Winners, losers from ‘Monday Night Football’ doubleheader in Week 1

To celebrate the first week of the season, fans were treated to a “Monday Night Football” doubleheader that featured plenty of fireworks.

Early, it was the Houston Texans visiting the New Orleans Saints. This one proved to be an entertaining, see-saw battle all game long. It wasn’t until the last second ticked off the clock that we knew which team would win, as New Orleans eked out a 30-28 victory.

Late in the evening, the AFC West was on display with a rivalry game featuring the Denver Broncos visiting the famed Black Hole and the Oakland Raiders. To the delight of the home crowd, the Raiders dominated, winning 24-16.

These were the biggest winners and losers from the season-opening “Monday Night Football” doubleheader.

Winner: The Hyde/Johnson duo is pretty dynamic

When the Texans lost Lamar Miller for the season with an ACL injury, it was easy to panic about their ability to run the ball consistently. Then, Houston pulled off a trade for Carlos Hyde. That proved to be a savvy move, as the power back was huge in Week 1.

Hyde rushed for 83 yards on 10 carries, providing the thunder in Houston’s offense. Former Cleveland Browns back Duke Johnson provided the lightning with 57 yards on the ground. He also provided a spark in the passing game with four catches for 33 yards. The duo combined on 175 yards from scrimmage and appears to be a solid tandem the Texans can count on this season.

Loser: J.J. Watt was practically invisible

Sep 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk (71) blocks Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

When Houston traded Jadeveon Clowney to the Seattle Seahawks for a pauper’s bounty, many wondered if the Texans could remain dominant up front without him. It was only one game, but on Monday it was pretty clear they won’t be the same.

In particular, star defensive end J.J. Watt was unbelievably unproductive. In fact, Watt didn’t register a single stat. Not one tackle. Not one quarterback hit. Not one pass defended. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Watt is too good to struggle like this all season. But perhaps he benefited from Clowney more than anyone realized. We’ll soon find out.

Winner: Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara — still pretty darn good

Sep 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) celebrates with fans after a win against the Houston Texans during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Saints receiver Michael Thomas had one of the most impressive statistical seasons any wideout has ever had in the NFL. He caught an absurd 85% of the passes that came his way to the tune of 125 catches for 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns. On Monday night, Thomas picked up right where he left off. Catching 10 passes on 13 targets, he racked up 123 yards and was the main weapon in Drew Brees’ arsenal all game long. He’s already living up to the monster contract he signed this summer.

Fantasy football players also once again rejoiced at the production of Alvin Kamara on Monday night. He’s such a dynamic weapon, and he’s among the best the NFL has to offer in terms of bang for your buck. That was on display against Houston as Kamara racked up the yardage. He piled up 97 yards on just 13 carries and another 72 yards on seven receptions. That’s an average of 8.45 yards per touch.

Loser: Houston’s offensive line is still a huge problem

Sep 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) reacts after a touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson was sacked a league-leading 62 times last year and hit 125 times, and not surprisingly he got banged up quite a bit in the process. The Texans tried to fix this issue in the draft and then by trading for Laremy Tunsil right before the season began. But based on what transpired in Week 1 against New Orleans, this problem isn’t going away any time soon.

Hopkins was pummeled by the Saints. From the opening drive until the end, he took big hits in the pocket (and outside of it as well). Houston’s offensive line allowed six sacks and gave up 11 quarterback hits.

That puts Watson on pace to be sacked 96 times this year, and absorb 176 hits in the pocket. That’s not sustainable. And it’s going to get this young man hurt badly at some point.

Winner: Wil Lutz called game

Sep 9, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz (3) (behind) is mobbed by teammates after his game winning, 58-yard field goal against the Houston Texans in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The final minute of the Texans-Saints game was insanely fun to watch for anyone who is not a Houston fan. It was also one of the best things we’ve seen in sports for some time now.

Deshaun Watson made two of the best throws under pressure you’ll ever see and tied the game on a touchdown pass to Kenny Stills. Then, Houston kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed the extra point, only to get a second chance due to a penalty. He made the kick, putting the Texans up by one point with just 37 seconds remaining in the game.

That’s when Drew Brees marched the Saints 35 yards down the field in 35 seconds, setting up a potential game-winner from 58 yards out.

Wil Lutz stepped onto the field, took a deep breath, and then called game.

Loser: Broncos struggled in the red zone

September 9, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco (5) passes the football against the Oakland Raiders during the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos made a few nice pushes into to enemy territory against Oakland Monday night. They just couldn’t do much once they got into the red zone.

Four times, Joe Flacco had Denver in a position to score touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. Three times, the Broncos came up short. The only successful trip came late in the fourth quarter when the game was already practically over.

Rookie offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello struggled with the game plan. Flacco struggled to avoid pressure in key situations. The Broncos had one touchdown go right through their hands (literally), which we’ll get to in more detail later. Just an awful performance by Denver’s offense when it mattered most.

Winner: Darren Waller, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs give Raiders some juice

Sep 9, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) carries the ball against Denver Broncos cornerback Isaac Yiadom (26) during the first quarter at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

No Antonio Brown? No problem. The Raiders have plenty of offensive firepower, thanks to the emergence of ‘Hard Knocks’ star, tight end Darren Waller, free-agent acquisition Tyrell Williams and rookie running back Josh Jacobs.

Waller was a tremendous go-to option for Derek Carr in the middle of the field. He came through with seven catches for 70 yards and appears to be a centerpiece on this offense.

Williams did for Oakland what he’s been doing for the Chargers the past few years — make big plays down the field. He hauled in a gorgeous 43-yard pass and scored a touchdown, finishing with six catches for 105 yards.

Jacobs did an incredible job on the ground, rushing for 85 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 28 yards through the air.

This trio looks really good.

https://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/winners_losers_from_monday_night_football_doubleheader_in_week_1/s1_12680_29957384

By: Jesse Reed

All-time Super Bowl QB rankings: Tom Brady tops 61-man list

Five Super Bowls ago, the dominant pregame storyline centered around whether Peyton Manning was poised to become the greatest quarterback of all time.
Tom Brady’s preposterous stretch since then, including four more Super Bowl bids, two huge fourth-quarter comebacks and one MVP award all but settled that particular debate. Returning to the big game with this particular Patriots team almost feels like running up the score.

Brady’s place atop the quarterback mountain stands in stark contrast to the stature of his Super Bowl LIII counterpart, Jared Goff, who will be a few months younger than Brady was back in February of 2002, when the Patriots dynasty was born against the Rams. But where does Goff stack up against other Super Bowl starters overall?

To figure that out, I combed through the resumes of all 61 Super Bowl starting quarterbacks, including Goff. It’s important to note that for players like Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr, who started Super Bowls but whose peak years came before the Super Bowl era, I considered their entire careers, not just what they did from 1966 onward. I ranked all quarterbacks based on career achievements, with regular-season excellence, All-Pro/Pro Bowl appearances and seasons as top-five and top-10 players at the position carrying more weight than just Super Bowl success. (Spoiler: Jim Plunkett did not have a better career than Dan Marino. Sorry.)

The good news for Goff: He’s already ahead of a few Super Bowl starters. At 24 years old with the biggest game of his life ahead, he has a long runway to improve his resume.

To the rankings!

G.O.A.T. pasture

1) Tom Brady (Super Bowl record: 5-3 with Patriots)

2) Johnny Unitas (1-0 with Colts)

3) Joe Montana (4-0 with 49ers)

4) Peyton Manning (1-1 with Colts; 1-1 with Broncos)

5) Dan Marino (0-1 with Dolphins)

6) Brett Favre (1-1 with Packers)

These are the six men who could conceivably have an argument as being the greatest ever, although the breadth of Brady’s career now makes it difficult for the rest of the group. The first nine seasons of Brady’s career — which included three titles and an undefeated regular season — now look like an appetizer to Brady’s dominant Gronk-era peak.

It’s impossible to truly compare across eras because the game has changed so much, but Unitas (who played from 1956 to 1973) edges out Montana (1979-1994) and Manning (1998-2015) for the No. 2 spot because Johnny U was so clearly the best of his era and a transformative figure for the sport. Unitas collected three MVPs and five first-team All-Pro nods, and he displayed a sneaky statistical dominance compared to his competition.

Manning ultimately overwhelms Marino and Favre with individual honors and consistency. He was so rarely outside the league’s top-three quarterbacks during a career that included five MVPs. Marino is probably the best pure passer of this group. He was never supported with a top-10 running game, and he rarely played with a good defense. He shouldn’t suffer too much, historically speaking, just because of Don Shula’s personnel decisions. Favre has perhaps the strangest resume. He combines a brilliant peak with three consecutive MVPs and a career famous for its durability with some lesser efficiency stats than the rest of the tier. Still, there’s not that much separating any of these guys.

The best second tier ever

7) Steve Young (1-0 with 49ers)

8) Aaron Rodgers (1-0 with Packers)

9) John Elway (2-3 with Broncos)

10) Roger Staubach (2-2 with Cowboys)

11) Drew Brees (1-0 with Saints)

12) Bart Starr (2-0 with Packers)

It’s wild how similar the resumes of Young and Rodgers look. They both had to wait before taking over for all-time greats who just happen to be in the tier above. They each have two MVPs. They were both as athletic as any top quarterback who has ever played. Young’s teams went 94-49 in his starts, from 1985 to 1999. Rodgers’ teams have gone 100-57-1. Young gets the slight edge for now because his seven-year peak ranks with that of any quarterback who has ever played, but it’s only a matter of time before Rodgers moves up.

Elway was a physical marvel, won an MVP and earned three second-team All-Pro nods in his career (1983-1998), but his passing numbers (3,217 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 picks per year), when adjusted for his era, don’t stack up with the rest of the top 10. Staubach is a great “What if?” because he didn’t become a full-time starter until he was 29 years old. He’s still the consensus best quarterback of the 1970s and led the league in passer rating four times. He probably gets downgraded too much for the era he played in. Starr, who has a reputation for being a “winner” of the ’60s and early Super Bowl era without generating great stats actually has … pretty great stats. So does Brees, who just turned 40 — and just completed one of his best NFL seasons.

In (or should be in) the Hall of Fame

13) Fran Tarkenton (0-3 with Vikings)

14) Ben Roethlisberger (2-1 with Steelers)

15) Troy Aikman (3-0 with Cowboys)

16) Terry Bradshaw (4-0 with Steelers)

17) Joe Namath (1-0 with Jets)

18) Bob Griese (2-1 with Dolphins)

19) Len Dawson (1-1 with Chiefs)

20) Jim Kelly (0-4 with Bills)

21) Kurt Warner (1-1 with Rams; 0-1 with Cardinals)

22) Ken Anderson (0-1 with Bengals)

23) Ken Stabler (1-0 with Raiders)

Like Brees, Tarkenton was an undersized, undervalued but consistent star with an incredibly long run of statistical dominance. Roethlisberger has been a top-five quarterback for the better part of his career, especially after his second Super Bowl triumph (following the 2008 season). Aikman’s peak (1991-96) was impressive, but unfortunately too short. Bradshaw wasn’t great in the seasons preceding his first two Super Bowl triumphs (1975 and ’76), but he wound up being a league MVP and finishing in the top five in yards per attempt five times. Namath gets extra credit for his impact on the game, although it’s worth noting Griese had three more Pro Bowl appearances (eight to Namath’s five), one more All-Pro nod (two to one) and far more seasons in the top five in yards per attempt. The offensive line and running game help, but Griese deserves some legacy love!

Dawson was the best passer in a pass-happy league, leading the AFL in passer rating for five straight years (1964-68). Kelly, like Aikman, had a brilliant peak that wasn’t quite as long as that of some others listed here. Warner had a singular career, starting late before winning two MVPs and leading two different teams to the Super Bowl. Anderson still should be considered for the Hall of Fame, as he was the rare player to win MVP, Comeback Player of the Year and the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He led the league in passer rating four times and earned a first-team All-Pro selection and two second-team nods, which is more than plenty of the names above him. Stabler finally got into the Hall in 2016, unfortunately after his passing.

Fun to watch

24) Donovan McNabb (0-1 with Eagles)

25) Boomer Esiason (0-1 with Bengals)

26) Daryle Lamonica (0-1 with Raiders)

27) Matt Ryan (0-1 with Falcons)

28) Earl Morrall (0-1 with Colts)

29) Eli Manning (2-0 with Giants)

30) Steve McNair (0-1 with Titans)

31) Russell Wilson (1-1 with Seahawks)

32) Rich Gannon (0-1 with Raiders)

McNabb was a top-10 quarterback for nearly all of his career, very often in the top five. I’m surprised he doesn’t get more Hall of Fame consideration. Esiason won an MVP (1988) and led the league in yards per attempt in that season and 1986. Lamonica was someone I didn’t fully appreciate until this exercise. While he was fattening up on a soft AFL, he made five Pro Bowls and nabbed two AFL Player of the Year awards. He finished his career 66-16-6 as a starter! Ryan has a number of seasons as a top-10 quarterback, although his MVP campaign of 2016 stands out as an anomaly.

Full List

By: Gregg Rosenthal

Winners and losers from the Divisional Round of the 2019 NFL playoffs

The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs got underway Saturday night with the AFC’s top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in action against the Indianapolis Colts. A week off did nothing to slow the Chiefs’ offensive momentum.

Led by Patrick Mahomes, who did not find his first career playoff start nearly as intimidating as the pundits thought he would, the Chiefs jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first half, and never looked back. The Colts hardly looked ready to play, nothing like the team that rode a 10-1 streak into the weekend. The Chiefs went on to win by a final score of 31-13.

The Cowboys and Rams met in LA for the late game on Saturday night to decide the first of the NFC Championship entrants. The Rams’ running game had no troubles against a usually stout Cowboys defense, and the home team rolled on for a 30-22 win.

On Sunday, the Patriots had no problems running around and through the Chargers, winning 41-28 to lock down their eighth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship game.

The Saints turned aside the Eagles, sinking their hope of a Super Bowl repeat with a 20-14 win in New Orleans. The Saints will host the Rams there next weekend.

Winner: Michael Thomas

The postseason hasn’t been filled with inspiring performances from offensive skill players. But the Saints wide receiver changed that. He and Drew Brees single-handedly got the Saints offense rolling again after a slow start. His best catch of the day — and there were A LOT of them — was on the Saints’ go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Just watch it.

https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1084599206159908864

He finished the game with 171 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches.

Loser: Nick Foles’ magic

You can’t impugn what the guy did prior to this game. The Eagles wouldn’t have been playing this weekend, or last, if Foles hadn’t stepped up as the team’s “closer” again this season with Carson Wentz hurt. But he turned into a pumpkin again, underthrowing his receivers and just unable to get the ball to his receivers when the Eagles needed it the most.

With free agency looming this spring, Foles may have cost himself some money with his performance this week, maybe not much, but enough to notice.

Winner: Time of possession

It feels like we haven’t had a good conversation about time of possession since the early days of the Chip Kelly experience in Philly. This time it was the Saints putting on the clock clinic.

It happened in the third quarter. Trailing 10-14, the Saints got the ball at their own 8-yard line. From there they put together a grinding 92-yard touchdown drive over 18 plays and 11:29 minutes, essentially monopolizing the entire third quarter.

Winner: The Patriots defense

Absent most of the season, the Patriots defense looked like one of the NFL’s most fearsome in the first half of the game. Philip Rivers never had a chance against a pass rush that was previously dormant.

Loser: Philip Rivers’ legacy

He’s got more yards, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions over the course of his career than either Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, but unlike those other two first-round picks from the 2004 draft, he does not have a Super Bowl ring. Instead, he and J.P. Losman have something in common.

Winner: Patriots running backs

The Chargers defense put on a clinic for how to stop a creative running game in last week’s win against the Ravens. Apparently, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels was able to find some holes in their game plan.

Sony Michel rolled up nearly 100 yards and scored three touchdowns … in the first half. He’s the first rookie running back in franchise history to rush for more than 100 yards in a playoff game. He finished the day with 129 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.

James White, who led the team in receptions during the regular season with 87, was Tom Brady’s favorite receiver on the day, catching 15 of 17 passes for 97 yards.

The Patriots chewed up the clock with their running backs, leaving little time for Rivers and Co. to put points on the board. It also helped keep the workload light for their defense, and teased out what their game plan might be next week against Kansas City.

Winner: C.J. Anderson

The Rams signed C.J. Anderson in mid-December, when Todd Gurley was dealing with a knee injury. Anderson had been released by both the Panthers and Raiders earlier in the season and was really just supposed to be a warm body while Gurley could heal up.

Instead, Anderson has bulldozed every defense he faced. In two games to end the season, he carried the ball 43 times for 299 yards and two touchdowns — that averaged out to 7 yards per carry. But that was against two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Cardinals and 49ers. Next up was the playoffs — and a Cowboys defense that ranked fifth in the league against the run during the regular season. Last week, they held the Seahawks’ top-ranked rushing offense to just 73 yards on the ground.

Anderson had more than that in the first half alone: 12 carries for 78 yards. Even with a healthy Gurley back in the lineup, Anderson was a force in the Rams’ first playoff win in 14 years. He used his, uh, rotund frame to help the Rams dominate the time of possession and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

Anderson was the leading rusher with 123 yards and two touchdowns. Plus, he did this:

All the Winners and Losers here

 

 

Which top NFL playoff team is at biggest risk of divisional-round upset?

An upset alert shouldn’t be necessary to make the top-seeded teams in the NFL playoffs aware of the imminent threat facing them this weekend.

Three of the four outfits that advanced from last week’s wild-card round, after all, did so on the road. And only once this decade (in 2015) have the top two seeds on each side advanced to the conference championship games.

But while this weekend’s traveling teams collectively posted a 18-14 mark as visitors this season, the foursome of teams hosting after a first-round bye (the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams) combined for a 28-4 record at home.

In light of that, we asked our NFL experts: Which team coming off a first-round bye is at the biggest risk of falling in a divisional-round upset?

Nancy Armour

I love Patrick Mahomes and everything he’s done for the Chiefs this season, and would like to think he’s going to be the one to end Kansas City’s long, long, long history of playoff heartbreak. Especially against the Indianapolis Colts. But until it actually happens, I can’t ignore the karma. Kansas City has lost 10 of its last 11 playoff games – that one victory came against Brian Hoyer and the Houston Texans – and is 0-4 against Indianapolis in the postseason. That includes the most crushing loss of all, the 2013 wild-card game in which Kansas City blew a 28-point lead and lost 45-44. Mahomes and Andy Reid have said all the right things this week, but I’m going to have to see it to believe it.

Jarrett Bell

The Chiefs. After watching all three quarterbacks who made their playoff debuts last weekend lose, that’s not a good omen for projected MVP Patrick Mahomes. No, the NFL-record 6 consecutive playoff home losses by KC isn’t on Mahomes…who wasn’t even born the last time the home team won in the playoffs at Arrowhead. But there’s just something spooky about that. Add Capt. Andrew Luck maybe carving up a suspect Chiefs defense, and I think we might see this No. 1 seed bite the dust. Of course, Mr. 50 Touchdowns has spent an entire season proving doubters wrong. And on a personal note, Andy Reid has made me look foolish multiple times when picking against him. But to borrow phrasing from my former colleague, Gordon Forbes, I just can’t shake the feeling KC’s season is about to be BBQ’d.

Nate Davis

Maybe the question for the bye week playoff teams should be, “Who’s not at risk?” All of them feel fairly vulnerable to me with the exception of New Orleans. But maybe the Rams are in the most jeopardy. Their “home” game threatens to be overrun by Cowboys fans and a team that seems well-equipped to pull off the upset at the L.A. Coliseum, where the Rams lost their wild-card contest to the Falcons a year ago. Dallas just locked down Seattle’s top-ranked ground game and will next face Todd Gurley, who’s probably going to be less than 100% after a knee issue forced him to miss two games. More worrisome, as much talent as the Rams defense has, it surrendered a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry … and is now tasked with slowing league rushing champ Zeke Elliott and highly mobile QB Dak Prescott? Gulp.

Jori Epstein

The Rams. The Cowboys’ top-5 run D is riding momentum after holding the Seahawks – 160 yards per game in the regular season – to 73 in a wildcard win. Rams all-pro running back Todd Gurley, on the other hand, is returning from nearly a month on the sideline with knee inflammation and soreness. Dallas will have its hand full containing an offense that’s averaged 37.1 points at their home Coliseum. Dak Prescott, too, must take care not to turn over the ball. But if the team follows the blueprint it used to hold the ball 9:40 more than the Seahawks last week, Ezekiel Elliott can capitalize on a Rams defense allowing a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry. Add in the star-studded Cowboys fans expected to line the Coliseum? Dallas upsets a young L.A. offense to reach its first NFC Championship Game in 23 years.

Full List

Winners and losers from ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 13

To say that we expected a well-played game between two teams in the Saints and Cowboys who had combined for 13 consecutive wins heading into Thursday night would be an understatement.

While we did see a ton of drama unfold in Big D, the game itself was not well played. Dallas fumbled the ball three times — losing two in the process. Drew Brees struggled to do anything of substance against a swarming Cowboys defense. That included pretty much a game-ending interception late in the final stanza.

In the end, Dallas came out on top by the score of 13-10 in a huge win for Jason Garrett’s squad. Here are our winners and losers from ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 13.

Winner: Byron Jones continues breakout season

Sep 23, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) waits for the Seattle Seahawks to finish player introductions before kickoff at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jones didn’t necessarily shadow Michael Thomas during Thursday night’s win over the Saints. But he played a large role on the star receiver catching just five of eight targets for 40 yards. It’s in this that the Cowboys were able to do something no team has done this season — stop Thomas from going off. After all, the third-year receiver entered this week’s action having caught 89 percent of his targets on the season.

For fans in Dallas, Jones’ performance is not surprising. He’s been among the best cornerbacks in the NFL this season. Opposing quarterbacks posted a 67.4 passer rating when targeting him through 12 weeks. Drew Brees found out firsthand in Big D just how good this former first-round pick is.

Loser: Randy Gregory costs Cowboys big time

Nov 18, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) reacts as he leaves the field after defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Gregory had played well in the first half of Thursday’s game, recording a quarterback hit and getting into the Saints’ backfield multiple times. Unfortunately, it was one dumb mistake late in the third quarter that cost Dallas big time.

With his Cowboys up 13-3 and the Saints set to punt, Gregory was called for a roughing-the-punter penalty. It was as obvious as they come. And three plays later, the Saints connected on a 30-yard touchdown to pull the game to within 13-10. Earlier in the quarter, Gregory was also called for a 15-yard facemask penalty. These are the types of mistakes that will get you jettisoned from a roster.

Winner: Demarcus Lawrence comes up huge

Nov 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) smiles as he celebrates a victory against the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With New Orleans down 10-0 in the second quarter and deciding to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the Cowboys’ one, this All-Pro performer more than earned his bucks. Known more as a pass-rusher, Lawrence stuffed stud Saints running back Alvin Kamara before the goal line — ending the New Orleans possession without a point being scored. Dallas would go on to drive nearly the length of the field to take a 13-0 lead into the half.

Taking on a quarterback in Drew Brees who has been sacked only 10 times this season, Lawrence didn’t make a huge impact from a pass-rush perspective. But he saved seven points in stuffing Kamara. That’s no small accomplishment.

Loser: Drew Brees not sharp for first time all season

Nov 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) leaves the field after a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Full Article

By: Vincent Frank

 

Dez Bryant opens up about facing the Cowboys later this season

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Dez Bryant had his first Q&A with reporters in the Bayou after taking part in his initial practice with the team on Thursday.

The recently-signed former Cowboys wide receiver is excited about this new chapter in his life. But he’s also well aware that the football gods were working their trickery.

Not only will Bryant face his former team later this month, on Nov. 29, he’ll do so in Dallas. To say that things were contentious after the Cowboys released one of the greatest receivers in franchise history back in March would be an understatement.

Though, Bryant seems to be downplaying it a bit now.

“I am excited to see all the Cowboys fans. I still love those guys,” Bryant told reporters. “And I love my ex-teammates, they’re forever my family. But I’m here on a new chapter. It’s going to be fun, but I’m the opponent now.”

Words are one thing. Action speaks louder. It will certainly be interesting to see how the game goes in Dallas. The Cowboys themselves are 3-5 on the season.

Meanwhile, Bryant’s new Saints team has won seven consecutive after losing its opener. If things continue to trend in this direction, said game will be relatively meaningless for the home team.

Full article

By: Vincent Frank

Winners and losers from NFL Week 7

If we’re being honest, there was a ton of really bad football on display during the action in NFL Week 7.

We should have seen it coming, though, after what transpired as NFL Network reporter Melissa Stark was previewing the London game.

Thankfully some outstanding performances did take place, somewhat balancing out the scales. But overall, Week 7 was one many players and teams would rather forget.

With that in mind, let’s dive into the biggest winners and losers.

Essential Guide to Betting the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl 

This year’s NFL playoffs have been especially exciting. We saw several games come down to the wire in the Divisional Round, with the Vikings winning on the final play, a heave from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs, which has now been dubbed, “The Minnesota Miracle.”  

Watching the games is exciting, but throw in a monetary stake, not just being a fan of the sport or your particular team, and you add a whole extra element.  

Though full-scale sports betting is only regulated in Las Vegas – much of the country bets through other avenues, such as offshore sportsbooks. Contrary to the belief of some, no U.S. federal law criminalizes placing sports bets online. State laws may vary, but few have laws against the act of placing a bet (being a bookie is another story), and even in states where this is illegal, it’s rarely, if ever, enforced.  

Anyway, if you’re looking to bet on the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl, here are some great tips to get you started. 

Familiarize Yourself with Sports Betting 

Betting on football is quite simple, but there are lots of different betting market aside from just point spreads and totals. Few outside of the online betting world understand the sheer number of betting options available.  

Learning the advantages and disadvantage of each bet type and forming a profitable NFL betting strategy is vital to success.  

Take Advantage of Bonuses 

One of the main reasons to bet online instead of with a local bookie is because new players will receive a bonus. Even in Las Vegas’ regulated sports betting environment, bonuses are not offered to players who bet at a book for the first time. Of course, there is a catch; they come with what is called a “rollover.” 

A rollover is the number of times you must wager your bonus, plus your original deposit before you can withdraw it. Rollovers typically are 3 to 6 times your deposit amount, plus the bonus amount. They can range from several hundred dollars to several thousand. 

Almost every online sportsbook offers a bonus. If you’re a new to online betting and don’t have many accounts – bonuses are easily hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars added to your bankroll. Many sites offer promotions specifically for the Super Bowl, so be on the lookout, even if you already have signed up at several online sportsbooks and received bonuses before. 

Line Shopping 

If you’ve skipped most of this article and just read the headings – stop right here. Line shopping is the most important point I will make in this article and the one thing that will save you the most money when betting sports.  

It’s also one of the main reasons to utilize multiple sportsbooks. Too many bettors fall into the trap of using only a single online sportsbook. No winning bettors use just one sportsbook. Yes, you heard that there is not a single winning long-term bettor that using one sportsbook. 

Instead, you should spread your bankroll around multiple sportsbooks and always look for the best odds before placing a bet. The difference between +3 and +3.5 is massive in sports betting, especially in football. Paying -110 versus -115 on a bet may only seem like $5 if you’re placing a wager to win $100, but overall the long haul, it adds up to tens of thousands or more of savings. 

Certain sportsbooks have advantages over others. Some have reduced juice; some have better underdog lines, others post their lines earlier than others. Spread your bankroll around at multiple sportsbooks to use each operator’s strengths. Always get the best price you can on each bet, and you’re one step ahead of almost everyone else who bets sports. 

Choose A Reputable Sportsbook 

There are online sportsbooks that have been in business for decades that are excellent betting options for the Super Bowl. However, there are just as many poor options, as well. Choosing highly rated sportsbooks is extremely important when betting football. After all, it’s no use betting if you can’t get paid. 

What makes a good sportsbook? Well, for one longevity in the market. The longer a book operates in good standing – the better the option. Fast payouts are another critical factor. Do they pay players quickly, do they have a lot of options in their cashier? From there, you can move onto evaluating odds and bonuses. 

There are many sites that provide online sportsbook reviews. Review several sites before deciding and read up before you deposit. Picking a reputable sportsbook will save you a lot of headaches and betting is a lot more fun when you’re sure you’re getting paid. 

Utilize Cryptocurrencies 

Due to banking laws in the United States, processing online gambling transactions through traditional methods, like credit and debit cards and bank wires has become more onerous and costly for online betting sites. These methods are still available at almost all sportsbooks, but we don’t recommend them due to the processing speeds and savings of crypto-currencies. 

Bitcoin is the most popular, but many sites accept lots of other cryptos, including Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, and more. Cryptocurrencies have much faster payout speeds than check, bank wire, and other options. They also cost a lot less too. 

Almost all sportsbooks offer withdrawals with cryptocurrencies free of charge. Traditional fiat methods may eat up 10 percent or more of profits. This is a massive amount of money that be taken out of your bankroll if you opt for checks and bank wires over cryptocurrency transactions.  

Use cryptocurrencies as your cashier method of choice and save plenty of time and money. 

Saints Loss To Falcons Changes NFC Playoff Picture

Written by Gregg Rosenthal at NFL.com

Eleven yards away from burying his biggest rival in the NFC South race, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw a pass that might haunt him until he faces the Falcons again. Luckily for him and NFL fans, that rematch is only two weeks away.

Falcons cornerback Deion Jones’ interception was one of those plays that can change the shape of an entire season in an instant. Here are a few of the quick playoff picture ramifications from Atlanta’s 20-17 victory:

The No. 1 seed in the NFC is all but out for New Orleans: A win over Atlanta on Thursday night would have put the Saints in truly commanding position to win the NFC South, considering they have already swept the Carolina Panthers. The Saintscould have started to set their sights on home-field advantage in the NFC or a playoff bye. That’s going to be a lot more difficult now with four losses, two more than the Vikings and Eagles. A head-to-head loss to the Rams also could hurt the Saints in seeding.

Even if the Saints do still win the division, it’s likely now they will be playing on Wild Card Weekend.

The NFC South could come down to the Falcons-Saints rematch: Now 8-5, Falcons go on the road to Tampa in Week 15. If they can win that game, Atlanta will head to New Orleans for a pivotal Week 16 matchup with a chance to take over first place in the NFC South. The team started 7-5 last season, so they know how a hot finish can translate to playoff success. Thursday night’s win over New Orleans, at the very least, gives the Falcons some breathing room in the wild-card race. Speaking of which …

The road for the Packers, Cowboys and Lions just got tougher: The three pack of 6-6 NFC wild-card hopefuls need the Falcons, Panthers or Seahawks to slip up down the stretch. It’s still quite possible that happens because of the difficult schedule all three teams face, but this win by Atlanta makes the path less likely.

The Panthers should be smiling too: Carolina has plenty of issues to worry about with their inconsistent passing game and the visiting Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. But the Panthers now join the Falcons and Saints in the “control their fate” NFC South party. The Falcons-Panthers game in Week 17 is going to be ripe with playoff implications. All three teams in the best division in football can win the division if they just win out. Deion Jones made sure of it.

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Redskins Give Up 15 Points in Final 4 Minutes To Lose In OT To Saints

Written by Dan Steinberg at Washington Post.com

I can’t believe the Redskins just lost that game.

(Hell yes, we are doing this again. And I don’t blame you at all if you stop reading right now. Go get a beer or something. It’s Thanksgiving week. Washington doesn’t work this week. Maybe make some yams or something. Pretend none of it ever happened.)

No, but really: I can’t believe the Redskins just lost that game. I can’t believe the Redskins just lost that game, despite having a 15-point lead with less than five minutes left and the Saints on their own side of midfield facing a first and 20 while local fans were busy toasting their team for having the sort of resilience and guts few Washington teams in 25 years have had.

Frankly, I still can’t believe the Redskins even had a 15-point lead — on the road, as more than a touchdown underdogs, with leading rusher (and receiver) Chris Thompson having broken his leg, against perhaps the NFL’s hottest team, with just about every major offensive play coming from dudes who were supposed to be backups.

I can’t believe all the moments that helped build that lead: the Redskins successfully running a fake punt from their own 15-yard line, Kirk Cousins throwing a pinpoint touchdown pass (to Ryan Grant!) while getting obliterated by blitzers, clutch plays coming from third-string tight end Niles Paul and fourth-string tight end Jeremy Sprinkle, Samaje Perine churning out Washington’s first 100-yard game in forever, Byron Marshall (who had been on the team for five days) getting a key carry in crunchtime, an entire roster rising up with one of the most improbable efforts of this NFL season, a winning performance that had Joe Buck and Troy Aikman talking about Washington’s steadily rising playoff chances.

I can’t believe Aikman said Washington’s final touchdown was a dagger.

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