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10.10.2018 13:39
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Topics this week include a rundown of what a team of undrafted free agents would look like,?the bitter rivalry between the?New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, the value of running backs in the NFL draft and more.The 2016 undrafted free-agent teamSeattle is a model for others and an inspiration for players. The Seahawks have an NFL-high 25 undrafted free agents on their roster, in large part because the players are worthy, but also because they offset the cost of the high-priced superstars Seattle also has signed.This is a season in which undrafted free agents have made a bigger mark than usual. It is enough to send a strong message to each college player that even if you go undrafted, the dream is not over. For many, it is just beginning.This years all undrafted free-agent team isnt just good -- it would be good enough to make its own run deep in the playoffs:-- Adam SchefterBad blood in the AFCIt isnt Tom Brady versus Peyton Manning, but its not a terrible stretch to say the rivalry between the Patriots and the Ravens has been just as compelling and certainly nastier. Theres more than one reason to buckle up for the Monday matchup between the two teams at Gillette Stadium.The last time the Patriots and Ravens met was in Foxborough during an AFC divisional-round playoff game in January 2015. New England fans celebrated the 35-31 victory after the Patriots twice overcame two-touchdown deficits.The Ravens? They were bitter in defeat, in part because Patriots coach Bill Belichick successfully maneuvered the substitution rule that governs eligible and ineligible receivers during one scoring drive. It raised the ire of Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, who protested loudly to the game officials and again when asked during the postgame news conference whether he had ever seen the play.No, Harbaugh said. Nobody has ever seen it.Brady himself had a snarky response: Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out.Three months later, the competition committee altered the mechanics of the rule.The nastiness has been evident between Brady and Ravens defensive end Terrell Suggs, as the two stars have often exchanged words during and after games.I dont like him, Suggs said in 2013. He dont like me. I dont like his hair. I dont like his smug attitude.Even Wednesday, Suggs conspicuously did not mention Brady by name when he was asked about Brady breaking the record for most wins ever by an NFL quarterback.You almost expected Suggs to remind media members that the Ravens have handed Brady two of his only three home losses in the postseason. The Ravens believe they should have won at least three of those four playoff games that have been played in Foxborough.The Patriots won the 2011 AFC Championship Game, 23-20, when Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal after belatedly racing onto the field because the scoreboard he was looking at showed it was third down instead of fourth down. Two plays earlier, Lee Evans failed to secure a go-ahead touchdown pass from Joe Flacco.That was the same game Brady had some testy responses when he was hit hard twice by Ray Lewis, including once when Brady scored what proved to be the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak. Brady angrily spiked the football when he cleared the pile.The teams regular-season meetings since 2009 have proved memorable, too. Who can forget Sept. 23, 2012, when Justin Tucker kicked a 27-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 31-30 victory as time expired? Belichick chased an official, physically grabbing one to get his attention amid the bedlam, because the coach was convinced Tuckers kick had missed, just outside the upright.The history between the two franchises is understated and rich with drama and irony, in part because Belichick was the Cleveland Browns coach whom the late Art Modell fired in mid-February of 1996 after the team split for Baltimore. The two franchises have combined for six Super Bowl titles since that time and Belichicks fingerprints are everywhere.This season, the Patriots are 10-2 and the Ravens are 7-5. The Patriots are playoff bound, but every win counts for home-field advantage in the AFC. The Ravens would love to foil that goal but, truth be told, they also would gladly head to New England again in January. Theyre scrapping for a playoff berth, and scrapping seems to come quite naturally between the two teams.-- Chris MortensenRunning back draft valueWhen LSU running back Leonard Fournette announced his intentions this week to turn pro, it solidified a draft class that NFL executives have been discussing for months.Last summer, one NFL general manager said that the expected 2017 running back draft class would be one of the best in years. He believed that there was no other position that had as much depth in the 2017 draft as at running back. Others have shared similar sentiments. Any team that needs running back help is going to be in business.Fournette is expected to be at the head of the class. Put him in the top 10 right now, said former Buccaneers general manager and current ESPN analyst Mark Dominik.And over the course of one year, with Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott running his way into contention for Offensive Rookie of the Year and NFL Most Valuable Player, the conversation about selecting running backs too high in the draft has shifted dramatically. When Fournettes name is mentioned as a potential top-10 pick, no one should question whether it is too high. If the player is worthy, its simply not.However, the history of running backs drafted in the top five still will be raised. The list is, to say the least, not pretty. Heres a look at the running backs selected among the top five over the past 15 drafts:Once Fournette is off the board, any number of running backs will hear their names called shortly after. Florida States Dalvin Cook, Stanfords Christian McCaffrey, Texas DOnta Foreman, Tennessees Alvin Kamara, Ohio States Curtis Samuel and Georgias Nick Chubb are expected to be some of the drafts top running back prospects. But one year after Elliott made his mark in Dallas, other running backs are expected to have a chance to make theirs in one of the deeper running back classes in years.-- Adam SchefterA well-timed return to glory for the CowboysThe Dallas Cowboys are Americas Team and a prime-time team. Dallas has returned to prominence and will play the third of a record four straight night games. Dallas plays at the New York Giants on Sunday night, then host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.In a season in which the ratings have been down, the Cowboys are giving hope to Dallas and the NFL that they can save the year. Dallas has been pure ratings gold.Last Thursday nights Dallas-Minnesota game had 21.8 million viewers and was the most-viewed Thursday night game of all time, according to the NFL. The Cowboys previous weeknight game, on Thanksgiving Day against the Washington Redskins, was the NFLs highest-rated game of the season with more than 35 million viewers.Dallas at Pittsburgh in Week 10 (28.8 million viewers), Dallas at Green Bay in Week 6 (28 million) and the Giants at Dallas in the season opener (27.5 million) were the NFLs other highest-rated games of the season. In other words, Dallas has been the NFLs best antidote to sagging ratings.Sunday nights Cowboys-Giants game will do another monster number, and the numbers on Dallas playoff games are likely going to be off the charts as well. The NFL and networks must be beyond happy that Dallas looks to be the NFCs top seed, with a real chance to host a Divisional Playoff game, then the NFC Championship game. Two Dallas home playoff games will be two more huge ratings.Few teams draw or rate like the Cowboys. And even though this is a down year for ratings, the playoffs have a chance to be huge, largely because of Dallas.From 1978 to 1991, the prime-time soap opera Dallas was the top-rated show on television. Twenty-five years later, Dallas still is this countrys top TV draw.-- Adam SchefterEmptying the notebookThe Titans-Broncos game in Nashville on Sunday could be more revealing than the Texans-Colts when it comes to the AFC playoff picture. The Titans are coming off a bye, quarterback Marcus Mariota has begun to blossom and the team is physical, built by design for December and January. They appear to have some momentum despite their pedestrian 6-6 record. Can the Broncos, with either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch at quarterback, exploit the one glaring weakness of the Titans, which is their secondary? If not, Denver could be in trouble.Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has dismissed retirement talk, as well as a health problem that briefly sent him to the hospital. He said most coaches get sick as a dog at the end of the year because your immune system is shot. This rings true. Coaches immune systems are challenged during the season. Titans coach Mike Mularkey spent the first two days of his bye last week laid up with flu-like symptoms.Note to the Browns, 49ers, Bears and Jets: As ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. has pointed out this week, the 2017 draft class might not be the year for finding a franchise quarterback at the top of the first round. The early consensus is that Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett could provide another necessary tool to build a championship roster. If you cant find a closer on offense, you better find at least one on defense. Look what Von Miller has done for the Broncos and Khalil Mack for the Raiders. As Hall of Fame exec Bill Polian often preaches, you better have at least two pass-rushers -- one on each side. The Chiefs have three with Justin Houston back from knee injury, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford.Nobody has said anything publicly, but word is that Bears quarterback Matt Barkley has played well enough to get a good look during the final four games now that Jay Cutler has been placed on injured reserve. At the very least, Barkley has a shot to prove he can be a solid No. 2 in a league where he was just starting to get kicked around.This is one of the more confounding and startling stats of the season: Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles now has more NFL interceptions returned for touchdowns than wins. Since entering the league in 2014, Bortles has thrown 11 pick-sixes and won only 10 games. The 11 are the most by a quarterback in his first three seasons in NFL history, per Elias.One final thought on Tiegate: As it turns out, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton addressed his dress-code violation with the Carolina offense at a meeting on Saturday night, per a team source. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera addressed it at the full team meeting Saturday night, per the same source. The entire organization knew Derek Anderson, and not Newton, would be starting Sunday night vs. Seattle due to the dress-code violation. Both men, Newton and Rivera, were upfront about it, explained the full situation, and their postgame comments basically match up to what privately was told to the team Saturday night.-- Adam Schefter and?Chris Mortensen Martin Maldonado Jersey ., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., took sixth spot on Saturday in pairs at the NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition. Shohei Ohtani Jersey . Vokoun departed practice on Saturday morning after discovering swelling in his thigh. He was taken to a local hospital where the clot was revealed. The club announced the surgery following a 5-3 exhibition loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. . -- About a third of the way through the regular season, the Washington Wizards are at . Mike Trout Jersey . -- Charline Labonte couldnt have asked for a better homecoming. Brandon Phillips Jersey . Clarkson had been dealing with an elbow injury in early January and will be out of action for at least one week. He has three goals and five assists through 36 games with the Leafs this season. RIO DE JANEIRO -- China is golden again, winning its fifth diving title of the Rio Olympics.Cao Yuan led throughout to win the mens 3-meter springboard with 547.60 points on Thursday. He climbed out of the water after his last dive and pumped both fists in celebration.Jack Laugher of Britain earned silver with 523.85 for his countrys first medal in the event and his second in Rio de Janeiro. He and Chris Mears won synchronized 3-meter to give Britain its first gold in diving, spoiling Chinas bid to sweep all eight golds in Brazil.Patrick Hausding of Germany rallied from 10th after the semifinals to take bronze at 498.50.The water in the diving pool was back to its usual blue color a week after turning a murky green in one of the biggest embarrassments of the games for local organizers.With four-time Olympic champion Greg Louganis looking on, Cao led all six rounds in the final. The 21-year-old Chinese finished off his performance by scoring 96.90 on his last dive, a forward 4+ somersault tuck.Hes incredible, American Kristian Ipsen said. Hes so athletic, just really, really quick. Hes fun to watch.In the fifth round, Laugher performed the same dive that Cao saved for last and received the same 96.90 total.But it was Hausding who did the difficult dive the best of anyone. He earned 98.80, the highest score of anyone in the 12-man final.Why am I not first? Hausding said, laughing. But Im totally fine with third place.The 27-year-old German overcame knee and shoulder injuries to make it to Rio. He had surgery on his knee and is taking painkillers for his shoulder.Ive had a rough season with less training. I started very badly into this competition, Hausding said. But I kept myself mentally strong. Didnt watch the scores. Just diid my thing.dddddddddddd It was the right decision in the end.Cao added gold to the bronze he won earlier in synchro 3-meter. His teammate, He Chao, didnt make it out of the preliminaries on Monday, when strong winds and cold wreaked havoc on the competition. World champion He balked on his second and third dives and scored just 27.75 on his third attempt -- the lowest score given to a Chinese diver so far in Rio.Competing in the finals by myself added a lot of pressure, Cao said through a translator. I was able to let go and really focus on putting on my performance and putting up a show.Defending Olympic champion Ilya Zakharov of Russia failed to advance out of the semifinals. He hit his feet on the board on his first dive in the prelims and then he barely topped 50 points in the next two rounds.Laugher had his own problems, barely grabbing the last spot for the final earlier in the day.Its actually my personal worst score since London, where I actually failed a dive, he said, laughing. For me, it was a bit of a shocker, literally 60 points less than what Ive scored in ages. I realized if I just did a good dive to finish, I might make the final. I had luck on my side today.Ipsen finished fifth and teammate Mike Hixon was 10th.The semifinals were held in sunny and hot conditions; the nighttime finals were in cooler weather.I actually knew going into it that it was going to be an interesting Olympics, it was going to be different than some of the others just because its an outdoor facility, Ipsen said. There are a lot more variables that you have to deal with compared to an Olympics thats indoors. Wholesale NFL Gear Black China NFL Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Stitched NFL Jerseys China Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Online Stitched NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL White Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Outlet White NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping ' ' '

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