NFL standings and playoff picture 2014: Packers maintain narrow NFC North lead

The NFC North has been a two-team race for much of the season, and like much of the season, the Green Bay Packers held on to their narrow lead. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers to a solid victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, lifting Green Bay to its 10th win of the season and tying them with a few other elite teams for the best record in the NFL.

They’re maintaining a narrow one-game lead over the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. Detroit is 9-4 after a dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. They’ve got games against the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears up next, and then a rematch with the Packers in Week 17, so the NFC North isn’t quite locked up just yet.

Both the Vikings and Bears are struggling this season. The Vikings are still trying to find a solution in the running game after the loss of Adrian Peterson for the season, and rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a long way to go. Jay Cutler doesn’t look like his old self for the Bears, and there’s talk of Marc Trestman’s job being in danger.

Whatever the case, it’s still a two-team race, though the Packers have the edge. Let’s take a look at the rest of the divisions and where they stand after Week 14:

Whether Peterson will win his appeal could hinge on how Henderson interprets Peterson’s decision to skip a disciplinary meeting. Though Vincent admits he told Peterson he would not be subject to the new personal conduct policy, a report by USA Today suggested that Vincent’s assurances depended on Peterson’s attendance at the meeting, which Peterson protested.

Henderson could also determine that Vincent didn’t have the authority to interpret Peterson’s potential discipline based on Vincent’s testimony.

An attorney for the NFL, Daniel Nash, during the arbitration hearing asked Vincent if in his position he’s responsible for interpreting the Personal Conduct Policy for the league.

“No, sir,” Vincent said.2

Compensatory picks are a reward for smart teams

When the NFL implemented compensatory draft picks in 1994, the idea was that the extra picks would lend a hand to the teams that got out-spent in free agency, which was then new in the league: Compensatory picks go to teams that lose more in free agency than they gain, and so the picks were envisioned as a safeguard against the rich raiding the rosters of the poor.

It hasn¡¯t worked out that way, however. In a league with revenue sharing and a salary cap, there¡¯s not much of a distinction between the rich and the poor.

Instead, compensatory picks have turned out to reward smart teams. The teams that have been wise about not over-spending in free agency and keeping themselves in good salary cap shape are the ones that keep getting lots of compensatory picks, while the teams that overspend in free agency are the ones that don¡¯t receive compensatory picks.
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Although Sanu didn¡¯t second-guess the pass-heavy strategy of offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, he did seem to imply that maybe Shanahan got a little too crazy with the passing game when the Falcons were leading 28-3.
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¡°I mean, the thought crosses your mind,¡± Sanu said when asked if Atlanta should¡¯ve run the ball more in the second half. ¡°But as a player you¡¯re going to do what the coach wants you to do. He¡¯s called plays like that throughout the season all the time. He¡¯s been aggressive, we¡¯re an aggressive offense, so we go out there and we do what we do.¡±

If you missed Gaga¡¯s halftime show, you can see the entire thing below. Just make sure you¡¯re not in the middle of a workout or anything important.

Sources: Sports agent Rob Pelinka expected to be new Lakers GM under Magic Johnson

In a move that drastically reshapes the leadership structure of one of the NBA’s most illustrious franchises two days before the league’s trade deadline, the Lakers have named Hall of Famer Magic Johnson their new president of basketball operations while firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and removing Jim Buss as executive vice president of basketball operations.

Coming off a terrible season, the Jets still have Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker on the roster. Adding a franchise quarterback could be huge for New York, who just two years ago made a playoff run with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick calling the shots on offense.

Limited Kids Rob Ramage Jersey Meanwhile, the Chargers — amid an ugly move to Los Angeles — decide to part ways with a guy who has been the center of trade rumors for quite some time now. Rivers, whose “mixed” feelings about a move to LA have been well-documented, could benefit from a change of scenery, and he seems to have at least a few good years left.

Jermaine Kearse Youth Jersey The trade is also reminiscent of a historic move, where then-Chargers running back decided to sign with the Jets in free agency after nine years in San Diego. New York made the AFC Championship in the first year of Tomlinson’s two-year deal.

The value wouldn’t be worth a trade in these circumstances, but then again, it wasn’t there in the Cousins deal either.

Yes, this is a completely ridiculous proposition, but so was the Kings’ decision to trade Boogie. Anyway, Hyde is probably expendable for the Niners, because we all know Shanahan isn’t going to run him when it matters.

Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski Clash showdown offers Daytona 500 preview

When you have two of NASCAR¡¯s best restrictor plate racers in a virtual mano-a-mano tussle in an exhibition event where points don¡¯t matter and winning is the only priority, fireworks are inevitable.
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Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski certainly delivered in Sunday¡¯s Advanced Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. Taking turns, first Keselowski then Hamlin, the two dominated the non-points race, leading all but nine of 75 laps.

It was Hamlin who took control in the latter stages, however, as Keselowski fell back in traffic after incurring a pit road penalty. That Hamlin led 47 straight laps and had Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, Daniel Suarez and Matt Kenseth, acting as de facto wingmen, seemingly had him headed to a second straight Clash victory.

The PGA Tour got through the entirety of the second round on Saturday, made the cut late in the afternoon, and then immediately started sending the remaining field out in groups of three off two tees for the third round. But it was already late, and given the time of year with limited daylight, very little of the third round was going to be played at Riv. The leaders did not get close to the first tee before play was called due to darkness at 5:43 p.m. local. Dustin Johnson had a 6 p.m. tee time, so that wasn¡¯t going to work.
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On Sunday, players will be back in position at 9:50 a.m. ET/6:50 a.m. PT, and the final two tee times will roll off the 1st and 10th tees. The third-round tee times were spread across a two-hour window, which is common on the weekends on the PGA Tour when it¡¯s hustling to beat bad weather. The two-tee threesomes practice runs like a well-oiled machine at this point, but it¡¯s still going to be a race getting a full 72 holes done before dark on Sunday night. The PGA Tour is confident, however, and they will not re-pair the players for the fourth round.

Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, isn’t sure if the October hangover is as profound as some have suggested

“I think I’ve got the right muscles firing in the position they need to be to throw a baseball the correct way,” Wacha said. “I’m real happy with the way things are going right now and I just have to continue to build on that.”

Wacha’s fame came suddenly — in the spring of 2014, just weeks into his career, he was selected to shoot a GQ magazine spread on the beach nearby with Tampa Bay Rays superstar Evan Longoria — but it ebbed quickly as well. The chronic nature of Wacha’s injury could mean he never reaches the heights he seemed destined for just 18 months earlier.

But he already has taken the most proven approach to fighting back.

“I’m going in with the most positive attitude that I’m going to be healthy all year,” Wacha said. “That’s the goal: to be out there for every start or whatever they need me to. I’m real positive about the work that I put in this offseason.”

Chris Antonetti, Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, isn’t sure if the October hangover is as profound as some have suggested. But the Indians made sure to have pitching coach Mickey Calloway devise specialized workout and throwing plans for all their pitchers entering the offseason.

“If you think about it, you have a selection bias,” Antonetti said. “You’re looking at guys who were good enough to pitch on a team that was good enough to go that deep [into the postseason]. You’re coming from a very high bar, so it’s very likely they’re going to regress to the mean.

“We’ve tried to look at it at an individual level. What does each guy need individually in terms of rest, recovery and preparation for the following season? We had individual plans for everyone in the winter, and we’ll see which guys will have a bit of a different throwing program this spring.”

Miller stood out in the postseason because of his willingness to pitch anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning, depending on what Cleveland manager Terry Francona needed on a given night. He logged 93? regular season and postseason innings between the New York Yankees and the Indians — compared to 62? the previous season.

Matthew Stafford is in line for a big pay raise this offseason

Work out an extension for Matthew Stafford. The Lions aren’t letting Stafford go anywhere, but as their longtime quarterback enters the final year of his deal, general manager Bob Quinn will probably want to sign Stafford to his extension now and not have to worry about the possibility of franchising him in 2018. The reason why? Quinn might have to use his franchise tag next year to keep his best pass-rusher.
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Running back situation: Lamar Miller ran for 1,073 yards on 268 carries, and Alfred Blue chipped in another 420 yards. Both are under contract, with Miller, 25, carrying a cap hit of $6.5 million.

Could it work? It’s no secret in league circles how much Peterson would be attracted to the idea of playing in Houston, where he lives in the offseason and opened a gym last year. The Texans went to the AFC divisional playoffs last season, and they’d certainly be an attractive destination for Peterson. Given Miller’s cap number and his role, though, this one probably only works if Peterson is willing to accept a smaller part in the offense. The tradeoff — a chance to join a contending team in his adopted hometown — could be worth it.
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The franchise tag is a labor designation that restricts a player’s potential movement in exchange for a high one-year salary. It is governed by owners and players through the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and has two types.

The first is the “exclusive-rights” franchise tag. Any player with this tag is bound to the team for the upcoming season. His agent is prohibited from seeking offer sheets elsewhere. It is the average of the five-largest salaries at the player’s position through the end of the current year’s restricted free-agent signing period (April 21 this year), or 120 percent of the player’s salary the previous year — whichever is greater.

The biggest name to return was Sprewell, given his rocky history with the organization and Dolan.

Elite Brian Urlacher Jersey The Thunder have now lost their three encounters with Golden State this season by 26, 21 and 16 points and have sunk to 1-6 against the West’s top three teams. So who even wants to see them slip to the West’s No. 8 seed and open the playoffs against Kevin Durant and his new team? Yes, folks, we’re being facetious. Of course we’d love to see Angry Russ and KD square off in the first round (or any round) after the considerable animus that bubbled up when the teams tangled Saturday night at The Peake. Such was the hype for Durant’s return that we didn’t hear a single word about OKC’s stirring win over LeBron James & Co. from a mere two nights earlier during the Committee’s whole weekend visit. ?

Elite Brett Hundley Jersey Power Rankings ?Law also compels us to point out that Westbrook, after 11 turnovers in the 130-114 defeat, is up to five games this season with at least 10 turnovers. That’s the most by any player in a single season since the league started tracking turnovers in 1977-78.

While Kevin Durant was reacquainting himself with Oklahoma City soil on Saturday, former teammate Serge Ibaka was a three-hour drive away from the KD-in-OKC tension, playing for the Orlando Magic in Dallas.

“I’m just happy to be back now,” said Sprewell, who got a warm reception from the fans Sunday. “A guy named Jonathan [Supranowitz, Knicks vice president of public relations], I’ve kept in touch with him over the years and he worked his magic and he was able to pull some strings and get me back.”

The biggest name to return was Sprewell, given his rocky history with the organization and Dolan.

The club played a video tribute to Sprewell on the Jumbotron in the first quarter, which was greeted with cheers. Sprewell was traded to Minnesota in 2003, ending a rocky final chapter with the franchise that included Sprewell showing up to training camp with a broken pinkie and not being forthcoming about the injury.

They traded to move up to take Connor Cook earlier in the fourth round

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“We spent a little time with him last summer, because it was important to us to get their perspective,” Rudolph said. “We may have all these great ideas about what we want to put in a space and that we think are cool, but if the kids don’t want it and the kids don’t use it, it’s not cool. The worst thing we can do is put a space down here that looks incredible from the street, but there’s never any kids in it. That’s the whole point of building the space: kids can come down here and they don’t want to go back to their rooms. They’re kind of forced to go back to their rooms. We hope it gets a lot of use.”

Rudolph said he will continue to raise funds to finance the operation of the space over the coming years to make sure it stays current and relevant to what future patients want. As he and his wife raise their 4-month-old twin girls, Rudolph is already thinking ahead to the days when they’ll be old enough to visit — and of the families they might meet there who are just looking for a slice of normalcy.
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“When my kids come back and spend time down there, and visit patients and families, [we want to make sure] this space looks just as good as when we opened it up,” Rudolph said.

They tried to trade back into the first round to take Paxton Lynch. They traded to move up to take Connor Cook earlier in the fourth round. With their first of two fourth-round picks, they took Charles Tapper. They didn’t take Prescott until the 135th overall pick, a compensatory selection in the fourth round.

As he accepted the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award this past Saturday, he thanked 31 other teams for passing on him. Later as he met the media, he amended the statement.

“Actually 32 teams passed up on me three times, so the Cowboys just … they got lucky,” Prescott joked.

Report: Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos working on a revised contract

The issue with reworking Manning’s deal is that he has two years left meaning that any potential converted bonus would have to be prorated equally over those two seasons. That would mean creating more dead money on 2016’s cap space when another group of FA’s headed by Von Miller will hit the market.

Before the beginning of the 2013 season, Manning converted 10 million into a “cash advance” that prorated the 10 million equally over several seasons, leaving his cap hit lower in several seasons (19 million as opposed to 21 million).

But we took the time to collect the instant reactons of your favorite NFL players and league personaltys in regards to how they see the mystery dress. If you hear of any other dress takes please leave them in the comment section below.

That saved $4.875 million in cap space in 2015. He didn’t necessarily fail to live up to the contract, but the Colts wanted to clear up cap space after spending big the past two offseasons, and felt good about Art Jones to fulfill the spot left on the defensive line.

We shall see. Right now, they’re not disclosing all of the team plans, but in any balanced zone-blocking scheme, the running back is a very important figure. Just look at Seattle or Houston.

Offense isn’t the only overhaul for the Broncos. The Broncos are moving to Wade Phillips’ multiple 3-4 defense and while they already have a good solid core of 3-4 type players, they may need to add some things via the draft.

Why Carmelo Anthony can feel why LeBron James lashed out

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New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony had heard about how LeBron James had finally had enough and unleashed on Charles Barkley.

While Anthony didn¡¯t want to get involved, he said he fully understood why James, his good friend, had reached his boiling point after taking the high road whenever Barkley was critical of James on TV.

¡°At the end of the day, I think he¡¯s human,¡± Anthony said at the morning shootaround before the weary Knicks were drilled by the red-hot Washington Wizards 117-101 on Tuesday night. ¡°Like, we all are human. Even though we are considered these kind of superheroes, super athletes, and nothing is supposed to affect us and we just go through life just taking it on the chin, it affects us in certain ways.

John Hannah Youth Jersey Tomlinson’s No. 21 jersey was retired by the Chargers in 2015.

The only blemish on Tomlinson¡¯s record — if you can call it that — is that he never played for a Super Bowl title. Teams Tomlinson played for finished 5-5 in the postseason.

“The one [negative] thing that I think is totally honest and true about my career is I never won a championship,” Tomlinson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That¡¯s totally fair for people to judge me on that. But I know eventually, with my numbers, I¡¯m a Hall of Famer.”

Former Chargers teammate Drew Brees said he will be on hand in Canton to watch Tomlinson be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“He’s a special guy, a special player,” Brees told The Mighty 1090 AM radio. Brees served as the Chargers’ starting quarterback from 2002 to 2005. “He made everyone around him better. He was a phenomenal leader. When LT spoke, everybody listened. And he backed it up with his actions, more so than anything he could ever say.”