September 2016

Tom Brady stares down opponents in such an intimidating manner, you expect defenders to skulk away rather than try to stop him. ''The criticism that comes with it a lot of times is a little unrealistic,'' says Brian Billick, who coached the Ravens to the 2000 NFL title and now is an analyst for NFL Network. Much of how teams handle clock management has to be intuitive.
Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman was fined $48,620 by the NFL on Friday for his unnecessary roughness foul on New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard last week. Norman is a repeat offender who was fined more than $26,000 last season for his tussles with Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Last Sunday, Norman hit Shepard near the head and neck area.
The New York Giants' battered and bruised offensive backfield might be getting a familiar face back in time to face the undefeated Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. Rashad Jennings, the team's leading rusher with 863 yards last season, is making significant progress with the torn ligament in his left thumb that forced him to miss last week's 29-27 loss to the Washington Redskins. Jennings participated in several drills during Friday's practice, enough to impress coach Ben McAdoo.
Sept 30 (Gracenote) - Standings from the NFL on Thursday AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCEAFC EAST W L T OTL PF PA PCT 1. New England 3 0 0 0 81 45 1.000 2. NY Jets 1 2 0 0 62 78 .333 3. Buffalo 1 2 0 0 71 68 .333 4. Miami 1 3 0 0 71 89 .250 AFC NORTH W L T OTL PF PA PCT 1. Baltimore 3 0 0 0 57 44 1.000 2. Pittsburgh 2 1 0 0 65 66 .667 3. Cincinnati 2 2 0 0 78 82 .500 4. Cleveland 0 3 0 1 54 84 0 AFC SOUTH W L T OTL PF PA PCT 1. Houston 2 1 0 0 42 53 .667 2. Tennessee 1 2 0 0 42 57 .333 3. Indianapolis 1 2 0 0 81 95 .333 4. Jacksonville 0 3 0 0 54 84 0 AFC WEST W L T OTL PF PA PCT 1. ...
As a rookie with the New York Giants in 2004, a few weeks before taking over for good as the starting quarterback, Eli Manning was on the sideline while Kurt Warner helped lead a midseason victory at Minnesota. In seven career starts against them, Manning has a 2-5 record with a rough 54.8 passer rating. ''I don't think anybody has my phone number on the Vikings,'' Manning said this week, using some wry humor to try to deflect the subject of his struggles.
Of all Jacksonville's offensive issues this season, the most glaring one has been a lack of big plays. The winless Jaguars are one of just two NFL teams (the New York Jets are the other) that have yet to gain 40 yards on any play. ''We have had our opportunities with big plays,'' coach Gus Bradley said.
Drew Brees will play at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday for the first time since Dec. 31, 2005, when he walked off the field holding his right arm at a 90-degree angle from his side because of a shoulder injury. Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints, leading them through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and then to a Super Bowl title following the 2009 season. Sunday, he'll lead the winless Saints (0-3) against Rivers' struggling Chargers (1-2), who once again are threatening to leave for Los Angeles, this time if a controversial ballot measure for a new stadium downtown doesn't pass on Nov. 8.
In the mediocre AFC South, which Houston (2-1) leads, losing its best player could bring the defending division champion back to the field - as uninspiring as the Titans, Colts and Jaguars might be. With the Texans coming off a no-show at New England, visiting Tennessee could be feeling pretty frisky about its chances Sunday. ''I'm very disappointed about that,'' says Tennessee left tackle Taylor Lewan, who would have matched up a lot with Watt.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick will attempt to extend his dominant reign over Buffalo Bills rival Rex Ryan on Sunday as the AFC giants aim to maintain their perfect start to the season. Belichick's rivalry with his outspoken Bills counterpart stretches back several years, from when the pugnacious Ryan was head coach at the New York Jets. To date, Belichick has rarely been troubled by anything Ryan has thrown at his teams, with the Patriots coach leading 9-1 in their last 10 meetings.
Linval Joseph had solidified himself as one of the league's best run stoppers, entering his seventh year in the NFL, but the Minnesota Vikings still saw room for their big man in the middle to play even better. Three games into this season, Joseph has taken that step. Joseph will find himself facing some of his former teammates on Monday night when the Vikings (3-0) host the New York Giants (2-1), the team that drafted him out of East Carolina in the second round in 2010.

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