September 2015


It will be at least another week before linebacker Brooks Reed debuts with the Atlanta Falcons. Reed practiced Friday for the second straight day in a limited capacity, and coach Dan Quinn said the Falcons won't rush his return. The Falcons (2-0) also will be without starting running back Tevin Coleman and return specialist Devin Hester when they visit Dallas (2-0) on Sunday.
Standout middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is expected to miss his second consecutive game due to a concussion when the Carolina Panthers face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Kuechly was listed as doubtful on Friday's injury report but coach Ron Rivera indicted that he will probably be downgraded to out on Saturday. "He saw the doctor but he's still in the protocol," Rivera told reporters.
Three games into the season, Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is already getting public votes of confidence from coach Jay Gruden. Cousins has a pair of two-interception games - and both were losses. The Redskins (1-2) host NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 4, which gives Gruden, his staff and his players plenty of time to try to improve things.
Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall is expected to miss at least three to four weeks with a sprained toe on his right foot. Coach Jay Gruden said Friday that Hall would be seeing a foot specialist. Hall, who missed most of last season because of a torn left Achilles tendon, was hurt on the opening drive in the second half of Washington's 32-21 loss at the New York Giants on Thursday night.
Dallas defensive end Jeremy Mincey has been ruled out of the Cowboys' game Sunday against Atlanta because of a concussion. As expected, rookie defensive end Randy Gregory is out again with a sprained right ankle. The loss of Mincey hurts Dallas' depth in trying to pressure Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, the NFC leader with 661 yards passing.
While the New York Giants had a lot more fun watching the game film after avoiding an 0-3 start, coach Tom Coughlin still has concerns about his team. The Giants (1-2) built an early lead and posted a 32-21 win over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night. After falling behind 25-6, Washington ran 33 plays in the final 13:39 and outscored the Giants 15-7, including a 101-yard kickoff return by Rashad Ross.
Even as Washington Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall was being carted off the field with an injury on Thursday night, he was able to do something really nice for a young fan. Hall suffered a toe injury against the New York Giants. He seemed to plant funny defending a pass, and had to be helped off the field. It initially looked bad and at age 31, you have to assume Hall had some worrisome thoughts. Then a young fan told Hall in the hallway that he'd say a prayer for him. [ Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: Enter our $1 Million Week 3 contest ] Here's the story from Shaun O'Hara, a former Giants lineman who works for the NFL Network, via his Instagram account: "Special moment just happened in the tunnel  @mlstadium  Brian here, a 12 yr old  @redskins  fan just saw  @dhall23skins  in the hallway & said 'Hey DeAngelo, I'll say a prayer for you.' Hall said thanks kid, I needed that....and then threw him his game jersey." O'Hara included the hashtag #MeanJoeGreene, because yep, it certainly is a page right out of the Coke ad, which is still one of the handful of most famous commercials ever (wonder if Don Draper came up with that after "I'd like to buy the world a Coke"). That's just a great story. Kudos to Hall for keeping the big picture in mind, even during a pretty rough moment for him. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
Julio Jones didn't go as far as Atlanta teammate Roddy White, who suggested Dallas receiver Dez Bryant could miss the rest of the season with a broken foot similar to the injury that sidelined Jones for most of 2013. The NFC leader in yards receiving through two games did have some advice for Bryant, who is likely out at least until the end of October after breaking his right foot in the season opener against the New York Giants. ''With Dez, he's just going to have to take time and get healed up properly because you can rush these things,'' said Jones, whose Falcons visit the Cowboys on Sunday in a matchup of 2-0 teams.
Betting lines don't usually surprise NFL observers. The Falcons already have wins over the NFC East's Eagles and Giants, and their turnaround easily could continue against the Cowboys, who won't have injured Tony Romo or Dez Bryant, suspended Rolando McClain and Greg Hardy, and might also be missing star tight end Jason Witten. Not that anyone in Atlanta is getting overconfident, even with the vast improvement the Falcons have made under new coach Dan Quinn.
In the NFL, an 0-2 start isn't a death sentence for making the playoffs. But if you start 0-3, you might as well forget the postseason. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, about 12 percent of 0-2 teams made the playoffs. But only three — the 1992 San Diego Chargers, 1995 Detroit Lions and 1998 Buffalo Bills — have made the playoffs after starting 0-3. So to the 0-2 teams, you better win this week or you're done. They know that. And we should keep it in mind while making picks. [ Yahoo Daily Fantasy Football: Enter our $1 Million Week 3 contest ] Not all 0-2 teams are created equal. Some just stink and it doesn't matter if they're desperate for a win this week. But for the 0-2 teams we still have hope for, this is a mini-playoff game in September. That thought process worked for picking the New York Giants on Thursday night. So let's get to the picks, and see who really needs a win: Giants (-4) over Redskins ( picked Thursday ): I'm not sold on the Giants being good. I am sold on the Redskins not being good. ? Browns (-3.5) over Raiders: Not a game I feel strongly about either way. But the Raiders are 2-22 on the road the last three seasons. I'll keep rolling with that trend until I see reason to change. Falcons (-2) over Cowboys: Dallas' running backs haven't been good yet. Now that's all the Cowboys have for a couple months. It wouldn't shock me if the running game clicks on Sunday and puts up a huge week, but I want to see it happen first.

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