Giants interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo is trying to salvage what’s left of a disappointing season.

He has reinstated Eli Manning as the starting quarterback and is conveying a message of unity as the Giants prepare to face the Cowboys.

Derrick Henry is 6-3, 247 pounds. Someone that size isn’t supposed to run almost 22 mph, but the Titans running back wasn’t impressed by his speed on a 75-yard touchdown run last week against the Texans. If Henry thinks he can get faster, the Cardinals had better watch out Sunday.

The Rams want to rebound after seeing their four-game winning streak snapped at Minnesota. L.A. is in the toughest part of its schedule and will play host to the red-hot Saints, who want to extend their winning streak to nine games.

There could be a lot of points scored at the L.A. Coliseum with two of the NFL’s top offenses squaring off. The Rams are second in points scored and fourth in total offense. The Saints have the NFL’s top offense in total yards and are third in scoring.

He already knows how to work a crowd too. Ohtani had the perfect answer when asked whether he was more excited to get his first pitching victory or his first homer in the big leagues.

Ohtani’s grand experiment with the Angels is off to an entertaining start. The league-wide courtship ended Friday with his decision to join Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in Orange County. The 23-year-old former Japanese MVP is attempting to become the majors’ most significant two-way player in several decades, and he will have every opportunity to fill two prominent roles with the Angels.

The Chargers simply are the best team in the AFC West at the moment. Sure, they were 0-4 at one point, but the Chiefs just ended their version of that slump. Philip Rivers is hot, and the QB will stay comfortable against a fading pass rush and bad secondary. Speaking of pass rush and secondary, those are LA’s strengths, and that won’t bode well for Alex Smith.chargers_047-180x180

The Eagles will have to wait a few more days to clinch the NFC East.

The Cowboys prevented the Eagles from clinching Thursday with a 38-14 win over the Redskins at AT&T Stadium.

A Cowboys loss would have given the Eagles (10-1) the division title. The Eagles can still clinch the division with a win over the Seahawks (7-4) on Sunday.

The Bengals won the battle of “O”-hio in Week 4 and have managed to go 4-3 since their 0-3 start. They’re four wins against teams that have proven to be fairly dreadful (Browns, Bills, Colts, Broncos), but they all count, and so does this rematch with the Browns. Oddly, this is one of the three games remaining that give the Browns a decent chance to avoid 0-16 (also the Packers at home, and at Chicago).

Because of their bumpy start to the season, the Falcons don’t have much room for error to enjoy a realistic shot at winning the NFC South. A home contest looms next Sunday against red-hot Minnesota (9-2), followed by a four-game stretch featuring two games vs. division-leading New Orleans as well as rematches with fellow NFC South members Carolina (8-3) and Tampa Bay.

But even if forced to take the wild-card route, the experience Atlanta brings from last year’s postseason run — and the heartbreak with which it ended — makes the Falcons one of the NFC’s most dangerous squads entering December and potentially beyond.

Reason for optimism: A 14-9 loss to Minnesota on Sunday wasn’t pretty offensively, but the Falcons have the kind of talent to get hot again quickly. Four division games to end the season also allow Atlanta to directly control its playoff fate.chargers_005-180x180

This fade is built on the assumption that Anthony Davis plays again on Monday.

Davis had a big game on Sunday, but he missed three games last week with a groin injury and did come up limping early in the fourth quarter on Sunday before remaining in the game. Cousins has underwhelmed (relative to his max price) in his last eight or nine games next to Davis, and with the aforementioned backcourt production boom for the Pelicans, it is unlikely in any given game for Cousins to earn that lofty price tag while the rest of the starting lineup is intact.

Let’s take a look at the updated NFL playoff picture entering Week 13. Each week, AccuScore will update its 2017 NFL postseason forecast by simulating the remainder of the NFL season 10,000 times to predict win totals, division winners and probabilities of reaching the playoffs on the road to Super Bowl 52. Below are the probabilities and Vegas odds of making the NFL playoffs and how they have changed.

Two of the NFL’s best running games will be in the Superdome as the Saints rank third in rushing while the Panthers are fifth. The Saints will be going for a season sweep and their Week 3 win over the Panthers ignited an eight-game win streak.

“When we’ve been good here, we ran the ball,” Payton told Omnisport this week. “There’s a lot that gets accomplished when you have balance. It helps your defense with time of possession. I think you’ve seen that with Carolina over the last month.

“There’s more to just the offensive effect of that. There’s a whole team effect.”lakers_009

Aqib Talib fires back at Michael Crabtree: ‘He came out there to fight’

Aqib Talib is calling out Michael Crabtree’s claims of innocence.

During his Wednesday interview with Altitude 950 in Denver, the Broncos cornerback said the Raiders wide receiver intentionally started Sunday’s brawl.

“I’m not happy to miss a game at all,” Talib said. “It’s still a significant amount of money, and I still can’t play a game with my teammates. So I’m not happy at all.”

Crabtree and Talib have time to appeal their suspensions. If the bans stand, which is likely, Crabtree will be out against the Giants and Talib will miss his team’s game against the Dolphins.

“If you want to blame anyone on that, blame me. I could’ve overruled it,” Mara said. “Our team isn’t good enough. We’re 2-10.”

The Giants originally planned to wait until the end of the year to make changes, though Mara said it was “pointless to wait” and further delay the inevitable as the season began “spiraling out of control” in recent weeks.

“We’ve had an embarrassing season and most people that know me know how painful that is to me, how committed I am to try and put a winning team back on the field,” Mara said. “I know our fans are suffering, but I’m suffering more, I’ll guarantee you that right now. We’ve gotten to the point where we felt we had to make wholesale changes and that’s what we’ve done.”panthers_097

The 30-24 win over the Seahawks moved the Jaguars (9-4) into first place in the AFC South.

After a 3-0 slugfest at halftime, the two teams exploded for 31 third quarter points as Jacksonville took a 14-point lead entering the final frame. Russell Wilson was able to conjure up more fourth-quarter magic but key a key fourth-down play late sealed the Seahawks’ fate as they fell to 8-5.

“I thought that was wrong. Wrong. He was wrong. I’ve talked to him [Jefferson] about it. Professional athletes, people can say whatever they want to say and that’s kinda just what comes along with it. You have to be able to deal with it professionally and he lost it. He feels terrible about it. It’s not the kind of kid he is. He just emotionally got overrun and he lost it. Fortunately, people restrained him and all that. It’s a tremendous learning opportunity for him and any other young guys.”

The Canucks took a 2-1 lead on the power play with 55 seconds left in the second period. Markus Granlund put a slick centering pass right on the tape of Boeser’s stick and he neatly steered it in for his 15th of the season. The impressive 20-year-old has 10 goals in his last 12 games.

“I’m really pleased with his game,” Canucks coach Travis Green said. “We knew he had a real goal-scoring touch and I know I keep saying it, but his play away from the puck is the part that probably impresses me more.”

This time, it was David Perron who got them started during a second-period flurry.

Perron, Reilly Smith and Brayden McNabb scored in a span of 3:37 to turn a 1-all tie into a two-goal lead, and Vegas held off the Dallas Stars 5-3 on Saturday night for its fourth straight victory.royals_009

Dorsey is the Browns’ ninth general manager since 1999.

Dorsey has worked in NFL player personnel for 26 years and has helped his teams to 19 playoff berths, 11 divisional titles, three conference championships and two Super Bowl wins.

“Football is what I know, it is what I love, it is what I have worked my whole career at and I thrive on every element that goes into building a winning football team,” Dorsey said in a statement. “I have spent a majority of my football life with two franchises that also have storied history and I think I have a feel for the mentality of the fans in Cleveland and what it would mean to recreate the success this franchise once had.

Okafor appeared in just two games before the 76ers granted his wish to be traded, while Stauskas scored four points in six games with Philadelphia.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who was knocked from Sunday’s 43-35 win over the Rams, is lost for the season with a torn left ACL, coach Doug Pederson told reporters Monday.

Originally, Pederson didn’t comment after the game on multiple reports that said Wentz tore his ACL. However, after Wentz had an MRI exam Monday, the news was confirmed.

The Eagles (11-2) now turn to the sixth-year veteran Foles, who helped rally them to Sunday’s NFC East-clinching victory after Wentz left the game.

“I hate it for Carson Wentz; I hate it for the career and the season he’s been having,” Pederson said Monday (via NFL.com). “But at the same time it’s been the next man up mentality and that’s how we approach it this week.”
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Even Roethlisberger is foundering with 10 interceptions and 61.1 completion percentage.

Fouls drawn are available on NBA.com/Stats, and it turns out that those drawing the most fouls in the league right now on a per-game basis are not generally guards and wings but big men, led by New Orleans Pelicans teammates DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. In fact, James Harden and John Wall are the lone guards in the top 10, though several more rank just outside it.

If we break down all players by position, centers are also first in fouls drawn per 100 plays:

“In OTAs and then training camp he kind of gave us fits,” Robertson said of Kamara. “He’s a mismatch for linebackers and hecatch the ball against a lot of safeties who are good in coverage. The guy has good hands and youtrust him.

“And he’s got a complementary back in Mark Ingram (16 carries for 77 yards against the Bucs). These are two guys whorun the ball, catch out of the backfield and put it in the end zone. And I’ve got to say the offensive line is doing a great job for us. Really, you’ve got to credit the whole offense.”

— Mediocrity: Would anybody be surprised if Buffalo (Tyrod Taylor) and Jacksonville (Blake Bortles) had new starters in 2018? Yeah, me neither. Taylor was benched Wednesday in place of rookie Nate Peterman even though Buffalo’s two-game losing streak stems more from defensive ineptitude than offensive woes.

— Poor backup performances: Three teams – Oakland (EJ Manuel), Tennessee (Matt Cassel) and Miami (Matt Moore) — were forced to start second-stringers for one game because of injuries before the starter returned. All three went 0-1.

Atlanta so far has lived dangerously, splitting its six games that have been decided by one possession. At the same time, the Falcons also have come through with big conference wins against Detroit, Green Bay and Dallas. That’s good news with an all-NFC schedule remaining, including a winnable swing game at Seattle on Monday night in Week 11.nike_steelers_3265

Moore had to start against the Ravens in Week 8 and the Dolphins got shut out for the second time

Week 10 in the NFL, with some big point spreads and a few favorites rallying to escape upsets, was relatively easy to predict. Picks get harder in Week 11, though, as six of the 14 matchups feature big playoff implications.

Triumph: Case Keenum has turned this season into a win for the Vikings. He has taken just one sack in his past six games and has posted the league’s best Total QBR (94) against the blitz this season. He ranks second in overall QBR this season, behind the injured Deshaun Watson.

Triumph: The Saints have won eight straight games on the back of 15 rushing touchdowns in that span. Even if the Saints had failed to come back on Sunday, this season would have been a success. But overcoming a 15-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to beat Washington has turned this year into something special for New Orleans.

Earlier this season, Miami looked significantly improved against the run from last year and competent against the pass despite issues in the secondary. That improvement was a major factor in its 4-2 start while the offense was still trying to find an identity with Cutler as its fill-in quarterback.

The turning point, weirdly, was in the Dolphins’ last win, when Cutler was knocked out with an injury to his ribs against the Jets and Matt Moore had to rally the team to a home victory in Week 7. For much of that 31-28 escape, the Jets’ offense could pretty much do whatever it wanted.

Then Moore had to start against the Ravens in Week 8 and the Dolphins got shut out for the second time — but also gave up 40 points in the process, getting gashed by running back Alex Collins. Then Cutler returned to light up the Raiders, only to see Oakland’s inconsistent offense become an explosive unit again and wake up Marshawn Lynch in the process.nike_steelers_721

Smith and Brady lead the NFL in passer rating among quarterbacks who will be starting games in Week 11.

Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs (16.0): Over the past five seasons, only Robert Covington of the Philadelphia 76ers (in 2016-17) has produced a season with at least 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG and 1.9 3PG.

The good news for Carr’s fantasy managers is this might not be as much of an issue over the next three weeks thanks to a favorable schedule. Denver’s pass rush has fallen off tremendously of late, as the Broncos 22.2 percent PPR against Cincinnati in Week 11 was an atrocious showing versus an offense that ranked 25th in PPR allowed in Weeks 6-10 (32.0 percent). The Giants and Chiefs don’t fare much better here, as Big Blue ranks 20th in PPR over the past five weeks (27.9) and Kansas City ranks next to last in PPR (19.2).

This may mean something of a turnaround is in order for Carr, so fantasy teams looking for a low-cost trade option headed into the fantasy playoffs should consider making a trade offer for Carr before the upcoming deadline.

The next eight spots are filled with NFC QBs until another AFC name surfaces.

Game flow has played a big part in New Orleans’ success. The team has gone into a unique, explosive ball-control mode with Drew Brees and great running from both Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Opponents can run on the Saints, but it’s hard to stay with the rushing attack for teams forced to play catch-up, which plays into New Orleans’ new strength of Cameron Jordan, Marshon Lattimore and the pass defense. The Saints are tapping into the formula that has made recent Cowboys teams so successful.nike_steelers_712

NFL Network reporter burns Twitter troll with epic response

Yes, Stacey Dales is a reporter for the NFL Network, but that doesn’t mean she can’t share her thoughts on other professional sports.

Following the 76ers’ 115-109 win over the Lakers on Wednesday night, Dales was critical of Lonzo Ball’s two-point performance.

“We took it upon ourselves to have a better third, not to just sit back and wait for them to come at us,” Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn said. “We just got cut a little short tonight.”

Dallas’ win came without defenseman Marc Methot, who underwent arthroscopic surgery and will be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks. Methot missed five straight games while trying to work with his knee injury before the team decided on surgery.

“It looked like it was coming around; he did his rehab, started skating, and it didn’t get better,” Stars general manager Jim Nill told the Dallas News. “They did another MRI and decided they had to do the scope on it.”

The decision to put Brissett back in the game prompted criticism from Chris Nowinski, the founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and co-director of Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. Nowinski posted a video of the collision on Twitter and called the NFL policy “a fraud” for blatantly ignoring “the clearest concussions (sic) signs of the season.”

Butler had a fine game on Sunday in Mexico City against the Raiders, as did basically every single one of his teammates. And the way he has played in a situation that clearly wasn’t his top choice should help him do well on the market. Think $14 million a year if Butler gets to the market as expected.
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