Cowboys hold off the Raiders to win Sunday Night Football 20-17, Dallas will get Ezekiel Elliott back next week:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Dallas Cowboys took on the Oakland Raiders last night on Sunday Night Football and it was the Cowboys who persevered in the end. Dak Prescott struggled throwing the football tossing two interceptions and not one touchdown pass. Prescott did put up 212 yards through the air but it wasn’t the second year QBs best offensive performance by any means. Fortunately for Jason Garrett’s team Prescott was able to rush for one touchdown and that was big considering Dallas only scored 20 points. Alfred Morris led the Cowboys in rushing yards with 61 yards, there wasn’t a lot of scoring in this contest but Jerry Jones organization did make more plays when it was all said and done. Derek Carr actually played really well for the Raiders throwing for 171 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Carr did have one huge blunder late in the game though when he fumbled into the end zone and the play got ruled a touchback. Ultimately that cost Oakland the game and will pretty much crush the Silver and Black’s playoff hopes. Marshawn Lynch did run hard against a tough Dallas defense, Beast Mode racked up 76 yards. Michael Crabtree had a huge day in the passing game he brought in 2 touchdowns for the Raiders. If Oakland didn’t lose that fumble in the 4th quarter this game could have been completely different. You could feel the frustration Jack Del Rio’s ball club was feeling on that play. It’s something they’ve had to suffer through all season especially since this team was a playoff contender last year. The Cowboys on the other had rose to the occasion and kept their postseason hopes alive. That’s good news considering Ezekiel Elliott will be back next game. There’s a lot of good momentum surrounding this franchise and Elliott seems to have turned up his training regimen during his suspension. The former Ohio State alum looks prepared to make a splash in his return and it will come at the perfect time for this football team.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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The Los Angeles Rams hang 42 points on the Seattle Seahawks and take a commanding lead in the NFC West:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Rams and Seahawks met up for an NFC West clash and it was the Rams who walked away with a 42-7 victory. Todd Gurley led the way for Los Angeles with 152 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Gurley also caught a receiving touchdown so it it was an electric 4 touchdown performance for the third year running back. Robert Woods had a decent day catching the ball for the Rams too he hauled in 45 receiving yards and 1 touchdown reception. Russell Wilson struggled in the loss for Seattle. Wilson threw for 142 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions the lack of scoring really hurt the Seahawks. Luke Wilson did grab a touchdown reception for Pete Carroll’s team but not one player went over 100 yards in the rushing or receiving categories. The lack of offensive output and the nonexistent defense ultimately doomed the team from the state of Washington. It looks like LA will run away with this division and what a year it’s been for Sean McVay. The Rams had the worst offense in all of football in 2016, now with McVay at the helm this team is the highest scoring offense in the entire NFL. That drastic improvement is because McVay allows Goff to be himself. What that means is Goff is able to operate out of the shotgun more frequently and do what he is best at. The other main thing McVay did was unleash Todd Gurley. Those two adjustments have helped completely turn around the Rams organization which has been a lot of fun to watch. With Carson Wentz out for the season with a knee injury the Eagles aren’t the threat they were for most the season. That opens the door for Goff and the Rams who will be a serious contenders when the playoffs begin.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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Kansas City Chiefs stay on top of the AFC West by beating the Los Angeles chargers 30-13:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Chiefs needed to beat the Chargers in order to maintain control of the AFC West division and luckily for Kansas City they were able to get it done. Alex Smith was very sharp in this match up throwing for 231 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Smith was also able to complete 23 passes out of 30 passing attempts for an impressive 76%. That set the tone for this offense and the rest of Andy Reid’s players followed suit. Kareem Hunt had a dominant performance on the ground for Kansas City, Hunt rushed for 155 yards and 1 touchdown. The rookie running back (Hunt) managed to bring in 1 receiving touchdown and 56 yards through the air as well. Tyreek Hill was the top wide out for the Chiefs he brought in 5 receptions for 88 yards and 1 touchdown. Chiefs Kingdom had to be happy with the big outing against such a hot team. Philip River struggled for Los Angeles he threw for 227 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions. Usually the Chargers QB overwhelms NFL defenses but the Chiefs had his number in this one. Melvin Gordon was the bring spot for this team tallying up 78 yards and 1 touchdown for the Bolts rushing attack. Gordon racked up 91 receiving yards too so it was a huge night for him. Antonio Gates caught the Chargers only passing touchdown it was the 86th time Rivers and Gates connected for a TD. On the defensive side of the ball Derrick Johnson led KC with 6 tackles. While Marcus Peters was stellar in coverage he recorded 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 1 forced fumble for Reid’s defense. Adrian Phillips led LA with 8 tackles in this contest. Melvin Ingram put up 5 tackles and 1 sack in what would go on to be a losing effort. All signs point to Chiefs winning the AFC West, all they have to do is win one more game. If the Chargers or Raiders lose another game Kansas City would also clinch the division that way. Charity of the day:

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance

Go donate! www.ocrfa.org

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Detroit Lions’ defense comes up big in a 20-10 win over the Chicago Bears, Darius Slay records 2 interceptions:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears had a close game in their first meeting of the season but this time around Detroit won convincingly. One of the main factors in Detroit’s domination of Chicago was the Lion’s defense which only gave up 10 points. The Bears didn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter and that suffocating performance by Detroit was instrumental. Darius Slay was the hero for Jim Caldwell’s team he recorded 5 tackles and 2 interceptions. Quandre Diggs played extremely well too he added 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 1 interception. Matthew Stafford looked sharp especially in the first half of action. Stafford threw for 237 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions which ended up being leaps and bounds better than Mitchell Trubisky. Eric Ebron and T.J Jones were on the receiving end of both of those touchdown passes. Things were clicking for the Lions in this one and they play much better indoors at Ford Field opposed to outside at Soldier Field. Mitchell Trubisky threw for a lot of yards but he didn’t do a good enough job with his touchdown to interception ratio. Trubsiky threw for 314 yards, 1 touchdown, and 3 interceptions obviously the turnovers were very costly down the stretch. Jordan Howard was kept in check this time around he only had 37 rushing yards. Benny Cunningham hauled in 33 receiving yards and caught the Bears only touchdown pass. Defensively Chicago was led by Lemarr Houston who had 3 tackles and 2 sacks. Eddie Jackson continued to play well also, he finished the night with a team high 8 tackles. Detroit improves to 8-6 on the year and seem to have a lot of confidence heading into the final two games. The Lions will take on the Bengals and then the Packers so things should be interesting the rest of the way.

Charity of the day: Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance

Go donate! www.ocrfa.org

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Kevin Byard has proved he is a ball hawking free safety, the Titans have an emerging star in their secondary:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Tennessee Titans Free Safety Kevin Byard has come a long way in a very short time. The former 2016 third round draft pick went from being a rookie just a season ago to being tied for the most interceptions in pro football this year. Byard’s development has been incredible and suddenly the Titans have one of the best defensive backs in all the NFL. When you have one guy that is as good at taking away the football as Kevin Byard is that significantly increases your chances of winning football games. Playmakers are hard to find and the fact that Tennessee’s scouting department was able to peg the former Middle Tennessee State alum as legitimate third round choice says a lot about their work. Most staffs can pick out the first and second rounders but once you get beyond that it becomes tougher because the players are much less known. Byard recorded 19 interceptions during his collegiate career so he was no stranger to making plays on Saturdays. That doesn’t always translate over to the pros but fortunately for Byard he seems to be making the same explosive plays at the next level. We know Titans Defensive Coordinator Dick Lebeau likes to dial up a lot of blitzes. Having Byard roaming around over top allows Tennessee to run a very effective cover 1. The corners can man up and then Byard gets to play freely in the middle of the field. Really Byard thrives in a cover 2 or cover 3 as well because his ball instincts are so responsive based off the quarterback’s eyes / throwing motion. It’s the ability to do so many different things well which make Byard one of the up and coming free safety’s behind Earl Thomas. Expect to hear a lot more about the young defender in the future.

Charity of the day: CARE USA

Go donate! www.care.org

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The Panthers are finding their stride late in the year, it’s because they play fundamental football:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Carolina Panthers just beat the Minnesota Vikings and now Carolina is looking like one of the toughest teams in the entire NFC. There’s a reason why the Panthers have chalked up 9 wins in 2017 and it’s because they are so well rounded. Carolina boasts a top 5 ranking in three major categories (running attack, total defense, and run defense). It’s clear they play fundamental football and that’s why Ron Rivera has been able to constantly bounce back. The defense in particular has been a huge underlining factor in this team’s success. Luke Kuechly already has over 100 tackles for the year and this team has a boatload of pass rushers who can get after the quarterback. Julius Peppers and Mario Addison alone have combined for 19 total sacks which shows that this defensive front is nothing to play around with. Defensively this team could be a little better at taking the ball away as far as interceptions go but they still have enough pieces to make opposing offenses stall out. On the other side of the ball Cam Newton calls the shots however it’s been the running game that helped this team emerge as a true contender. The combination of Jonathan Stewart, Christian McCaffrey, and Newton have slashed their way into the upper echelon of the NFC. If opposing teams don’t find a way to shut those three guys down it can end up being a long day for their ball club. The Saints and Panthers are both tied record wise at 9-4 for the season and there’s no doubt the NFC South will be decided over the next three games. Don’t surprised if Carolina ends up dethroning New Orleans as the top team in the division. The Panthers are ready to make a splash and knocking off a rival would certainly be a big victory right before heading into the postseason. Nobody in AFC wants to play the Jaguars when the playoffs start, it’s the same thing for the Panthers in the NFC.

Charity of the day: CARE USA

Go donate! www.care.org

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Brock Osweiler rallies the Denver Broncos to a 25-13 victory over the Indianapolis Colts:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Denver Broncos were struggling early on against the Indianapolis Colts and then Trevor Siemian got hurt. That should have spelled disaster for Denver but instead something special happened. Brock Osweiler entered the game and threw for 194 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. It was the performance the Broncos needed from the quarterback position and there isn’t any doubt about who the best QB on this roster is. Believe it or not this franchise can compete with Osweiler leading the way and it almost feels like Vance Joseph should hand Brock Osweiler the reins full time. C.J Anderson had his best game of the season too he finished with 158 rushing yards on the ground. Cody Latimer and Jeff Heurman both caught touchdown passes as well so you can see the Broncos offense was really coming alive in the win. Jacoby Brissett had a below average game throwing for 158 yards, 0 touchdowns, and no interceptions. There wasn’t enough big plays from the Colts offense and Brissett has played better games. The Colts QB did score Indianapolis’ only touchdown on 7 yard run. It wasn’t enough to match Brock Osweiler and the surging Broncos though. Jack Doyle led Indy through the air with 47 receiving yards. T.Y Hilton had a rough day at the office as well he only had 41 receiving yards. Defensively Denver was led by Will Parks who recorded 7 tackles. Adam Gotsis also chipped in 6 tackles in the winning effort. Antonio Morrison balled out for the Colts with a team high 12 tackles. Quincey Wilson was also very impressive for Chuck Pagano’s team he put together 8 total tackles. Denver is riding a 2 game winning streak and are finally back on track. If the offense can keep putting points on the board this team has a chance to make some noise the in their final two contests.

Charity of the day: MAP International

Go donate! www.map.org

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Despite being 4-9 the Chicago Bears have laid a foundation for the future, Trubisky and Howard are at the forefront of that:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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It’s been hard being a Chicago Bears fans the last five years or so but at least now this team has the tools to be great somewhere down the line. The Bears found their franchise quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky has played above the standards of most rookie quarterbacks and has the right skill set to be a star in the National Football League. Then you have Jordan Howard who has been one of the best running backs in all of football the last two years. With Howard handling the running game and Mitchell Trubisky airing it out the Bears have quietly been improving. This next off-season will be an opportunity to load up on role players around these two players and you have to believe that starts with getting some big time wide receivers. The current guys on Chicago’s roster struggle to get separation and nobody really stands out. Adding a marquee player or two would really help out Trubisky and that would uplift this offense overall. Could you imagine if the Bears signed Davante Adams and Jarvis Landry who are both upcoming free agents? The Philadelphia Eagles made a similar moves last summer when they inked Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. We all know how those upgrades worked out for the Eagles that’s why Chicago must follow suit and make it a priority to get some playmakers on the outside. From there you could just pound the rock with Howard until Trubisky is 100% confidant in his abilities. Once Trubisky comes around look out because he is going to be throwing all over NFL defenders, it’s easy to see the former North Carolina Tar Heel QB is going to be a great player someday. The good news is if Chicago signs some wide outs in the off-season they also could use the whole draft to improve their defense and add a couple offensive lineman. That just seems like the recipe for success heading into the future.

Charity of the day: MAP International

Go donate! www.map.org

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The legend of Jimmy Garoppolo continues to grow after the 49ers quarterback improves to 2-0 on the season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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To say the San Francisco 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo have started off on the right foot would be an understatement. Garoppolo is 2-0 since being named the 49ers starting quarterback and now we are seeing firsthand how much an elite QB can improve a football team. San Francisco only had one win the entire year before trading for Jimmy Garoppolo. So it’s not hard to piece together what the underlining factor in the 49ers’ success is. The combination of Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo will make magic happen for years to come and you can already see that unfolding every Sunday when this team laces up. San Francisco has a brutal schedule the rest of the way facing the Titans, Jaguars, and Rams. However if Jimmy G can win at least two of those games it would be huge for this franchise heading into the off-season. These next three opponents are not only huge for Garoppolo as a leader, they will also serve as a recruiting pitch to the upcoming free agents around the league. Therefore you can easily see how detrimental going 0-3 could be in that regard compared to going 2-1 or 3-0. One thing that is without a doubt is the quarterback position is the most important in the National Football League. A good signal caller is the difference between the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. John Lynch gave up a 2nd round draft pick to acquire Garoppolo from the New England Patriots and so far that seems to be a steal. The future is definitely brighter in Northern California because now the scarlet and gold have an identity. From here on out it’s about building the team around their main guy (Garoppolo) and getting the right role players in order to compete. You have to believe this organization will eventually get it right they’ve been making a splash with this new regime.

Charity of the day: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Go donate! www.lls.org

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Aaron Rodgers has been cleared by the Packers medical staff, he will start Sunday against the Carolina Panthers:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Aaron Rodgers has been given the green light by the Packers medical staff and it appears Rodgers will be thrown right into the fire against the Carolina Panthers Sunday. Former Packer Julius Pepper will be gunning for Rodgers but this is a great opportunity for the veteran QB to to improve his legacy. If Rodgers comes out and immediately impresses it will go a long way in uplifting the morale up this football team. Now to be fair it’s a bit of a long shot that Green Bay gets into the postseason. This team is currently the 9th seed in the NFC playoff picture and they need the Falcons, Seahawks, and Lions to stumble a little bit in order to get in. Not only that but the Packers have to win out so you can see how the odds are somewhat against Rodgers and company. The good news is Green Bay has found themselves in a similar situation before. Just last year Rodgers rattled off six straight wins to help Mike McCarthy’s team win the NFC North and clinch a playoff spot. So three straight wins seems a little bit more achievable than what this team had to go through a season ago. Seattle and Atlanta both have tough schedules over the next three games too, so there could be a realistic shot that someone besides the Seahawks or Falcons claims that 6th seed. The question is can Aaron Rodgers fresh off an injury win against the Panthers, Vikings, and Lions? That seems like a gauntlet for this franchise but if Rogers can pull it out they will definitely tell tails of this guy’s excellence. Remember Aaron Rodgers has the highest QB rating in NFL history for a reason, he is known for making miracles happen.

Charity of the day: National Kidney Foundation

Go donate! www.kidney.org

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