Archive for December, 2015

Vikings, Packers in division duel (AFP)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
The Minnesota Vikings will try to end Green Bay's four-year NFC North Division reign when they play the Packers in a winner-takes-all NFL regular-season finale on Sunday. Both teams are destined for the playoffs, but for each there will be plenty on the line at Green Bay's iconic Lambeau Field. The winner will claim not only the division title but also the National Football Conference number three seed, and a guaranteed home game in the first round of the post-season.

Pagano focuses on playoffs as speculation swirls about job (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay says he has not made any decision about who will be in charge of his team next season. Shortly after ESPN reported Thursday that the team planned to fire coach Chuck Pagano on Monday, Irsay issued a one-sentence statement. ''As of today, no decision has been made with respect to any structural changes within the Colts organization for 2016 and beyond,'' Irsay said.

Bill Belichick voices strong support for Chip Kelly (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Consider Bill Belichick one of Chip Kelly's strongest supporters. The four-time Super Bowl champion called Kelly's firing by the Philadelphia Eagles ''really disappointing'' and praised his coaching skills. Kelly was dismissed Tuesday with one game remaining in an underwhelming season.

Steelers aim to beat Browns, get help to make AFC playoffs (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
The Pittsburgh Steelers can handle beating the Browns all by themselves. A shocking loss last week in Baltimore has put the Steelers in a must-win-and-then-hope-Buffalo-can-beat-the-New York Jets bind. It's not ideal, but it's all the Steelers have as they enter the season finale against the Browns, now absent from the postseason for 13 years and counting.

Brandon Marshall's ankle on mend, LB hopes to play Sunday (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Brandon Marshall's sprained right ankle aches. The Denver Broncos inside linebacker is dealing with a tender ankle and the death of his best friend. This is no time to sit, though, especially with an AFC West title on the line for Denver (11-4) against San Diego (4-11) on Sunday in the regular season finale.

NFL-National Football League roundup (Reuters)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Unless Indianapolis get a playoff berth, the Colts plan to dismiss head coach Chuck Pagano after the season, ESPN.com reported Thursday, based on league sources. General manager Ryan Grigson would assist in the search for a new coach, according to the report. Owner Jim Irsay released a statement later Thursday, which read: "As of today, no decision has been made with respect to any structural changes within the Colts organization for 2016 and beyond." The Colts (7-8) are unlikely to get into the playoffs.

Tackles elude Packers' LB Clay Matthews in last 2 weeks (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Clay Matthews has amassed such impressive pass-rushing stats in his career for the Green Bay Packers that it makes his production over the last two weeks seem odd. The Packers were slightly more generous with their own stats, listing him with a half-tackle in that period. It's obviously a stat that you don't like hearing,'' Matthews said.

With defense again at full strength, Vikings are in a groove (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
Teddy Bridgewater's December display of crispness, accuracy and confidence has given the Minnesota Vikings a noticeable boost. Adrian Peterson has maintained his NFL rushing lead. The most important development for Minnesota entering this NFC North championship game at Green Bay and the playoffs that will follow, though, is a defense that's back to full strength.

Gailey, Jets' offense look for different result vs. Bills (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
The game film still frustrates Chan Gailey. The New York Jets blew opportunity after opportunity on offense against the Buffalo Bills in their first meeting last month. ''We didn't run the ball as effectively as we needed to, we didn't get third downs, our red zone was atrocious,'' Gailey said Thursday.

Cousins, starters expected to play for Redskins at Cowboys (The Associated Press)

Thursday, December 31st, 2015
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -- Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is expected to start Sunday's regular-season finale at Dallas, though coach Jay Gruden wouldn't say how much his top players will stay in the game.