Frank Ricard would like how the 2017 NFL season is going.

Everybody’s streaking, just not all in the same direction.

The Eagles (10-1) rolled to their ninth straight victory with a 31-3 rout of the Bears. The Patriots (9-2) tied the Vikings (9-2) with their seventh straight win after a 35-17 dispatching of the Dolphins. The Steelers (9-2) kept pace with the Patriots in the AFC playoff hunt with a 31-28 win over the Packers that was Pittsburgh’s sixth straight win.

The Jaguars had a statement win on a big stage against the NFC team after which they’re modeled, the Seahawks. They remain a dangerous floater in the AFC at No. 3.

When the Panthers are hitting on all cylinders around Cam Newton, as they were against the Vikings, they are extremely hard to beat. Their main issue this season has been staying consistent against good and bad opponents.

The Rams have proved of late they can put up points against anybody, but they continue to make mistakes on offense against swarming defenses. They will try to play a lot better in Seattle with the division title on the line.

The coach can make New York’s two-time Super Bowl MVP his 11th-hour human shield if he wants — the target is still on McAdoo.

The Chargers would lead the AFC West with a competent kicker — The Chargers have the NFL’s worst field-goal percentage.

Instead of sitting a 5-6 after 11 games, the Chargers would likely be 8-3 if the crucial kicks had been made. Novak has been a vast improvement over Koo, but if his back injury is serious, the Chargers could be right back at square one with their kicking woes.

The 2017 NFL season is entering its final stretch, beginning with the last Sunday in November. Nearly every game from here on will have some sort of playoff implication, especially in the jumbled AFC.chargers_072-180x180

Mitchell Trubisky learned last week he has a long way to go to be like Wentz.

Vernon’s salary currently is guaranteed for injury, and it becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2018 league year, so there is a window in which he could be released.

Go figure: Josh McCown’s quarterback play isn’t the issue. Neither is a receiving corps in which Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have delivered. Major lapses on defense and special teams continue to cost them.

Now he’ll try to prove to San Francisco it should have kept the No. 2 and picked him — maybe against Jimmy Garoppolo.

The Broncos were called out for not being tough enough, and then things further blew up in their faces in Oakland. The QB carousel has spun back to Trevor Siemian with Paxton Lynch promptly hurt. What a disaster all-around for Joseph and John Elway.

Beal then remembered what the officials said the rule was.

One could say the Giants’ 24-17 loss to the Raiders on Sunday was the last straw for Ben McAdoo. It dropped New York to 2-10 in 2017, its worst 12-game record since the team was 2-10 in 1976 and its worst mark since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.

But the coach’s fate appeared determined before the game in Oakland, as reports indicated McAdoo could be fired as early as Monday.

Sure enough, the Giants not only fired McAdoo on Monday morning, but general manager Jerry Reese was let go, too. The Giants tabbed Steve Spagnuolo and Kevin Abrams as the interim head coach-GM combo.
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Well, he’s done it in the SEC East, but still.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has done everything and more in his career, and he’s done it in the SEC.

The junior quarterback threw for 448 yards and five touchdowns in Missouri’s 48-45 win over Arkansas Friday, which gave him 43 touchdown passes on the season. That’s the most touchdowns in a single season in SEC history. What’s more, his third touchdown pass of the day also broke Chase Daniel’s Missouri record for most passing touchdowns in a season.

Through the first half of the season, Mara obviously was hoping the team’s fortunes would improve. But New York in 2017 has become a train wreck of offensive inconsistency, defensive failure, injuries and too many frustrating losses, resulting in a 2-10 record. This followed an 11-5 playoff year that had Giants fans thinking Super Bowl. Instead, it’s another team with high expectations that wound up in the tank, which is never a good omen for the coach and GM.

First-base production is still relatively easy to find, and Hosmer’s inconsistency should make a team wary about paying $20 million for the kind of production you can find for much cheaper. — Schoenfield

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on whether Aaron Rodgers could return this week to play the Panthers: “In his mind, he’s ready to go. But it’s a medical decision.”

Seahawks defensive end Quinton Jefferson on confronting Jacksonville fans who threw drinks at him: “I’m a human just like anybody else. I’m not going to let somebody disrespect me and throw a beer on me. Just because I’m playing football, I’m still a human being.”

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on the chippiness of Sunday’s win over the Seahawks: “Teams aren’t used to getting beat by the Jags. We beat the crap out of them for 60 minutes.”lakers_015

Philip Rivers calls Giants’ benching of Eli Manning ‘pathetic’

Philip Rivers and Eli Manning will forever be connected because of a trade on April 24, 2004.

With 12 playoff games, Manning has actually started 222 consecutive games. Rivers will run his own consecutive-starts streak to 188 (197 with playoffs) Sunday against the Browns. He had a difficult time watching an emotional Manning speak Tuesday about his benching.

“I just thought it was too bad the way it was handled,” Rivers said Wednesday. “And with Eli, we’re not close buddies, but as a friend and fellow quarterback, it was tough to watch him yesterday. You can only imagine how he felt. And he handled it like a pro, like he’s handled everything.”

Kaepernick’s protests sparked a social firestorm last NFL season that carried over into this season, especially as President Donald Trump criticized players who continued the protests as the former Niners QB remained a free agent, despite having a better resume than many quarterbacks on NFL rosters.

The NFL eventually suspended Payton for one full season and handed out severe punishments to Vitt, general manager Mickey Loomis and the entire organization in the form of fines and lost draft picks. Four players were also initially punished — including a full-year suspension for linebacker Jonathan Vilma — though all of the player punishments were eventually overturned on appeal by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

When asked during those appeal hearings what motivated him to come forward, Cerullo said: “I was angry for being let go from the Saints. … I was angry at Joe Vitt, and I wanted to show that I was fired for lying and I witnessed Joe Vitt lying and he still had a job.”panthers_091

Taylor took over in the second half of last Sunday’s 54-24 loss.

Smith didn’t play poorly Sunday, going 23 of 36 for 199 yards and another 35 rushing yards, but the Chiefs offense struggled to get anything going with only one first down in the first half. A late Smith interception, the only turnover of the game, sealed the Bills victory.

Simmons was one of the new arrivals on the court after his first season was wiped out by injury. He has been everything expected, producing averages of 18.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Veteran J.J. Redick also joined the team, providing more optimism in Philadelphia.

Injuries and defense have hurt the Sixers.

Multiple players who had met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other owners last month in New York about the matter — including Michael Thomas of the Dolphins and Eric Reid of the 49ers — sent out Twitter messages Wednesday morning that announced their withdrawal from involvement in the players coalition founded by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin.

All the pools combined had more than 23,000 entries, players with knowledge of the contests said, with a collective value that surpassed $2.5 million.

Survivor pools require a bettor to pick one team that is going to win each week of the football season without using the same team twice. Once a team that is picked loses, that person is eliminated. In Ron & Mike’s Football Pool, those still remaining had to pick two teams to win in Weeks 11 through 15 and three teams in Weeks 16 and 17 in order to produce a winner from so many entries.royals_015

Here are three questions with Saints receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

“I knew it was pretty severe, but I wasn’t in pain,” Miller said. “I was actually calm. When Nate (Breske), our head trainer got there, I remember looking at him. I was grabbing my facemask and I said, ‘My knee’s gone bro,’ I could tell something was different.”

It is no coincidence that North Texas is making its second consecutive bowl appearance after Littrell was hired before the 2016 season. Littrell was a candidate for the SMU job recently before Sonny Dykes, part of the Mike Leach coaching tree, like Littrell, was hired by the Mustangs.

“I really like what those guys do on offense, so I’ve watched them quite a bit as the years have gone on,” Brown said of North Texas. “I’ve got a good feel for what they’re trying to do offensively. The Fine kid … they recruited him hard here at Troy. He’s doing a really good job.”

It’s easy for the Badgers, win and they’re in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes will need some help and, even Ginn isn’t certain two-loss Ohio State deserves a spot ahead of one-loss Alabama (11-1), even with a conference championship.

Ginn said there is not yet a bet in place with Saints lineman Ryan Ramczyk, a rookie from Wisconsin selected in the first round, but there will be.

“It’s coming,” Ginn told Omnisport this week during a conference call. “We’re going to have to do something.”panthers_028

Dolphins waive Rey Maualuga after overnight arrest for battery

Washington’s offense is ranked 11th in points per game while the Giants are 30th.

Thursday night’s Titans-Steelers game, set to kick off at 8:25 p.m. ET and air on NBC and NFL Network, also will be available via live stream through Amazon Prime Video. The uniqueness of the Color Rush uniforms worn by both teams might be trumped by that of the camera angle, as NBC plans to utilize its SkyCam system to present a new primary viewing angle for live game coverage.

The key for Thursday night’s game will be Pittsburgh’s offense against Tennessee’s defense. The Steelers enter Week 11 averaging 20.8 points per game, a disappointing 19th in the NFL. They have a chance to improve that average against a Titans team allowing 23.7 points per game, 22nd in the league. Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell leads the NFL with 840 rushing yards, and wide receiver Antonio Brown has a league-best 882 receiving yards along with 60 receptions, tied for the second-most in the NFL.

Remember, these are not the Browns. These are the Giants, a team that was picked by some experts to reach the Super Bowl this season.

These are the Giants that previously upset the favored Patriots in two Super Bowls; the Big Blue Wrecking Crew of Lawrence Taylor, Bill Parcells and Phil Simms; a team that has prided itself on defense from LT in the 1980s to Sam Huff in the ’50s; a franchise for which former defensive coaches include Bill Belichick and Tom Landry.

“They all proceeded, grim-faced, to the team bus after the latest in a season saturated with embarrassing moments — 49ers 31, Giants 21 on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. When Giants coach Ben McAdoo got to the bus, he was admitted on board without incident. Same for general manager Jerry Reese, who declined to speak to reporters when asked on his way out of the locker room.
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The Steelers were fortunate to beat the lowly Colts, which is why they dropped a couple spots.

Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.

“There’s something about him, to me, that’s really just kind of like sturdy and stable,” Presti said of George in September. “He’s been in the league for a little while now, and he’s seen a lot of things. I think he’s got a nice confidence about him.”

George likes to fish; Westbrook prefers dominoes. Over the summer, Westbrook even went fishing with George, his first time to ever try it.

“Did nothing,” Westbrook said. “He didn’t catch anything either.”

After cruising past the Broncos, the Patriots didn’t head home to Massachusetts, but instead remained in Colorado before Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Mexico City.

Ravens (4-5), Raiders (4-5), Dolphins (4-5), Jets (4-6). Miami failed to pull even with Buffalo after it lost at Carolina. Oakland beat the Dolphins and the Jets but lost to the Ravens. It still is the best bet to make the playoffs from this group even with Baltimore ahead for now.

It didn’t matter that old defensive friend Dick LeBeau did his best to bring heat on Big Ben as Pittsburgh’s attack became one-dimensional — Roethlisberger was vintage Big Ben as he came through with the tough, grinding plays so Pittsburgh could pull away.nike_steelers_1464

A new week means Alvin Kamara returns to his season ticket seat in the NFL Africa Zone

It’s pretty much routine to expect thrills from Kamara each gameday and on Sunday versus Washington he did not disappoint.

SkyCam has been around since the 1980s but didn’t become a common tool for TV networks until the turn of the 21st century. NBC was the first network to employ the remote-controlled, computer-assisted, cable-suspended camera regularly while broadcasting the XFL in 2001.

Per SkyCam’s website, the Skycam system is virtually a flying Steadicam: “Its unique design makes the SkyCam the only stabilized camera system in the world that can unobtrusively fly anywhere in a defined three-dimensional space, right in the middle of a sporting event.”

“Tonight was definitely a group effort,” Ball said. “Second unit, shout out to them.”

After going scoreless in the first half, Randle sparked the Lakers with eight points, four rebounds and one magnificent block at the rim on Bobby Portis.

Rookie Josh Hart, who recently was called up from the G League, provided 11 energetic minutes and one impressive offensive rebound putback dunk. And Clarkson scored 10 of his 12 points in 14-plus minutes to help even the game at 80-80 with 9:32 left.

The Bulls went back up by seven, but the Lakers came charging back and took their first lead since 21-20 with a Caldwell-Pope putback with 3:06 left. Caldwell-Pope played the role of closer, scoring 11 of his 21 points in the final 3:06.
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to bring back Simeon Rice, just for the entertainment.

Rice was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers and one of its biggest personalities when he played from 1996-2007. He’s still one of the best personalities. And he thinks he can still rush the quarterback too.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in desperate need of a pass rusher, former Bucs great Rice tweeted that he could still play. He wasn’t joking, and if you’ve ever met Rice, that’s no surprise. He has never lacked confidence. Rice, who is 43, tweeted that he wanted to come back to play for the Buccaneers and confirmed to ESPN’s Jenna Laine that he was serious.

And I know the NFL has seen longer streaks. Eli Manning Jersey with the active consecutive-starts streak. Brett Favre with the all-time consecutive-starts streak. Me constantly being wrong about Melvin Gordon in fantasy, each and every week. There are more, but Thomas is still the most impressive.

His grandmother, Bev Phillips, once scored 65 points in a high school basketball game, and that was in 1953, long before the dawn of the three-point shot. His mother and aunts were champion softball players, and David Goedert was a champion discus thrower. His sister Megan played volleyball at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D., while sister Emily played volleyball and basketball at Valley City State.

Football stars? Goedert is the first. But athletes populate the lineage on both sides of the family.

GOEDERT IS BLUNTLY HONEST about something few athletes would admit: He just didn’t work all that hard to improve himself at the high school level. He didn’t have to. He was always naturally bigger and stronger than his competition, and because he was planning to pursue basketball rather than football, the weight room never really appealed.
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