MIAMI (AP) It has been eight years since the most recent playoff game for the Carolina Hurricanes Cheap Vincent Valentine Jersey , 13 years for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and 16 years for the Seattle Mariners.
To which the impatient people of Buffalo say, that’s nothing.
The Bills haven’t been to the playoffs since the 1999 season, the longest active drought in North America’s four major professional sports. The misery could end Sunday, when Buffalo (8-7) closes out the regular season at Miami (6-9) with a shot at an AFC wild-card berth.
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Here’s how bad things have been in Buffalo: This is the first time since 2004 the Bills entered the final week of the season still in contention for the playoffs.
”It’s right in front of our face,” running back LeSean McCoy said. ”If we have any shot to make it, we’ve got to win this game.”
A loss eliminates the Bills, and even if they win, they’ll need help to make the playoffs – either a loss by the Ravens against the Bengals Cheap Kyle Van Noy Jersey , or losses by the Titans against the Jaguars and by the Chargers against the Raiders.
That’s a tall order, but Buffalo is overdue for a celebration.
”It would be great,” veteran linebacker Preston Brown said. ”The city, I’m sure, will be super excited to have this happen, especially in this manner where a lot of people aren’t sure if you can make it. If you wake up in the morning and you’re in the playoffs, that’s a great feeling. It’s something I’ve never felt before.”
Here are things to know about a game the Bills must win:
SCOREBOARD WATCHING: Buffalo’s game and the others that could determine their playoff fate all start at 4:25 p.m. EST. Several Bills acknowledged their attention will be divided as they root against Joe Flacco and others.
”Sometimes I get caught up in looking at scoreboards during the game,” McCoy said. ”I’ll be watching, seeing what’s going on with Joe and the Ravens.”
There are limits to monitoring the other games 49ers Mike McGlinchey Jersey , however.
”You can’t really check your phones to see what they’re doing,” Brown said.
THE LAST TIME: Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs since losing the ”Music City Miracle” 22-16 when Tennessee scored on a kickoff return lateral in the final seconds of an AFC wild-card game on Jan. 8, 2000.
How long has it been?
”I was 8,” Bills safety Micah Hyde said. ”My birthday is Dec. 31, so it’s my birthday on Sunday. I was in Mrs. Green’s class, probably on Christmas break, probably just out there playing in the snow in Ohio.”
”I was 7,” Brown said. ”I was born in ’92, so I was like 7 years old winning Super Bowls in little league. So it has been a long time.”
QB FINALES?: Tyrod Taylor could be playing his final game for the Bills. He has a 21-20 record in three seasons as a starter and was briefly benched in November.
But he has been a Dolphins killer. In five games against Miami Cheap Stephen Gostkowski Jersey , he has passer rating of 115.6 with nine touchdown passes and no interceptions. He threw for a score and ran for another to help beat the Dolphins 24-16 two weeks ago.
”Definitely a team that I like to play against,” Taylor said.
The game might be the career finale for Miami’s 34-year-old Jay Cutler, who ended a brief retirement in August and said he hasn’t decided whether he wants to play in 2018.
DISAPPOINTING DOLPHINS: The Dolphins are staggering to the end of a wildly inconsistent season under second-year coach Adam Gase. They regressed after overachieving last year to win 10 games, and they’ll miss the playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine seasons.
Miami beat both teams that made last season’s Super Bowl, but lost to three teams that are a combined 15-30. The Dolphins rank 26th in points and 28th in points allowed, meaning the offseason will be long and busy.
”One of the worst offenses in the league, and in the back half on defense,” Gase said. ”So we have a lot of work to do.”
REMATCH: Motivation might be elusive for the Dolphins, but the game offers a chance at payback. A dismal defeat at Buffalo in Week 15 pushed Miami to the brink of elimination from the playoff chase.
The Bills are braced for Miami’s best shot.
”I’ve learned – even back in high school Cheap Quenton Nelson Jersey , back in middle school – playing a team twice is difficult,” Hyde said. ”Obviously in the NFL it’s very difficult.”
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Orchard Park, New York, contributed to this report.
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The Lions and Bears showed their coaches the door. Bruce Arians of the Cardinals found it himself. And Vance Joseph of the Broncos remained gainfully employed despite enduring the sort of season that doesn’t go down well in Denver.
What is traditionally the NFL’s biggest day for firings Redskins Derrius Guice Jersey , ”Black Monday,” started with a flurry when Detroit canned Jim Caldwell and Chicago did the same to John Fox, both before noon.
”Today is the tough part of our results-oriented business,” said Fox, whose team went 14-34 and finished last in all three of his seasons in Chicago.
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He and Caldwell, who went 36-28 in four seasons but didn’t win a playoff game, joined Jack Del Rio of the Raiders and Chuck Pagano of the Colts, whose owners didn’t even wait until the calendar turned, choosing to sack them after their games Sunday.
But that was it.
Arians Cheap Donald Trump Jersey , who has been dealing with health problems, including a bout with kidney cancer, announced he was leaving Arizona, though that was widely expected.
In a teary news conference, the 65-year-old Arians called his stay in Arizona, which included 49 victories over five seasons ”a great ride.” Sporting his trademark cap and toying with his grey goatee, Arians said an eye opener came over the summer when his wife told him his son, Jake, was soon to turn 40.
”It hit me like a ton of bricks Cheap Montee Ball Jersey , that I missed all that time,” Arians said. ”That’s the culture. I probably wouldn’t change anything.”
Joseph, a rookie head coach who oversaw a 5-11 season that included an eight-game losing streak, was on the hot seat. But his boss, John Elway, slept on it and decided to keep Joseph and not begin a search for the team’s fourth coach in five years.
”We believe in Vance as our head coach,” Elway tweeted . ”Together, we’ll put in the work to improve in all areas and win in 2018.”
The Marvin Lewis situation in Cincinnati – well, it’s complicated. Lewis completed his 15th season with the Bengals Cheap Brandon Parker Jersey , and conventional wisdom held that he might not be asked to return. He met with owner Mike Brown on Monday, but no conclusions were reached. Lewis said the decision was more complicated than management simply asking him back, and that the owner and the front office need to be on the same page.
The five vacancies (six counting the Giants, who fired Bob McAdoo earlier in December) naturally triggered a flurry of speculation about which assistant coaches might be moving on to take over the teams.
Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks confirmed that the Colts, Lions and Giants had asked him to interview. Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia were, as usual, on a number of lists, and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was considered one of New York’s top candidates.
Maybe most intriguing was the prospect of Jon Gruden leaving the broadcasting booth and returning to the Raiders. ESPN reported that Raiders owner Mark Davis was trying to lure Gruden back to the sideline with an offer that could include an ownership stake.
In Houston, Texans general manager Rick Smith said he would leave the team for at least a year while his wife Cheap Shaq Mason Jersey , Tiffany, fights breast cancer. There had been speculation that coach Bill O’Brien might lose his job, though it appeared O’Brien would stay on. Smith dismissed the notion that he and O’Brien don’t get along, saying they have a great working relationship.
”We continue to do that and that’s another reason why this is a decision that I can make,” Smith said.
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People have been picking up sticks to beat each other since time immemorial Cheap Jaire Alexander Jersey , but the joong bong, the Korean Middle staff, is something really special in the world of martial arts. This is the most commonly taught weapon in the Korean martial art of Kuk Sul Won, though tournaments and ease of use have brought the joong bong into other arenas, like Tae Kwon Do.
I got my first look at joong bong technique a few years ago, when I was interviewing one of the advanced students at a Kuk Sool Won school in Milwaukee. She was giving me the run down on the basic kicking and striking techniques used when something caught my eye. Next to the fans and tridents Cheap Cameron Fleming Jersey , most people wouldn't have given the homely stick a second glance, but I could tell from the wear that this was a weapon that many students had trained with.
The joong bong itself varies depending on the school and the preference of the user. Usually, it is made out of wood or rattan and measures between 2 and half to three feet long. My friend mentioned that some heavy hitters like their joong bong to be made out of metal, and after I did a few passes with it, it makes sense; in terms of practicing, the heavier the stick is Giants Patrick Omameh Jersey , the better the workout you'll get.
She explained that the joong bong was the middle-sized staff that many students started off with, and is one of the easier weapons to master in the realm of Korean martial arts. She herself had started with the joong bong, and though she had progressed to a mastery of several other weapons, the joong bong remained one of her favorites. As I watched, she demonstrated some of the moves associated with this ancient weapon.
The joong bong is held at one end, rather than in the center. My friend emphasized that that this is used primarily for striking and as such Cheap Martavis Bryant Jersey , the tip should be aimed at the opponent's neck for maximum effectiveness. Slowly, she took me through the four basic striking techniques that make up her joong bong practice and then she sped it up. As I watched in awe, she became the center of a whirling storm, the slow exercises she had been demonstrating turning into a fierce burst of activity.
She grinned at me when she finished up and asked if I cared to try. I was ready to go ahead so I stepped on the mat to face her, but she laughed.
"I was thinking about pairing you with one of our newer practitioners of joong bong," she said and pointed at a thirteen-year-old boy Ravens Mark Andrews Jersey , who was taking his own stick through the motions. I was going to laugh too, until I noticed how fast he was moving and how hard he could bring down his stick!
Article Tags: Joong Bong, Martial Arts
Take a look at all of your fighting idols each one of them has a team of trainers Buccaneers Alex Cappa Jersey , role models and idols that they respect, look up to on there team pushing them to be there very best. We are a direct reflection of our idols, peer group or team. If your fight team is filled with unfocused Cheap Matthew Slater Jersey , unsupportive people with negative attitudes that do not give you the discipline or support you need, you will unconsciously take on the same attitude and get no where in your fighting career.
You will not believe in yourself, be motivated to train and will not become the best you can be inside and outside of the ring. Choosing your idols Panthers DJ Moore Jersey , role models and fight team members should be taken seriously. We take on the attitudes of those we look up to, respect and interact with. Choose your fight team wisely in regards to everyone on your team being positive and supportive so that you can achieve your goal.
Each member should push you to your limits that you thought you could never rise to because they give you strength and encouragement when you feel like giving up and you feel that you can not go any further.
"IF YOU CAN TELL ME WHO YOUR HERO'S ARE I CAN TELL YOU HOW YOU'RE GOING TO TURN OUT IN LIFE" Warren Buffett
This quote hit the nail right on the head, we take on the attitudes and beliefs of our peers and hero's. That is why it is important to have focused Cheap Donald Trump Jersey , positive and supportive people around us and to rid ourselves of anyone who brings us down. That is how to achieve and obtain a high level of success in our fight careers and in life in general. Champions are made up by a team/group who contribute their knowledge and effort for the attainment of a definite goal or purpose " THE TITLE BELT"
It's important and essential that your team is this way for you to be a champion. Choose to associate with people who share common goals and have a strong desire to contribute to the overall effort. Trail and error is part of the process. Sort out what strengths and weakness' you have when it comes to your fight game, look for individuals to help you eliminate your weakness'.
Sort out each team member's strength's and weakness' and in fine tuning your plans each team member should have a specific purpose or responsibility to make you a better fighter and bring out the best in you and your abilities in the ring and outside of it.
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The Buffalo Bills host the Indianapolis Colts Vikings Brian O'Neill Jersey , who have already been eliminated from the playoff race.
The Bills, at 6-6, still have a glimmer of hope for an AFC wild-card slot. The Bills can ill-afford a slip up versus the Colts and could be handcuffed without quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor was injured in the 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots last week. Although the injury was not severe to his knee, the mobile quarterback was hampered enough to be unable to finish the contest.
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In most cases, Indianapolis’ defensive-minded head coach, Chuck Pagano would work on two defensive game plans: one to stop Taylor and the other to focus on rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman. But since neither quarterback has played particularly well this season, Pagano and his troops will focus their attention on stopping Bills running back LeSean McCoy.
McCoy has rushed for 851 yards on the season Cheap Roquan Smith Jersey , which ranks sixth in the NFL. He is tied with New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram with nine rushes over 20 yards.
Buffalo’s run game averages 122 yards an outing and is ranked eighth in the NFL. Indianapolis will have to limit the explosive runs by McCoy and attack the football. McCoy has fumbled three times this season.
Turnovers have stagnated the offense all season. Whether they are fumbles or interceptions, the Bills’ offense is struggling and will need to right the ship in Indianapolis.
“It’s frustrating, yeah,” McCoy said. “We had opportunities to capitalize on them earlier in the game. Not sure if that will make a difference between win or loss, but it will sure help it out. We were driving. Running, throwing, running Cheap Richard Rodgers Jersey , throwing. Then we had a turnover that hurt us.”
This quote came after the loss versus the Patriots but could have been after almost any Bills’ game in the 2017 season.
Whomever plays for the Bills at quarterback could be primed for a huge game if they can manage the game effectively and efficiently. The Colts are without their starting cornerbacks. Rashaan Melvin is out with a hand injury and Pierre Desir was placed on injured reserve this week with a torn muscle in his shoulder.
The Colts will have to depend on Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston and Kenny Moore, all of them rookies, as the team faces the Bills. The trio struggled mightily in the loss to Jacksonville in Week 13.
Buffalo’s offensive coordinator Rick Dennison needs to find a way to get a semblance of a passing attack going against the injury-ravaged Colts secondary.
The Bills also have a defensive-minded head coach in Sean McDermott. The Bills defensive unit has been Jekyll and Hyde this season. If McDermott wants to make the playoffs in his initial season as a NFL head coach, he will need the defense to play the good role the rest of the schedule.
The Colts enter the game fighting simply for pride at 3-9 and quarterback Jacoby Brissett is looking to simply make it out of the season in one piece. The former Patriot has been hot and cold in terms of production but has taken a beating behind a below average offensive line.
“Jacoby is tough. It’s possible all the hits he’s taken this year have begun to take a toll,” Pagano said. “(But) you keep going. You keep playing. That’s what you do, because you love ball.”
Getting pressure on Brissett will be the key for a Bills defense that ranks 27th in the NFL Cheap Tremaine Edmunds Jersey , allowing 361.6 yards per game. While this sounds like an easy task, Buffalo is tied with Sunday’s opponent, the Colts, producing only 20 sacks on the season. The only team with fewer is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 17.
With the season lost for Indianapolis, the team will look to ride running back Frank Gore’s legs in the last four games. Gore is 19th in the NFL in yards with 632. While the former San Francisco 49er is averaging a career-worst 3.6 yards a rush, Gore is currently fifth in NFL history in total rushing yards with 13,697 yards. Gore is 404 yards behind fourth place and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bengals Sam Hubbard Jersey , Curtis Martin.
Tight end Jack Doyle was asked about having Gore as a teammate.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, the ultimate pro, he’s the man,” Doyle said. “He’s Frank Gore.”
CHARLOTTE Cheap Jaire Alexander Jersey , N.C. (AP) Panthers coach Ron Rivera had just one word to describe his team’s tackling in a 31-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
”Bad,” Rivera said Monday. ”There’s no other word for it.”
Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks counted 12 missed tackles in all – by far a season high for the league’s No. 2-ranked defense coming into the game.
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Carolina (8-4) allowed 400 yards to Drew Brees and the Saints, dropping them to No. 6 overall in the NFL. More importantly, the Panthers fell one game behind the Saints (9-3) in the NFC South, which might as well be two games given New Orleans swept the season series and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Panthers were short-handed on Sunday with outside linebacker Thomas Davis limited to 39 percent of the snaps due to a hamstring injury and defensive end Charles Johnson out serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.
Wilks Bills Harrison Phillips Jersey , who took over as coordinator this season after Sean McDermott left to become head coach of the Buffalo Bills, called the effort ”unacceptable” and vowed the tackling problem will get fixed this week.
Wilks said it’s a ”misconception” that players can’t work on tackling during the season because of the limits placed on teams as part of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.
”The tackling part, to me, is not a physical thing. Every guy in that room right there, they’re physical. They have those attributes or they wouldn’t be in that room Cheap Daryl Worley Jersey ,” Wilks said. ”To me it is an emphasis on detailing your work. … You have to get into position where you are ready to tag off each and every time, understanding where you help is and trying to leverage the football.”
Rivera pointed to plays where players failed to wrap up and lost control of their games against Saints running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. The duo ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday, including a 72-yard burst by Ingram that broke the game open.
”Part of (missing a tackle) is the result of not being where you’re supposed to be,” Rivera said. ”Part of it can be a guy can get downhill to his crease and instead of keeping that gap constricted, he works sideways – which you don’t want to do because it makes that gap bigger.”
Rivera said that often led to a bigger area for the next defender to cover and resulted in more arm tackles and fewer shoulder tackles.
”It happens Panthers DJ Moore Jersey ,” safety Mike Adams said of the poor tackling. ”We will get that fixed though. We just have to do our job across the board, everybody. … We just have got to play better as a whole. A mistake on this play and on that play doesn’t help us at all.”
The good news for the Panthers is they play their next three games at home, beginning Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings (10-2). Then they host Tampa Bay and Green Bay before closing the regular season on the road against Atlanta on Dec. 31.
”We have got to win them all,” said linebacker Luke Kuechly. ”I think that that’s the biggest thing. … We have our work cut out for us, but we are excited to be at home in front of our fans. They give us a lot of good energy.”
NOTES: Rivera believes the team will have a better chance of getting tight end Greg Olsen back this week since the game will be on natural grass Cheap Rob Gronkowski Jersey , rather than an artificial surface.
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Scoring well in flex tennis league matches
The desire to excel is the main motivating factor for most of the professionals in tennis. They always strive to outshine their competitors. The attitude may appear extreme. But Cheap Logan Woodside Jersey , this commitment is the secret to consistent performance in the game. It becomes all the more important in flex tennis because you are not even required to sacrifice your busy schedule to get benefited from it. It allows you to determine how and when you play.聽 Still, learning some easy tricks will help you stay above your competition.
Learn to stay focused
The ability to focus is the key to success in tennis games. And, the first thing you would need to attain this is to concentrate only on one thing; the ball. When distracted Rams John Kelly Jersey , repeat the word “ball.” This should help you stay free from stress and other troubles, at least until the game is finished.
Know how to avert distractions
The next area where you may feel distracted is the time when you are required to return the serves. The opponent holds the ball in hand and starts preparing for action. And, you start making mental preparations to take your family for the blockbuster in your local theater. Unexpectedly Cheap Jordan Whitehead Jersey , the ball comes and you find yourself surprised and unprepared. When the opponent prepares with the ball, try to focus on your strings. This asks for a bit of practice. But, you will be able to manage it. Watching the competitor and cheering along with the movement too would help you a lot in this regard.
You should also find ways to prevent yourself from being too analytic on just one stroke. Try to appear self-confident Cheap Kemoko Turay Jersey , fresh and alert. Your attempts in this direction will make you feel the same; focusing on the game will be a real joy.
Start a ritual
This can be seen as a part of mental preparation. It helps you take your mind away from the game for a while to make you feel relaxed. Know that the “flight or fight” response of your body when you feel anxious is going to destroy your game. 聽For this, having a ritual for a few minutes before and after the match is a must for success. Visualize yourself in the environment where you feel the happiest or repeat some positive affirmations to yourself. You can also seek advice from your mentor/guide in this regard.
Finally, when getting ready for the game Cheap Jaire Alexander Jersey , make sure that your tennis gear is in good condition.
Keep these points in mind; you will definitely beat your opponent in a flex tennis league match.
ATLANTA (AP) Falcons coach Dan Quinn has seen his team coast to just one victory this season – two months ago against Dallas.
Now that the playoffs are here Vikings Mike Hughes Jersey , Quinn isn’t expecting anything to come easily when Atlanta (10-6) visits the Los Angeles Rams (11-5) in the wild-card round this weekend.
”Easy has never really been our way,” Quinn said Monday. ”We’re more of a back-against-the-wall kind of group. We like those moments to prove it.”
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At least the Falcons earned their way into the postseason with a 22-10 victory over Carolina. A loss would’ve sufficed, too, after Seattle lost to Arizona, but going in with a win gives Quinn some positive teaching points this week.
The best sign he saw against the Panthers was a plus-three turnover margin. Atlanta has four interceptions over the last two games – as many as it had in the first 15 to rank second-worst in the NFL – so maybe it’s the start of a good trend.
”Having a mindset for it is one thing,” Quinn said, ”but having it come to life on game day Cheap John Kelly Jersey , that’s another.”
There are other areas to clean up. The rushing attack overcame its least-efficient game of the season, averaging just 2.3 yards on 26 rushing attempts. Three of the seven penalties came on punt returns that cost Atlanta about 60 yards in field position.
Atlanta converted just one of five trips to the red zone with Matt Bryant bailing out the offense each time and kicking five field goals in the second half. The offense has yet to shake its penchant for dropping passes – it tied for the league lead – and false start flags.
But there also was plenty for Quinn to like.
Running back Devonta Freeman, after losing fumbles in the last two games, had no issues in 20 touches.
”You really saw the ball high and tight for him, especially on the touchdown, all the way down to the ground,” Quinn said. ”He’s worked hard at that. It really showed.”
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was an inside force with a sack Cheap DJ Moore Jersey , two quarterback hits and two tackles for lost yardage. Rookie end Takk McKinley, a late first-round draft pick from UCLA, is emerging as a force from the left and right sides.
And middle linebacker Deion Jones, with team highs in tackles (138) and interceptions (three), has become the undisputed leader of the defense in his second season.
Jones loved how the Falcons forced Panthers quarterback Cam Newton into the worst passer rating of his 109-game career. Even though Newton was without a strong receiving corps and running back Jonathan Stewart was sidelined by a back injury, Jones was pleased with how the defense held Carolina to one touchdown while Atlanta’s offense was grinding through a long afternoon.
”We have our offense’s back, and that’s what we always talk about Bengals Jessie Bates III Jersey ,” Jones said. ”I feel like if they have the ball, they can do amazing things with it once they get in rhythm. It’s just a matter of giving it to them.”
The offense has yet to match last season’s output when it led the league in scoring. Quarterback Matt Ryan, the 2016 MVP, finished with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He had career bests with 34 TDs and seven picks last season.
It’s been a tough campaign. Other than the Dallas win, every other victory was decided late.
But the Falcons, 10 months after blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history, are back in the playoffs for a second straight year. They’re a No. 6 seed Redskins Kevin Hogan Jersey , but the only NFC team to repeat.
”It wasn’t perfect throughout the regular season by any stretch of imagination, but we battled and found a way to play ourselves into this situation,” Ryan said. ”I’ve played long enough to know that all that you want is an opportunity. All that you want is a chance this time of the year. We gave ourselves that opportunity. I’m really proud of that.”
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Using a cane to walk on his surgically repaired left knee Cheap Paul Worrilow Jersey , Carson Wentz celebrated a victory with his teammates that many thought the Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t secure without him.
Wentz led them to a division title. Nick Foles is taking them to the Super Bowl.
Losing Wentz in Week 14 after the second-year quarterback had an MVP-caliber season was supposed to be a crippling blow to a team that had already lost nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, playmaking linebacker Jordan Hicks, versatile returner/running back Darren Sproles and special teams ace Chris Maragos.
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But the Eagles are one victory away from the franchise’s first NFL title since 1960 thanks to key contributions from several backups.
”It’s the next-man-up mentality Cheap Joe Thuney Jersey ,” coach Doug Pederson said Monday. ”It also means that you have some veteran players that keep things together, and good coaching staffs. I think it’s a tribute to the players and everyone involved that they can keep things going even through that adversity.”
Foles led the way with a spectacular performance in a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game . He threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns while joining Joe Montana as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to complete 75 percent of their passes in consecutive playoff games.
”We lean on each other and we play for each other and that’s what’s special about this team,” Foles said. ”There’s never going to be a time when we’re going to turn on each other. We’re always going to be there to support each other and that’s the beautiful thing about the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Even team owner Jeffery Lurie couldn’t have predicted this success.
”It surprised me because of all the injuries Falcons Calvin Ridley Jersey ,” Lurie said. ”The resiliency among this group is phenomenal.”
Sproles, one of the best returners in league history and a major part of the offense, tore his left ACL and broke his right forearm on the same play against the Giants in the home opener on Sept. 24.
The team signed Kenjon Barner to replace him on punts and rookie Corey Clement has stepped up to fill Sproles’ role as a third down specialist.
Maragos tore his right PCL at Carolina on Oct. 12. The unit struggled without him until Bryan Braman re-signed with the team in December.
Peters tore his right ACL and MCL in a Monday night game against the Redskins on Oct. 23. Halapoulivaati Vaitai replaced him in the starting lineup and has improved with more playing time.
Vaitai gained valuable experience as a rookie last year filling in for Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson when he was suspended 10 games.
”Had a lot of confidence in (Vaitai) Cheap Mark Walton Jersey ,” Pederson said. ”These are obviously the things we’ve seen in him: his maturity, his growth as a left tackle.”
Hicks ruptured his right Achilles in the same game Peters went down. It was a big loss because Hicks calls the defensive signals and is a playmaker. He has seven interceptions and five fumble recoveries in 31 games.
Joe Walker and Najee Goode replaced him initially before the Eagles signed former Ravens starter Dannell Ellerbe to take his spot. Ellerbe missed the victory over Minnesota because of a hamstring injury and Goode was beat on a touchdown pass in the first quarter.
”I think that’s what makes it more special with these guys,” Pederson said. ”You start losing some of your top players to injury. You just kind of see the fight in the guys and the resiliency in the guys. The guys just keep battling. For us to believe in one another and to be now in this spot Cheap Pernell McPhee Jersey , I’m just so happy for those guys, and hat’s off to them.”
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CHICAGO — The Detroit Lions will look to improve their playoff chances and win their third game in a row when they visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.
Meanwhile Nick Boyle Jersey , the Bears would love nothing more than to spoil the plans of their division rival.
Detroit (5-4) is surging on offense as it enters Week 11. The Lions have scored 68 points in their past two victories over the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns and rank sixth in the NFL with 27.1 points per game.
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Chicago (3-6) will try to end a two-game losing streak after dropping games to the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. The end zone has proved to be elusive for the majority of the season for the Bears, who have scored fewer than 20 points in seven of nine games this season.
Narrow outcomes have been a series hallmark in recent seasons. Nine of the last 10 meetings between the Lions and Bears have been decided by single digits, and five of those games have been determined by three points or fewer.
The series was even at 1 last season as each team won by a field goal on their home field.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford hopes to build a comfortable lead this weekend but knows that such a scenario is far from guaranteed. He has thrown for 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 14 career meetings against the Bears.
This season, Stafford has an impressive 96.3 passer rating. He has 2,461 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. His most popular target Terrance West Jersey , wide receiver Golden Tate, has hauled in 56 passes for 659 yards and three touchdowns.
Wide receiver Marvin Jones, who leads the team with five receiving touchdowns, will line up alongside Tate.
“They’ve got a lot of big-play guys,” said Bears coach John Fox, who mentioned that Tate leads the NFL in yards after the catch. “They’ve got weapons that are in the top 10 in the National Football League.”
Stafford said he and his teammates could not afford to feel comfortable despite their recent success.
“(Tate) is seeing the game well at the moment Mike Wallace Jersey , I feel like I am as well, and really all our skill guys are doing a nice job,” Stafford told the team’s official website. “But just like anything in this league, you have got to prove it week in and week out.
“You can’t ride into a game saying, ‘We got a great run game, we got a great pass game Eric Weddle Jersey , we got this or that.’ You’ve got to prove it every week.”
The Lions have been less formidable on the ground, where Ameer Abdullah leads the team with 469 yards and three scores. Cornerback Darius Slay (four interceptions) and defensive end Anthony Zettel (six sacks) stand out on the other side of the ball.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will make his sixth start and his fourth at Soldier Field. Trubisky passed for a career-high 297 yards last week and owns an overall passer rating of 75.6 with 809 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Trubisky is upbeat after completing 60 percent of his passes (21 of 35) last week, which marked his best rate of the season. Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman caught six passes for 88 yards in his debut, and Trubisky completed passes to seven players.
“I like what I’m seeing,” Trubisky told reporters this week at the Bears’ practice facility. “We just need to continue to develop that rhythm and timing and keep building our chemistry.”
On the ground Matt Judon Jersey , Jordan Howard leads the Bears with 716 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He has three 100-yard performances this season but has not rushed for a touchdown in the past five games.
The Bears’ defensive unit is led by Akiem Hicks, who has seven sacks and consistently has plugged run gaps throughout the season. Second-year pass rusher Leonard Floyd is next with 5 1/2 sacks.
Chicago is 2-3 at home this season and Detroit is 3-1 on the road.
This marks the 175th meeting between the Bears and Lions, with Chicago leading the series 97-72-5. The teams will meet again Dec. 16 at Ford Field to wrap up the regular-season series.
MIAMI GARDENS Antonio Garcia Jersey , Fla. (AP) The New York Jets refused to go down quietly. After their fourth-quarter meltdown Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, there was some angry shouting in the locker room behind closed doors.
Quarterback Josh McCown said defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson was rallying his teammates. But it was Dolphins’ rally that will be remembered after their 31-28 comeback victory Sunday.
The Jets blew a 28-14 lead in the final 12 minutes. Hence Wilkerson’s postgame ”pep talk.”
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”A lot of frustration. You heard it,” McCown said. ”There are a lot of emotions, and frustration is high on that list. The head of that frustration was Derek Rivers Jersey , `Let’s rebound,’ and Mo did a good job of hammering that home.”
Regrouping will be a challenge after the Jets (3-4) lost a heartbreaker for the second week in a row. They play Atlanta at home next Sunday.
”We have to develop a killer instinct,” coach Todd Bowles said. ”We had a 14-point lead; we’ve got to close the game out.”
The defeat came a week after a disputed call was the difference in a loss to the New England Patriots.
A hit by Jets linebacker Jordan Jenkins early in the third quarter sidelined Miami quarterback Jay Cutler with a chest injury. But backup Matt Moore threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to tie the game, and McCown then spoiled perhaps his best performance of the year with an ugly Nate Solder Jersey , costly interception.
The Jets were at their own 15 with 47 seconds left when McCown tried to hit Jermaine Kearse. The Dolphins’ Bobby McCain picked off the pass, which set up Cody Parkey’s winning field goal.
”They rotated coverage,” McCown said. ”The guy was underneath the throw.”
McCown said he tried to stopped his arm motion, but saw McCain too late.
”I don’t want to think about it Devin McCourty Jersey ,” McCown said. ”It makes me sick.”
Bowles said he decided to be aggressive in the final minute because the Jets still had all three of their timeouts. And his quarterback had already thrown three touchdown passes.
”Coach trusted me and the offense with that,” McCown said, ”and we let him down.”
Receiver Robby Anderson punctuated the Jets’ meltdown by spiking his helmet in the final seconds. Bowles was asked if the second-year pro needs to grow up.
”I didn’t see the play. They told me he threw his helmet,” Bowles said. ”If that’s what he did Stephen Gostkowski Jersey , when I look at the play I’ll talk to him.”
Bowles seemed more upset about the Jets’ 12 penalties for 124 yards.
”Too many,” Bowles said. ”Until we learn that lesson, it’s going to be tough sledding.”
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METAIRIE Matt Bryant Jersey , La. (AP) When Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore finished reviewing game video of the latest performance by New Orleans’ defense, he came away unimpressed, but not discouraged.
”We didn’t get up for that game and that’s on us. We know we’ve got to step it up,” Lattimore said after practice Wednesday, as the Saints prepared for their postseason clash on Sunday with Carolina. ”It’s the playoffs, so that’s in the past. We’re going to get the job done. We didn’t lose our confidence at all. We’re good. We’re going to get up for this game for sure.”
Lattimore and fellow Saints defenders not only have to address their recent back-sliding as a unit, but also for the presence of star Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, who didn’t play in either of these teams’ previous two meetings this season.
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”You’re talking about one of the better tight ends in the game. Not having him is significant and having him is huge Matt Bosher Jersey ,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. ”He’s smart. He’s tough. He blocks for the run. He enjoys competing and quite honestly, he does so many little things well in regards to zone or man, that third down or red zone – pick a situation – it’s just significant.”
Olsen missed nine games with a foot injury this season. He played in Carolina’s last four regular season games, with as many as nine receptions in one game.
”We do some things with Greg that we didn’t get a chance to do when he wasn’t with us,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. ”Gregg’s a pass-catching threat, a good route runner, got good hands.”
He has just 17 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown this season, and had only one reception in Carolina’s loss to Atlanta last week.
Still Ricardo Allen Jersey , Saints defenders expect Olsen to be a factor in a win-or-go-home playoff game.
”Him and Cam have timing together, chemistry,” Saints safety Vonn Bell said. ”He knows the offense. He’s a (former) Pro Bowler. He knows how to use his body” to keep defenders from getting to the ball in flight.
”We just know he’s a passing threat,” Bell added.
The Saints improved from 27th defensively overall to 15th this season. They also enjoyed considerable increases in sacks, from 30 to 42, and interceptions, from 9 to 20.
Yet a 31-24 loss at Tampa Bay in the regular season finale ”left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth,” Payton said.
The Saints’ defense gave up 455 total yards in Tampa Bay. The Bucs converted 13 of 18 third downs and their lone fourth-down attempt. If not for three interceptions – one by linebacker Craig Robertson and two by rookie safety Marcus Williams Ryan Schraeder Jersey , the Saints might have struggled just to keep it close.
”We’ve got a fire lit up under us to come out here and play the way we know we’re capable of playing,” defensive tackle Tyeler Davison said. ”Our details weren’t exactly on point like they need to be that last game.”
The Bucs gained 110 yards rushing and had two receivers go over 100 yards, including Chris Godwin, who caught a go-ahead, 39-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left.
”Definitely sour to end it with not our best performance of the year by far,” Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins said. ”But the beauty of this is we get another shot, and this time it really means something.”
Notes: LT Terron Armstead (thigh), DE Trey Hendrickson (ankle) and TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion) all practiced on a limited basis on Wednesday after not playing in Tampa Bay last Sunday. … Several other regulars practiced on a limited basis Andy Levitre Jersey , including leading receiver Michael Thomas (hamstring), guard Senio Kelemete (knee), tight end Josh Hill (shoulder) and special teams regular Justin Hardee.
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JACKSONVILLE (7-3) at ARIZONA (4-6)
Sunday Eric Wood Jersey , 4:25 p.m., ET, CBS
OPENING LINE – Jaguars by 4
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RECORD VS SPREAD – Jaguars 6-4, Cardinals 2-7-1
SERIES RECORD – Tied 2-2
LAST MEETING – Cardinals beat Jaguars 27-14, Nov. 17, 2013
LAST WEEK – Jaguars beat Browns 19-7; Cardinals lost to Texans 31-21
AP PRO32 RANKING – Jaguars No. 8, Cardinals No. 23
JAGUARS OFFENSE – OVERALL (8) Colton Schmidt Jersey , RUSH (1), PASS (27)
JAGUARS DEFENSE – OVERALL (1), RUSH (16), PASS (1)
CARDINALS OFFENSE – OVERALL (19), RUSH (31), PASS (5)
CARDINALS DEFENSE – OVERALL (19), RUSH (10) Cordy Glenn Jersey , PASS (22)
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES: Jaguars have never played in University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2006. Only other team never to play there are Tennessee Titans, who are at Arizona on Dec. 10. … Jaguars rank fourth in third-down defense, Arizona is 29th. … Jacksonville DE Calais Campbell played previous nine seasons with Cardinals and ranks second on Arizona franchise career sacks list with 56 +. … Campbell, who signed a four-year, $60 million contract with Jags with $30 million guaranteed Jerry Hughes Jersey , has 11 1-2 sacks this season, tied for league lead and career high. … Only Larry Fitzgerald (90) has played more games in University of Phoenix Stadium than Campbell (69). … Jacksonville leads NFL in sacks (40) and is only team with four players with at least five sacks. … Jaguars rookie RB Leonard Fournette has four 100-yard rushing games, including 111 last week vs. Browns. … Jacksonville plays next three games at home. … Jaguars have started a different offensive line in each of the last four games. … Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert drafted 10th overall by Jacksonville out of Missouri in 2010. He started 14 games as a rookie and had a 5-22 record over two-plus seasons with the Jags. He is 9-32 as a starter overall with Jacksonville, 49ers and Cardinals. … Gabbert threw career-high three TD passes Sunday vs. Texans. … Against Houston, Arizona S Budda Baker was first rookie with at least 10 tackles, sack and two forced fumbles in game in franchise history and first to do it in NFL in 20 years. … At age 34, Fitzgerald is second in NFL in receptions (69) Preston Brown Jersey , one fewer than Antonio Brown, and is sixth in league with 758 yards receiving. … Fitzgerald needs 52 yards receiving to pass Isaac Bruce into fourth in career list. … Fantasy Tip: Jacksonville defense ranks first in NFL in fewest yards allowed (275.6), fewest opposition passing yards allowed (162), fewest points allowed (14.1 per game), fewest TDs allowed (15) and turnover margin (plus-11).
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PITTSBURGH (AP) Joe Haden spent his first few weeks in Pittsburgh trying to fit into a new locker room after spending seven seasons in Cleveland.
The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback had little trouble adjusting. Still Eric Wood Jersey , he couldn’t help but think something was missing.
”I haven’t felt like I’ve made too many splash plays,” Haden said. ”I felt like I’ve been doing my job, staying on top, not really getting beat. But you always, as a corner, you always want to get your hand on the ball.”
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Haden kick started Pittsburgh’s second-half domination of Cincinnati with an acrobatic pick on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to set up a field goal and the Steelers overran Cincinnati in a lopsided 29-14 victory. Pittsburgh (5-2) intercepted Dalton twice and sacked him four times over the final 30 minutes to provide some breathing room in the decidedly `meh’ AFC North.
”We still got a ways to go Colton Schmidt Jersey ,” Haden cautioned after the Steelers beat Cincinnati (2-4) for the eighth time in their last nine meetings.
Maybe, but perhaps not as far as it appeared after getting run over by Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette earlier this month. Pittsburgh responded by going to Kansas City to knock off the previously unbeaten Chiefs last week and spent the second half of Sunday showcasing the widening gap between themselves and the rest of the division.
Though the offense again largely had to settle for field goals – a Heinz Field record five by Chris Boswell – the way the defense played, Pittsburgh’s six-point halftime lead was never in danger. The Bengals managed just 19 yards after the break as their mini-surge following an 0-3 start came to an ugly halt.
”We didn’t play up to where we needed to today,” Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green said after catching just three passes for 41 yards. ”They did a great job taking me away.”
And putting the Bengals in a serious hole. The Steelers have a full two-game lead over the entire AFC North and after a two-game swing through Detroit and Indianapolis will leave Western Pennsylvania just twice over the final seven weeks.
For a team that looked like a bit of a mess after getting lit up late by the Jaguars, the Steelers certainly appear to have their swagger back. How else to explain rookie linebacker T.J. Watt’s ”Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” inspired sack dance? Watt, the younger brother of Houston defensive end J.J. Watt Cordy Glenn Jersey , broke it out after chasing Dalton down in the fourth quarter.
”We can be great,” Watt said.
For now, Pittsburgh will have to settle for pretty good.
”We’re going to be very dangerous,” middle linebacker Ryan Shazier said.
READY OR NOT
Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back Le’Veon Bell took the NFL’s relaxed celebration rules to another level with an inspired game of “Hide and Seek” after Smith-Schuster hauled in a 31-yard score in the second quarter.
Bell approached the 20-year-old Smith-Schuster with the idea a few minutes before the kickoff, and their impromptu re-enactment of a children’s game quickly went viral.
”That was us just being dramatic, creative on what we were going to do Jerry Hughes Jersey ,” Bell said. ”I know JuJu and he loves doing celebrations. I know he was going to be the guy to do it.”
HERE I COME
A week after getting 35 touches against the Chiefs, Bell had 38 against the Bengals. He ran it 35 times for 134 yards and added three receptions for 58 yards, including a 42-yard catch-and-run that featured Bell shoving Cincinnati’s Dre Kirkpatrick to the ground.
”That was one of my better stiff-arms of my life,” Bell said. ”I don’t know what happened or what came over me that play.”
The Steelers are 12-0 all-time when Bell has at least 25 carries, including 3-0 this season. He’s ready for more.
”How many more games do we have?” Bell said. ”No, for real how many more games do we have? Nine? At least nine.”
YOU CAN’T HIDE
The Bengals appeared to have figured out their running game during their short winning streak Preston Brown Jersey , featuring rookie Joe Mixon more prominently. Mixon had 48 yards on seven carries in the first half on Sunday, including a 25-yard sprint that set up a touchdown.
Mixon did not carry the ball in the second half. Not once. Cincinnati had just five carries for 17 yards in the second half, relying on the pass as it fell further behind. Head coach Marvin Lewis couldn’t seem to explain the decision by offensive coordinator Bill Lazor to keep the ball out of Mixon’s hands.
”He was in there in the third quarter,” Lewis said of Mixon. ”Whatever plays are called are called.”
GONNA FIND YOU?
Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant downplayed reports that he asked for a trade earlier in the season because of his diminished role in the offense. He carried the ball for a two-yard gain on Pittsburgh’s first snap and later caught one pass for three yards. He also appeared to not see a heave down the sideline by Roethlisberger in the third quarter that could have been a big play.
Bryant appeared to vent his frustrations in a postgame exchange on Instagram , saying Smith-Schuster is a ”great talent” but added ”I just wants mine period point blank.”
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PITTSBURGH (AP) Technically it went into the scorebook as a 2-yard touchdown run.
The highly GIF-able reality told a more compelling story Frostee Rucker Jersey , one that served as the symbolic launch point for both the Jacksonville Jaguars’ breakout season and the rookie running back at the center of it all.
The Jaguars were driving deep in Pittsburgh territory early in the second quarter at Heinz Field on Oct. 8.
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On second down at the Steelers 2, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles took the snap and stuffed the ball in Leonard Fournette’s gut.
Fournette took two steps then vaulted into the air at the 4.
All 240 pounds of him sailed over the line of scrimmage and landed untouched at least a yard into the end zone.
Just like that, Fournette and the Jaguars arrived, making the Steelers believers in the process.
”Fournette is good,” said Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree, who then immediately corrected himself. ”Fournette is great.”
Yet for all of Fournette’s breathtaking feats of athleticism – including a 90-yard bolt to the end zone that served as the exclamation point on Jacksonville’s 30-9 victory three months ago, he’s just part of a group that led the NFL in rushing.
While Pittsburgh (13-3) will be focusing on Fournette’s No. 27 wherever he goes on Sunday when the Steelers host the Jaguars (11-6) in the divisional round of the playoffs Jared Veldheer Jersey , they’re well aware they can’t take the other players in the backfield lightly.
Sure, Fournette finished with 1,040 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon, Corey Grant and Bortles combined for 1,205 yards and seven touchdowns. Even fullback Tommy Bohanon found the end zone twice.
”Minimizing their run is more than just focusing on Leonard Tyvon Branch Jersey ,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.
”Obviously, we have to do a good job there, but we have to do a good job for 60 minutes and in all areas. We want to minimize the ways that they run the ball and the ways that they possess the ball and control the game.”
The Jaguars finished with 231 yards rushing in the first meeting, the most allowed by the Steelers this season.
While Fournette’s late burst skewed the numbers a bit, it was a run made possible by the 36 attempts that came before it as Jacksonville simply wore down Pittsburgh until the Steelers yielded.
More of the same likely arrives this weekend. The Jaguars are hardly apologetic for their approach, one that emphasizes controlling the clock and the tempo.
It’s a formula that helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade and one they used effectively – if not exactly glamorously – while outlasting Buffalo in the wild-card round last weekend.
”They stick to the run the whole game,” Pittsburgh rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. ”It’s not like we’re going to shut it down for a couple plays and they’re going to pass the rest of the game. We have to stop it through all four quarters.”
Bortles included. For all of his occasional issues throwing the ball J. J. Nelson Jersey , Bortles can make up for it with his legs.
He actually ran for more yards (88) than he passed for (87) against the Bills. He had four runs of 10 yards or more. He only had five passes that traveled at least that distance.
”People talk about his skillset or whatever,” Steelers safety Mike Mitchell said. ”At the end of the day they won the game. It’s dangerous, we respect it. Our job is to be able to cover.”
And tackle. And not get so caught up in trying to get to Bortles that they let him squirt loose, a bad habit Pittsburgh picked up at times this season even as it led the NFL and set a franchise record with 55 sacks, one more than the Jaguars.
”You’ve got to be controlled,” Dupree said. You’ve got to stay in your rush lane. You don’t want him to hurt you with his feet. It might be third-and-12, he might get 10 yards. You don’t want that to happen. You’ve got to make sure you’re constricting the rush lane A.Q. Shipley Jersey , pushing the pocket. Just get him to step up in the pocket, we can chase him down then.”
And, the Steelers hope, run all the way to the AFC title game in the process.
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