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Thread: 2018 nfl football sneak peek at teams/predictions/news/notes/picks etc. !

  1. #16
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    Handicapping Chargers (9)
    June 26, 2018


    The Los Angeles Chargers are getting a lot of love from the media and from bettors heading into the 2018 season. The Chargers finished 9-7 last season and finished second in the AFC West behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

    The Chargers have an offense that is led by Philip Rivers and a defense that features Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward. If the Chargers are to have success in 2018 they will need to start fast, as four of their first five games are in Los Angeles. The Chargers have the 9th-easiest schedule in the NFL this season, but they have to travel the second-most miles, as they have a game in London in Week 7.

    Let’s look at the schedule for the Chargers to see if they will go over or under their win total of nine.

    2018 Los Angeles Chargers Regular Season Win Total
    Over 9 (-130)
    Under 9 (+100)


    2018 Los Angeles Chargers Schedule Analysis

    Sunday, Sept. 9, vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    If the Chargers are to establish themselves as serious contenders in the AFC then they simply have to win their home opener against the Chiefs. The Chargers have lost eight straight to the Chiefs, but this could be the chance for Los Angeles to turn things around in this series, as they face the Chiefs with a new starting quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.

    Sunday, Sept. 16, at Buffalo Bills
    The Chargers rolled over the Bills last season and there is no reason to think it will be any different this season, as Buffalo doesn’t have a quality quarterback.

    Sunday, Sept. 23, at Los Angeles Rams
    The Chargers and Rams will battle in what is now a crosstown-rivalry. The Rams will be favored in this one and this could be the first loss of the season for the Chargers.

    Sunday, Sept. 30, vs. San Francisco 49ers
    This game is no bargain for the Chargers, as the 49ers are considered contenders in the NFC with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This should be a high scoring game that could go either way.

    Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Oakland Raiders
    This will be the first game for the Chargers against new Oakland head coach Jon Gruden. The Chargers won both games against Oakland last season, but it will be much tougher this year.

    Sunday, Oct. 14, at Cleveland Browns
    The Chargers should be able to roll in this game against a Cleveland team that is getting better, but still not on the level of the Chargers.

    Sunday, Oct. 21, vs. Tennessee Titans
    This is a dangerous game for the Chargers, as it is in London against a very good Tennessee team. The Chargers usually struggle at stopping the run and the Titans have a strong rushing attack.

    Sunday, Oct. 28: Bye

    Sunday, Nov. 4, at Seattle Seahawks
    The Chargers have not visited the Seahawks since 2010. The Seahawks are not as good as in previous years, but this game is still in Seattle and it will not be an easy contest for Los Angeles.

    Sunday, Nov. 11, at Oakland Raiders
    The Chargers almost always struggle to win in Oakland and it shouldn’t be any different this year.

    Sunday, Nov. 18, vs. Denver Broncos
    This will be the first chance for the Chargers to get a look at the Broncos with Case Keenum at quarterback. The Broncos could be the surprise team in the AFC this season and this may not be an easy game for Los Angeles.

    Sunday, Nov. 25, vs. Arizona Cardinals
    This is an interesting matchup, as the Cardinals new offensive coordinator is Mike McCoy who is the former Chargers head coach. The Cardinals should be really good running the ball with David Johnson back healthy, and we know the Chargers struggle against the run.

    Sunday, Dec. 2, at Pittsburgh Steelers
    The Chargers have not traveled to Pittsburgh since 2012 and the Chargers rarely win against Pittsburgh, as they are 2-8 in their last 10 meetings.

    Sunday, Dec. 9, vs Cincinnati Bengals
    The Chargers will need to win this one at home and they are 19-14 all-time against the Bengals, including 10-7 at home.

    Thursday, Dec. 13, at Kansas City Chiefs
    This will not be an easy contest for the Chargers playing on short rest on the road in Kansas City. This looks like a road loss.

    Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Baltimore Ravens
    The Chargers get some extra rest to prepare for former teammate Eric Weddle and the Ravens. This may not be an easy home game for the Chargers.

    Sunday, Dec. 30, at Denver Broncos

    The Chargers simply don’t win that often in Denver, as they have not won in Denver since 2013. They have not swept the Broncos since 2010.

    2018 Los Angeles Chargers Season Win Total Prediction

    The Chargers won nine games last season and based on their schedule for 2018 there is a decent chance they will go 9-7 again. Whether you go over or under the total of nine could depend upon how good you think Kansas City, Oakland and Denver will be. The AFC West overall looks very competitive, so we’ll go under nine wins for the Chargers in 2018.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    B]Future Bets - AFC North
    June 26, 2018
    [/B]

    Is Pittsburgh's Reign of Dominance Continuing in the AFC North this year?

    Last week it was the NFC North who got my attention as that division appears to be a two-team race for all intents and purposes, but this week it's on to the AFC North and wondering whether or not anyone can dethrone the Steelers.

    Outside of the Patriots to win the AFC East, Pittsburgh is laying the most chalk in terms of division futures this year (-275) and rightfully so.

    All three of their division rivals have significant questions to be answered at the QB position – among others – which could make it a runaway for Pittsburgh this year.

    Odds to Win AFC North
    Pittsburgh Steelers (-275)
    Baltimore Ravens (+450)
    Cleveland Browns (+900)
    Cincinnati Bengals (+1000)

    Pittsburgh will be looking for their third straight and fourth division crown in five years this year and I really don't think they'll meet much resistance. Oddsmakers are inclined to agree given the prices they put out on the other three squads as neither of them really have better than an outside shot to claim a division crown.

    Cleveland is continuing on with their rebuilding plan as the Baker Mayfield era is now upon us, and asking him to go out there and win a division title in his first year is a big ask. That's on top of it being the Cleveland Browns, a team that win winless a year ago and hasn't won much of anything this century – Cleveland has not won a AFC North crown since realignment happened prior to 2002 – so really it's just way too big of a leap to ask the Browns to make.

    All you need to know about Cincinnati's chances this year is the fact that they are actually listed as having less of a chance than Cleveland to win this division. Bengals fans are going to have to endure yet another campaign with the likes of Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton at the helm and while there is an outside shot they could regain their division-winning caliber of play from 2015, the fact that a winless team from a year ago like Cleveland is more favored than Cincinnati in that regard is a telling sign. Bengals fans better be prepared for a lot of misery this year and for their sake, I hope it's the last time they've got to deal with Marvin Lewis and his winless playoff record in 15+ years at the helm.

    Which leaves Baltimore as the lone “legit” contender to dethrone the Steelers and just a few years after making QB Joe Flacco the richest QB in the NFL at the time, they went out and drafted QB Lamar Jackson in the 1st round of this year's draft just to “plan for the future.” Making that draft pick could light a fire under Flacco's ass this year – probably what Baltimore is hoping for – but they aren't sold on Flacco's talent anymore as evidenced by that Jackson pick, and have already begun plotting a way to get out from underneath that bad contract. So in the end, this could be a solid series for this Baltimore organization, but in all likelihood it's going to be a year of transition for the Ravens where they have a little more than one eye on the future and what that may bring. That leaves us with Pittsburgh again and while the -275 price tag looks like quite a bit of chalk to swallow at first, I actually believe it should be much higher.

    The Steelers have to be looking towards the future as well with QB Ben Roethlisberger not getting any younger, but backup Landry Jones has played significant minutes for this team in the past and is more than capable of stepping in should he be needed this year. He's got plenty of weapons around him in Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and others, so another Roethlisberger injury won't derail the Steelers season as a starting QB injury would for many other teams in this league.

    Then, despite it being a “1st place” schedule for Pittsburgh in 2018, the way their games have been laid out, this year could be a runaway for Pittsburgh by the time Halloween arrives.

    Pittsburgh starts the year by facing Cleveland, Kansas City (who begin the Patrick Mahomes era), Tampa Bay (with QB Jamies Winston likely still suspended), and the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore games are never easy, but that could end up easily being a perfect 4-0 SU start for the Steelers right off the hop. From there, they host a tough Atlanta team, followed up by three straight division games against Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Baltimore again. That's five of the six AFC North games the Steelers have this year done by the first week of November and if all goes well the division should be wrapped up for them as well.

    Things do get tougher for them down the stretch with games against Carolina, Jacksonville, L.A Chargers, Oakland, New England, and New Orleans, before finishing with the Bengals again, but even a .500 mark during that stretch should be more than enough for the Steelers to win this division going away.

    As much as I like to searchand argue for reasons that a changing of the guard may be coming in a particular NFL division and backing an underdog team with a chance, making a case for anyone other than Pittsburgh to win the AFC North in 2018 just doesn't seem to be anything but a pipe dream.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL Notebook: Brother of Giants CB Jenkins arrested for manslaughter
    June 27, 2018


    William H. Jenkins Jr., the older brother of New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, was charged with aggravated manslaughter after a body was found at the player's home in Fair Lawn, N.J.

    Earlier in the day, authorities said they were waiting to interview someone they called "a person of interest."

    Janoris Jenkins, entering his seventh season in the NFL and third with the Giants, reportedly has been in Florida since the team ended minicamp two weeks ago. He has been advised by his attorneys to remain in Florida.

    The victim was identified Roosevelt Rene, 25, a Jenkins family friend who had been living at the house, according to the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

    William Jenkins is in custody in Ontario County, N.Y., after sheriff's deputies detained him Tuesday for an alleged parole violation, Ontario County District Attorney Jim Ritts told the NFL Network.

    Before charging him, Ritts said William Jenkins was considered "a person of interest" by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

    If convicted on the first degree manslaughter charge, William Jenkins could be sentenced to 10-30 years in prison, Bergen County prosecutors told NFL.com.

    Police and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the death as a possible strangulation/suffocation incident, according to ESPN.

    Jenkins' home is located about 10 miles north of MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

    The Giants said that they "are aware of and monitoring the situation."

    --Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said he intends to work out with the team's wide receivers in the coming weeks as he continues his bid to return from a right shoulder injury.

    "Yeah, I will," the 28-year-old Luck said during an interview with Dave Calabro of WTHR. "I won't divulge too many secrets on that. But I absolutely will. It's part of the plan."

    Luck and T.Y. Hilton are no strangers to each other since both were selected by the Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft. Wideouts Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant, however, haven't spent significant time with the quarterback.

    A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Luck said earlier this month that he expects to be ready for the start of training camp on July 25 -- let alone the season opener -- and nothing since that time has changed his mind.

    "I'm convinced I'll be ready for training camp, but I'm not going out throwing 150 balls a day," Luck said. "There will be a plan. I've talked with Coach (Frank) Reich and our medical staff and training staff and I feel very, very confident about that plan. The goal obviously is to play each game as best I can."

    Luck missed the 2017 season while rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

    --Free-agent linebacker Tamba Hali appears to be inching closer to retirement.

    Hali, who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in March, said during an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio that his interest in playing has waned.

    The 34-year-old admitted that he wants to continue to play "at times," while on other occasions he would rather spend more time with his family or pursue his musical interests.

    Hali released the video for "Oh My Gawd," the debut single from "Tamba Juice" earlier this month. He founded his own record label, Relumae Records, several years ago.

    "I just need to continue to work out and do my music," Hali said. "I don't want to focus too much on football. I don't see myself getting back into football. I see myself being involved with the Chiefs somehow, maybe as a specialist being able to teach the guys. I don't want to lie to myself. I think the time has come."

    Hali, who played 12 seasons with the Chiefs, made five straight Pro Bowls from 2011 to 2015. His 89.5 sacks are second to Derrick Thomas in team history.

    Hali dealt with knee issues last season and appeared in a career-low five games, recording one tackle. He began last season on the physically unable to perform list and did not appear in a game until Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys.

    Before last season, Hali had only missed five games -- although in 2016 he started just two games after agreeing to a three-year $21- million deal and elected to skip voluntary offseason workouts.

    Hali recorded 453 tackles, 89.5 sacks and 10 interceptions in 177 regular-season games. He reached double digits in sacks in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

    --Annabel Bowlen, the wife of Denver Broncos majority owner Pat Bowlen, announced that she was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

    The news comes four years after Pat Bowlen announced that he was diagnosed with the same progressive brain disease.

    "I recently learned that I've joined my husband Pat and the millions of others who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease," Annabel Bowlen said in a statement. "Since Pat's diagnosis, I have gained a vivid understanding of this disease's progression and its effect on those living with it as well as their families. My family and I have been -- and will remain -- dedicated supporters of Alzheimer's awareness, treatment and research funding.

    "I decided to make my diagnosis public right away in the hope that it continues to raise awareness for those battling Alzheimer's and their loved ones. With June also being Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month, the timing was right for me to share this personal update with everyone."

    Pat Bowlen, 74, left his role as controlling owner of the Broncos in July 2014. He placed the team's ownership in the hands of three trustees -- president/CEO Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and attorney Mary Kelly.

    "Our hearts go out to Annabel and the entire Bowlen family," Ellis said in a statement. "She's been a wonderful ambassador and advocate for the Broncos over the years, especially in recent seasons as Pat has focused on his own battle with Alzheimer's disease.

    "All of us at the Broncos are behind Annabel and know she'll face this challenge with courage and determination. ... We commend Annabel for her brave public announcement and look forward to increasing our involvement in the Alzheimer's community."

    --Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones took to social media to congratulate Pittsburgh Steelers star Antonio Brown for claiming the top rank among wideouts in the NFL Network's Top 100 poll.


    Brown was ranked second by his peers to only New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who reeled in the No. 1 spot for the second year and a row and third time since 2011.

    The reigning AFC Offensive Player of the Year, Brown set an NFL record in 2017 by catching at least 100 passes in five consecutive seasons. He had 101 receptions for an NFL-best 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games in 2017.

    "Congrats! Now one of us got to get that #1," Jones wrote to Brown on Instagram.

    Jones collected 88 receptions for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns in 2017. It marked the fourth consecutive season with at least 1,400 yards receiving for Jones, the No. 6 overall pick of the Falcons in the 2011 NFL Draft.

    Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, who finished fifth on the list, was quick to sing Brown's praises to NFL Network.

    "AB's the best player I've ever seen in person," Bell said. "The double team doesn't matter. AB's gonna beat the double-team every time. He catches, you know, 200, 300 balls after practice every day. And he's always working his feet. At the end of the day, he's going to get the job done."

    --Terry McAulay became the latest former NFL official to trade working on the football field for the broadcast booth.

    NBC Sports announced that McAulay will serve as an on-air rules analyst for its games on NBC Sunday Night Football. He will also work Notre Dame games for NBC.

    McAulay joins NBC Sports following his recent retirement after 20 years as an on-field NFL game official. He also served as the American Athletic Conference's coordinator of football officiating since 2008 (named the Big East Conference from 2008-13).

    "We look forward to Terry joining our team and adding his officiating expertise to our NFL and Notre Dame coverage," said Fred Gaudelli, executive producer of NBC Sunday Night Football.

    "In 29 years producing primetime NFL games, I never worked with a finer official than Terry McAulay. From Super Bowls to Sunday nights, he always had complete command and control of every situation. He's a highly effective communicator and we look forward to him joining Al (Michaels), Cris (Collinsworth) and Michele (Tafoya)"

    McAulay became the first NFL referee to work three Super Bowls with less than five years of experience. He worked in Super Bowls XXXIX, XLIII and XLVII in addition to 15 other playoff games -- including nine conference championship games.

    The 59-year-old McAulay joined the NFL as a side judge in 1998 and became a referee three years later.

    As college official, McAulay was the referee for the Nebraska-Tennessee national championship game (Bowl Alliance Championship) at the Orange Bowl in January 1998.

    Former referee Gene Steratore will join CBS as a rules analyst for both the NFL and college basketball, the network announced.

    Steratore retired from the NFL after 15 seasons as an official on Friday. He worked Super Bowl LII in February and was involved in one of the most controversial on-field incidents in 2017 when he used an index card to determine if the Dallas Cowboys secured a crucial first down against the Oakland Raiders.

    --Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension, the team announced.

    Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team, but NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that it's a five-year, $72 million extension -- with $40 million in guarantees and a $15 million signing bonus.

    Hunter was entering the final year of his contract with a base salary of $1.9 million.

    The 23-year-old Hunter recorded 45 tackles, seven sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 16 games last season. He evolved from situational pass rusher to a full-time starter in 2017 while playing on 78 percent of the Vikings' defensive snaps.

    Hunter collected 134 tackles and 25.5 sacks in 46 career contests since being selected by the Vikings in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

    --One former New York Giants wide receiver would like to see a current one get paid -- and soon.

    Plaxico Burress recently urged the Giants to sign Odell Beckham Jr. to a contract extension before the start of the 2018 season.

    Beckham reportedly is seeking a new contract that will make him the highest-paid wideout in the game. The 25-year-old is set to play for $8.5 million in 2018 on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.

    "Everybody in the world knows (Beckham) needs to be rewarded," the 40-year-old Burress told NJ.com. "It's only a matter of time. Don't have him disgruntled going into the season, and then you lose him. Why even put yourself in that position?"

    Burress found himself in a similar situation when he wanted to sign a new deal before the 2008 season as means of protection while coming off an ankle injury. Burress skipped offseason practices and was often limited to riding a stationary bike before signing a five-year deal only hours before the season opener.

    "It became about the (other) guys," Burress said. "You try to handle your business as you should. I'm really close with a lot of the guys I played with. We were coming off a championship. Sitting down talking with those guys was like, 'It's not about them. It's about us.' We had a great team back then. Hopefully, those same thoughts go through (Odell's) mind and he's able to make the decision to show up and perform.

    "I hope that he doesn't let that affect him going into training camp. I say just go pay the guy so they can put all that behind them and everybody goes into a season with a tremendous focus of winning another championship."

    A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Beckham was limited to four games in 2017 before he was injured. Without their best offensive player, the Giants slumped to a 3-13 record last season while New York's offense ranked 31st in the league in scoring at 15.4 points per game.

    Beckham has 313 catches for 4,424 yards with 38 touchdowns in four seasons with the Giants. He was named the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

    Burress provided the signature moment in Super Bowl XLII by catching the game-winning touchdown on a 13-yard pass from Eli Manning with 35 seconds remaining. The Giants held on for a 17-14 win over the New England Patriots.

    Burress played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Giants and New York Jets during his NFL career.

    --New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley fulfilled a promise by purchasing a home for his parents.


    Barkley, who was the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, posted a photo on Instagram of himself standing in front of a house with a "sold" sign on the front lawn.

    "Something I promised my parents, ever since I was a young kid. Finally be able to achieve that goal is the most amazing feeling," the 21-year-old wrote in his caption. "Every kid out there that has a dream continue to keep your head down and work your butt off, great things will come along the way."

    Per TMZ, the 3,355-square foot house features four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and is approximately 90 minutes from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

    Before the draft, Barkley said his first major purchase as a pro athlete would be a house for his parents.

    "The first big thing I'm going to buy is my mom a house. My parents are everything to me -- and all the sacrifices they've made -- I wouldn't be the man I am today without those two -- my mom and my father," Barkley said, via 247sports.com. "So, definitely going to buy those two a house that they can call home and not have to worry about anything."

    Barkley's parents relocated from the Bronx to the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania so the family could grow up in a safer environment.

    The 6-foot-3, 233-pound Barkley later made himself at home at Penn State, rushing 217 times for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns last season with the Nittany Lions. He also caught 54 passes for 632 yards and two scores, as well as returning two kickoffs for touchdowns.

    Barkley lit up the 2018 NFL Combine with a spectacular workout, registering a 4.40 40-yard dash, a 41-inch vertical jump and 29 reps on the bench press.

    --Guard Braden Smith, a second-round selection of the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL Draft, has signed, the team announced.

    The 6-6, 315-pound Smith was the 37th pick of the draft out of Auburn and the deal left Indianapolis with only one of their 11 choices unsigned.

    Smith played in 53 games at Auburn, and started the last 41 in a row beginning in his freshman season. He was an All-American in each of the last two years and won the 2017 SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the conference's best blocker.

    Linebacker Darius Leonard of South Carolina State, one of the Colts' four-second-round selections (No. 36 overall), is their only draftee unsigned.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL Notebook: Preseason concussions up 73 percent last year
    June 29, 2018

    The National Football League reported that there was a 73 percent increase in preseason concussions last year, with most of them coming during 11-on-11 drills in practices ahead of games.

    Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of health and safety initiatives, said the league is sharing information about each team's concussions last year in an effort to reduce the number dramatically.

    "It's not a matter of having five or six recidivistic clubs that we have to discipline into line," said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer said, via ESPN.com.

    "This is a league-wide issue where everyone has to understand it's on all of us to work on. It might sound trite to say, but any concussion we save is important to us. We want to put the awareness out there ... and make sure we're making it as safe as we can."

    Sills has spoken to each team in hopes of seeing the number of concussions drop and added that that there is no medical reason to think the drills coming early in camp left players unprepared for contact.

    He said the focus is on "what behavior are you doing and how much are you doing of it," rather than when on the calendar it is being done.

    The NFL said it will not limit the amount of 11-on-11 work teams can do during the preseason.

    --Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who is facing myriad felony charges, was denied bail by a San Diego judge.

    Winslow, accused of raping two transient women, was ordered to remain jailed after the judge cited fears that he would try to flee, referencing a movie by actor Tom Cruise as an example to deny his bail.

    "So, what about all these movies I watch like 'Mission Impossible' and stuff like that where they create this endless loop?" the judge said in open court, per TMZ. "So the guy, like the Russians watching something ... he sees everything is fine and meanwhile, Tom Cruise and all his folks are going around the scene and doing all this stuff."

    Winslow's attorney told the judge that "Tom Cruise isn't on our team yet," but that failed to sway his decision.

    A tight end for multiple teams and the son of former San Diego Chargers standout Kellen Winslow, the 34-year-old Winslow is scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing on July 11.

    Winslow pleaded not guilty to eight felony charges and one misdemeanor earlier this month in the Vista (Calif.) Superior Court. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and raping several women, including a hitchhiker.

    If convicted of all charges, Winslow could face life in prison. Those charges included five allegations since March. Among them are indecent exposure and two counts of burglary with intent to commit rape.

    According to the initial complaint, the alleged victims are between age 54 and 86. Two of them said they were raped in a vehicle and a third reported that she was gardening when Winslow approached and exposed himself. In two other instances, he allegedly entered mobile homes in Encinitas, where he lives.

    The latest incident occurred June 7 and involved an 86-year-old woman who lives at a mobile home park.

    The younger Winslow played in the NFL for 10 seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots and New York Jets. He finished his career with 469 receptions for 5,236 yards and 25 touchdowns in 105 games.

    The former No. 6 overall draft pick by the Browns out of Miami (Fla.) was suspended in 2013 while with the Jets for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. He also was arrested several times during his playing career, with one of those for possession of synthetic marijuana.

    --Indianapolis Colts running back Robert Turbin was suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

    Turbin did not wait for a formal announcement by the NFL, instead posting on his Twitter account that his urine sample tested positive for a banned substance. He received a four-game suspension as a first-time offender.

    The NFL made the suspension official later on Friday.

    "Today it will be made public, that a urine sample I provided to the NFL has resulted in a positive test of a banned substance under league policy with regards to Performance Enhancing Substances," Turbin wrote in a lengthy posting. "It absolutely kills me that I allowed this to happen. It has always been a priority in my life to display a high level of leadership both on and off the field. I strive to be a person that people can look up to and strive to exemplify the definition of hard work.

    "Unfortunately, I have made a mistake. A mistake that will not only have personal consequences, but will affect the Colts organization, an organization that I am extremely appreciative to be a part of. For that, I am truly sorry."

    The 28-year-old Turbin will miss games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans. He will be eligible to return against the New England Patriots on Oct. 4.

    Turbin spent the last two seasons with the Colts, although he appeared in only six games before going on injured reserve in 2017 after sustaining a dislocated elbow. He took full responsibility for his actions in his Twitter post.

    "Informing you all before the media is a huge priority for me. It is always essential for me to take ownership in any mistakes that I have made," Turbin wrote. "My hope is that through my mistake, we can continue to shine light on the importance of doing things the right way. I will continue to work diligently on correcting my error, assuring that this will never happen again.

    "I will utilize this negative experience in my life by educating and informing others, with the hopes others will not put themselves in a similar situation."

    Turbin is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

    --Linebacker Nigel Bradham of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles has been suspended for the first game of the season for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, the NFL Network reported.


    The suspension is the result of a July 2016 incident in which Bradham was arrested by Miami Beach police on suspicion of battery/aggravated assault.

    In a post on Twitter, Bradham wrote: "I would like to apologize to my fans, coaches, teammates and the entire eagles organization for the 1 game suspension. This stems from a July 2016 incident and the matter is now resolved .I look forward to giving it my all this season and helping the team win another Championship."

    Bradham completed a deferred prosecution program in January, according to Miami-Dade County Court records, and the case was closed a few days later.

    "We have been in contact with Nigel and the NFL regarding his suspension," the Eagles said in a statement. "We respect the league's decision on this matter and we are disappointed that Nigel put himself in this position. Nigel has taken responsibility and expressed to us through his words and actions that he has learned from his mistake. We will continue to be supportive of him throughout this process."

    Earlier this year, Bradham signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Eagles.

    --Former Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu turned in some disappointing numbers during his pro day.

    Ugwoegbu, one of four players who will be available in the NFL supplemental draft on July 11, was clocked at 4.97 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Six NFL teams attended the workout, according to multiple outlets.

    Given that he measured in at 6 feet and 205 pounds, the time could wreck Ugwoegbu's chances of being taken in the supplemental draft. He also was timed in 4.7 in the short shuttle and 7.38 in the 3-cone drill.

    For comparison's sake, former Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal clocked a 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.09 in the short shuttle and 7.11 in the 3-cone drill in his pro day earlier this week.

    Ugwoegbu, a redshirt senior with 20 career starts, was suspended in April by new Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith and opted to declare for the draft rather than pursue a transfer.

    He finished fifth on the team with 55 tackles, including 4.5 for loss, last season.

    NFLDraftScout.com gave Ugwoegbu a free agent draft grade, ranking him at No. 56 among 2019 outside linebackers.

    Ugwoegbu joins Beal, Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander and Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant in one of the most intriguing supplemental draft classes in years.

    --Guard J.R. Sweezy was hampered by injuries in his two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the team announced that he has been released.

    The 6-5, 298-pound Sweezy, who signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract in 2016, missed his first season with the Bucs because of a back injury. He played 14 games last season, but has been rehabbing a leg injury he sustained late last year.

    The 29-year-old Sweezy, who was scheduled to make $6.5 million this season, was selected in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft (225th overall) out of North Carolina State by the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive tackle.

    The Seahawks converted him to the offensive line, and in 2013 he started 13 regular-season games at guard and helped Seattle beat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl.

    Sweezy started all 14 games at guard in 2014 as the Seahawks returned to the Super Bowl, losing to the New England Patriots.

    --Devin Funchess did little in his first two NFL seasons to erase the perception that he could be a bust.


    A second-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2015, Funchess did not exactly meet expectations by following up a 31-catch rookie season with a mere 23 receptions in 2016.

    Things started to improve last season for Funchess, helped in part by a trade in which Carolina traded away No. 1 wideout Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo at the trade deadline.

    That provided an expanded role for Funchess, who at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds could match the size, but not the production, of Benjamin.

    Funchess had 21 receptions in the first four games following the departure of Benjamin and finished the season with 63 catches and a career-best eight touchdowns.

    Now, as he enters the final season of his four-year rookie contract, the former University of Michigan standout knows he must continue to raise his game.

    "I've got to build on what I've had and just be more successful in all areas of the game," Funchess told SiriusXM Blitz. "I preach versatility ... in whatever you do. When (Benjamin) left, I assumed the role of the X position. Other than that, I know every position of the offense. I'm just trying to move over to the other side and take the reins from there."

    The Panthers continued to revamp their wide receiving corps in the offseason, using their first-round pick to draft Maryland's D.J. Moore and acquiring speedster Torrey Smith in a trade with Philadelphia.

    --New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley bought a home for his parents this week, but he insisted there won't be a string of lavish expenditures to come.

    In fact, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft told ESPN that he is not planning to spend one penny of his salary once he signs his rookie deal with New York.

    "That's the goal," said Barkley. "Not to touch it."

    Barkley, who is expected to make more than $30 million when he finally agrees to terms on his four-year rookie contract, said he will invest his football income and rely on endorsements to cover all other expenses.

    "Once I realized when I declared for the NFL Draft and kind of realized where I was going to be drafted, that was something I was like, 'You know what? Kind of want to follow the Marshawn Lynch method. I don't want to touch that. I want to invest it, put it in the right peoples' hands and learn as I continue to make investments. And just live off the endorsement deals,'" said Barkley.

    Lynch was a former first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills who is entering his 11th season with the Oakland Raiders -- his third NFL team.


    Earlier this month, Barkley's No. 26 jersey was ranked as the NFL's top seller over a 30-day period, according to DICK'S Sporting Goods Jersey Report.

    Before the draft, Barkley said his first major purchase as a pro athlete would be a house for his parents. Barkley's parents relocated from the Bronx to the Lehigh Valley area in Pennsylvania so the family could grow up in a safer environment.

    --Von Miller is one of the NFL's most feared sack masters, but he's relying on more than just personal experience to provide guidance at his annual pass rush summit.

    Miller, the star linebacker of the Denver Broncos, looked toward the Mount Rushmore of NFL pass rushers in assembling his staff for this year's clinic in Ridgedale, Mo.

    Among those in attendance at Thursday's summit were Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, the NFL's career sacks leader, and Warren Sapp, a four-time All-Pro selection during a 13-year career.

    "We want to teach the game and leave it in a better shape than it was when we got in it," said Sapp, per the Broncos official team website. "And this is the way to do it: to pass along a little knowledge."

    Miller certain is no slouch when it comes to getting after the quarterback. The MVP of Super Bowl 50 has 83.5 sacks in seven seasons, including a career-best 18.5 in 2012.

    Thursday's summit lasted more than five hours, giving some of the league's top young pass rushers to work on different techniques while receiving pointers from Smith, Sapp and Miller. It also included a video session featuring film of each of the attendees.

    "I think with great power comes great responsibility," said Miller. "It's bigger than just a rivalry. It's a small brotherhood of pass rushers. It's kind of like the Legion of Doom. You've got all of these villains. Outside of the Legion of Doom, they go at each other.

    "But right now we're going to share knowledge to get better and go against the Justice League."

    Smith was the quintessential blend of speed and power since he was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft out of Virginia Teach.

    A 6-foot-4 262-pound defensive end, Smith earned first-team All-Pro honors in eight of his 15 seasons in Buffalo and was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

    Smith played his final four seasons with the Washington Redskins, retiring after the 2003 season with 200 career sacks, including a personal-best 19 in 1990. An 11-time Pro Bowl selection, Smith was enshrined into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

    "(The summit) shows the unselfishness of Von Miller and what he's trying not only to bring to the game but to help these young men to be successful," Smith said. "That's what this is about: success. Success in life. He's passing down skills, one player to another. And hopefully one day, they'll do the same thing."

    Sapp had a lethal first step while playing at tackle, earning seven straight Pro Bowl berths and four consecutive first-team All-Pro honors during his nine years with the Buccaneers. A member of the Hall of Fame class in 2013, Sapp spent his final four years in Oakland, retiring after the 2007 season.

    While Sapp also praised the idea behind Miller's camp, the No. 12 overall selection in the 1995 draft out of the University of Miami (Fla.) admitted that he has a more selfish reason for wanting to help the up-and-coming pass rushers.

    "I just want to see more Picassos and more Van Goghs because I'm sick of these quarterbacks on Sundays throwing the ball 40 times and walking out (looking) pristine," said Sapp. "We've got to band together like brothers, like the quarterback club. ... We've got to get us some sacks and some rushes on these quarterbacks.

    "The only way to do it is Von Miller inviting the best that you can find to come out here and get some good work done."

    --The Baltimore Ravens made a concerted effort to upgrade their passing game in the offseason, severing ties with their top two receivers and starting tight end.

    And while much of the focus will be on incoming wideouts Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead, former Ravens tight end Todd Heap is eager to see how the replacements for tight end Benjamin Watson acquit themselves.

    Baltimore used its first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to select tight end Hayden Hurst of South Carolina and followed that up by taking another rookie tight end two rounds later in Oklahoma's Mark Andrews.

    Heap, who played 10 of his 12 NFL seasons with the Ravens and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, approved of the idea of taking two tight ends -- and not simply because he played the position.

    "They've taken two before with Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson in 2010; I found it strange then, but not anymore," Heap told the Baltimore Sun. "I feel like they have a need at tight in the offense right now, and they appear to have gotten two good ones."

    Hurst, considered the top tight end available in this year's draft, had 44 receptions for 559 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. He set personal bests in 2016 with 48 receptions for 616 yards for the Gamecocks.

    Andrews has collected 112 passes for 1,765 receiving yards to go along with 22 touchdowns over his three seasons with the Sooners. He had 62 receptions in 2017, doubling his total from the previous year.

    "We will see over the next couple of months, but I've been impressed with what I've seen so far," Heap said.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Packers, Rodgers close to extension
    June 30, 2018


    The Green Bay Packers have been working on a new contract for superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers and it may not be long before it's done.

    "He's healthy. We hope to soon have a contract extension," Packers president Mark Murphy told a Milwaukee radio station earlier this week.

    Rodgers is expected to receive a deal that will make him the league's highest-paid player. He signed a five-year extension worth $110 million in 2013.

    The two-time NFL Most Valuable Player and six-time Pro Bowl selection is scheduled to make $20.9 million in 2018 and $21.1 million in 2019.

    However, those numbers pale in comparison with the contract recently signed by Atlanta's Matt Ryan -- a five-year, $150 million deal with $100 million guaranteed. Indeed, Rodgers' salary now ranks 10th among quarterbacks.

    --It's somewhat of a moot point now that Jameis Winston has been suspended, but an eyewitness to the incident that led to punishment for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback had a memory lapse.

    Winston on Thursday was suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season for violating the league's violating personal conduct policy.

    The NFL handed down the suspension after a lengthy investigation into allegations that Winston groped a female Uber driver in March 2016 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    Winston apologized to the Uber driver for his actions, even though he staunchly denied the accusations when they first came to light in November 2017.

    Ronald Darby, a cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles and former teammate of Winston at Florida State, also maintains nothing happened, releasing a statement in November that he was with the quarterback in the back seat of the car.

    However, Darby's account was deemed inaccurate after league investigators discovered he was not in the vehicle the entire time.

    --Odell Beckham Jr. prides himself on being a home run threat for the New York Giants.

    The mercurial wide receiver showed his talents are not limited to wide receiver, though proving he can be a deep threat in another sport Friday night.

    Beckham stopped by Yankee Stadium on Friday night to take batting practice before a game between the New York Yankees and bitter rival Boston.

    The three-time Pro Bowler, batting right-handed, did not look out of place in the Bronx Bombers' lineup, cranking a shot into the left-field seats.

    It was the second time Beckham hit a homer during batting practice. He also cleared the fences at Angels Stadium in May.

    --Officiating NFL games will be even more challenging this season.

    So says Fox Sports' Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating.

    Four referees -- Ed Hochuli, Terry McAulay, Gene Steratore and Jeff Triplette -- retired from the NFL this offseason, meaning the league will introduce four new game officials this year.

    There are 17 referees employed by the NFL.

    "I've never been involved in a season where you went with four new referees, and four referees that really haven't been around the league that long," Pereira told the Boston Globe on Saturday. "And first-year referees aren't eligible for playoffs, so you're going to dig deeper into the remaining stash of referees. That could create a problem, too."

    McAulay will serve as an on-air rules analyst for games on NBC Sunday Night Football. He will also work Notre Dame games for NBC. Steratore will join CBS as a rules analyst for the NFL and college basketball.

    The Globe also reported that four other referees -- Walt Anderson, Walt Coleman, Tony Corrente and Pete Morelli -- could also be on their way out in the next two seasons.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett wants running back Leonard Fournette to run "smarter" in an effort to reduce contact.

    "I think as a young player getting to this level and then he really ran hard and did a really good job," Hackett told the Florida Times-Union on Friday. "But I think he almost took too many hits. I just want him to be able to understand the system more so he can run even smarter, but still never lose that aggressiveness."

    Jacksonville's offense will far from begin and end with Fournette.

    "We have always talked about wanting to be as versatile as possible," Hackett said. "If you put three tight ends out there and then a fullback out there and then all tight ends and all wide receivers and just always continue to mix it up, I think that is always something that you can really utilize to your advantage."

    --New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick called the shooting deaths of five journalists at the Capital Gazette a "terrible and senseless tragedy."

    Belichick, who grew up near Annapolis, Md., said the Capital Gazette was his hometown newspaper.

    "My family and I have enjoyed special relationships with many great people who have worked for the newspaper," Belichick said in a statement released by the Patriots on Friday night. "My heart goes out to the victims, their families and the entire Annapolis community for this terrible and senseless tragedy."

    Capital Gazette employees Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters were killed inside the newspaper's newsroom Thursday by a gunman who has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder.

    --Los Angeles Rams linebacker Mark Barron said he is on schedule in his rehab from two offseason surgeries.

    Barron, working his way back from procedures to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and bone spurs in both heels, is not expected to be ready for the start of training camp July 26.

    Barron told the Los Angeles Times this week that his physical condition continues to improve, although he acknowledged there are "up and down some days" with his heels.

    The Rams have not specified a target date for Barron's return, but the belief among team officials is the 28-year-old will be on the field "somewhere in the middle" of training camp.

    "I'm on track with where I'm supposed to be," Barron told the newspaper.

    --Percy Harvin walked away from football for good in March 2017, leaving behind a legacy of a spectacular talent that was unable to stay on the field.

    Unfortunately for Harvin, the most lasting memory of his eight-year tenure in the NFL was a string of debilitating migraine headaches that never allowed him to match the lofty expectations.

    A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 (No. 22 overall), Harvin detailed his ongoing ordeal of migraines in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.

    "Take a hammer and beat it on the side of your head nonstop," Harvin said in describing the sensation. "If you're trying to relax, if someone's trying to talk to you, that hammer is still going off. You're trying to eat, still going off."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Browns players respond to LeBron's departure
    July 2, 2018


    With LeBron James heading to one of the NBA's most storied franchises, several members of the Cleveland Browns said they were willing to step up in his absence.

    A four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, James announced Sunday that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career -- this time, to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154 million contract.

    So, what was the reaction to "The King's" latest decision?

    "KingJames if you don't want to take your throne with you I'll take it," Browns defensive end Myles Garrett wrote on Twitter.

    "KingJames thank you for all you've done for Cleveland! Much Respect King!!! #cleveland," Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey tweeted. "Time for me to take the throne! #kirkoland."

    "Time to take over the city . . . #WeUpNext #DawgPound," Browns free safety Damarious Randall wrote.

    Optimism abounds for the Browns, who last made the playoffs in 2002 and own a dismal 1-31 mark over the last two seasons after finishing the 2017 campaign with a winless record.

    --It appears that Kam Chancellor is putting football in his rear-view mirror after posting Sunday on Twitter that it's "time for the next chapter," saying test results on his injured neck showed no improvement.

    Although Chancellor never used the word retirement in his long social media post, all signs point to the four-time Pro Bowl safety never playing another down for the Seattle Seahawks.

    "To walk away from the game by choice is one thing, to walk away from the game because of the risk of paralysis is another," Chancellor tweeted.

    Last season, Chancellor was limited to a career-low nine games because of the neck injury suffered in November during a game against the Arizona Cardinals.

    --San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recently gained the advantage over former teammate Tom Brady in one regard.

    Garoppolo occupied the No. 2 spot for jerseys sold from April 1-June 23, per NFLShop.com. He resided one spot behind New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley, who also held the top position in the DICK'S Sporting Goods list released last month.

    The 26-year-old Garoppolo did not register in the Top 10 of the DICK'S Sporting Goods list. He was ranked 25th in jersey sales through January, per NFLShop.com.

    --Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota made good on a promise he made in March by spending a little extra time with his wide receivers this weekend.

    Mariota joined a select group of wideouts during a two-day throwing session in Nashville, Tenn., per the team's website. The identities of the recent receiving group weren't divulged, but Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe joined Mariota and tight end Jonnu Smith for workouts in California earlier in the offseason.

    The Titans are in the midst of change and saw plenty of alterations to their coaching staff this offseason, including new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

    --Last week, the NFL suspended Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston three games for violating the league's personal conduct policy, and Monday it was reported that Winston and his agents have parted ways.

    Winston has been represented by Greg Genske and Kenny Felder since he entered the NFL, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that the relationship has ended.

    It remains unclear whether the agents or Winston initiated the breakup.

    A source told Florio that the change had been discussed for a few months. Winston wants more experienced football agents to negotiate his next contract, according to Florio's source. Genske and Felder are primarily baseball agents.

    Winston must wait five days after parting ways with his agents to hire a new agent.

    --Bucs wide receiver DeSean Jackson showed his support of teammate Winston on the heels of the quarterback's suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy.

    Jackson told TMZ the following when confronted at the airport in Los Angeles and asked for a comment about Winston's three-game suspension:

    "You can't turn your back on someone when they (are) going through something," Jackson said. He also said of Winston that "he's a good dude and a good teammate ... he's a champ ... (has) been through a lot in his career."

    --Former Buccaneers guard J.R. Sweezy is visiting the Seattle Seahawks, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported.

    Sweezy is also taking a physical, according to the report, which suggests he might be returning to the team that drafted him.

    The Bucs released the 6-foot-5, 298-pound Sweezy last week. He was scheduled to make $6.5 million this coming season.

    --The Alliance of American Football, which is set to begin its inaugural season in February 2019, announced it will hold three combines in August to look for players.

    The combines will be held in Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta, giving players not in the NFL an opportunity to go through measurements and a variety of tests for scouts.

    --New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee is going to have added responsibilities this season.[/B]

    Lee, who was the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, showed promise during his transition to inside linebacker last season. So much so that the 23-year-old will be calling the defensive signals for the team this season.

    "He can be as good as he wants to be," linebackers coach Mike Caldwell said, via the New York Daily News. "He has all the tools. He's getting better by being able to see things faster. His eyes are better. He's just learning the game. Coming from college, it took him a while to understand the professional game. He's done a good job of finding his niche."

    --Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett admitted that he has seen significant differences in quarterback Blake Bortles during the last three seasons.


    Hackett told SI.com that Bortles was willing to check down to running backs as opposed to force the ball to wide receiver Allen Robinson. The safer approach worked best for Bortles, in the eyes of Hackett.

    "We're in a great situation, because a very good line, and we have very good running backs, which will allow us to run the ball," Hackett said. "Now it's going to allow us to be a lot more aggressive, because you can trust that Blake is going to make right decision more consistently."

    --Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Chris Baker is hoping a few familiar faces will aid him in posting a bounce-back season with his new team.

    Defensive line coach Jacob Burney and linebackers coach Jim Haslett were with Baker in Washington from 2011-14.

    "(The two men) groomed me and really believed in me," the 30-year-old Baker told the Bengals' website.

    Baker had five productive seasons with the Redskins (2011-16) before signing a three-year, $15.75 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to last season. He recorded 33 tackles in 15 games and had his effort questioned before being released by the Buccaneers on Feb. 18.

    --Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones used the offseason to build up his body, hoping to prevent the kind of knee injuries that affected his promising rookie season.

    The work has paid off in other ways as well.

    "I'm bigger all around," Jones said on the team's website. "That's something that's going to help me in pass protection and that's something I want to get better at. I'm stronger, so definitely when a defender who's bigger than me comes up I can hold my ground this year.

    "I feel like any athlete wants to get bigger, stronger as long as they can stay explosive. I still feel just as explosive as I was, if not even more."

    A fifth-round choice in the 2017 NFL Draft, Jones rushed for 125 yards in the Oct. 8 victory over Dallas and ran for 131 yards in the Oct. 22 loss to New Orleans.

    However, injuries to each knee limited his production over the second half of the season. He finished with 448 yards while averaging 5.53 yards per carry.

    --Los Angeles Rams wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods see the team's potent offense getting even better this season.

    The Rams led the league in scoring at 29.9 points per game during coach Sean McVay's first year with quarterback Jared Goff.

    Cooks was acquired from the New England Patriots and effectively replaces the departed Sammy Watkins, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.

    "Coming here from a distance, you knew this offense was special," the 24-year-old Cooks said, per the Los Angeles Times. "You always wonder why. And now, you get here and you're finding out all the reasons why that's the case. It's great to be able to come in here and have some freshness to it. It makes you want to learn more and become a better player."

    "It's how can we improve in other ways just to be ready for the season," the 26-year-old Woods said. "We've got it. We're loaded up and just fine-tuning."

    --The Philadelphia Eagles will wear their home green jerseys when they face the Saints in New Orleans in Week 11 this season as a result of a golfing bet between Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and Saints head coach Sean Payton.

    Pederson and Payton made several bets while playing a round of golf during the league meetings in March, according to ESPN.com.

    The first was the jersey wager to determine which team would wear their traditional home colors during their November meeting. That competition ended after a three-hole carryover.

    Payton also lost a bet that will require him to send the Eagles' coaching staff some New Orleans food.

    "Hey, if I'd have kept playing, he'd have been in our locker room," said Payton during a conference call with Pederson and Arizona State coach Herm Edwards in advance of their appearance in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe later this month.

    --Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky was the second player taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he hopes a year of experience helps him perform on a level befitting his draft status this season.

    "The experience aspect and how to prepare day in and day out," Trubisky said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "The grind of how long the season is, because you obviously don't get that from the college season. You add a bunch more weeks in the NFL in everything you've got to do on a day-in, day-out basis. The speed of the game, and how there's no weak spots on the other side of the ball. Everyone's a baller in the NFL. You've just got to come prepared or else you're not going to be able to do your job correctly. I definitely learned a lot about how you have to handle yourself as an NFL quarterback and being prepared on a week-to-week basis and just being the leader my team needs. I've learned a lot over the last year, and I'm looking forward to using all that information and continue to learn and get better for the future."

    Trubisky is learning the offense installed by new coach Matt Nagy.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Handicapping Houston (9)
    July 3, 2018


    The Houston Texans enter the 2018 season with a lot of optimism, as their two star players, Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt are both returning from injuries. The Texans have a very favorable schedule in 2018 and oddsmakers believe Houston has a good chance to be a playoff team.

    The Texans are close second choice to win the AFC South behind Jacksonville and the win total for Houston for 2018 is set at nine.

    Let’s look at the schedule for the Texans to see if they will go over or under that number.

    2018 Houston Texans Regular Season Win Total
    Over 9 (-1115)
    Under 9 (-115)


    2018 Houston Texans Schedule Analysis

    Sunday, Sept. 9, vs. at New England Patriots


    The Texans are not without a chance to win this one, but only if Watson and Watt are completely healthy. The Patriots rarely lose at home, but Houston has the offense to trade points with New England and the Texans have the defensive line to harass Brady.

    Sunday, Sept. 16, at Tennessee Titans

    The Titans should be better on defense this season with Mike Vrabel as defensive coordinator, but Houston has more talent on both sides of the ball than the Titans and they should get this road win.

    Sunday, Sept. 23, vs. New York Giants

    The Giants could be improved this season, but it is hard to see Eli Manning having enough time to throw in this one and the Houston offense should be able to exploit the Giants defense.

    Sunday, Sept. 30, at Indianapolis Colts

    The Colts should have Andrew Luck back at quarterback, but they are still not a good team. The Texans have more talent all over the field than the Colts and Houston should get the road win.

    Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Dallas Cowboys


    The Cowboys have Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott so this could be a tough home game for the Texans. Houston has the better defense and that should be the difference, as the Texans get the home win.

    Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Buffalo Bills

    The Bills don’t have enough talent on either side of the ball to give Houston much of a challenge. The only danger is that the Texans are looking ahead to next week’s game against Jacksonville.

    Sunday, Oct. 21, at Jacksonville Jaguars

    The first of two huge meetings in the AFC South this season takes place in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are the defending champs and if Houston wants to win the division they have to beat the champs.

    Thursday, Oct. 25, vs. Miami Dolphins

    The Texans could have a letdown this week against Miami, but they still should have too much talent to lose this one at home and it is a national TV game on Thursday night.

    Sunday, Nov. 4, at Denver Broncos

    The Texans could be in trouble in this one, as it won’t be easy to go into Denver and win this season, as the Broncos are much better on offense and still very good on defense.

    Sunday, Nov. 11, BYE

    Sunday, Nov. 18, at Washington Redskins


    The Texans get extra time to prepare for the Redskins and they should be fully prepared to handle Alex Smith and Washington. The Texans also have a much better defense than do the Redskins.

    Monday, Nov. 26, vs. Tennessee Titans

    The Texans will be home favorites in this one as the schedule for Houston gets easier for a few weeks. Houston should get the home win.

    Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. Cleveland Browns

    The Texans should not have any difficulty in handling a Cleveland team that is improved, but still nowhere near a contender.

    Sunday, Dec. 9, vs. Indianapolis Colts

    The Texans should be able to get big pressure on Andrew Luck in this one and rout the Colts in Houston.

    Saturday, Dec. 15, at New York Jets

    The Jets are not at the level of the Texans, but there is a danger that Houston could be looking ahead to the end of the season and two huge games at Philadelphia and home against Jacksonville.

    Sunday, Dec. 23, at Philadelphia Eagles

    The Texans will get a good idea if they are a serious Super Bowl contender, as they go into Philadelphia late in the season to face the defending champs.

    Sunday, Dec. 30, vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

    It is possible that this game could decide the AFC South in 2018 and if that is the case, the Texans have the home field edge and that could be the difference.

    2018 Houston Texans Regular Season Win Total Prediction

    The Texans are a popular pick to do well in 2018, but it is hard to argue. Watson was excellent last season in just six starts as he threw 19 TD passes. He looks like a future star and the Texans should be vastly improved on defense with Watt returning. The schedule is very favorable for Houston in 2018 and it is easy to see the Texans winning at least 10 games and going over their win total of nine.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Teams to Watch - AFC
    July 3, 2018


    The New England Patriots are always one of the strongest teams in the AFC each year, and this season will be no different. Tom Brady, who will turn 41 in August, is back to lead the charge. Despite being one of the NFL’s oldest quarterbacks, he remains one of the best too.

    The Patriots are the reigning NFL runners-up after winning another AFC title in 2017 and falling to the Eagles in the Super Bowl. They have won three of the last four AFC titles and eight in franchise history. New England is the clear preseason favorite again this season, according to both experts and oddsmakers. They have +280 odds to claim yet another conference title.

    There are a host of teams expected to challenge them. The team with the second-best odds is the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they will once again roll out the potent trio of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le’Veon Bell and wideout Antonio Brown.

    The Los Angeles Chargers have surged up the odds list and are now being wagered on as the third-most likely team to win the AFC, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who nearly knocked off the Patriots in the AFC championship game a year ago. There are longer shots beyond those four teams but the Eagles showed a season ago that a preseason sleeper can always make a deep run if the stars align in AFC wagering odds.

    Odds per BookMaker.eu

    AFC ODDS

    New England Patriots +280
    Pittsburgh Steelers +435
    Los Angeles Chargers +600
    Jacksonville Jaguars +790
    Houston Texans +1175
    Kansas City Chiefs +1200
    Oakland Raiders +1503
    Tennessee Titans +2005
    Baltimore Ravens +2005
    Denver Broncos +2600
    Indianapolis Colts +2917
    Buffalo Bills +3600
    Cleveland Browns +4500
    Cincinnati Bengals +4650
    Miami Dolphins +5000
    New York Jets +5300

    AFC STANDINGS (2017 Season)
    1: New England Patriots (13-3)
    2: Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3)
    3: Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
    4: Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
    5: Tennessee Titans (9-7)
    6: Buffalo Bills (9-7)
    7: Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
    8: Los Angeles Chargers (9-7)
    9: Cincinnati Bengals (7-9)
    10: Oakland Raiders (6-10)
    11: Miami Dolphins (6-10)
    12: Denver Broncos (5-11)
    13: New York Jets (5-11)
    14: Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
    15: Houston Texans (4-12)
    16: Cleveland Browns (0-16)

    AFC TEAMS TO WATCH

    Los Angeles Chargers
    Current Odds: +600


    The Chargers did not even make the playoffs a year ago, finishing two games above .500, but the betting public is hot on their tail for success in 2018. It is easy to understand why. For a long time, the Chargers had an upper-tier quarterback in Philip Rivers but lacked a running game and defense. Melvin Gordon has helped solidify the running game while defensive end Joey Bosa and cornerback Casey Hayward has helped turn the defends into a strength. The Chargers look like they could do damage, but the play in the tough AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, so it could be tough to lock up the all-important first-round bye.

    Indianapolis Colts
    Current Odds: +2917


    If you are interested in a longshot choice, the best odds go to the Colts. They struggled throughout 2017 but that was because superstar quarterback Andrew Luck was on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. He is hoping to get back this year and when healthy Luck is one of the game’s best quarterbacks. Keep an eye on his status. The AFC South has gotten much better with the emergence of the Jaguars and the Texans, but at these odds it is worth a shot in the dark to hope Luck can return to form and get Indianapolis back on the winning track.

    Denver Broncos
    Current Odds: +2600


    It wasn’t too long ago that the Broncos won the Super Bowl behind a great defense, but that group has lost some talent. More concerningly, the team has not found a quarterback since Peyton Manning retired. Case Keenum was signed in free agency and while he is not a superstar, he did a great job last year with a Vikings team that also boasted a great defense. The Broncos may have to rebuild if this season is unsuccessful, but with pieces like Chris Harris and Von Miller on defense, the ability is there for a turnaround if Keenum can find some success like he did in 2017. This is another intriguing darkhorse in MLB gambling.

    Load your betting bankroll from your smartphone or tablet with BookMaker’s new cashier feature! Depositing and withdrawing funds from your account has never been easier. BookMaker's live betting platform means you always have access to odds and lines to every sporting event. Click here and start wagering today!
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    NFL notebook: Packers' Jones, 49ers' Foster, Rams' Brown each suspended 2 games
    July 3, 2018


    Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones was suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on substance abuse, the NFL announced Tuesday.

    Jones will sit out a pair of home games against NFC Central rivals -- the Week 1 opener against the Chicago Bears and the following week's matchup versus Minnesota Vikings.

    The second-year running back will be eligible to return to Green Bay's active roster on Sept. 17. Jones is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. Jones apologized for his transgression via a posting on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

    Jones started four of 12 games during an injury-plagued rookie season in 2017. He finished with 448 yards rushing and four touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry.

    --San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was suspended two games for violating the league's policies on personal conduct and substance abuse, the team announced.

    The disciplinary action stems from separate incidents involving a misdemeanor weapons charge and misdemeanor marijuana possession charge.

    Foster will miss the season opener at Minnesota and a home game versus the Detroit Lions. He is eligible to return to San Francisco's roster on Sept. 17. The second-year linebacker out of Alabama will be eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

    --Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman Jamon Brown was suspended two games for violating the league's policy on substance abuse, the NFL announced.

    Brown will have to sit out the 2018 regular-season opener at the Oakland Raiders and a home game versus the Arizona Cardinals. He will be eligible to return to the Rams' active roster on Sept. 17.

    The 6-foot-4, 340-pound Brown will be eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

    A third-round pick of the Rams in the 2015 NFL Draft, Brown started all 16 games at right guard for the Rams last season.

    --New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. showed no signs of an ankle injury that ended his 2017 season in a workout video posted on social media.

    Beckham appeared to be 100 percent recovered from last year's ankle surgery during the video featuring a one-on-one drill that was featured on the account of his agents, Exos Sports.

    Lining up against an unidentified player at UCLA, Beckham faked a move left before making a sharp cut to the right, leaving the defender in his wake.

    For good measure, Beckham topped off the play with an acrobatic catch, reaching up with his right arm and snatching the ball with a backhanded grab.

    --Terrell Owens announced that he will return to his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to celebrate his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement on Aug. 4.

    Owens caused a stir last month by declaring that he would not be in attendance for the festivities in Canton, Ohio.

    "After giving it much thought I have realized just how much I want to celebrate what will inevitably be the best weekend of my life at a place that means so much to me," the 44-year-old Owens wrote on Twitter.

    --Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy remains motivated despite rushing up on his 30th birthday next week.

    "I have more to prove," McCoy said, via PennLive.com. "It's just like, 'How long can he do it? How long can he keep being productive?' And that drives me. It really does."

    McCoy eclipsed the 10,000 career yards milestone last season and has his eyes set on 12,000. He has even coined a new hashtag on social media in regard to the goal: "#12KUpNext."

    McCoy rushed for 1,138 yards with six touchdowns in 16 games last season. He also had 59 receptions for 448 yards with two scores.

    --Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson spoke glowingly about rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.

    The seven-time Pro Bowl selection praised the throwing motion, pocket presence and quarterback IQ of Rosen, who was selected by Arizona with the 10th overall pick of the 2018 draft.

    Rosen initially caused a stir on draft night when he said "there were nine mistakes ahead of me," but Peterson said on "The Rich Eisen Show" that the rookie hasn't provided any distractions with the Cardinals.

    "Honestly since he's been with us, he's been the total opposite of what you hear from the media or you hear from outside people," the 27-year-old Peterson said, via NFL.com. "The way he's able to grasp the offense and get guys in line right now, I've been very, very impressed with that. As far as his throwing motion and his quarterback IQ and his pocket presence and all that stuff, it's off the charts. I've never seen a rookie come on a team and do some of the things he's doing."

    --Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick didn't mince words when asked about star wideout Julio Jones' contract situation with the team.

    "To my knowledge, Julio is holding out for a bigger contract and Julio deserves it," the 38-year-old Vick told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Julio and Matt (Ryan) are the ultimate combination. They just paid Matt and I think Julio should get everything that he deserves, too."

    Jones elected against participating in the Falcons' voluntary offseason program and did not attend the team's mandatory minicamp. The five-time Pro Bowl wideout could be assessed an $84,435 fine per the league's collective bargaining agreement.

    "He'll be professional," Vick said. "He'll go about it the right way. But you know, this is a grown man who has (surpassed) expectations even though everyone expected him to be great and this guy continues to get it done for the Falcons."

    --The Houston Texans plan to use a number of tight ends to make up for the loss of C.J. Fiedorowicz.

    Fiedorowicz was limited to just five games after sustaining three concussions last season. The 26-year-old elected to retire once the campaign came to an end.

    The Texans have seven players at the position on their current roster, and tight ends coach Tim Kelly said he won't be shy about getting what he can from the lot.

    "I think they all have different strengths and weaknesses that they have to work on," Kelly said, via the Houston Chronicle. "As far as replacing anybody, I don't know if one person is going to do it. I think it will be more of a collective effort. But again, if you look at the tight ends and how they played last year, it's more of a collective group, even when C.J. was in the room."

    --La'el Collins went from a potential first-round pick to undrafted in a span of a few days, but he doesn't dwell on what might have been.

    Despite the stunning turn of events just over three years ago, Collins is now entrenched at right tackle with the Dallas Cowboys and feels fortunate to be a part of perhaps the league's best offensive line.

    "Honestly, it's that times 10," Collins told the Dallas Morning News of how landing with "America's Team" turned out better than he could have imagined. "I never knew what it was like being a Cowboy. Now that I'm going into my fourth year, I really understand what it's like, and it's great."

    Collins was projected as a first-round pick in 2015 before he was listed as a person of interest in a Baton Rouge, La., murder investigation two days before the draft. His stock spiraled even though he was never a suspect in the murder and the former LSU star wound up signing a three-year, $1.4 million contract with Dallas as a free agent.

    --Jay Cutler initially announced his retirement last year and was set to begin a career in broadcasting before an opportunity arose with the Miami Dolphins.

    Now with a healthy Ryan Tannehill back under center in Miami, Cutler was questioned about his future on "Very Cavallari," his wife's reality television show. When she asked if he's 100 percent done with football, Cutler stopped short of saying he is definitely retired.

    "I mean, I can't say 100 (percent). Probably," the 35-year-old Cutler said. Kristin Cavallari asked the follow-up question of when he'll know for sure if he's retired.

    "September," Cutler answered.

    --Jason Garrett hasn't always been a popular choice as Dallas Cowboys head coach since he assumed the position in November 2010.

    Garrett has led the Cowboys to just three winning seasons and two playoff appearances in that time while posting a 67-53 overall record. While former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens openly questioned Garrett as the team's coach recently, Daryl Johnston came to the defense of his former teammate.

    "I think you've got to be able to give a head coach time," Johnston said during an appearance on DFW's Fox4, per the Dallas Morning News. "It's one of the great things John Madden said, and this was about the San Francisco 49ers when they moved away from Steve Mariucci, but they had no plan after that. Sometimes you do that and all of a sudden you find yourself in a decade of mediocrity, and in San Francisco's case, not even mediocrity. That was a tough decade. They made a change for change's sake and nobody was there.

    "Jason Garrett, in my opinion, moving forward gives Dallas the best opportunity. They've got that window right now with a quarterback (Dak Prescott) and a very talented running back (Ezekiel Elliott) on rookie contracts. To make a change right now, that would be sabotage to that organization. Keep everything in place, take a run with this window that's there."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Trump now says anthem policy might be 'worse'
    July 6, 2018


    President Donald Trump's latest statement on the NFL's new national anthem policy contradicts what he said when the league announced the change in May.

    When the NFL announced that players should remain in the locker room rather than kneel during the anthem, Trump said he was for the move. Now he has changed his tune.

    "How about the NFL?" Trump said Thursday. "Look, I don't want to cause controversy. They passed this stupid thing, you don't have to do this anymore. If you don't respect the flag or if you don't like the country or whatever it is, just go into the locker room.

    "I think in many respects, that's worse. Isn't that worse than not standing? I think that's worse. So they say, 'Go into the locker room.' So, OK, the anthem is getting ready to play, they run into the locker room, then they come back out. You know what? It doesn't play. I actually think in many ways it's worse."

    On May 24 after the NFL announced the policy change, Trump said on Fox and Friends: "I think that's good. I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it's good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe you shouldn't be in the country. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem and the NFL owners did the right thing if that's what they've done."

    -- Offensive tackle Donald Stephenson has yet to play a down for the Cleveland Browns and it appears he never will.

    The Browns placed Stephenson on their reserve/retired list, the team announced.

    The move ended a brief but turbulent tenure in Cleveland for Stephenson, who signed a one-year contract with the team for $2.5 million in March.

    The deal included $1 million guaranteed, which Stephenson will not collect because of his decision to retire, according to Cleveland.com.

    Last month, the 29-year-old Stephenson was suspended for the first two games of the 2018 season by the NFL for violating the league's policy on substance abuse.

    That punishment would have cost Stephenson $294,117 in salary and bonuses. He also was fined $84,435 by the Browns for missing the team's mandatory minicamp.

    Stephenson spent the last two seasons with the Denver Broncos, starting a career-high 12 games in 2016.

    A third-round pick of Kansas City in the 2012 NFL Draft, Stephenson appeared in all 16 games in three of his first four seasons with the Chiefs, making 21 starts.

    -- The Dallas Cowboys and defensive end Demarcus Lawrence are expected to engage in contract talks next week, according to The Athletic.

    Lawrence has been seeking a long-term contract but is set to play for just over $17 million in 2018 after the Cowboys slapped the franchise tag on him in March.

    The clock is ticking on a deadline to reach a new term. All franchise-tagged players have until July 16 to sign a long-term contract with their current team.

    Lawrence, who started all 16 games and amassed a career-high 14.5 sacks in 2017, is seeking a five-year deal, The Athletic reported, citing a source.

    A second-round pick of the Cowboys in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Boise State, Lawrence landed his first Pro Bowl berth last season after tying Calais Campbell of the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second-highest sack total in the league.

    The 26-year-old Lawrence's breakout season occurred after he underwent back surgery for the second straight offseason in January 2017. In four seasons with the Cowboys, Lawrence has 23.5 sacks and 133 tackles.

    --The NFL, in its 2018 rulebook, made it a 15-yard penalty if a team has anyone clear the field on a snowy day to make it easier for a player to attempt a field goal, extra point or kickoff, or to punt.

    In a game late last season, the Indianapolis Colts had several players and sideline personnel clear snow off the field to give Adam Vinatieri better footing for a game-tying extra point attempt against the Buffalo Bills.

    Vinatieri's kick was good and sent the game to overtime, where the Bills prevailed.

    At the time, the NFL said the Colts violated league rules, but there was no penalty stipulated in the rulebook.

    Now, the rulebook has been amended to read: "It is impermissible for the grounds crew or other team personnel to clear away snow for a Try kick, field goal, punt, or kickoff. The penalty would be 15 yards."

    The most infamous such incident came in 1982, when New England Patriots coach Ron Meyer had snowplow operator Mark Henderson drive onto the field to clear the way for John Smith to kick the winning field goal against the Miami Dolphins.

    Meyer claimed it was quarterback Steve Grogan who suggested the move.

    The Patriots won 3-0 in what became known as "The Snowplow Game."

    -- Nick Foles is returning to a backup role with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he is rising up one depth chart during the offseason.

    Foles, who came off the bench when starting quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury and led the Eagles to a Super Bowl championship, is expected to land on the New York Times' best-seller list next week.

    Foles' autobiography, "Believe It," which chronicles his improbable rags-to-riches storybook tale of 2017, is poised to debut at No. 5 on the Times' hardcover non-fiction list, according to book publisher Tyndale House, per Pro Football Talk.

    The book also will debut at No. 3 on Publisher's Weekly hardcover non-fiction list and is expected to be on USA Today's best-seller list as well.

    Foles stepped in when Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 14. He capped Philadelphia's postseason run by completing 28 of 43 passes for three touchdowns and 373 yards in a 41-33 win over New England in Super Bowl LII.

    The performance gave Foles MVP honors in the Super Bowl and marked the first championship for the Eagles since 1960. Foles also caught a TD pass right before halftime on the famous "Philly Special" play.

    This from a player who signed with Philadelphia in March 2017 after the Kansas City Chiefs declined Foles' contract option. He played one season with the Chiefs after he was released by the Los Angeles Rams following the 2015 campaign.

    Foles, who restructured his contract in the offseason to remain in Philadelphia, is donating all proceeds of the book to charity.

    -- Frank Gore always believed he would wind up playing professionally in Miami, even if the journey to get back there was longer than expected.

    The veteran running back realized his dream when he signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins in March, returning to the city where he was born and starred at the collegiate level.

    Gore, who turned 35 in May and will be entering his 14th NFL season, told the Miami Herald that he was certain that he would wind up playing in his hometown.

    "I remember when Bobby McCain, when he was in his rookie or second year, we trained together over the summer," said Gore, per the newspaper. "I told him before the end, I'm going to be in the locker room with you. I remember when I signed, he said 'Boy, you were right.' I'm happy to be here. Now I just want to show everybody that I still can play."

    The only running back in the league to rush for at least 900 yards in each of the last three seasons, Gore ran for 961 yards last season for the Indianapolis Colts.

    It was third season in Indianapolis after spending his first 10 years with the San Francisco 49ers. Although he scored only three touchdowns last year, matching his career low, he believes playing on natural grass in Miami will be a boon in what could be his final year.

    "Turf is tough on your body and it'll have you swollen," Gore said. "Playing on turf, I wouldn't get my body back until that Friday. But when I'm playing on grass, I'm good after the game. I'm happy that I'm on grass."

    Gore has defied the odds for an NFL running back, still producing at an age when 30 years old typically signals a dramatic decline at the position. Not to mention he suffered two torn ACLs while playing for the University of Miami.

    "I still feel good," Gore said. "I think about it sometimes. I think about how blessed I am to still be playing a game that I love since I was a kid. I always hear it every year: 'When you turn this age, you can't do it anymore.'

    "Especially with what it took me to get here, to play in this league, with the injuries that I had, and still to be blessed to play this game and have pretty good years, I think that's a blessing."

    Gore rushed for 2,953 yards and 13 touchdowns while starting all 48 games during his three years with the Colts. A five-time Pro Bowl selection, he has eclipsed 1,000 yards nine times, most recently in 2016.

    A major milestone is within Gore's reach. He has rushed for 14,026 yards during his career and sits 76 yards shy of passing Curtis Martin for fourth place on the NFL's career rushing list.

    Gore looks forward to boosting his totals on his home turf.

    "Coming from Coral Gables and going to the University of Miami, it's been good," Gore said. "Now I've got to make sure that I'm ready for the season and do some good things for the team."

    -- Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson has an issue with an NFL provision regarding violations of the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

    Johnson sent out a brief but succinct tweet in response to the idea that the NFL's Management Council could reduce any player suspension if the alleged violator provides information that reveals others who attempted to circumvent the policy.

    Posting on social media, Johnson tweeted a simple "No snitchin'" atop a story by Pro Football Talk that details the league policy that would reward offenders for providing information on other violators.

    Johnson has an intimate history with the league's policy on PEDs, twice receiving suspensions for violations in the past four seasons. He was suspended for four games in 2014 and received a 10-game ban in 2016.

    There is an obvious deterrent for any player wishing to share information with the league, even with the incentive that it could cut up to 50 percent off the suspension.

    Since violating the PED policy results in an automatic four-game ban, a player who receives less will automatically draw suspicion as to whether he cooperated with the NFL. The entire policy, per Pro Football Talks, is as follows:

    "The NFL Management Council may, prior to the conclusion of a Player's appeal, reduce the length of the suspension and corresponding bonus forfeiture by up to 50 percent when the Player has provided full and complete assistance (including hearing testimony if required) to the Management Council which results in the finding of an additional violation of the Policy by another Player, coach, trainer or other person subject to this Policy."
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    Future Bets - NFC West
    July 7, 2018


    Is a L.A. Rams Dynasty Within the Division on its way?

    Now that July 4th has come and gone, it's time to really start focusing on all things football as the season is just around the corner. I've had you covered so far with a look at four of the eight divisions in the league (NFC South, NFC North, AFC East, AFC North) and it's time to continue that look forward with the third NFC division to cover: the NFC West.

    Last year we saw a changing of the guard in the NFC West with the L.A. Rams winning the division crown thanks to a 11-5 SU record. The Rams got a division title just one year after selecting QB Jared Goff with the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft and the path of this franchise really looks bright.

    They've got their young stud QB entering his 3rd NFL season, their young stud coach entering his second with the club, and have built such a deep and complimentary team on both sides of the ball that it's hard not to see the Rams as favorites to repeat in this division.

    But are they going to take the proverbial step back this year or continue on their upward ascent?

    Odds to Win NFC West
    L.A. Rams (-125)
    San Francisco 49ers (+300)
    Seattle Seahawks (+400)
    Arizona Cardinals (+1000)


    I'll get to my discussion on the Rams again in a bit, but regarding these division future prices it's easy to dismiss Arizona right off the bat. The Cardinals are in that transition phase the Rams were in back in 2016 when they had a rookie QB coming to town as “the Savior” working with a new coach that hopefully can build said team into a perennial contender.

    Arizona had been there back in 2015 when they went all the way to the NFC Championship game, but they were a veteran-laden squad then that had only really gotten older in the two years since. The Cardinals knew it was time to hit the reboot button on their franchise and get a lot younger, and having QB Josh Rosen as the new face of the future, the future is bright for this Arizona organization, just not the future of the 2018 NFL season.

    San Francisco is an interesting case study as they spent the past few years rotting away at the bottom of this division while they searched for a franchise QB. They got theirs in a trade with New England last year when they brought in Jimmy Garappolo and he provided an exponential amount of hope with his play late last season. Garoppolo didn't lose a game as the starter for the 49ers and after signing a big extension this off-season, the 49ers are his to run for the next few years.

    Yet, the 49ers were so bad for so long that I'm not sure finding their guy under center is going to be enough to turn it into a division winner a year later. San Francisco still lacks a lot of playmaking weapons around Garoppolo – especially at WR – and things never seem to work as smoothly as they do in the final 5-6 games of a lost season like the 49ers had going for them last year. Similar to the Rams of 2016-17, this 49ers group is probably a year away from serious consideration as a division winner, but they should be a much improved squad that could end up division champs if a few things break their way.

    Which leads me to Seattle who have still pushed the “pause” button on their rebuild/reload as the championship window they had wide open in the early stages of this decade have probably been shut closed. Many big names of Seattle title teams have moved on and all the salary cap issues they've dealt with the past few years after paying big sums of money to those big names has left the Seahawks cupboards rather bare in terms of overall depth. Seattle basically is the “Russell Wilson Show” these days and will probably continue to be in 2018.

    Wilson is a dynamic playmaker that can create huge plays out of nothing, but I'm not sure even that can carry Seattle over the hump. The Seahawks home field advantage is another great factor working in their favor, as is the whole idea of you can't completely cast aside a past champion with the resume the Seahawks have this decade, but it really does look like Seattle isn't ready or willing to admit their past missteps and are hesitant to hit refresh.

    That makes them a tough team to count on either way – they could show that veteran scowl and compete for this division crown again, or age and lack of depth really shows its face and a 4-12 season is the end result – and because of that it makes the +400 odds on the Seahawks a little intriguing.

    It's a huge payout if Seattle throws back the clock for one more year, which they surely could do, but given that this is a team that won or threatened to win this division every year this decade outside of last season and the oddsmakers still have them as 3rd best in the odds to win tells me it's probably better to pass on Seattle's chances in 2018.

    Which leaves me with no other choice but to back the L.A. Rams again this year as they've got all the tools to get things done. The offense is going to be better and more comfortable in Year 2 of the Sean McVay era, and considering how well this offense was a year ago, that's a scary thing for opponents (and probably a good thing for 'over' bettors).

    Defensively, the Rams have improved significantly as well, and although it was just a lone playoff game of experience for them last January, that type of experience can prove invaluable for a talented young team with a very young core like the Rams have. To have that taste of winning end as early as it did only gave this Rams team more of an appetite for more this year and it should come there way. L.A. simply has too many playmakers on both sides of the ball not to run away with this division, barring injury.

    So until the 49ers get a few more playmakers on the outside and Arizona goes through their growing pains with a young QB, it looks like we may indeed have a L.A. Rams dynasty on our hands in the NFC West for at least the next year or two.


    Best Bet: L.A. Rams to win division (-125)
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    NFL notebook: Cardinals GM Keim cited for DUI
    July 7, 2018


    Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim could be facing league disciplinary action after he was cited for driving under the influence July 4.

    Police in Chandler, Ariz., confirmed to multiple Arizona media outlets that Keim was arrested Wednesday morning during a traffic stop.

    Keim, who could be in violation of the NFL policy on personal conduct, apologized in a statement released through the team. He has been with the Cardinals since 1999 and served in a number of capacities. He was promoted to general manager in 2013.

    -- The NFL announced its roster of 121 game officials for this season Friday, which is three fewer than last year
    .

    Among the newcomers are seven college officials promoted to the NFL, including Land Clark (Pac-12), Matt Edwards (Big Ten), Chad Hill (SEC), Anthony Jeffries (SEC), Tony Josselyn (SEC), Mark Stewart (Big 12) and Don Willard (Big Ten).

    Though the NFL gained seven officials, it lost 10. Longtime referees Terry McAulay, Ed Hochuli, Gene Steratore and Jeff Triplette retired earlier this year. The other six are side judge Laird Hayes, field judge Buddy Horton, line judge Jim Howey, field judge Jon Lucivansky, line judge Ron Marinucci and down judge Ed Walker.

    -- NFL teams have until July 16 to work out long-term contracts with franchise-tagged players.


    Of note, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah and Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner have franchise tags on them.

    If deals are not signed and approved by the league before 4 p.m. ET on July 16, the sides cannot agree to new contracts until after the regular season is over.

    Lawrence, Ansah and Joyner have each signed one-year franchise tenders. However, Bell has not signed the franchise tender.

    The Cowboys and Lawrence are expected to engage in contract talks next week, according to the Athletic.

    -- Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett was an emerging star in his second NFL season, landing Pro Bowl honors and living up to the expectations of a first-round draft pick.

    That 2015 season seems like a distant memory for Verrett, who has played five games since because of a knee injury that ruined each of the past two years.

    As he prepares to enter his fifth NFL season, Verrett is determined to recapture the form that had him on track to becoming one of the league's best at his position.

    Verrett started 14 games during his Pro Bowl campaign, registering 47 tackles and three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. But he has been unable to stay on the field in his other three seasons, appearing in 11 games. A shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve in his rookie year and a partially torn ACL in his left knee ended the 2016 season after four games.

    He underwent surgery to repair the knee but experienced soreness in the 2017 opener and went back on IR two weeks later. That led to another knee surgery.

    -- The New York Giants were among the league's worst teams at getting after the quarterback last season and lost their top pass rusher to free agency. They attempted to shore up the position by taking two defensive linemen in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the biggest hope for boosting the sack total will come from within.

    Defensive end Olivier Vernon, signed to a free-agent contract two years ago, will shift to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme to maximize his pass-rushing skills.

    New York is counting on an impactful season from Vernon, particularly after Jason Pierre-Paul signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. Pierre-Paul had a team-high 8.5 sacks in 2017.

    Despite missing four games with an ankle injury, Vernon collected 6.5 sacks last season. He started all 16 games and registered 8.5 sacks in 2016 after signing a five-year, $85 million contract that included $52.5 million in guaranteed money.

    -- Running backs Frank Gore of the Miami Dolphins and LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills may be AFC East rivals, but that does not affect their friendship. The running backs are working out together and complimented each other on Instagram Friday.

    Gore has spent 13 years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. In March, he signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins.

    McCoy posted a photo of himself with Gore on Instagram with a caption that read: "When you talk about greatness you talking Frank Gore," McCoy wrote. "Learning from the best."

    Gore returned the favor by commenting on McCoy's Instagram post. "The best running back in the NFL Shady McCoy 10 years in still doing it," Gore wrote.

    -- Duce Staley was hoping to move up the coaching ladder after being part of a Super Bowl-winning staff with the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

    However, while Staley did have another title added to his resume, he was bypassed for two offensive coordinator jobs in the offseason.

    The Eagles considered Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh to run the offense before selecting the latter as Frank Reich's replacement. Staley, the running backs coach with the Eagles, was elevated to assistant head coach upon the announcement of Groh's promotion.

    Staley also was in the mix for the offensive coordinator's post with the New York Giants, a job that eventually went to Mike Shula, who served in a similar capacity with the Carolina Panther
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Seahawks, Cowboys reportedly discussing S Thomas
    July 8, 2018


    Multiple reports indicate trade talks between Dallas and Seattle for veteran safety Earl Thomas are heating up.

    Talk of Thomas being unhappy and wanting to play in Dallas sparked rumors during the NFL Draft of a potential trade, but the Seahawks' reported price of a second-round pick was too steep for the Cowboys. Now with the start of training camp just weeks away, talk of Thomas to Dallas was reignited on Saturday.

    Thomas, a former University of Texas player, reportedly told Dallas coach Jason Garrett to trade for him after a December game between the Seahawks and Cowboys.

    Thomas is set to make $8.5 million entering the final season of a four-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2014. The six-time Pro Bowl selection has skipped organized team activities throughout the summer.

    -- With the NFL supplemental draft just days away on July 11, the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills have been listed as likely teams who might make a splash.

    Of the five players available, the most interesting, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, could land on the shores of Lake Erie, with the Browns or the Bills. Every team sent a representative to Beal's supplemental workout, where he ran a wind-assisted 4.4 in the 40-yard dash as well as a 4.55 40 against the wind.

    The Browns have two picks in the third round, and Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com projects Beal as a third-round pick.

    The other players available in the supplemental draft are Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander, Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter.

    -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was pleased to discover that the "home team" recovered his lost wallet.

    A man, who was identified only as "Charles" in a tweet by ABC6 in Indianapolis, discovered Luck's lost wallet on a bike ride. The Good Samaritan returned the wallet to a security guard at the Colts' training facility.

    Luck took a few moments to pay it forward, signing a football to go along with a special note for "Charles."

    "Many thanks! You made my life much easier, ha! Thanks for reminding me of the 'kindness of strangers,'" the 28-year-old Luck wrote.

    With his money and credit cards secure, the three-time Pro Bowl selection can focus on returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season.

    -- Johnny Manziel came to the Canadian Football League with plenty of fanfare, although that noise has been silenced by the play of Jeremiah Masoli.

    Manziel once again watched from the sideline as Masoli tied a CFL record with his ninth consecutive game of at least 300 passing yards in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' 18-13 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The record is held by Montreal's Sam Etcheverry (1956) and Saskatchewan's Kent Austin (1991), according to TSN.

    While the former Oregon standout leads the league with 1,378 passing yards, Manziel has been reduced to the role of a spectator. A former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, Manziel has not played in a regular-season game since the end of the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns.

    -- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said he needs to help fill the void left by retired tight end Jason Witten.

    "There is no question that I need to step up because he's gone," the 31-year-old Lee said, via the Dallas Morning News.

    "I think it's a responsibility for me, similar to how it was for Jason Witten. Jason kind of set the tone for us. Not only did he set the pace leadership-wise, but he also knew that you had to pass the leadership down and you had to be gracious and try to help guys. That's something I am really trying to do also. If you want to have a great team, the leaders got to bring guys in. You can lead by example, but you've also got to get the young guys working the right way too."

    Lee had 101 tackles and one interception in 11 games last season. He missed five games with hamstring issues.

    -- The helmet worn by Eli Manning when he and the New York Giants rallied to beat the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII is expected to fetch more than $130,000 at auction.

    The bidding begins Monday at the Goldin website and will continue through Aug. 2 when bidding will end in a live auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.

    The Giants were significant underdogs and trailed the Patriots 7-3 in the fourth quarter. Manning led the Giants to two fourth-quarter scores, including the winner to wide receiver Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left in the game.

    According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, if Manning's helmet does bring in $130,000, it will be the most expensive helmet sold in auction. A helmet worn by Rudy Ruettiger while at Notre Dame sold last year for $126,500, Rovell said.

    -- Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley said he's motivated by the city's newest arrival: LeBron James.

    A four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, James announced last Sunday that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career -- this time to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154 million contract.

    Gurley spoke about the impact of James joining the Lakers will have on the Rams during an appearance Saturday on the "PFT PM" podcast with Mike Florio.

    "Once I heard about the LeBron signing, it just kind of made me wanna go out and just work out," the 23-year-old Gurley said. "The guy's been to the Finals the last seven, eight years so that's coming to the city. The NBA Finals is coming to the city. That's what LeBron brings."

    -- Former NFL tight end Dwight Clark's final resting place resides next to a memento from his most famous play.

    Clark, who died last month, was cremated and his ashes were buried next to the goal post from the Candlestick Park end zone where he secured "The Catch," the winning touchdown in the NFL Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982.

    That goal post now resides on former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo's ranch in Montana. Former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci tweeted a video showing the goal post and Clark's final resting place.

    Clark reeled in 506 passes for 6,750 yards and 48 touchdowns during his career with the 49ers. He died June 4 after a battle with ALS. He was 61.

    -- Los Angeles Chargers first-round pick Derwin James made good on his promise to purchase a home for his mother.

    James, who was the 17th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, received a $7.1 million signing bonus as part of his four-year, $12.39 million deal with the Chargers.

    The safety wasn't shy about letting the world know about his mother's new two-story house.

    "Today was a special day. Bought my momma her dream house I always promise her since a kid," James wrote. "I don't think there is anybody more deserving in the world then her. Love you."

    The 21-year-old James had 186 tackles and three interceptions in three seasons at Florida State.

    -- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin decided to put a portion of his new three-year, $20.3 million contract to good use. He bought his mother and sister a new house.

    On Thursday, Goodwin posted a video to Instagram that shows the manner in which he surprised his mother, Tamina, and sister, Deja, who has cerebral palsy. The latter two were blindfolded until Goodwin revealed their new home.

    "I know mama... I can feel your energy in this video! All the obstacles WE have overcome," Goodwin wrote. "Man...I love you so much mama... thank you for EVERYTHING! Especially blessing me with a sis like my Deja!!!"

    Goodwin notably played through personal anguish last season, as his infant son died from pregnancy complications. Five weeks later, his father died before a game against the Tennessee Titans.

    The 27-year-old Goodwin had career highs in catches (56) and receiving yards (962) to go with two touchdowns last season.

    -- The Indianapolis Colts might not be that far off from being a contender in the AFC once again. At least that's the feeling second-year safety Malik Hooker has been spreading this offseason.

    There's a renewed energy and vibe around the Colts. Frank Reich is the new coach, and the staff has been revamped. And of course there's quarterback Andrew Luck, who has not played in a game since Jan. 1, 2017.

    Much of the Colts' success hinges on Luck and his rehabilitated shoulder. But even if Luck isn't under center, Hooker thinks the Colts still can contend.

    "I'm definitely the guy that I feel like we're capable of winning now," Hooker told the team's website. "You know, we've got a lot of great players, a lot of good players coming back as well. So I feel like this year, we've got a young, fast and good, physical team, so I feel like we're definitely capable of winning now."

    -- Josh McCown is No. 1. Teddy Bridgewater is No. 2. Rookie Sam Darnold is No. 3. The New York Jets head into training camp with a clear definition of what their quarterback room looks like, but Jets fans should not be surprised if that changes sooner rather than later.

    Darnold, the team's top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was impressive in minicamp and seems to get better each day, according to McCown, who gushed about the 21-year-old on Sirius XM radio during the weekend.

    "With Sam, we have the right guy, he's wired the right way, he loves the game, he asks the right questions and he's willing to work. ... That's the foundation. You have to have that," McCown said.

    -- Washington expected wide receiver Josh Doctson to fill a huge void when he was drafted two years ago with the 22nd pick in the first round out of TCU. The reality is that Doctson has been a huge disappointment.

    Doctson does not have a 100-yard receiving game, nor has he caught more than four passes in a game. ut as he prepares for training camp and his third year, he says he's ready to take a huge leap forward.

    "Every new year I'm looking to be better. I have been better," Doctson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Saturday during a football camp he hosted at TCU. "Just off the field maturing, off the field understanding how to be a NFL player," he said.

    Last year, he had 35 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns, but with Terrelle Pyror leaving via free agency, the door is open for Doctson to be the No. 1 wide receiver. And new quarterback Alex Smith could make a difference for Doctson.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Handicapping Seattle (9)
    July 10, 2018

    The Seattle Seahawks have won at least nine games in each of the last six seasons, but there are legitimate questions as to whether or not the Seahawks will have a winning record in 2018. The Seahawks are coming off a 9-7 season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

    The offseason didn’t go well for the Seahawks as they lost a number of high profile players, including Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Jimmy Graham. Let’s look at the schedule for the Seahawks for 2018 to see if they will go over or under their win total of nine.

    2018 Seattle Seahawks Regular Season Win Total
    Over 9 (-105)
    Under 9 (-125)


    2018 Seattle Seahawks Schedule Analysis

    Sunday, Sept. 9, at Denver Broncos


    The regular season opener for the Seahawks will not be easy, as the Broncos have a tough defense and an improved offense with Case Keenum under center. The last time the Seahawks played at Denver was in 2010 and it was a 31-14 loss. It may not be any different this time around.

    Monday, Sept. 17, at Chicago Bears

    The Seahawks could easily start the season 0-2, as the Bears are expected to be improved this season with Mitch Trubisky in his second season and this is a Monday Night game where the crowd will be all-in for a Chicago win.

    Sunday, Sept. 23, vs. Dallas Cowboys

    The Seahawks early season schedule is not easy and the Cowboys have a good offense led by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Could the Seahawks actually start the season 0-3?

    Sunday, Sept. 30, at Arizona Cardinals

    The Seahawks have actually done quite well in Arizona in recent seasons, as they are 4-0-1 in their last five trips. This already feels like a must-win game for Seattle in Week 4.

    Sunday, Oct. 7, vs. Los Angeles Rams

    The Rams are considered the best team in the NFC West, but this is a huge revenge game for the Seahawks, as they suffered their worst home loss under Pete Carroll last season.

    Sunday, Oct. 14, vs. Oakland Raiders (London)

    This is an interesting matchup in London, as the Seahawks take on an Oakland team coached by Jon Gruden. It is also a matchup against former teammate Marshawn Lynch.

    Sunday, Oct. 21 BYE

    Sunday, Oct. 28, at Detroit Lions


    Did you know that the last time the Seahawks played in Detroit it was in 2012, also on October 28th? The Seahawks will probably be road underdogs in this one, but they are definitely capable of winning in Detroit.

    Sunday, Nov. 4, vs. Los Angeles Chargers

    The Chargers are considered a serious contender in the AFC this season, but the Seahawks have won 11 of the last 15 meetings against the Chargers.

    Sunday, Nov. 11, at Los Angeles Rams

    The Seahawks will play six of their first nine games on the road this season and they may already be out of contention by the time they visit the Rams in November.

    Thursday, Nov. 15, vs. Green Bay Packers

    The Seahawks have home field advantage, but the Packers are considered one of the top teams in the NFC and both teams will be playing with short rest.

    Sunday, Nov. 25, at Carolina Panthers

    The Seahawks and Panthers always seem to play close games and most of the time the Seahawks come out on top. The Seahawks have won five of the last six meetings.

    Sunday, Dec. 2, vs. San Francisco 49ers

    This will be the first time the Seahawks will be seeing former teammate Richard Sherman in a 49ers uniform. If the Seahawks are still in contention, this will be a must-win home game.

    Monday, Dec. 10, vs. Minnesota Vikings

    This one takes place on Monday night, but the Vikings are considered the better team and it would not be a surprise to see them get the road win.

    Sunday, Dec. 16, at San Francisco 49ers

    This will be the second time in three weeks the 49ers and Seahawks will play. The Seahawks are 4-0 at Levi’s Stadium, winning by a combined margin of 88-42.

    Sunday, Dec. 23, vs. Kansas City Chiefs

    Is there any easy game on the schedule for the Seahawks in 2018? They have to play a Kansas City team that is considered one of the best in the AFC.

    Sunday, Dec. 30, vs. Arizona Cardinals

    The regular season finale for the Seahawks will be against the Cardinals and it will be the third time in the last four years the teams will close out the regular season against one another.

    2018 Seattle Seahawks Regular Season Win Total Prediction

    There are no soft spots on the schedule this season for Seattle and it is hard to see how they finish with a winning record. If you give the Seahawks the benefit of the doubt and everything goes right for them then a 10-6 season is possible, but if you think they are going to be worse on offense and much worse on defense, it is easy to see this team going 6-10. We’ll just split the difference, which means an 8-8 season and a team that goes under their win total of nine.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Future Bets - AFC West
    July 10, 2018


    Is the KC/Denver Run Atop this Division Over?


    Continuing on with my look at each NFL division for the upcoming year brings us to the AFC West today after covering the NFC's version of the West division last week. The AFC West appears the division most up for grabs from top to bottom according to the oddsmakers, as the gap between the favorite (L.A. Chargers) at +150, to the biggest underdog (Denver Broncos) at +500, is the smallest range of prices from top to bottom for any division.

    And with each team in the AFC West having to go through the tough tests that teams from both the AFC North and aforementioned NFC West bring, chances are we see this division being hotly contested for much of the year.

    Historically, the AFC West has been owned by either the Chiefs or Broncos this decade, as one of those two franchises have won this division every year beginning in 2010. Right now it's the Kansas City Chiefs who are the two-time defending champs, but they just made a big move at QB to go with their young face of the future in Patrick Mahomes.

    Denver – who owned this division when Peyton Manning was in town – made a QB switch this offseason too as they brought in Case Keenum as more of a stop-gap guy while they wait for their young guy in Paxton Lynch to develop. So could this actually be the year we see a different franchise win the AFC West for the first time this decade? I think it just might be...

    Odds to Win AFC West
    L.A. Chargers (+150)
    Kansas City Chiefs (+250)
    Oakland Raiders (+350)
    Denver Broncos (+500)


    These odds may be the most condensed of any division future numbers, but I'm not sure the final result will end up being these four teams entering December all with a chance. Kansas City (+250) and Denver (+500) I grouped together earlier because of the QB switches they made this off-season and I do believe they are valid points to consider here.

    Kansas City has more overall team talent but with Mahomes seeing his first significant time on an NFL field, chances are there will be some growing pains there. So more overall talent or not, I'm not sure the Chiefs deserve to be the second favorites here.

    Denver's case is almost under the classification of being “the same, but different,” as their QB change involves a more journeyman guy in Case Keenum who had some great success as a starter a year ago. He's the classic “game manager” QB that needs a great defense to survive, and while Denver's defense still does resemble their dominant unit of a few years back, they just don't really have the teeth or strike as much fear in opponents anymore.

    Offensively, Keenum is going to be counted on to produce more one way or another because he simply doesn't have the talent like Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph etc at all the skill positions that he had in Minnesota.

    Keenum signing a two-year deal does tell you a bit of what Denver thinks of both their chances this year and the developmental timeline of Lynch in that they really don't expect much from Lynch for at least another year, and Keenum's two-year deal gives him time to work up a level of comfort with his new teammates, system, surroundings etc and look to peak in 2019.

    So that leaves us with either Oakland (+350) or the Chargers (+150) as the 2018 AFC West winner and I really do believe one of these two teams will end up being division champs. As far as which one it is, I guess that's why they play the games on the field.

    In terms of which one I'm backing here, I do actually believe the choice is a lot clearer than these bunched up odds would have you suggest. To me, it's the Chargers or nothing this year as they've got the most continuity going on the field overall, have got to have some good luck coming considering the bad luck they've had the past few years in terms of injuries and being on the wrong end of plenty one-possession games, and were just a single win away from getting to the top of the mountain a year ago.

    If the Chargers can get bit a few fewer times by the injury bug and get a bounce or two to go their way in games that end up being victories, then the +150 price tag is more than enough value on what may be the best team in the division regardless, but is also the only one without any issues/distractions surrounding them.

    In Kansas City and Denver it's all about the QB situation and discussing whether or not KC got the right guy in Mahomes, how long before Lynch sees the field in Denver, and news fodder like that.

    For Oakland, it's all about the upcoming relocation to Las Vegas after this season and how will the players/fans react to this being the last year in the Bay. Adding in an (old) new coach in Jon Gruden doesn't exactly lessen the spotlight anymore on this Raiders organization in 2018, and teams with too much noise going on around them don't tend to succeed very often. Especially if that noise involves the team moving or potentially moving.

    Just looking back at recent history, we've already had a few teams play their “lame duck” year in a particular city and not really fare all that well. In the year prior to relocating back to L.A. (2015-16), the Rams finished with a 7-9 SU record in St Louis, while the Chargers final season in San Diego (2016-17) saw them finish with a 5-11 SU mark. Neither of those teams exactly “knew” they were leaving like Oakland does, but I'm not sure that matters as the “chatter” will still be there.

    It's not like the 1995 Cleveland Browns weren't affected by similar “chatter” when they went 5-11 SU before losing their franchise, as were the 1983 Baltimore Colts who finished 7-9 SU before vanishing in the night to Indianapolis. Relocation is a big distraction all the way around for an organization and I'm not looking to back Oakland in 2018 because of it.

    On the field, Oakland has the guys to for sure make a run at a division crown, I just think all the noise about leaving Oakland will swallow up this team too much for them to produce results at the level needed.

    The Chargers' Philip Rivers deserves another crack at making a run towards the Super Bowl and this Chargers team has the depth and talent to at least be considered a player in that realm in 2018. There are no more relocation issues to use as excuses for this team, and as long as guys like RB Melvin Gordon and WR Keenan Allen can get on the field for 16 games, this Chargers team is the one to beat in my eyes.


    Best Bet: L.A. Chargers to win division (+150)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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