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San Diego Chargers

Mike Vrabel hired as Titans’ head coach

The Titans have announced the hiring of Mike Vrabel as their next coach.

Vrabel has seven years’ worth of coaching experience, including only four in the NFL, all with the Texans. He was Houston’s linebackers coach from 2014-16 and its defensive coordinator in 2017. Houston in 2017 allowed a league-high 436 points and ranked 20th in yards allowed, giving up 346.6 yards per game. The Texans also ranked 20th in rush defense (109.2 yards per game) and ninth in the NFL pass defense (237.4 yards per game).

Vrabel also has a storied 14-year playing career in the NFL, winning Super Bowls 36, 38 and 39 with the Patriots. He was named first-team All-Pro in 2007, which saw New England fall one game short of a perfect season.

New England, naturally, is a big favorite to beat upstart Jacksonville in the AFC championship game Jan. 21 in Foxborough, Mass. The early lines in Las Vegas on Sunday had the Pats favored by nine over the Jaguars, who upset the Steelers on Sunday in the divisional round. That spread had been bet down to Patriots -7.5 by Sunday morning. The over-under (total points) was set at 48, but has dipped to 46.5 in some places.

The Pats are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games, according to; the UNDER is 7-4 in those games.

The NFC championship matchup, Vikings at Eagles on Jan. 21, is much closer in Vegas’ eyes, and once again, the conference’s top seed is an underdog. Philadelphia is getting 3 1/2 points from Minnesota after beating Atlanta outright as a 2 1/2-point ‘dog Saturday. The Vikings were favored by between 3 and 5.5 points leading up to the game, but that number had settled at Vikings -3 on Sunday morning.

Chris Taylor singled leading off the first but was thrown out on a delayed steal attempt that ended the inning

The Astros didn’t use relievers Brad Peacock, Will Harris or Chris Devenski in Game 6. With two days of rest, those three are expected to be fully available. Ken Giles, Houston’s struggling closer, also didn’t pitch in Game 6, but it would seem unlikely that Hinch would go to Giles, unless he was forced to by the game’s circumstances.

—Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, to the Indianapolis Star after the vice president walked out of the stadium following some 49ers kneeling for the national anthem.

A word about NFL TV ratings. Several words, actually. The NFL is concerned about them. Some people in the league are hugely concerned about them. They should be. A year ago, when the ratings were tanking, most media cognoscenti said it was because the rancorous presidential campaign was sucking all the TV air out of the room, and the marginal football fan was watching Fox News or MSNBC or CNN instead of football. So we’ll skip 2016 ratings for the purpose of this exercise, and compare 2017 to 2015.

“The innings were rolling pretty quickly there the first four, five, six innings,” Wood said. “It kept us both of us locked in.”

Chris Taylor singled leading off the first but was thrown out on a delayed steal attempt that ended the inning, the first runner caught stealing by Houston catcher Brian McCann since June 18. That was part of a streak of 15 straight outs by Morton before he hit Barnes on the right forearm with a pitch leading off the sixth.

Enrique Hernandez’s single put runners at the corners and Taylor hit a two-hopper to third that Bregman scooped on an in-between hop and threw home in plenty of time for McCann to tag Barnes, who tried to stop about 10 feet from the plate and fell. Bregman also threw out the Yankees’ Greg Bird at the plate in the fifth inning of Game 7 in the AL Championship Series.

“We’re a super-resilient team,” Bellinger said. “Taking one here to make sure we go back to LA is huge.”ducks-100

I’ll never forget this game we had in Holguin.

We were practicing at 10 in the morning, and the stadium was filled. People were waiting there for the game that night. The energy was so electric. You see a sign that says ‘Socialism Or Death,’ but you’re surrounded by this incredible joy for baseball. The Cubans were the best in the world, not for money or politics, but because they loved the game.”
Women's Vancouver Canucks #47 Sven Baertschi Reebok White Away Authentic NHL Jersey
The Falcons righted the ship following a three-game losing streak, but the road ahead looks daunting. No Womens Victor Rask Jersey team has a remaining strength of schedule more difficult than Atlanta’s (.591 opponents’ win percentage).

Shawn Lauvao, OG, Washington Redskins: One of the league’s most banged-up offensive line units took another hit Sunday, as Lauvao was removed from action in the third quarter and received treatment in the medical tent on the sideline before heading back to the locker room. He Authentic Pavol Demitra Jersey was designated as questionable to return because of a stinger. Arie Kouandjio replaced Lauvao at left guard. He was later downgraded to out.

If there’s one conference that understands a pragmatic approach to this season, it’s the Big Ten. The league has felt in transition, with new members Maryland, Rutgers and Nebraska in recent years. Having the East Coast connection of the Terps and Scarlet Knights has opened a little more recruiting ground for Big Ten teams, and some coaching changes have brought different philosophies into the league.

But while it might sound overly harsh to whittle an entire league’s experience to one word, “disappointment” might best cover the Big Ten last season.

Ridley spent the preseason with the Broncos and had 38 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Third-year defensive end Frank Clark, who produced 10 sacks as a rotational player last season, will continue to start in Avril’s absence opposite Michael Bennett on early downs. Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson are the other defensive ends on Seattle’s roster.

The Seattle Seahawks climbed back into the top 10 on CBS Sports’ power rankings. They took care of business against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 5. Washington had a bye week, but it finally moved into the top 10. has the Eagles as the second-best team heading into Week 6. The Detroit Lions, Denver Broncos, Washington, and Seattle are all in the top 10.

Ridley spent the preseason with the Broncos and had 38 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown. He played in just one game for the Falcons in 2016 and had three carries for 7 yards.

Derek Carr left the Raiders’ Week 4 loss to the Broncos with a back injury. The team initially said its quarterback had back spasms, but that wasn’t the case. On Monday, the Raiders announced that Carr has a transverse process fracture in his back. Carr is expected to miss two to six weeks to fully recover.

Carr had x-rays and an MRI, but both were inconclusive. A CT scan on Monday confirmed the fracture.

Bowman joins a Raiders team that could use some help defensively. They rank 23rd in the NFL in total defense, and desperately need help at the linebacker position. Their fifth-round pick from the 2017 draft, Marquel Lee, is injured. Behind Lee are Tyrell Adams and undrafted free agent rookie Nicholas Morrow. So Bowman’s experience will immediately come in handy, even if he isn’t the player he once was.sabres_008

It’s Carson Palmer vs. Carson Wentz.

Arizona has become a one-dimensional passing offense behind a shaky line, which is good and bad against Philadelphia. Palmer will get sacked several more times, but his receivers are bound to make a few big plays against a weak secondary. Wentz has a respectable running game behind him, but his mobility vs. that of his counterpart makes the difference.

Just when Le’Veon Bell gets going, the rest of Pittsburgh’s offense is suddenly in disarray and dysfunction. That means plenty more Bell against a Jacksonville defense that can give up chunk runs see the Jets’ and Titans’ committees. It’s also the best way to avoid putting Ben Roethlisberger too much in front of Calais Campbell and Sacksonville, especially with A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey ready to contain Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Unfortunately for the Jags, after Leonard Fournette is slowed, Blake Bortles won’t avoid Blitzburgh.

What has gone wrong: The Packers still have no answers for Atlanta, which doesn’t bode well for Green Bay if the clubs meet again in the playoffs. The Falcons jumped to a 31-7 lead before coasting to an 11-point home win in Week 2.

What’s next: Coming off last Thursday night’s rout of Chicago, the Packers get extra time for their roster to heal before embarking on back-to-back road games against Dallas and Minnesota.

What has gone right: Sean McVay is the early NFL Coach of the Year frontrunner for installing an offense that has helped quarterback Jared Goff develop in his second NFL season and gotten running back Todd Gurley back to prime form. The defense has leaked at times but deserves credit for limiting Dallas to just six second-half points in last Sunday’s 35-30 road victory.

Texans vs. Bengals odds 2017: Houston road underdog at Cincinnati on Thursday night

The Houston Texans are 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Texans hope their success against the Bengals continues when the two teams meet this Thursday night.

Houston is a 5.5-point road betting underdog in Cincinnati at sportsbooks monitored by Cincinnati has been favored in each of its last three home games against Houston but is 0-3 SU and ATS over that stretch.

Going off as a 6-point favorite in their home opener against Brandon Carr Youth Jersey Jacksonville, the Texans were blown out 29-7. The offensive line looks like it could be a problem for Houston all season long, failing to open up running lanes for Lamar Miller and leaving Mark Scheifele Womens Jersey both Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson under duress in the majority of their time under center.

That duo combined for just 162 yards of passing and were sacked 10 times for a total of 54 yards lost. Houston announced Tuesday that Watson will start this week.

Of the injury itself, Richardson simply told ESPN, “It hurt a lot.”

The play itself wasn’t exactly easy, but knowing what Richardson went through moments earlier makes it even more impressive.

“He went back in and caught the game-winning touchdown pass with it,” coach Pete Carroll told ESPN. “Good stuff.”

Richardson’s injury happened on Seattle’s opening drive after going for a low throw from Russell Wilson. After the game, Wilson also commended Richardson’s effort to see the game through.

“That shows his toughness,” Wilson said. “To be a receiver and have your fingers sewed up and to battle and to come back in, that shows his courage.”

SB Nation’s Stephen White chose Richardson as the Seahawks’ breakout player this season. If Richardson’s going to continue to put forth an effort like he did Sunday, that pick looks pretty good.

Though he didn’t play in CLE as long as others Dennis Eckersley.

Only because when I was a kid and they had those get a photo with a player before the game days at the old Municipal Stadium I had gotten one with Eckersley.

For most part don’t care they are the ‘jersey’ they wear. Never understood the over attachment. Probably an interesting twist to the list would be players who ‘left’ on their own volition (Free Agent, et al) versus those who were traded, a la, Rocky Colavito.

But looking back on it those teams were garbage. Behind the scenes was it an elaborate plan for LeBron to leave, the Cavs to tank, and rebuild then get position to trade for key players? Who knows? But LeBron did bring us a championship, and you were at that parade even if you won’t admit it. The moment he chased down Igoudala from 30 feet back and blocked him at the rim, and then Irving hit that three, things changed in this town. We weren’t going to collapse and have another “The” moment.

Here’s some of what is on tap at Carver Arena:

Opening Weekend: Blackhawks mascot Tommy Hawk appears, tickets are 2 for $20 and 1,500 magnetic schedules will be distributed as the team honors the memory of late owner Bruce Saurs.

Special jerseys: The Rivermen will wear a jersey to honor the military on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — and all retired or active duty service members with ID will get a free ticket.

Ravens schedule 2017: Baltimore’s fate could rest on another rematch in Pittsburgh

The Week 10 bye will come right on time, but also is sandwiched between two road games, including to Green Bay. Their game against the Texans is their first Monday night home game since 2012 бн when they won the Super Bowl.

Besides the Sunday night game in Pittsburgh, the quirk in their late schedule is in Week 16, the Saturday afternoon before Christmas at home against the Colts, always an emotional situation for Baltimore fans. They finish against the Bengals again; they lost what turned out to be a meaningless finale last season.

Roberto Aguayo was released by the Buccaneers this week after a year of unfulfilled expectations. After being the most accurate kicker in college history, the Bucs traded up to select Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and did not play like a second-round kicker.

His struggles continued into 2017 when he missed a field goal and an extra point in the team’s first preseason game. After that, coach Dirk Koetter lit into his kicker with some strong comments, and a day later he was released.

Aguayo’s journey is disappointing because he had a lot of pressure on him early. He was mocked and condemned by fans, all the way until his exit. Making the departure a bit more awkward, perhaps, was the fact HBO cameras were there to capture it all for their series “Hard Knocks.”

A trailer for Tuesday night’s episode was released earlier in the day, and it shows the kicker’s final days in a Bucs uniform.

The first takeaway is Chris Baker, a defensive tackle, openly mocking Aguayo’s kicking struggles as he lines up a kick. Baker accurately predicts Aguayo will miss the kick wide left, and then laughs when he’s correct. dolphins_018

Steph Curry makes no-look reverse layup against Wizards

Stephen Curry has been back to his freakish self as of late, and that trend continued for Sunday night against the Wizards.

The Warriors’ MVP guard went behind the back to push past the first line of defense and then ran directly into a trio of Wizards around the rim. Instead of kicking out, he flipped in a reverse layup without looking at the hoop in vintage 2016 Steph style.

The problem for Trimble continues to be a lack of forward momentum in the development of his game. Trimble is a similar player to the one he was as a freshman and sophomore: a good pick-and-roll guard that looks for his shot first, then plays off it to distribute, with physical limitations that may hinder him against more elite athletes.

His game against Xavier showcased all of these factors. On some level, he’s not going to shoot 1 of 9 from 3 in every game, which made this an outlier unlucky performance. But he’s also not the high-level shooter he showed as a freshman when he hit nearly 42 percent of his 3s.

Trimble is a tremendous kid that basically everyone who has met him roots for. He is an offensive leader who likes the ball in his hands at the end of the game. But right now, he’s just not quite ready for the NBA. That’s fine. There are recent examples, such as Yogi Ferrell, of a player reaching that level by returning for his senior year as a point guard surrounded by a ton of returning talent, and I’d hope Trimble does the same while making a run toward Maryland’s all-time scoring record next season.steelers_119

NBA community says goodbye to Paul Pierce after his final game

With the Clippers’ Game 7 loss to the Jazz on Sunday, Paul Pierce’s career came to an end.

After one NBA title, 10 All-Star appearances and many memorable moments with three teams, the 39-year-old will be walking away from the game. He played 19 seasons with 170 playoff games under his belt while scoring 26,397 career points.

After the game, the NBA community reminisced on Pierce’s time in the NBA.

Schroder and Millsap combined for 56 points to lead the Hawks to an 116-98 win against the Wizards on Saturday in Game 3, cutting Washington’s lead in the first-round series to 2-1.

Wall scored 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field, but none of his teammates, including the loquacious Morris, matched his effort. Morris scored nine points on 4 of 14 from the field. He was mostly quiet until after the game when he dropped some more words in the verbal warfare between the two squads.

“He’s a crybaby,” Morris said of Millsap. “Get all the calls, and you a crybaby.”

Millsap had 29 points to go along with 14 rebounds and five assists. Before he was apprised of Morris’ comments, Millsap told the media that he enjoyed the matchup.

A ring is hard to come by in this age of basketball, though. The Warriors have built a super team in the West, and LeBron James in the East has been to six straight NBA Finals, showing no signs of slowing down. Even Lowry admitted it’s practically impossible to get by James.

Via The Vertical from last Friday, after Game 3:

“They’ve got LeBron James. Nobody’s closing the gap on him. I mean, that’s it right there: They’ve got LeBron James and nobody’s closing the gap on him.