Patriots vs. Dolphins odds: New England a large favorite at Miami to close out regular season

The New England Patriots are 7-0 straight up and 6-1 against the spread on the road this season. With one more road win this Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots would secure home field throughout the postseason.

New England is a 9.5-point road favorite at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Patriots are 10-3 SU in their last 13 games against the Dolphins.

The Patriots have been on cruise control on offense since the return of Tom Brady, boasting a 10-1 SU and 9-2 ATS record over their last 11 games. But Brady isn’t the only reason that the Patriots are excelling; the team ranks eighth in the NFL in rushing with 116.8 yards per game and best in the NFL in scoring defense allowing only 15.7 points per game. With New England playing so well at every level, home field throughout the playoffs would certainly strike fear into the rest of the conference.

In New England’s last 21 games as a betting favorite of a touchdown or more, the Patriots are 18-3 SU and 12-6-3 ATS per the OddsShark NFL Database.

First off, if you’re reading this, you’re probably still alive in your Survivor League. Take a moment and pat yourself on the back. Getting to Week 17 is no easy feat. And if you still have Seattle or New England available in your league, stop patting and start popping — the champagne, that is. You are going to win your league.

And if you don’t have one of those two sure things, the key to ultimate survival is investing in those teams who are still invested in their seasons. Tampa Bay, Washington, Oakland, Green Bay, and Detroit immediately come to mind as teams with something important still to play for. Of that group, I would be looking at Tampa Bay and Oakland first because their opponents are at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Teams that reach the Super Bowl one year often struggle mightily the next, and Denver and Carolina were no exceptions in 2016. Check the news this week, as it’s likely both teams could sit key members on both sides of the ball, making the road to victory even smoother for the Bucs and Raiders.

The New York Jets weren’t even a speed bump on the Patriots’ road to the AFC playoffs

Now, something similar can be said about the other two jobs that are open right now. Not every Los Angeles Rams coaching candidate is guaranteed to love Jared Goff. And not every Jacksonville Jaguars coaching candidate is going to be super excited about working with Blake Bortles. Teams that change head coaches very often have a lot of roster uncertainty, and that often includes quarterback.
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The AFC field is set (though not seeded), and there are two spots up for grabs in the NFC, with four teams still technically alive in the hunt for them. The Detroit Lions failed to lock up their playoff spot on Monday night, but they can still make it with a win or some help in Week 17.

So here’s a look at the NFL playoff picture with one week to go in the regular season.

Womens Bryan Little Jersey New England Patriots (13-2). The New York Jets weren’t even a speed bump on the Patriots’ road to the AFC playoffs. If they win or if the Raiders lose in Week 17, the Patriots will secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC field. The worst they can do is end up at No. 2.

Oakland Raiders (12-3). Oakland clinched its spot in Week 15. If the Raiders win at Denver or the Chiefs lose at San Diego in Week 17, the Raiders will be AFC West champions. Of course, the bigger issue right now for Oakland is that it is going to have to play its postseason games with Matt McGloin or Connor Cook at quarterback.

With all of this talk swirling about whether the Dallas Cowboys should or shouldn’t rest Dak Prescott and other guys in advance of the playoffs now that they have everything clinched, the Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota injuries from Saturday serve as a reminder that there’s no way to know when the injury bug is coming.

Browns’ Terrelle Pryor not a building block, ex-WR Brian Hartline says

One of Terrelle Pryor’s ex-teammates isn’t sure the receiver deserves a big contract from the Cleveland Browns when he becomes a free agent after the season.

Brian Hartline spent one training camp and one game as a receiver with Pryor last season, before Hartline was released in May. But Hartline said Wednesday on 105.7 The Zone in Columbus, Ohio, that he’s not convinced Pryor is consistent enough for a new contract.

“If I’m building a team, what is he?” Hartline said. “Is he my No. 1? God, I hope not. Because let’s put it this way: For me, I want a guy day in and day out I know what I’m getting. You don’t know what you’re going to get.”
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Hartline also was a teammate of Pryor’s at Ohio State in 2008.

“I need stability,” Hartline said. “I need constant production. Is he a No. 2? OK, yeah. I mean maybe. I don’t know … he kind of disappeared in the last couple weeks. If he was a quarterback, they’d be like, ‘Oh, they’re figuring him out. He can’t do it anymore. They’re finally figuring out the rookie quarterback.’

Eventually, Kendricks spins out of Witten’s block and chases Elliott down at the 24, diving at the last second to wrap up his legs and prevent a TD — but not before Dallas gains 30, setting up what will be Dan Bailey’s decisive 39-yard field goal.

“That was a hell of a win. It might be my favorite of the 11 we’ve had this year,” Garrett would tell the team afterward. “It was the best demonstration of fight we’ve had in the first 12 weeks of the season.” At the tail end of his run, Elliott pops straight up from the turf and releases his grip on the ball.

Jeremy Lane Game Jersey He sticks his chest out and raises his right hand to his face mask to make his now famous “feed me” gesture. Facing the giant glass window at the north end of U.S. Bank Stadium, the message seems directed at all would-be challengers on the horizon. Elliott and the Dallas offensive line are hungry for more.

Ryan Succop on Titans’ game winner: Wasn’t sure I would reach goal

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Ryan Succop didn’t try a warm-up field goal longer that 49 yards on Sunday at frigid Arrowhead Stadium.

The Tennessee Titans place-kicker didn’t figure there was much of a point to it.

Devonta Freeman ran for three touchdowns and 139 yards on 20 carries against the 49ers, bouncing back from a poor game last week.

It’s not a surprise Freeman quickly atoned for his mistake. He’s a passionate player who always strives for perfection. And Sunday’s 41-13 win was the perfect time for Freeman to find his rhythm.

Freeman scored three rushing touchdowns and ran for 139 yards on 20 carries as the Falcons ripped through a rather anemic 49ers defense to the tune of 550 total yards, including a season-high 248 on the ground. The Falcons also set a franchise record in points with 469. And they accomplished all of that with Julio Jones (toe) inactive.
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Freeman’s success on the ground was expected, considering the 49ers came into the game allowing a league-worst 170.8 rushing yards per game. But no matter the opponent, it was important for Freeman to have a big day running the ball as his team heads toward the playoff push.

“I think it’s very important for us to get the offensive rhythm as a whole,” Freeman said. “When we play together as a whole, we’re definitely unstoppable. With [the] running game, it builds confidence. I’m just thankful and blessed to be a part of this program.”

the Seahawks need to find some kind of consistency

Earl Thomas’ streak of 118 straight games played ended because of a season-ending fractured tibia.

And Russell Wilson, who had never been listed on the injury report in his first four years in the NFL, battled through three different ailments in the first six games.

So Carroll is right. It has been a strange journey. But even with all that, this Seahawks team still has a chance to get back to where it wants to go.

“It’s a big deal to be NFC West champs,” Wilson said. “It’s not easy to do.”
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As things stand, the Seahawks are the No. 3 seed in the NFC. If the Lions lose to the Giants on Sunday, Seattle will be back in the No. 2 spot and in position for a first-round bye.

Offensively, the Seahawks need to find some kind of consistency. They turned the ball over six times in Week 14 and scored five points against Tampa Bay in Week 12. The performance against the Rams was encouraging, but the offensive line is still a wild card on most weeks, and the run game is not always available to them.

Defensively, the Seahawks are still getting acclimated to life without Thomas. They feasted on Rams rookie quarterback Jared Goff, but were picked apart a week ago by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.
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The only thing certain with this team is to expect more twists along the way. The Seahawks’ ceiling is high, as evidenced by their win against the Patriots on the road in Week 10. At the same time, it’s tough to know which team is going to show up on any given week.

“The good part about it is that here we have a couple more games left, and we continue to work at it and see if we can really develop some momentum and some better play and already know that you’re going,” Carroll said. “I’m anxious to see how we do that.”

Brett Favre leads 2016 Hall of Fame finalists

It should be no surprise that former Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre has been named one of the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The full list of finalists was revealed on Thursday, and also includes standouts like wide receiver Terrell Owens and guard Alan Faneca.

Notable exclusions on the list include running back Roger Craig, wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, as well as cornerback Ty Law and head coach Jimmy Johnson. The two coaches who made the list are Don Coryell and Tony Dungy.
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Washington’s offensive line has been effective in pass blocking, something Kirk Cousin’s impressive statistics can attest to. Cousins has only been sacked 26 times. Overall, this version of the Hogs has allowed a sack on just 5.4 percent of dropbacks (per Football Outsiders data). Only two teams, from both the NFC and AFC, have been better at pass blocking by that measurement (Arizona and Pittsburgh).

They’ll have a good matchup with the Packers’ defense, which is sacking opposing quarterbacks on 6.7 percent of passing plays. But Cousins hasn’t needed much time in the pocket, just enough to get the ball to matchup nightmare Jordan Reed or the blazing DeSean Jackson.

Don Barclay Elite Jersey Washington doesn’t need its offensive line to be The Hogs on Sunday. The front five just needs to force its way down the field, keeping the offense out of third-and-long situations and out of reach from the Green Bay blitz. If they can do that, Washington should be on its way to its first playoff win since the 2005 season.

Jay Gruden’s second season in Washington has been one of transition for his offensive line. It’s moving away from Mike Shanahan’s old zone blocking scheme with smaller, more athletic linemen, to a group that features beefy fellows with a scheme more concerned with power and gaps.

Who won the most at the winter meetings?

Delanie Walker Game Jersey Everybody has gone home from the fictional city of National Harbor, Maryland, after a week of making high-stakes trades and signings of a decidedly nonfictional nature. With the free-agent market being one of the weakest markets — if not the weakest market — ever, a lot of the focus of baseball’s largest conclave was on a few giant trades. And one Giant trade.

Power is up in baseball, and there are plenty of 1B and DH available. We examine each team’s situation and find fits for the top remaining sluggers.

Elite Mens Nate Palmer Jersey After the Nationals sold the farm for outfielder Adam Eaton, Washington’s biggest star made a cryptic Twitter post. What did it mean?

The teams are ranked by surplus value (expressed in wins), the projected difference between the total number of projected wins they picked up and the projected salary they expect to pay for the wins. However, don’t assume this is a list of best-to-worst because it’s not. Surplus value is a tool, a basic number to look at, but teams rightly don’t value all wins the same.

Time is a very big deal in baseball, and if you have good reasons to believe that wins right now can get you to the playoffs or even to a champagne drenching in late October, giving up more wins much later to get wins now is not only justifiable but downright smart.

Chicago White Sox: plus-31.8 wins. Yup, the Sox did darn well trading two of their core players in Chris Sale and Adam Eaton. No single player is a guarantee for stardom, although ZiPS does see Yoan Moncada peaking at four wins a season as the average result. But the amount of talent for the future they picked up was tremendous.

The Mariners were second in the AL in home runs in 2016 and third in runs, but this lineup could be a fun.

the Colts would be the division favorites with a win but would likely be out of contention with a loss

Similarly, the Colts would be the division favorites with a win but would likely be out of contention with a loss, as they would be one game back and lose the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Texans. FPI gives the Colts a 66 percent chance to win at home.

Osweiler is 1-5 on the road. What’s worse: His slow start has allowed the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts to catch up to the Texans in the AFC South.

“I think he¡¯s dealt with it better than I would have ever imagined,” Smith said. “It¡¯s tough. I know exactly how he¡¯s feeling… I think for us as players and even people on the outside, you sometimes forget that there¡¯s a man behind that uniform or a man that¡¯s coaching and they have real-life problems just like everyone else. We¡¯re not above real life. It puts things into perspective, so I¡¯m glad that we can be a support system here.”

Jason Myers Mens Jersey After the game, Thomas told reporters that the Browns have to “lie in the bed that you’ve made.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith’s brother died during the 2012 season after a motorcycle accident. Fellow receiver Jeremy Kerley lost the relative he called his “little brother” — Josh Wilson, whose uncle is married to Kerley’s aunt — to a car accident when Kerley was a Jet during the 2014 season.

Authentic Youth Paul Molitor Jersey With a victory, the Raiders¡¯ chance of winning the AFC West will rise from 49 percent to about 84 percent. If they lose, their chance of winning the division will fall to about 27 percent, and the Chiefs will have a 65 percent chance to finish as division champs. FPI gives the Chiefs a 61 percent chance to win at Arrowhead.

Johnson implored him to shave his head and just be done with it

When he and his Wisconsin buddies get together, it’s like college all over again. Their old long-snapper, Steve Johnson, was busting on him recently about some thinning hair he noticed when he saw a picture of Thomas. Johnson implored him to shave his head and just be done with it.

A few days later, Thomas took to Twitter. “BREAKING NEWS,” he tweeted. “Joe Thomas questionable with a receding hairline.”

He is self-deprecating, and his teammates like that. It puts them at ease. Thomas was asked recently how he’s dealing with the losing skid. “Lots of eggnog,” he said.

If Thomas is lucky, he might have three or four years of football left in him. That should be enough, he hopes. But he tells the Browns to hurry up. He’s running out of time.

“There are times that I’m admiring the loyalty,” former Browns executive Joe Banner says, “and there are other times I’m sitting here going, ‘Boy, when this guy retires, he’s going to look back and really wish he had a chance to experience what it felt like to be on a good team and win in the NFL.'”

ON SUNDAY NIGHTS, Thomas goes home, lies down with his wife and three kids and watches the late football games. He is happy that his children are all under the age of 4 and don’t know whether he’s won or lost. They kiss his wounds and take his mind off of the sacks and the scoreboard and the large bags of ice wrapped around his knees.

“I hope that someday the kids will think what he did for a living was pretty cool,” Annie says in an email. “But for right now they just think he wears a funny helmet and tights.”

Maybe someday, they’ll know Limited Womens Mickey Mantle Jersey why Thomas did this, why he kept pushing that boulder up even though it kept crashing down on him.

“I’m hired to do a job,” he says. “They expect me to do a job, and that job requires me to get my butt up and get back to the huddle, get the play and go do it another time. And until I can’t physically get up, I’m going to do that.

“Until they pull me out of Limited Womens Rhett Ellison Jersey the game and say, ‘You’re not doing it well enough,’ I’m going to just keep getting up.”

Titans hire GM Jon Robinson as search for head coach ramps up

The Tennessee Titans have hired Buccaneers’ director of player personnel Jon Robinson as their new general manager, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Robinson, a Tennessee native, has spent the past two seasons in Tampa Bay after 12 years in New England.

Robinson’s first task will be deciding on a Elite Youth Mark Teixeira Jersey head coach. He spent several seasons on the same New England staff as current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who reportedly is interested in the Titans’ open head coaching job.

The Titans are also considering their current interim head coach, Mike Mularkey, who Womens Gabriel Landeskog Jersey took over for the fired Ken Whisenhunt in November. They’re planning on interviewing him on Friday, according to the Tennessean, which also reports that the Titans will interview Jaguars assistant head coach Doug Marrone and Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin as well.

Audio of the police and fire dispatch in Foxboro have been released and pieced together by Heavy.com. While officers didn’t go too much into detail over the radio, they discussed a “confused party” who required medical and mental evaluation. One officer can be heard talking to dispatch about a “class D delta,” which is a classification of drugs under Massachusetts law that includes marijuana, among other substances.

A police report doesn’t exist for the incident, but Foxboro Police Chief Edward T. O’Leary told the Boston Herald that it’s standard for medical calls, and reports aren’t written “unless a person’s dead.”

On Thursday, Jones talked to media but didn’t go into details of what he called “a mistake”:

Jones finished the 2015 regular season with 44 total combined tackles, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception. He was sidelined during the Week 17 game against the Dolphins with a toe injury. He’s expected to return against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, with the Patriots making no mention of repercussions.