to keep their team dynamic. This wouldn’t be happening with a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady on the team. Not that RGIII can’t be that focal leader for this team, but he has yet to display that.

For many years, it was London Fletcher, the defensive captain who never missed a game. But when he retired at the end of last season it left a vacuum that has yet to be filled. And if the Redskins don’t fill it soon, it can and will be a very long, disappointing season for the people of Washington.

Continue reading "Washington Redskins are in need of a Leader."

Bucs Fan

Bucs players but up huge fantasy numbers in week 10 win. posted by Bucs Fan

After an otherwise dismal output during the beginning of the season, it was finally a great week to be a Bucs fantasy owner. Tampa Bay went with Josh McCown under center as the team squared off against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The signal caller connected with his two favorite receivers on multiple occasions, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. Both receivers were integral to the Bucs offense as they came away with touchdowns.

For those who thought drafting rookie Mike Evans to their fantasy rosters was a risk, that risk has paid off as the wide out is coming off a multi-touchdown game and continued to add to his fantasy stock by racking up huge yards against the Falcons.

After a rocky start at the beginning of the season, the rookie has come on as of late and really shined as he's seen several targets and hit pay dirt to drive up fantasy points.

And as for Vincent Jackson, he is always a must have on anyone’s roster. Even if he has off weeks from time to time, and for those who might be frustrated at Vincent Jackson’s inability to get touchdown points, do not be discouraged. The Tampa Bay quarterback clearly views Vincent Jackson as his go-to wide-out moving forward, especially in the red zone, and owners should not drop him from their roster.

And for those owners who don’t have McCown and are able to pick him up, this is the week to do so. With McCown playing in a week when most teams are on a bye, and his desire to build a bond with both Evans and Jackson, expect huge numbers in the coming weeks as the Bucs take on the Washington Redskins and the Chicago Bears in the next two weeks.

Continue reading "Bucs players but up huge fantasy ..."

Colts Fan

What Indianapolis Colts Must Improve Most Coming out of Week 10 Bye posted by Colts Fan

A bye week in the NFL is not just about getting banged up players back to full strength, it is also a time to self evaluate as a team and see what areas need improvement moving into the later half of the season.

While the Colts have a lot of positives that have led them to a 6-3 record and first place of the AFC South, there are a few areas in particular that need addressing if they hope to make the playoffs, and the biggest area is Andrew Luck.

Yes Andrew Luck has already established himself as an elite Quarterback, which is impressive, given his young age in the league, BUT that can also come back to bite him and the Colts if he’s not careful.

He knows he’s good and feels at times that it all rests on his shoulders to lead his team to victory. This isn’t college where you can rifle a ball into anywhere, look to Cook on Washington as a prime example. This isn’t college, this is the NFL where corners and safeties will and do make gun slinging quarterbacks pay.

Luck is this team. He is their undeniable leader and if his decisions are bad or too ambitious, the Colts will suffer which they have a few times already this year.

With 9 pics already on this season, Luck makes bad decisions like throwing loft passes over the field just to avoid a sack. Arguable the most dangerous throw in the game as he is not seeing where he is throwing, but just throwing to avoid the sack, and that’s when game changing pics happen. Ball security, not a loss of downs, need to be on Luck’s mind moving forward.

Continue reading "What Indianapolis Colts Must Improve ..."

Redskins Fan

2014 Washington Redskins posted by Redskins Fan

The Washington Redskins were a complete mess last season. Quarterback Robert Griffin struggled after returning from injury too quickly. He eventually found himself riding the bench for the last three games of the season because of his poor performance and bickering with the coaching staff and even his teammates.

This year figures to be a rebound year for the Redskins. The front office hired Jay Gruden, former offensive coordinator of the Bengals who did a creditable job with Andy Dalton. He’ll be called upon to resurrect Griffin’s career. It helps that Griffin is not coming off an injury this time.  He also needs to be more cooperative and avoid being a Prima donna.

The team also did upgrade its offensive line to help Griffin. The Redskins signed Shawn Lauvao to a four-year deal and he’s expected to start at left guard. He’ll be joining left tackle Trent Williams and center Will Montgomery.

The big offseason move in Washington was the signing of DeSean Jackson after he was released by the Eagles. A speedy Jackson would contribute right away to the Washington offense, but he can also be a locker room headache aside from being constantly injured.

Pierre Garcon will be back, and the team expects he’ll be dynamic as he was last year. Despite the struggles of their quarterback, Garcon played well with 113 catches and five touchdowns. He’ll have his reception numbers go down with the entry of Jackson, though.

The Redskins defense was brutal last year, surrendering close to 30 points a game. So the management looked for help on defense by signing former Steeler Ryan Clark. They also acquired Tracy Porter who’ll join DeAngelo Hall and David Amerson. Redskins fans should also be excited with the signing of Jason Hatcher.

Continue reading "2014 Washington Redskins"

Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 NFL Preseason Wrap-Up: Bears 33, Redskins 31 posted by Joe Anello

It was a great start and a great finish for the Chicago Bears as they won their first preseason game of 2012 thanks to a 57-yard field goal from Robbie Gould. That’s the most excited I’ll get about the fact that they won. Because as you all should know by now, WINNING IN THE PRESEASON DOESN’T MATTER IN THE SLIGHTEST. That being said, there are some positives to discuss coming out of the win. Let’s go through them so you can get back to not caring about preseason football.

-Jay Cutty to Brandon Marshall: the connection we were all hoping to see. Bear fans weren’t waiting long as Cutler hit Marshall on the first offensive play from scrimmage for 41 yards. Later in that same drive Cutler found his buddy again for another completion, this time for 20 yards. It was a breath of fresh air to see a QB/WR combination on the same page and talent level. When Marshall tip-toed the sideline and stayed inbounds I did a double-take. “Wait. A Bear wide receiver… making a wide receiver move?” I know. It’s crazy. That drive ended with a catch by rookie Alshon Jeffery and a short yardage score by the bruising Michael Bush. It was as complete an offensive drive as I’ve seen in my years of preseason football. And it all started with Cutler and Marshall.

-RG who? The Bears’ first string defense locked down the hyped rookie, never letting him find a groove and getting pressure in his face. Henry Melton and Julius Peppers showed plenty of spark in their time on the field. Shea McClellin also had a solid night operating from the end position. On their second defensive drive, Chicago showed an outside blitz with safety Major Wright, who chased Griffin III into the arms of Israel Idonije, who knocked away a football that Peppers was oh so happy to gather up. That turnover set up a nice, short TD run from Bush, his second of the night.

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 NFL Preseason Wrap-Up: ..."

Joe Anello

Notes from Day Three of the NFL Draft posted by Joe Anello

And it’s all over! Following a near eight hour session in which we saw rounds four through seven of the NFL Draft, we can finally put a cap on all these selections and start whipping around the league for analysis and impact. Now, as I don’t know as much about these late-rounders as I did the first two days’ worth of players, I won’t run you through too many opinions on their front. Instead I’ll add in my two cents about the draft presentations and coverage. I’ve got OH so many opinions when it comes to that.

-In one of the more interesting moves of the day, the Washington Redskins drafted Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins early in the fourth round. A perplexing move to some of the draft analysts, this pick sent the ‘net into a mini-tizzy as everyone tried to explain the rationale behind bringing in a competent QB to give Robert Griffin III pressure at his back. Cousins has the makings of a quality back-up in the NFL without ever having held a professional clipboard. Still, he was projected by some to have legitimate starting capability. He’s not going to wow you in any of his tape, but he’s an intelligent thrower who has enough arm strength to make nearly every throw. Let’s not get anything confused though. RG3 is the quarterback of the Redskins. Washington is just taking the Philly approach to things. They’ll draft Cousins, use him as a back-up in case Griffin ever gets hurt (which is likely given his play style) and then use his reputation to get assets back in a trade at some point. I get it.

Continue reading "Notes from Day Three of the NFL Draft"

Joe Anello

2012 NFL Free Agency: Day One posted by Joe Anello

Free agency news is all over the internet with teams announcing the typical flurry of moves within the first hours of the new league year. I don’t have the patience for an introduction, so let’s just get to the news of the day!

-Mario Williams is all up in Buffalo as we speak, and he won’t leave unless he turns down a boatload of cash. If you’re even thinking about heading to Buffalo, you know what they’re going to pay you. You just want them to pay for a first class flight too before you sign the dotted line. The defensive end is going to be a very rich man. (Richer, really.) Likely joining him in upstate New York will be Saints wide-out Robert Meachem. Not a bad haul thus far for the lowly Bills. (Edit: Mario IS apparently leaving Buffalo without a deal and Meachem has signed with the Chargers. Well done Bills.)

-Marques Colston never hit the market, re-upping with the Saints shortly before free agency began. It’s a five year, $40 million dollar deal for the big-bodied receiver, who decided to remain a target of Drew Brees. (Smart move.) You can see the dominoes that fell after the Colston deal became official, with Chicago making a deal for Brandon Marshall ( my thoughts here) and the ‘Skins making a glut of Snyder-like moves, as you’ll read next…

-As always, the Redskins make a fool of themselves in free agency in mere minutes by signing two wide receivers and using too much cap space to address one position. (They’re still talking to Eddie Royal as well.) Josh Morgan signed on for a two-year $12 million dollar stint, coming off a whopping 15 catches in San Fran. And as the “the fuck are they doing?” deal of the say, the ‘Skins gave 42.5 million dollars on a five year contract for Pierre Garcon. With over $20 million in guarantees, this deal is utterly ridiculous. Sign him? Sure. But bathe him in pirate gold and fan him with virgin women? Probably a bad idea. The Redskins improved their lot at receiver, but not enough to warrant this kind of money dump. And this after they were docked salary cap space! Still, I love the 'Skins. What would free agency be without them?

Continue reading "2012 NFL Free Agency: Day One"

Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Week 15, 2011 posted by Joe Anello

I’m not sure what else you could have wanted from week 15 in the NFL. Two impressive streaks ended, the “Trap of the Week” proved to be true once again and one win never mattered as much as it did for Indianapolis. (And Candlestick Park was sans light… for a few second before auxiliary lighting come on. Not as much drama.) Many a-loser won on this day. Oddsmakers be damned! Get ready for The Final Drive!

(1-13) Indianapolis Colts 27
(7-7) Tennessee Titans 13

Oh Tennessee. How could you? You somehow managed to give their first lowly Colts a victory whilst in the midst of your own playoff hunt. For shame. While it’s nice to get a win (I’m sure), Jim Caldwell should still get effing fired.

(6-8) Kansas City Chiefs 19
(13-1) Green Bay Packers 14

Another streak brought to a necessary conclusion! Honestly, as much as we generally thought the Packers COULD do it, it’s probably better that they didn’t. Injuries to their offensive line killed them yesterday against the Chief pass rush, just one facet of a defense that made it difficult on Aaron Rodgers. Well done Romeo Crennel. Oh yeah, and the Chiefs can somehow still get into the playoffs.

(5-9) Washington Redskins 23
(7-7) New York Giants 10

BOOM! You got TRAPPED Eli! This was such an obvious upset to pick, even in a day that ended up with a metric ton of stunning results. How the Giants could come out and lay an egg like this when they had a chance to put some distance in front of the Cowboys is appalling. (And hilarious.)

(9-5) Detroit Lions 28
Continue reading "The Final Drive: Week 15, 2011"

Randolph Charlotin

Pick Six: Week 14 posted by Randolph Charlotin

1. I’ve said before that the Patriots have the best pair of tight ends in the NFL. Let me just add that one of them is the best tight end in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski was a beast, breaking tackles en route to career high in receiving yards in a game (160) and set a new standard for touchdowns in a season by a tight end. He broke the record with his 14th TD grab then extended it when QB Tom Brady quickly tossed a pass over a blitz to Gronk. The Big Gronkowski did the rest, breaking a LB Ryan Kerrigan tackle then racing to the endzone and to the arms of a waiting Pats fan to celebrate.

2. The sideline argument between Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was blown way out of proportion. This happens during intense games. What no one said was that Brady’s frustration was building because the offense failed to score three red zone touchdowns. In fact, WR Wes Welker dropped a sure score just before the interception. This game wouldn’t had been close if the offense executed as Brady expected, and the sideline exchange of words would had never happened if Welker caught the previous pass.

3. It’s a lot easier to score when you don’t have to run 50 yards. DT Vince Wilfork pounced on a loose ball in the endzone, jarred out of QB Rex Grossman’s hand by DE Andre Carter, and Wilfork held onto the pigskin while under the pile for his first career touchdown. A lot easier than trying to return interceptions, right?

4. While I do support the league’s initiative for player safety, the way the game is being called is ridiculous sometimes. Washington LB London Fletcher was flagged for a personal foul when he led with his forearm just as Brady started going into his hook slide. Later Wilfork was flagged for hitting RB Roy Helu just after Helu stumbled to the ground without contact. Nevermind that Helu could had got up and ran. Should Wilfork be gentle and softly touched Helu down or something? Give me a break.

Continue reading "Pick Six: Week 14"

Randolph Charlotin

Hours Before Kickoff: Week 14 posted by Randolph Charlotin

What should had been a blowout of a clearly inferior team became an embarrassing one score win over the Indianapolis Colts as the defense gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Two of those scores came at the expense of CB Devin McCourty. Colts RB Donald Brown swatted McCourty away with a stiff-arm en route to a 5-yard TD run. Less than eight minutes later, WR Pierre Garcon got behind McCourty and caught a 12-yard TD over McCourty’s head. McCourty lunged to no avail to stop the completion, beaten so badly that he couldn’t even look back to find the ball.

No one has an answer to what has happened to McCourty this year. Theories include the reduced off-season stunting his development, playing with an injury, the dreaded sophomore slump, opponents knowing how to get after him after viewing a season’s worth of film, to Devin switched places with his twin brother Jason for the season.

(Patriot fans probably wish they had Jason instead of Devin right now. Jason has 87 tackles, eight passes defended, two interceptions, a sack, and a forced fumble for Tennessee. That’s dramatically better than Devin’s output this year of 63 tackles and three passes defended.)

Pointing a finger to any one explanation doesn’t fully rationalize such a dramatic decline in Devin McCourty’s play. He’s gone from best corner since Ty Law to consistent burn victim a la Chris Canty. How does a former first-round pick go from one extreme to another in one off season is a mystery.

McCourty isn’t a Darius Butler case. Butler was an athletically gifted corner drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Butler improved gradually and earned more playing time during his rookie season, and was starting by the end of the year.

Continue reading "Hours Before Kickoff: Week 14"

Washington Redskins News

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Patriots fans just love them some One Direction, study shows (Shutdown Corner)

When they're not cheering on their team, New England Patriots fans are most likely to go see One Direction concerts as their football-alternative form of musical entertainment. So says a study by StubHub, via the Wall Street Journal , which tracked ticket-purchasing habits of fans from each of the NFL's fan bases. The online ticket broker studied data back to 2012 on the secondary market and cross-referenced it geographically with what musical acts each team's fans were most likely to purchase. [ Join's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] Apparently, the British boy band is just huge in New England —the only NFL region where One Direction was the top-selling act. (What, was Creed not on tour the past three years?) The recent Beyoncé-Jay Z tour dominated in several NFL cities: tops among the fans of the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Shutdown Corner NFL Power Rankings: Trouble in Denver? (Shutdown Corner)

Maybe Peyton Manning needs to take a cue from Aaron Rodgers this week. Everyone might need to R-E-L-A-X on the Denver Broncos a bit.  In this violently changing NFL, it would be surprising if a team didn’t have a bad loss on their record. The Arizona Cardinals are 9-1 and even they have a 21-point loss, to Denver, on their resume (albeit when they played a decent part of that game with third-string quarterback Logan Thomas). The Broncos’ 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams wasn’t good. It’s quite possible we look back on it as the game that cost the Broncos a first-round bye, or the AFC West. But it’s also somewhat understandable. The Rams played well. It happens. And when the Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball during the game, it eliminated a big part of the game plan. Andre Caldwell and Jacob Tamme just can’t do the things Sanders and Thomas do. The Broncos still should probably score more than seven points, but one bad game doesn’t mean they’re not a good team. The Patriots have taken a couple bad losses. The Cardinals were blown out once. The Packers have a few uncompetitive losses. Now the Broncos have a couple, too. If the Broncos’ injuries linger longer than expected, maybe we will have to reevaluate them. And who knows, if the Kansas City Chiefs beat them in a couple weeks at Arrowhead Stadium (don’t discount that happening, with how well the Chiefs are playing), maybe the Broncos will just be one of those really good teams that has to settle for a wild-card spot. But we’ll see about all that. For right now, the Broncos are just fine, even with two losses in three games. A few teams might be playing better, but I wouldn’t rank many ahead of them. The talent on that roster is too good for them to be average. Relax. Here are the rest of the post-Week 11 NFL power rankings: 32. Oakland Raiders (0-10, Last Week: 32) Every week that Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew gets carries ahead of Latavius Murray, the Raiders are showing they don't really get it. I don't know if Murray, a big, physical second-year player, is any good. But neither do the Raiders, and that's the problem. 31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9, LW: 30) The Jaguars went 4-12 in Gus Bradley's first season. They'd have to go 3-3 the rest of the way to match that. I hope ownership doesn't overreact if their record is worse, because I do think Bradley is the right guy there. 30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8, LW: 31) Mike Evans was the first rookie receiver with 200 yards and two touchdowns in a game since Anquan Boldin in 2003. Even in a potentially historic receiver draft class, Evans might be the best one. It's a debate that will be fun to track. 29. Tennessee Titans (2-8, LW: 29) We're getting pretty close to a point where Zach Mettenberger has locked up the 2015 starting quarterback job. After what he has shown, is there any chance the Titans won't use next season to give him a legitimate look? 28. New York Jets (2-8, LW: 28) Is there a number of wins in New York's last six games that Rex Ryan could hit to save his job? I'd probably put it at a minimum of four. 27. Washington Redskins (3-7, LW: 26) Jay Gruden very specifically criticizing Robert Griffin III on Monday seemed like him saying, "Nothing else is getting through, let me try this approach." 26. New York Giants (3-7, LW: 24) Sadly, the Giants probably would have won Sunday's game against the 49ers had Eli Manning thrown just four interceptions. Alas, he threw five. 25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1, LW: 23) A team that has lost five straight is a half-game out of first place. 24. Atlanta Falcons (4-6, LW: 27) There is, by the way, a scenario in which the NFC South could be won by a 5-11 team. That's mathematically possible. In related news, I better not get one "How can you rank a first-place team so low???" emails or tweets this week. 23. Minnesota Vikings (4-6, LW: 21) Sunday's loss to the Bears was the fifth time in six games the Vikings didn't reach 20 points. And it was against the Bears, who give up 14 by the time the National Anthem is done. Lot of work to be done there. 22. Chicago Bears (4-6, LW: 25) Four of the Bears' last six games are at home. If they can win those, and upset the Lions on the road on Thanksgiving, then go into Week 17 at Minnesota with nine wins ... I'm sorry Bears fans, I don't know why I just did that to you. 21. New Orleans Saints (4-6, LW: 19) Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks wasn't dominating this season, but he was pretty good, and it's going to be very hard for the Saints to replace what he does while he's out four-to-six weeks with a broken thumb. 20. St. Louis Rams (4-6, LW: 22) They should be in so much better shape than 4-6. 19. Houston Texans (5-5, LW: 20) The first question of Bill O'Brien's Monday press conference was why Ryan Mallett didn't start before Week 11. His answer was basically that he wanted to make sure Mallett was ready. But he probably has (or will) wonder if things would be different if he pulled the trigger earlier. 18. Buffalo Bills (5-5, LW: 17) Nobody checked the expiration date on Kyle Orton. It has passed. 17. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1, LW: 18) How do you evaluate a team that looked so bad at home against the Browns and so good on the road at the Saints in an 11-day stretch? 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4, LW: 16) it just shouldn't be that hard against really bad teams. 15. Cleveland Browns (6-4, LW: 13) The good news is Josh Gordon is back. The bad news is they won't get that loss to the Texans back. They really could have used that one. 14. San Diego Chargers (6-4, LW: 15) There were a few times on Sunday when it didn't seem like Philip Rivers would be getting up. It's no surprise to hear he has been playing through injuries. 13. San Francisco 49ers (6-4, LW: 12) NaVorro Bowman as cleared to return to practice. Hopefully he makes it back this season, because that would be a great story for a great player. 12. Miami Dolphins (6-4, LW: 14) Well, if you have to play Denver this might be a good time for it. The Dolphins could use an upset like that, too. 11. Baltimore Ravens (6-4, LW: 11) In the AFC North logjam, it seems like the Ravens have the best team. They could take a huge step by winning at New Orleans next Monday night. 10. Detroit Lions (7-3, LW: 9) It's pretty clear they're heading toward a wild-card berth , but I'll say this: They're going to be a tough out in the opening weekend (unless Matthew Stafford plays like he did at Arizona, of course). 9. Seattle Seahawks (6-4, LW: 8) A lot is being made of Marshawn Lynch , like he's a reason for the Seahawks' issues. Let's think this through. Do we think Lynch debuted a new personality this year? No. And how were the Seahawks with all of Lynch's "distractions" or whatever you'd like to call them the past few years? 8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3, LW: 7) They still have four road games left, but the good news is that three come against bad teams (Giants, Bears, Redskins). 7. Indianapolis Colts (6-4, LW: 5) You can't discount Andrew Luck getting hot and carrying this team deep in the playoffs, but they're just not one of the elite teams in the conference. 6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, LW: 10) They beat the defending champs with 11 completions and 108 yards. Old-school football fans, this is your squad. 5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3, LW: 3) A close loss at Lambeau would have been no big deal. But that blowout loss? Not a good look. 4. Denver Broncos (7-3, LW: 2) The running back situation is an issue. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball are out a while. The Broncos can't just ditch the run, like they did at St. Louis. 3. Arizona Cardinals (9-1, LW: 6) Maybe Drew Stanton is just one of those stories, where his NFL history doesn't matter and he has a great season. He looked just fine against the Lions. 2. Green Bay Packers (7-3, LW: 4) I hear you Cardinals fans. But I pick Aaron Rodgers and this team over the Cardinals on a neutral field right now. Simple. 1. New England Patriots (8-2, LW: 1) The gap is pretty wide between No. 1 and No. 2 at this point. They could lose a game (and with that schedule, it's likely) and I'm not sure I'd drop them from this spot. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

NFL Winners and Losers: The NFC North has been decided (Shutdown Corner)

Over the course of a few hours on Sunday evening, the NFC North division title was decided.  Not mathematically. Far from that. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are tied at 7-3, and technically the Lions are in first place because of the tiebreaker. But let’s be real. The Packers are going to win the division. Green Bay fans know it. Detroit fans probably know it too, if they’re honest with themselves.  If you watched the two teams play on Sunday, you know. The Lions have been squeaking by teams, no matter how good or bad they are, for weeks. A very good Arizona Cardinals team (we’ll talk about them in a bit, and honestly, they likely decided a second division race Sunday) didn’t allow another miracle Lions comeback. Drew Stanton threw for 306 yards for the Cardinals. Matthew Stafford was at his worst. He was 18 of 30 for 183 yards and an interception. On most plays, he either held the ball forever or was way off when he did throw it. He targeted Calvin Johnson, one of the five greatest receivers ever, 12 times and connected on only five of them. The Lions never got in the end zone. The only thing that even kept them in the game was a couple of Stanton interceptions. Detroit isn't a bad team, but it didn't look like a contender either. If you want to argue that it doesn’t matter if you win by one point or 30, fine. But it can help figure out future performance. And while the Lions were pulling out last-second wins, the Packers have been annihilating teams. The Packers scored more than 50 points for the second straight game, the first time in the long franchise history that has happened. Since losing to the Lions in Week 3, the Packers are 6-1 with five wins by at least three touchdowns. The 53-20 win against the previously 7-2 Eagles was absolutely tremendous. The Packers do look like a dominant football team, one of the true contenders in the NFL. And take a look at the Packers’ remaining schedule: at Minnesota vs. New England vs. Atlanta at Buffalo at Tampa Bay vs. Detroit A 5-1 finish seems like a worst-case scenario. That includes the inevitable win over the Lions, who haven’t won in Lambeau Field since 1991, the year before Brett Favre showed up in Green Bay. The Lions go to New England next week, and the rest of their schedule isn’t too bad before finishing at Green Bay. Maybe the division won’t be officially settled before Week 17. But you can see by watching the two teams that one is just on a different level right now. That shouldn’t change before the end of the season. Here are the rest of the winners, and the rest of the losers, from Week 11: The Cardinals’ chances of winning the NFC West: Here is Cardinals’ situation after 10 games: If they go 3-3 the rest of the season, the 49ers or Seahawks would have to go 6-0 just to tie them for the division title. In other words, they should probably keep University of Phoenix Stadium available for all January weekends. The Cardinals had an impressive home win against the Lions on Sunday. The defense kept the Lions out of the end zone. Stanton made enough plays to win. Coach Bruce Arians called the same aggressive game he always does. There was no sign the Cardinals will slow down at all without Carson Palmer, and even if they do down the road, their NFC West lead looks just about insurmountable. It was an impressive win for them. Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC West race: The Chiefs are no joke this season. They have not had one bad outcome since Week 1, and after Sunday the AFC West race is pretty interesting. The Broncos fell to 7-3 with a bad loss at St. Louis. The Chiefs beat the Seattle Seahawks 24-20 in a very entertaining game and are now tied with the Broncos at 7-3. The Chargers are lurking at 6-4 too, but for now let’s talk about the Chiefs. Winning the division isn’t out of the question. The Chiefs, who have two games left against the 0-10 Oakland Raiders, need to win at home on Nov. 30 against the Broncos. The Chiefs probably couldn’t survive a home loss to the Broncos, which would give Denver the tiebreaker, and win the division. But there’s no reason to believe the Chiefs can’t beat the Broncos at home. Andy Reid is doing a tremendous job with this team, which does two things tremendously well: rush the quarterback, and run the ball. They rode that to a very impressive win against the defending champs on Sunday. The Broncos might need to win at Arrowhead Stadium to avoid being a wild-card team. Ryan Mallett: The biggest story out of the Houston Texans’ 23-7 win over the Cleveland Browns was defensive end J.J. Watt making it clear he deserves the NFL MVP award (whether voters can see beyond the quarterback position to give it to the most deserving player will be seen). But it was also quite a day for Mallett. Mallett’s first three years in the NFL, he threw four passes, and one was intercepted. He didn’t appear in any games in 2011 or '13. He was traded by the Patriots to the Texans for the low price of a sixth-round draft pick before the season started. And after that long road to his first start, Mallett played quite well. Mallett completed 20-of-30 passes for 211 yards, a pair of touchdowns and one interception in a 23-7 win at division-leading Cleveland. One win doesn’t mean the Texans have found their quarterback of the future, but there’s time to figure that out. Mallett deserves a day to just enjoy this win. “It made the four years, the wait worth it. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my career,” Mallett said, according to the Houston Chronicle. The hilarity of Bennie Logan snapping at an official who tried helping him line up right: Sometimes, officials can give a gentle shove to a player who is lined up wrong and will get a penalty if he stays there (we saw that in a Patriots-Jets game earlier this season ). The Eagles’ Bennie Logan was lined up illegally on a field-goal attempt. The official tried to move him, to help him out. And Logan was NOT happy about it. This was comedy: LOSERS The two good NFC teams who will sit at home while the NFC South hosts a playoff game: You want to hear something that sums up the worst division in football? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their second win of the season on Sunday, in the 11th week of the season. That puts them only two games off the division lead. It’s true. The Atlanta Falcons lead it at 4-6, and they are 0-6 outside the division. The New Orleans Saints, who can’t even win at home anymore, are 4-6 too (the Falcons have the tiebreaker) after getting dominated in the Superdome by the Bengals. The Carolina Panthers check in at 3-7-1, and then comes Tampa Bay at 2-8. I’m not saying Tampa Bay can rip off enough wins to overcome a two-game deficit (and they can’t win the tiebreaker over anyone), but the fact that I’m typing this sentence about a 2-8 team is an indictment of the entire division. Here’s the crime: The NFC South doesn’t deserve a playoff spot, but will get one at the expense of a really good team. There are seven teams in the other three divisions with at least six wins: Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle. At least two of those teams are missing the playoffs. Unless we can petition the NFL to not recognize the South champ this year. St. Louis Rams … not for Sunday but for being 4-6: To answer all Rams fans' gripes now – the Rams played great in a 22-7 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, they had a phenomenal effort against Peyton Manning, the offense played well enough, Tre Mason looks like a good find at running back, (fill in the blank praise for everything else they did well). This is my problem. The Rams have defeated Seattle, San Francisco and Denver, arguably the three best teams in the NFL at the end of last season. How on earth are they so inconsistent that they’re 1-6 in the rest of their games? We shouldn’t be talking about the Rams having to win out to make the playoffs after beating those three teams. It must be maddening for Rams fans that a very talented roster like St. Louis has can show off every bit of that talent in dominating the Broncos (make no mistake, the Rams looked like the better team from beginning to end) and still is 4-6, has a season point differential of minus-73 and needs a miracle to even end up as a legitimate playoff contender in December. So yes, great job by the Rams on Sunday. One of the best 60-minute performances in the NFL this season. The Rams can feel good about that, as long as they also feel really disappointed that a team capable of that performance is two games under .500. Bad Eli: Eli Manning has been a part of two Super Bowl championship teams, but he’ll have some days when you’re reminded why that won’t be enough to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His five-interception day against San Francisco, in a game the Giants could have won with a C-minus performance at quarterback was one of them. Washington Redskins: Quarterback Robert Griffin III called Sunday’s loss a “travesty.” Coach Jay Gruden said it was “horrific.” This is a low point for Washington. A 27-7 home loss to a wretched Buccaneers team, which was 1-8 coming in, has to make the franchise question everything. Washington is 3-7, going nowhere and is there even room for optimism? The Buccaneers are terrible, but at least they can point to stud rookie receiver Mike Evans (209 yards and two touchdowns) and be excited about that. What is there to be excited about in Washington? At best, any hope left about Griffin comes with a lot of nervous concern about if he'll ever be the same player he was as a rookie. There’s not a lot to get truly excited about elsewhere on the roster. Travesty? Horrific? That sums it up. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab [read full article]

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Giants rusher Jennings seemingly ready to play (Yahoo Sports)

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Redskins' locker room problem: Lack of leaders, and don't just blame RG3 (Shutdown Corner%

The recent swirl of reports on the Washington Redskins and their locker room situationhave been tough to decipher and sort through. But we liked the strong take of the Washington Post's Jason Reid , who cut through some of the nonsense with a knife, and a fairly sharp one, to boot. ESPN had reported that Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had alienated himself from the rest of the team, a report that Jay Gruden bashed after Sunday's loss as "amateurish." Still, it's hard not to read what Reid wrote Tuesday and wonder if the problem isn't with Griffin, but with his teammates — and the glaring lack of overall professionalism and leadership among the other 52 players in the locker room. Last Friday, many players showed their immaturity by shouting as Griffin attempted to speak with reporters in the locker room, ignoring a high-ranking team official’s repeated requests to tone it down. And even after Griffin and reporters moved into a hallway, players continued shouting, prompting the official to leave Griffin and address the ringleaders. This goes beyond boys being boys. This is not how players in any workplace should be acting.  There's more: Griffin appeared embarrassed by the unprofessionalism of his teammates, who clearly demonstrated a lack of respect for Washington’s supposed franchise quarterback. You think Peyton Manning or Tom Brady have to flee their own locker rooms to conduct interviews? Griffin isn’t universally beloved — few players are on any team — but his popularity had little do to with the clown antics. The point about Griffin is most notable. We're guessing that Manning isn't universally beloved by the Denver Broncos either, or that Brady is every New England Patriots player's best friend. That's not the point; the point is that they are respected for their work and the unique challenges they face as their teams' quarterbacks and the ones that the media and fans turn to first when things go wrong. [ Join's $3M Week 10 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 26,405 teams paid ] Perhaps Griffin still needs to work on his game, on and off the field. Maybe his unique personality isn't going to endear him to every Redskin, and he certainly — like any young player finding his way — can work to find the right way to lead, or lead by example. But if the remainder of the Redskins players are not willing to do their part and step up to create a conducive and mature atmosphere, then Griffin doesn't have a chance to do his complete job. Reid continues: If the Redskins had a take-charge leader who commanded widespread respect, he would have interceded before the nonsense that swirled around Griffin’s interview got out of hand. He would have realized that the Redskins already have had too many self-inflicted public relations disasters. He would have stopped the ridiculousness before additional reports about their warped organizational culture resulted in another game-day distraction.  The Redskins need a London Fletcher or two or three. They need fewer locker room lawyers and impediments. Childish distractions don't happen on successful teams. Look at what Bruce Arians and Chip Kelly are building in Arizona and Philadelphia, respectively, and see how much stock they put into having tightly knit teams. Their success on the field is not a happy coincidence, we believe. Culture is important in the NFL, and while talent trumps all, it's important to have players looking out for each other for the greater good. They might not love the guy one locker over from them, but players have to realize that chaos in the workplace has a way of dividing teams more easily than it does uniting them. Maybe, as Reid suggests, players such as Ryan Kerrigan, Ryan Clark or Jason Hatcher can step up into that leadership void. Griffin must do his part, too, but he can't shoulder the responsibility all alone. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

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