- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner6 hrs ago
People are discussing this season's NFL MVP race as if it's very close, but I don't see it that way. Not yet at least.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should be running away with the award. And before you start, no, I don't hate Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (in fact, I've been bashing the unnecessary criticism of him for years, way before it became cool).Thu, Nov 261:30 PM PSTCarolina at DallasPreview Game
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
Ryan Fitzpatrick really has this "Movember" thing all mixed up.
With men everywhere using "No-Shave November" as an excuse to not shave to bring awareness to prostate cancer, Fitzpatrick has gone the other way. With the New York Jets struggling, the quarterback has trimmed the most glorious beard in football.
Fitz on the beard decision: "Just seemed like it was time to switch up the mojo a little bit." pic.twitter.com/ytBuaRkeLU
- Eric Edholm at Shutdown Corner15 hrs ago
We're going to switch things up on the projections this week and take a look at the glut of teams in the middle class of the NFL that still could find their way into the playoffs.
It's stunning how much parity there is outside the bottom few and the top handful of teams.
There are no more byes left on the schedule, so everyone has the same number of games left. But the schedules the teams still in contention must play are far different.
Let's assume, for arugment's sake, that the AFC East, AFC West, NFC South and NFC West divisions are wrapped up — even though they aren't really. But all four of those division leaders have three-game (or more) cushions they should be able to hold onto.
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner16 hrs ago
The family of NFL Hall of Famer and longtime broadcaster Frank Gifford revealed on Wednesday that Gifford's brain showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The legendary New York Giants running back/flanker died of natural causes in August at age 84.
Gifford's family released the following statement:
"After losing our beloved husband and father, Frank Gifford, we as a family made the difficult decision to have his brain studied in hopes of contributing to the advancement of medical research concerning the link between football and traumatic brain injury.
"While Frank passed away from natural causes this past August at the age of 84, our suspicions that he was suffering from the debilitating effects of head trauma were confirmed when a team of pathologists recently diagnosed his condition as that of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)—a progressive degenerative brain disease.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
Tuesday seemed like the end of Johnny Manziel's chances with the Cleveland Browns.
After being named the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, and having discussions with the staff about what he needed to do on the bye week, video of Manziel partying was leaked. And Manziel was benched, all the way down to third string. It had to be tremendously frustrating for the Browns.
But if it appeared Manziel had reached the end of the line in Cleveland, Browns coach Mike Pettine insisted it was not. He was asked if Manziel had played his last game with the Browns.
"I certainly hope not," Pettine said in his Wednesday news conference. "He’s made great progress and there’s no better proof than last Sunday at Pittsburgh. But sometimes you have to take a step back to take a few forward.
"We told him yesterday, this is not a dead end. It’s a hurdle."
- Shalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
The NFL announced the dates for its three International Series games that will be played in the United Kingdom next season, and also announced five of the six teams who will head to London:
• Oct. 2, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Indianapolis Colts at Wembley Stadium.
• Oct. 23, the St. Louis Rams will host an NFC East team at Twickenham Stadium.
• Oct. 30, the Cincinnati Bengals will host the Washington Redskins at Wembley Stadium.
The Rams will host whichever team finishes in the same spot in the NFC as they do in the NFC West, making it possible for Washington to become the first team to play in London in back-to-back weeks.
This will be the fourth straight year the Jaguars play a "home" game in the U.K., though next year will mark the first time they face a divisional opponent; it will be the Colts' first time playing overseas. It will also be the first U.K. game for Cincinnati and the first regular-season game overseas for Washington, which played a preseason contest in London in 1992.
Steelers' William Gay suggests NFL give players one week to advocate their cause without consequenceShalise Manza Young at Shutdown Corner17 hrs ago
There has been a lot of talk this season about NFL players being fined by the league for sending a message, be it through their eye black or choice of cleats.
One of those players, Pittsburgh's William Gay, penned a column for The MMQB detailing why he happily paid the fine for wearing purple cleats for domestic violence awareness, and brings up an important thought: NFL players have the platform, so why can't they use it?
We’ve talked about this a lot in the locker room... So many of us feel like there has to be a solution; a way for the league to work with us for trying to promote good things, rather than punish us. Ben Roethlisberger came up with the idea to allow each team to have one cause that affects the community that we play in and have each player be able to represent that. Another idea, and one I feel strongly about, is to allow every player in the league one amnesty week—one game during which they can support their cause through a shoe color or eye-black and not have any consequences. Where is the harm in that?
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner19 hrs ago
Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan brought in one of his former players, a legend of the game, to give a pep talk to his team before it played the New England Patriots on Monday night.
That's not uncommon. But then the Bills' inspirational speaker, Ray Lewis, was on the ESPN set the next night talking about the game. That's unusual, to say the least. He picked the Bills, a seven-point underdog, to win.
Lewis played under Ryan when the latter was a defensive assistant with the Baltimore Ravens. Ryan confirmed on Wednesday that Lewis spoke to the team though he didn't get into specifics of what Lewis said, according to ESPN.com's Mike Rodak.
- Greg Cosell at Shutdown Corner19 hrs ago
Tony Romo had an uneven performance on Sunday, his first game back after missing seven with a broken collarbone.
That’s to be expected after so much time off. What was also unsurprising is that the Cowboys looked a lot better on offense. You could see the difference a professional quarterback makes for the Cowboys passing game. The Cowboys were 7-of-14 on third down, and had the ball for more than 38 minutes. A big reason is that Romo could make throws to sustain drives. He also made some great throws to put points on the board, which we’ll get to in a bit.
First let’s look at two interceptions that, you’d have to think, happened in part because because Romo was rusty. In the first quarter, the Dolphins ran a “zero blitz” with no deep safety, and linebacker Neville Hewitt came free. So with no definition on the throw and Hewitt in his face, Romo threw the ball falling away with no vision. Even though Dez Bryant beat cornerback Brent Grimes to the inside, Grimes got an easy interception.
- Ben Rohrbach at Shutdown Corner19 hrs ago
As if the Detroit Lions haven't ruined enough of our Thanksgivings already, cornerback Darius Slay has finally provided the last straw necessary to remove them from our annual turkey day festivities forever.
That's right: Slay hates turkey. Like, really doesn't like it. He described it as "nasty." Four times.
The following is his exchange with ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein for a regular Question of the Week segment. This week's query: "What Thanksgiving foods do Detroit Lions players absolutely despise?"
Slay: "Turkey. So nasty. I hate turkey. I don't know why Thanksgiving has like turkey as a logo. That's like a logo for turkey. It has to be ham, because ham is way better than turkey. Turkey is terrible. I hate turkey. So nasty. Hate turkey."Thu, Nov 269:30 AM PSTPhiladelphia at DetroitPreview Game